Health; Sleep paralysis, cause and treatment


I remember experiencing sleep paralysis for the first time a while ago. I was stressed. I am an architect and a general hustler. I have to meet up with deadlines, be on site during the day, do a series of computer work, and work late into the night. That’s the normal architect’s life. So, that week was normal. I mean the normal Nigerian hustler life. Everyone really trying hard to make a living would understand. You sleep by 2:00 a.m., wake by 3:30 a.m.
Yo, it’s another day.!

As a religious fellow, I thought my enemies were at it again, but this time, it wasn’t my village people.

What is sleep paralysis?

“Sleep paralysis is a temporary inability to speak and move upon falling asleep or while waking”.
Sometimes it is accompanied by a feeling of pressure on the victim or as if they are choking, in other cases the symptoms might include hallucination, seeing movements, and hearing voices.

Shit! This sounds demonic right.?
Like, your village people are at it. ! That’s the feeling when you wake. And for most Nigerians (who are generally spiritual minded), would recommend a spiritual solution.
By the nature of the experience, one gets frightened. Also, over time different cultures have associated demon attacks to sleep paralysis. it is interpreted as an attack against one from succeeding or progressing in life.

Sleep paralysis is an established medical condition affecting about 35% of Nigerians population with the majority as students between the ages of 20-30. It occurs between the transition stage of sleep, REM (rapid eye movement) and NREM (Non-rapid eye movement ). REM to NREM transition can last up to 90 minutes.

Causes of sleep paralysis

  • Stress
  • Lack of sleep
  • An inconsistent sleeping schedule
  • Substance abuse
  • Sleeping on the back
  • Mental condition

Sleep paralysis is most times self diagnosed, from curiosity and the right information, there is no laboratory test for its proof. The experience becomes more often if the cause is not checked and precaution against it is not taken.
Although it is not harmful, the experience can be terrifying and keep one from sleeping. Also, you don’t necessarily need a doctor, but please do visit one in case of persistence and worsening to be sure you do not have any other sleeping disorder.
In my case, it happened that I had been depriving my body of enough sleep because of work, I slept at random, for just a few hours, a maximum of 3 hours on a good day and I was sleeping on my back too.

How to treat sleep paralysis

  • Maintain a good sleeping habit (ensure you sleep for at least 8 hours every day, especially at night)
  • Have a consistent sleep schedule. (for example 10pm-6am)
  • Sleep on your sides, not your back
  • Treat all mental health problems
  • Treat any other sleeping disorder

I hope you have learned something from this.
So when next you have an episode of sleep paralysis or someone shares their experience related to the symptoms illustrated above, give the person some health tips first and not draw a line for spiritual warfare.


Please share your thoughts, our experiences if you have any, let’s know how you felt, how you got to know, and how it stopped.

Idowu David

Architect | Storyteller | poet | Mental health advocate. And a Lover of all people.

17 thoughts on “Health; Sleep paralysis, cause and treatment

  1. This is really educative for me. I could fall under those that would term it as an attack but thanks for the light on this issue.
    Thank you!!!

  2. Wow

    So enlightening,
    We are sometimes responsible for some of the health challenges we experience which could be caused by the things we do unconsciously but fail to realize it.
    Thanks for this.

    1. 😊.
      Not at all.
      Just get good rest and maintain regular sleep time.
      Am glad you have been informed through this post.
      Thank you for the comment.

  3. Wooooww… The first time something like this happened to me was actually the last. I was scared coz I felt I was dying…
    So it wasn’t death after all? Thanks for the sensitization!!

    1. Same thoughts here on the first experience and then it continued. Till I understood the cause and started sleeping on my sides and getting good rest.

      Thank you for sharing with us.

  4. This is really educative and helpful,the village people aren’t always at it!….. Thanks so much for this.

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