What is sleep paralysis and how could it be linked to Covid?

Since Covid-19 entered all of our lives about two years ago, regular, even sleep patterns have taken serious damage.

Constantly changing rules and restrictions, home office and quarantine are among the various factors that have impaired the restful sleep of many people.

Reports of sleep paralysis are now surfacing on social media, with some speculating that it could be a symptom of the new variant of Omicron that has infected record numbers of people. according to The Express.

But what is it and what are its symptoms?

The NHS website describes sleep paralysis as “if you cannot move or speak when you wake up or fall asleep”.

It admits that the feeling can be scary for anyone experiencing it, but adds that it is harmless and that most people only get it once or twice in their lifetime.

The NHS website states that people with sleep paralysis can feel like someone is in their room or like something is holding them down, and the feelings can last for up to several minutes.

It is not currently certain what causes sleep paralysis, but it has been linked to insomnia; disturbed sleep patterns due to things like shift work or jet lag; Narcolepsy; post-traumatic stress disorder; general anxiety disorder; Panic disorder; a family history of sleep paralysis.

Social media reports of people suffering from sleep paralysis after contracting Covid have led some to speculate that the two may be linked – although no research has yet made such a link.

However, one study found a significant increase in sleep disorders among patients in quarantine. It suggests that sleep paralysis could be a side effect of the pandemic and the social changes that caused it, rather than being caused by Covid itself.

Sleep therapy expert Kat Lederly told MailOnline: “It could be that the viral infection itself has an impact on sleep regulation in the brain (neurological effects of Covid have been reported).

“I think it is more likely that should there be an increase in sleep paralysis it is due to the stress arising from the major changes in the way we currently live our lives, uncertainty and fear that we face affect our sleep system. “

The Express reports Kathryn Pinkham, NHS counselor and founder of the Insomnia Clinic, explains how sleep paralysis can be caused by abnormal sleep patterns.

She said, “As soon as our sleep patterns are disturbed due to illness or anxiety, we get stuck in a cycle in which we begin to associate bed with wakefulness.

“For example, the longer we spend in bed tossing and turning and not being able to fall asleep, the more we begin to associate our bed with being awake.

“In addition, the more alert and anxious we become while sleeping, the worse the cycle becomes.

“Sleep paralysis is linked to sleep deprivation, so that would explain why Covid and sleep paralysis are linked.”

Since the coronavirus hit the world in 2020, reports of other nighttime disturbances have also surfaced.

For example, an increase in night sweats and vivid nightmares has been reported.

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