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A study published in the Frontiers In Neurology journal has established that a technique referred to as mediation-relaxation therapy could cure sleep paralysis.

Mediation-relaxation therapy addressing sleep paralysis

Sleep paralysis is a condition that explains several mysterious experiences, such as demonic night-time visits and alleged instances of aliened abduction. It occurs when one is about to sleep of just woke up, and the body is unresponsive, which can be terrifying like something is in the room or a weight pushing your chest. Individuals that experience this phenomenon often report experiencing intruders in the bedroom, and they seek supernatural explanations.

One in every five individuals could experience sleep paralysis caused by disrupted sleep patterns, insomnia, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Also, it is common in narcoleptic individuals where someone falls asleep suddenly and loses muscle control and people with psychiatric disorders such as panic disorder or anxiety.

Interesting, a team of researchers has established that mediation-relaxation therapy can manage this condition. The research is a collaborative effort from various intuitions in Italy, the UK, and health company IRCCS Istituto delle Scienze Neurologiche. They studied 10 narcoleptic individuals that experienced sleep paralysis. University of Cambridge’s Dr. Baland Jalal designed the new therapy in collaboration with the Department of Biomedical and Neuromotor Science at the University of Bologna, Italy.

Steps of mediation-relaxation therapy

Before commencing the study, the study participants took a Sleep Paralysis Experiences and Phenomenology Questionnaire with their baseline anxiety and mood measured. They were then taken through four steps they could follow whenever they experienced a sleep paralysis episode.

Patients are required to reappraise the meaning of the attack considering that sleep paralysis is a temporary and common hallucination like a dream. The second step is emotional and psychological distancing, which requires them not to be afraid as anxiety can make the episode worse.

The third step was inward-focused attention meditation, something positive like a happy memory or religious focus. Finally, muscle relaxation is the final step, including staying calm and breathing slowly while avoiding any movement.