Xanax and Sleep Paralysis: How Do They Affect Each Other?

If you currently take Xanax and are also experiencing sleep paralysis, you are probably wondering – is it the xanax causing the sleep paralysis? While the answer may not be as clear-cut as you may like, read on for some real information about what to do if you take Xanax and are also dealing with sleep paralysis.

What is Xanax used for?

Xanax, also known as Alprazolam, is a drug that depresses the central nervous system and calms abnormal excitement in the brain. For this reason, it’s used for anxiety disorders. Some of the things it can be prescribed for include panic attacks, anxiety disorders, agoraphobia, and depression. Because of its calming effect, many people misuse the medication and use it off-label to relax or reduce stress and tension. But Xanax is also habit forming, so it is not recommended to use this drug without the supervision and recommendation of a doctor.

It is also worth noting that while Xanax is used to treat anxiety and prevent panic attacks, it is far from the only anti-anxiety medication out there. So if you experience any troubling side-effects, you should discuss with your doctor the possibility of trying a different medication. You shouldn’t resign yourself to suffering with nasty side-effects. Do not quit the medication cold-turkey without discussing it with your doctor first, however, as withdrawal symptoms may occur if you do this.

Sleep paralysis: What is it?

Do you want to know if what you’re experiencing is actually sleep paralysis or not? Sleep paralysis happens while falling asleep or when you wake up, and it’s basically a partial or total inability to move your trunk or limbs. Sound familiar? Then you’ve most likely experienced sleep paralysis.

For many people, the experience is frightening or terrifying, but the reality is that it can’t actually harm you. After seconds or minutes, you regain the ability to move again, and no harm is done to your body. Many people can reduce the likelihood of sleep paralysis by following basic sleep hygiene like going to bed at a reasonable time, getting enough sleep at night, and reducing their stress. If the paralysis is caused by a medication (like Xanax), then talking with your doctor is the best course of action.

Xanax and sleep paralysis: Is it a side-effect?

The question of whether Xanax causes sleep paralysis is a tough one to answer. Sleep paralysis is not one of the official side-effects listed. However, one official side-effect is “drowsiness,” so obviously sleep can be affected by this drug. And the label never lists absolutely every side-effect that a person may experience; only the most common ones.

Also, an online search reveals many people do experience sleep paralysis while taking Xanax. So there is definitely anecdotal evidence that if you take xanax, sleep paralysis is a possible side-effect.

What should you do?

If you are taking Xanax and also experience sleep paralysis, what should you do? Part of that depends on you. If it doesn’t bother you, you can continue using Xanax. But if the sleep paralysis is causing you a lot of anxiety, as it does for many people, then it’s worth talking to your doctor about changing your prescription.

Because Xanax can cause withdrawal symptoms if you quit cold-turkey, do not stop taking the medication without the supervision of your doctor. It can be harmful to you, so it’s best to get the help of a medical professional before quitting or changing your medications.

While most people don’t experience sleep paralysis while on Xanax, there are many who clearly do. If you are one of them, talk to your doctor. Find the medication that will work best for you and not cause you troubling side-effects.

About Holli Ronquillo

I'm a freelance writer, mom, wife, and sleep connoisseur (not necessarily in that order). When I'm not sleeping or chasing a toddler around, I'm usually writing or reading.