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Prevalence of Sleep Paralysis 

Prevalence of Sleep Paralysis
Prevalence of Sleep Paralysis

Brian A. Sharpless

and Karl Doghramji

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date: 25 September 2020

Unlike many diseases and disorders, sleep paralysis currently lacks “gold standard” assessment techniques. Diagnostic measures vary widely, and a great deal of heterogeneity on the thoroughness of differential diagnosis exists (esp. regarding narcolepsy and substance-induced sleep paralysis). Therefore, accurate rates of isolated sleep paralysis are currently unable to be determined. However, rates of the less specific occurrence of sleep paralysis episodes have been aggregated from a large number of independent and ethnically-diverse studies. After these results are presented according to sample type (i.e., general population, student, and psychiatric patient), ethnic composition, and sex, the limited data on recurrent sleep paralysis prevalence rates are summarized. Finally, suggestions for future prevalence studies are provided, with an emphasis on prioritizing clinical interviews over self-report measures and using instruments containing relevant differential diagnostic criteria.

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