When your body is transitioning between different stages of sleep, you may feel like you are conscious but unable to move. This condition is called sleep paralysis and can occur in as many as four out of every 10 people. “When you sleep, your body moves between REM (rapid eye movement) and NREM (non-rapid eye movement) sleep,” says Bradley K. Bittle, MD, FCCP, D-ABSM, pulmonologist and sleep medicine physician at Saint Francis Medical Center. “During REM sleep, your body is very relaxed. If you become aware during the REM cycle, you may feel like you cannot move.”
Usually, there is no need to treat sleep paralysis unless it is interfering with your daily function or causing you to lose sleep. In some cases, though, it can be associated with narcolepsy. Your doctor may ask you to keep a sleep journal or want to perform a sleep study to determine if you have any other sleep disorders.
For more information, call the Sleep Disorders Center at 573-331-5837.