“It Started After Trauma”: The Effects of Traumatic Grief on Sleep Paralysis
Adverse life events are associated with the often-terrifying REM sleep parasomnia of sleep paralysis (SP), but the impact of bereavement on SP has not been specifically examined. This exploratory, mixed-methods study (N = 168) includes qualitative data from 55 participants who described factors they believed led to their SP. Of these, almost half with a traumatic loss listed death-related precipitants. In unadjusted (bivariate) negative binomial regression models, traumatic death, time since death, religiosity, and age estimated increased SP frequency in the prior month, prior year, or both. In multivariable models, traumatic death, time since death, and age estimated increased frequency in the prior month, prior year, or both. Unexpectedly, in all models, as compared to death ≥9 years earlier, prior month SP was greater with death 1–6 years earlier, but not <1 year earlier. Discussion includes the possible role of social constraints in traumatic grief trajectories and care provider recommendations.