Night hag syndrome is a way to define sleep paralysis, scientifically ‘recurrent isolated sleep paralysis’. They can occur while falling asleep or waking up. Consciousness is fully open. The person remembers what happens. During the attack, frightening images are accompanied by hallucinations. The person wants to shout in the face of these terrible images.  He  cannot make a sound. Wants to move but cannot move. These attacks can pass within seconds or last for minutes. Frequent sleep paralysis experience repetitions of attacks become a significant source of fear and stress for the patient. It may negatively affecting his or her life.

It occurs because of the disorder associated with the REM sleep stage in which we dream. Under normal conditions, all body muscles are temporarily paralyzed during REM sleep, except for the respiratory muscles and the muscles that provide eye movements. This temporary paralysis prevents the person from moving his arms and legs with the effect of dreams seen in REM sleep, thus preventing injuries that may arise from these movements and cause harm to the person. This is also called REM sleep paralysis.
In the case of sleep paralysis, which is defined as night hag, there is an onset of sleep with the REM sleep stage or waking up with the REM sleep stage. Therefore, when falling asleep or waking up, a distressing sleep paralysis figures emerges in which the consciousness is clear, dream-like hallucinations are seen, but the arms and legs cannot be moved.
This clinical picture is common before the age of 30. It is rarely familial. The most important trigger is the sleep hygiene disorder.

Types of Sleep Paralysis (Night Hag Sydrome)

It is possible to say there is two different kind of night hag sydrome.

  • Hypnagogic Sleep Paralysis (Predormital)
  • Hypopompic Sleep Paralysis (Postdormital)

Hypnagogic  or Predormital Sleep Paralysi

This is a kind of paralyzing sensation when you fall asleep. During a normal sleep cycle, your body alternates between REM (rapid eye movement) and NREM (non-rapid eye movement) periods. One cycle of REM and NREM sleep lasts up to about 90 minutes. NREM sleep occurs first and covers 75% of the total sleep cycle in which your body relaxes and rejuvenates. At the end of this period, your sleep spontaneously turns into the REM segment, which accounts for 25% of the sleep cycle. Here your eyes will begin to move rapidly with the muscles relaxed and if you regain your consciousness at this level of sleep you will find it difficult to speak or move due to hypogagic sleep paralysis and hallucinacitions may accompany. This dreams of being paralyzed and unable to speak are the sleep paralysis symptoms.

Hypopompic or Postdormital Sleep Paralysis

This is the type of sleep paralysis experience when you wake up from sleep. So, when the sleep cycle ends and you are between unconsciousness and consciousness, a few minutes into sleep paralysis, you will have difficulty speaking or moving.

Night Hag Syndrome: Why is it Happpens?

  • Lack of sleep
  • Change of sleep pattern (migration)
  • Stress, anxiety and bipolar disorder
  • sleeping in uncomfortable places or positions
  • narcolepsy
  • night time leg cramps
  • Certain drugs and substance abuse

Sleep paralysis does not need to be diagnosed or treated as it cannot lead to anything dangerous or fatal. An episode of paralysis will resolve in seconds to minutes. After which you will be completely normal in movements and aspects of consciousness. However, if you experience symptoms such as the following, it is recommended to seek medical attention.

How to Control Night Hang Syndrome?

The general sleep paralysis definition of how to control it, is as follows:

  • Improving sleep habits – Making it a habit to sleep comfortably for 6-8 hours a day
  • Using anti-depressants to regulate sleep cycles
  • treating underlying medical conditions
  • Treatment of other sleep disorders such as narcolepsy or nocturnal leg cramps
  • Meditation and lifestyle changes
  • stress relief

Night Hag: Fairytales

Nightmares are also known as sleep paralysis. People may wake up in the middle of the night and find themselves in a situation where they can’t move or make any sounds. They may see a shadowy figure floating around the corner. Feel a pressure on their rib cage, or feel a hand around their throat. These strange experiences are known as nightmares or sleep paralysis. It is a diagnostic and fairly common sleep disorder.

The Past of the Night Hag

Nightmare or sleep paralysis has taken place throughout history under different names. Although not usually with the name “nightmare” itself. Traditions and legends from around the world have described nightmares as terrifying experiences of being unable to wake up. Also seeing uncertain entities, drowning or being held.

In 1664, a Dutch doctor described his patient’s experience with nightmares as “Dreams or Nightmares”. It is also refers to the first known clinical description of the disease.

Approximately 7.6 percent of the world’s population experiences. Even at least one case of nightmares in their lifetime. These rates are even higher among students and psychiatric patients. Especially those with post-traumatic stress or panic attack disorders.

Nightmares are also a common symptom of sleeping sickness (narcolepsy). It is  characterized by excessive sleepiness, sleep attacks, and sudden loss of muscle control. Nightmares in the absence of narcolepsy are also known as “isolated sleep paralysis”.

Sleep Paralysis Treatment

Seeing a nightmare in a dream is a problem that can be treated. In the treatment of sleep paralysis, drugs that provide the transition to sleep. It is for not to disrupt the REM – Non-REM cycle. Also to increase the quality of deep sleep are used. Antidepressants alone do not take part in the treatment of sleep disorders. Because they treat the underlying depression. They can relieve sleep disturbance. It is definitely not the right attitude to start these drugs with a friend’s comment or recommendation. The effects or side effects of drugs are very subjective. It differs from person to person. For this reason, no medicine should be used without the advice of a doctor.

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