Sometimes, just before I fall asleep, I feel paralyzed. I can think, but I
can't take in air, and when I think about moving, my body won't respond to that thought.
What's going on? – Kayleigh*
Although we can't say what's going on in your particular situation, there is a
medical condition known as sleep paralysis.
Sleep paralysis is rare. But it can be scary if the person doesn't know what's
happening: Someone with sleep paralysis temporarily loses the ability to speak or
move while falling asleep or waking up. This sensation can last for seconds or even
a couple of minutes. Some people may also have hallucinations. During an episode of
sleep paralysis, people may feel like they can't breathe, but that's not
actually the case — a person continues to breathe throughout the episode.
Sleep paralysis can happen just once and never again. But, for a few people, it
may be a regular occurrence. Either way, it can be a big relief to know what's happening.
That's why the best course of action is to see a doctor and get checked out.
If you do have sleep paralysis, a doctor can help figure out why it's happening.
The condition may be linked with one of several things, including another sleep problem
known as narcolepsy or certain mental health conditions. A person who is sleep deprived
(not getting enough sleep) may be more likely to experience sleep paralysis.