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Risk factors of sleep paralysis in a population of Polish students.

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Wróbel-Knybel, Paulina 
Flis, Michał 
Rog, Joanna 
Jalal, Baland 
Karakuła-Juchnowicz, Hanna 


BACKGROUND: Sleep paralysis (SP) is a transitional dissociative state associated with the REM sleep phase that affects approximately 28.3% of the student population during their lifetime. The reasons for the high prevalence of SP in the student population are not entirely clear. Research indicates possible influencing factors such as the intensification of anxiety symptoms, a tendency to worry, the presence of PTSD symptoms, and behavioral factors such as the consumption of psychoactive substances (caffeine, alcohol, nicotine), sleep deprivations and poor sleep hygiene. The study aimed to assess the prevalence of SP and determine the risk factors for the occurrence of SP in the population of Polish students. METHODS: The study used a battery online consisting of a set of questionnaires 1) a personal questionnaire, 2) the SP-EPQ, 3) the PCL -5, 4) the STAI-T, 5) the PSWQ. The questionnaire was sent via Facebook to 4500 randomly selected students from different universities in Poland. The questionnaire was completed by 2598 students. To unify the participant sample, people over 35 were excluded from the study (45 students). Ultimately, data from 2553 students were analyzed. RESULTS: A total of 33.14% of individuals experienced at least one episode of SP in their lives. The highest odds ratio for SP was associated with: the presence of three or more health problems (OR: 2.3; p = 0.002), the presence of any mental disorder (OR: 1.77; p = 0.002), including mood disorders (OR: 2.07; p = 0.002), suffering from at least one somatic disease (OR: 1.34; p = 0.002), a high level of anxiety as a constant personality trait (OR: 1.20; p = 0.035) and smoking (OR: 1.48; p = 0.0002), alcohol consumption (OR: 1.52; p < 0.0001), physical activity (OR: 1.31; p = 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: The results of our research indicate that a large proportion of students experienced isolated sleep paralysis. Mental and somatic health problems and lifestyle factors were found to predispose individuals to this disorder. Due to the numerous risk factors for SP, it is necessary to conduct additional research to confirm the impact of these factors and to investigate the mechanisms of their influence on SP.



Anxiety, Health status, Mental disorder, PTSD, Parasomnia, Sleep, Sleep disorder, Sleep paralysis, Sport, Worry, Humans, Poland, Risk Factors, Sleep Paralysis, Students, Surveys and Questionnaires, Universities

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BMC Psychiatry

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC