Sleep Paralysis Sleep paralysis is a type of sleep disorder that occurs when a person feels unable to move or speak for a few minutes. Sleep paralysis can be very frightening and usually occurs while falling asleep or upon awakening. Sleep paralysis is sometimes referred to as "old hag syndrome," stemming from the superstitious belief that during a sleep paralysis episode a witch, or "old hag," is sitting on the person causing them to be immobile. Sleep Paralysis Symptoms While sleep paralysis can be extremely scary, it is not a serious medical problem. It is a sign that your body is not transitioning smoothly through the different cycles of sleep. Characteristic sleep paralysis symptoms include: A temporary feeling of being unable to move when waking up or falling asleep A choking sensation may be felt May accompany other sleep disorders such as narcolepsy and hypnagogic hallucinations Causes of Sleep Paralysis Fatigue Sleep deprivation Certain medications Narcolepsy Sleep Paralysis Treatment In severe cases, or if you have narcolepsy, sleep paralysis treatment may involve medications. But in most instances, people who have this disorder can manage their symptoms with the following self-help sleep paralysis treatments: Understanding what sleep paralysis is can help reduce anxiety during an attack and possibly the frequency of episodes. Get regular sleep. Avoid exercising right before bed. Avoid consuming alcohol or caffeine before bed. Track your sleep paralysis episodes and try to identify any triggers like stress, caffeine, sleep position, etc. Sleep paralysis often occurs when a person is sleeping in a face up position, so try to fall asleep on your side or stomach. If you are concerned about recurrent sleep paralysis episodes consult with your doctor or visit a sleep center for professional diagnosis and treatment. Disclaimer: These statements and products are not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult your physician regarding any sleeping disorders.