A new study suggests that sleep paralysis can possibly be treated with an exclusive combination of meditation-relaxation therapy techniques. A journal named Frontiers in Neurology published the study. Sleep paralysis is a state concerning paralysis of the skeletal muscles that occurs at the onset of sleep or just before waking. While momentarily immobilized, the individual is still intensely aware of their surroundings.
People who suffer this condition report being terrorized by unusual nightmares or bedroom intruders. It can be a frightening experience. Almost one in five people experience sleep paralysis, which may be triggered by sleep deprivation. It is seen more frequently in psychological conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder. It is also common in narcolepsy, a sleep disorder connecting undue daytime sleepiness and loss of muscle control.
Despite the condition existing for a while, there are no empirically-based treatments or published clinical trials for the condition to date. A team of researchers reports a new study of meditation-relaxation therapy involving 10 patients with narcolepsy, all of whom experience sleep paralysis. The meditation-relaxation therapy was originally developed by Dr. Baland Jalal from the Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge.
A control group of four participants engaged in deep breathing and relaxation – taking slow deep breaths, while constantly counting from one to ten. “Although our study only involved a small number of patients, we can be cautiously optimistic of its success,” said Dr. Jalal. “Meditation-relaxation therapy led to a dramatic fall in the number of times patients experienced sleep paralysis, and when they did, they tended to find the notoriously terrorizing hallucinations less disturbing. Experiencing less of something as disturbing as sleep paralysis is a step in the right direction.”
If the researchers are able to duplicate these results in a larger number of people, then this could offer a comparatively simple treatment that could even be delivered online. This will greatly help patients to cope with the condition.