Sleep paralysis can affect men and women of any age group. The average age when it first occurs is 14 to 17 years. It is a fairly common sleep problem. Estimates of how many people have it vary widely from 5% to 40%. You may be more likely to have it if a relative also has it.
A lack of sleep can make you more likely to have sleep paralysis. It is also more likely if you have a sleep schedule that often changes. Mental stress may also be a factor. It seems to occur more often when you sleep on your back. It may also be related to any of the following factors:
The use of certain medications
Sleep related leg cramps
How is it treated?
Treatment of sleep paralysis is aimed at whatever causes it to occur. Sleep deprivation may trigger sleep paralysis. In this case, try to get at least six to eight hours of sleep per night. People with psychiatric problems may suffer from sleep paralysis. An example is someone who has bipolar disorder. This person would need ongoing treatment with medication. This would be overseen by a physician or psychiatrist. You may notice sleep paralysis occurring with leg cramps. It may also happen after a change in your medicines. Discuss these issues with your doctor.
People with narcolepsy often have sleep paralysis. They normally need an antidepressant medication to reduce or eliminate dream sleep. This will help to ease the sleep paralysis. Taking an antidepressant drug does not mean that you are depressed. It is simply a method to help reduce sleep paralysis.