Sleep Paralysis Stories – The Scariest Sleep Disorder Of All

Sleep paralysis stories typically involve unusual and often extremely frightening or disturbing experiences. Perhaps you have one or two of these tales to tell of your own.

If not, I’ll first share one of mine to give you an understanding of what it can be like. Then we’ll take a closer look at whether sleep paralysis demons really exist, or if science can provide a logical and comforting explanation.

sleeping man seeing a sleep paralysis demonImagine, if you will, the following scenario: you’ve fallen asleep as usual after a long day. You hope you’ll have pleasant dreams and wake up the next morning feeling refreshed.

But instead of waking up peacefully in the morning ready to groggily hit the snooze button, you awaken at an unknown time in the middle of the night.

Two things immediately spring to mind: you can’t move – at all; and you’re not alone.

You feel a weight on your chest, pressing you down and preventing you from sitting up. But it’s worse than that – you can’t move your arms or legs. You can’t even move your lips to call out for help.

You’re not sure who or what is pushing on your chest. It’s too dark to see. But you just know there’s a presence there. Something strange. Something uninvited. Something frightening.

This happened to me last year, and was a very unsettling experience. Fortunately there was no demon, ghost or lost burglar. After a brief period of panic the feeling passed and I was able to stumble to the bathroom to make sure my face wasn’t decorated with demonic symbols.

It was a classic case of sleep paralysis.

Sleep paralysis stories like this one are in fact surprisingly common – A study in 2011 found that 7.6% of people will experience sleep paralysis in their lifetime. And the figure is even higher among people who have narcolepsy (around 40%).

You may well have experienced this phenomenon yourself, but until now not known what it was you were going through. So now we have a name for it we need to know what causes it, and what can be done about it.

Accepting the cause is something which I now know many readers struggle with. Although sleep paralysis has a solid scientific explanation (as you’ll see in a minute), the feeling can be so real that you may find it difficult to accept the scientific explanation.

Cultural, religious, esoteric and personal beliefs all play a key role in how you end up viewing sleep paralysis. And with that, how you go about dealing with it in the future.

So in a moment we’ll take a look at the scientific explanation, and also consider some of the alternative viewpoints.

Polls – what’s your experience of sleep paralysis?

For the last 2 years I’ve run several polls to find out more about readers’ experience of sleep paralysis. With thousands of votes collected, they provide a fascinating insight into the reality of sleep paralysis.

Poll 1

Poll 1 shows how many readers have episodes where they feel that there is a demon or other being in the room with them.

graph showing the results of a poll about reader's experience of sleep paralysis

Poll 2

Poll 2 shows that many readers rate their level of fear during sleep paralysis as 10 out of 10.
graph showing the results of a poll about how scary people find sleep paralysis

Poll 3

Poll 3 shows that many people first experience sleep paralysis before the age of 20.
graph showing the results of a poll about the age readers first get sleep paralysis

Poll 4

Poll 44 shows that most readers don’t experience sleep paralysis on a regular basis.
graph showing the results of a poll about how often readers experience an episode of sleep paralysis

Poll 5

Poll 5 shows some of the ways people manage to stop sleep paralysis.
graph showing the results of a poll about what helps readers stop sleep paralysis

What causes sleep paralysis? – The scientific explanation

The causes of the physical aspect of sleep paralysis are slightly different depending on the stage of sleep in which you experience it:

When falling asleep

Some people experience sleep paralysis at the start of the night. While falling asleep, the body naturally relaxes and you would normally lose consciousness.

However, if you remain aware that you’re falling asleep, your mind can remain alert while the body shuts down.

When waking up

Alternatively, it can happen after you’ve already been asleep. And looking at all the readers’ comments it seems that this is the most common experience.

During the night you cycle through several different stages of sleep. During what’s called the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage you tend to dream more vividly. And so the brain ‘switches off’ your muscles to prevent you from acting out your dreams, which could of course be dangerous.

When you wake up consciously, but take a little longer to regain physical control of your body, it can result in you recognizing that you’re paralyzed. So you could look at sleep paralysis as your body and brain being a little out of sync.

Why do you see, hear or feel strange things?

The explanation for why you feel physically paralyzed but awake is one thing, but how does science explain 3 of the main sleep paralysis stories that people report?

  1. That there’s an intruder or other presence in the room.
  2. That there’s some kind of sleep paralysis demon pushing down on your chest, strangling or doing other unpleasant things to you.
  3. Having an out-of-body experience.

The first two are usually explained by a combination of three occurrences:

  • During the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage of sleep, and the muscle paralysis that comes with it, your breathing is affected. It becomes shallower and when you try to breathe deeply you may feel that you can’t. Your brain might then misinterpret this as a feeling of being strangled or a presence pushing down on your chest.
  • When you’re in a vulnerable and threatened state, the body naturally reacts with its fight or flight defense mechanism. For example, when you suddenly feel that someone wants to attack you and you get that surge of Adrenalin that makes your heart beat much faster. So if you wake up and are unable to move, and are in a hyper-vigilant state where everything you sense seems much more than it is, you may react to the sensation of paralysis and breathing difficulty by thinking that something bad is happening, or about to happen to you.
  • In addition to the above two processes, several brain structures might interact to create a hypnagogic hallucination. For example, the common sleep paralysis stories of an intruder or demonic entity. The hallucination may not initially take on any particular form. But when the threat system comes into play, you might misinterpret the feeling that you’re not alone as being that the additional presence is something bad – thus creating a hallucination which is demonic or malevolent in some way.

The out-of-body experience isn’t explained by the activation of the threat system. It’s explained by the parts of the brain involved in coordinating movement and also working out where the body physically is in space. Researchers generally agree that an out-of-body experience is another form of hallucination caused by a neurological mechanism.

Dreams and nightmares overlapping with reality

In addition to the above, there’s also the confusion which can occur as your dreams or nightmares overlap with reality. If you wake up from a dream, but remain paralyzed, sometimes your dream imagery can appear to map onto the real world.

So you may have your eyes open, but still see, hear or feel some of the weird or frightening things which you were just dreaming about, even if you aren’t aware that you were just dreaming about those things.

So for example, you could be dreaming about some strange creature, then wake up paralyzed and continue to feel that the the same creature is close to you, though it’s now in your bedroom instead of the dream you were just experiencing.

Then you add the physiological elements that come with finding yourself paralyzed, and you have all the ingredients for being very scared.

Sleep paralysis causes – the not so scientific explanation

astral projection - one of the rarer sleep paralysis storiesIf you don’t believe that the scientific explanation is sufficient, then what else remains? Let’s look at each of the 3 main types of sleep paralysis stories in turn:

1. The Intruder

If you wake up in the middle of the night and you have a sudden feeling that there’s a human intruder in the room, then the possible explanation is simple. There really is someone else in the room.

If you weren’t paralyzed, then there would be an obvious way to find way out if this were the case: turn on the light and have a look, or prod your partner and tell them to do something about it. But you’re paralyzed though, so that doesn’t work.

In all seriousness, this does actually happen to some unfortunate people. But rarely, thankfully. And it’s unlikely a common burglar would have been able to paralyze you and somehow choke you whilst helping himself to your jewelry.

So if you wake up paralyzed and struggling to breathe, and then notice a presence on the other side of the room, it’s probably safe to assume there’s no intruder.

Unless you’re incredibly unlucky and experiencing both an episode of sleep paralysis and a burglary at exactly the same time. That does seem particularly unlikely though.

2. The Demon

If you firmly believe in supernatural entities, then there many not be a great deal of science that could convince you otherwise. It’s a personal choice to believe in such things.

What I would like to suggest though is this thought: if you experience sleep paralysis, wouldn’t it be more comforting not to believe that you’re being tormented by demons?

The scientific explanation would make sleep paralysis demon encounters so much easier to shrug off and go back to sleep. And shrug off the experience is what many people do manage to successfully do.

Interestingly though, around the world there are many cultural interpretations of the forces at work in this particular kind of sleep paralysis event.

For example, in Fiji the demon is often seen as a deceased relative coming back for some unfinished business or to tell the person something important. In Chinese folklore it’s also seen as a ghost rather than a demon or intruder.

Some countries such as Iran and Pakistan interpret it as being demons or spirits who have taken over a person’s body, often due to black magic performed by an enemy. In Turkish culture the entity is literally seen as sitting on your chest and stealing away your breath.

Most countries and cultures appear to have their own explanations for the sleep paralysis demon – some very similar, and others quite different.

The common theme being though that the entity is up to no good and something to be feared. I’m yet to find a culture which believes it’s an angel or fairy spending some quality time with you in the night.

I know from readers’ comments that some people do fully believe that demons or other evil entities exist. A few people talk about them in a religious framework, others just in terms that there are some weird and bad things out there which science can’t explain.

Among all of the comments from people who do believe these things there’s one common theme: nothing bad actually happened to them. This then raises another question: if there are evil beings, why is it that they simply pester you in the night, and don’t do anything beyond scaring you?

3. The out-of-body experience

When I was a teenager I once picked up a book in a library which claimed to be a training manual for Astral Projection. The idea being that there’s a separate part of you that’s able to leave the body and venture into other planes of existence.

The manual mostly involved visualization practice which I played around with for a couple of days before deciding it wasn’t for me.

There seems to be some overlap between the concepts of out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences, lucid dreaming and astral projection.

Many people report having experienced one or more of these, and the internet and bookstores abound with writers who claim to have techniques to consciously leave the body and have an amazing adventure in the astral realm.

There’s no dispute that people do experience the sensation of an out-of-body experience during sleep paralysis. The point is whether it’s best explained in biological terms, or whether there really are other realms which a part of you is capable of accessing.

Again it’s a question of belief and I’m not here to tell you either way what you should think. You may even feel that both explanations can co-exist.

There are many websites claiming that Sleep Paralysis has a biological cause, but can then be used as a springboard to try to attempt astral projection. An online search will turn up many, though I won’t reference any in particular.

I also recently came across what’s actually quite a sensible book explaining how to do this. It’s called ‘Sleep Paralysis: A Guide to Hypnagogic Visions and Visitors of the Night’.

It provides a detailed background to sleep paralysis, but also aims to help you find a way to convert sleep paralysis into a lucid dream. The point being that you can then take control of the experience and turn it into something positive.

And if you think that’s a ridiculous and impossible idea (especially if your personal experience has been terrifying!), you’ll find several detailed comments below from readers who report trying to do exactly that.

They have some inspiring stories of viewing sleep paralysis as a positive thing which they enjoy because of the unique and fascinating experiences it brings them.

Choosing to believe in astral worlds that you can access and fly around in doing whatever you please sounds harmless and fun. If I’m honest I’d like to believe it’s possible – even though I’m not convinced.

But choosing to believe you’re having the life sucked out of you by a sleep paralysis demon doesn’t sound like such a healthy belief to hold.

How to stop sleep paralysis

What medical treatment is available?

Fortunately, sleep paralysis is something which most people experience just a few times and so no treatment is required.

However, if it persists and you find it highly disturbing and disruptive to your sleep and daily life, then you may find speaking to a doctor about it helpful. These are the main options they typically consider:

  • They may refer you to a sleep specialist to rule out the possibility of Narcolepsy.
  • They may prescribe an anti-depressant medication for a short period such as Clomipramine which is known to alter your REM sleep, and therefore help with reducing the paralysis and hallucinations.
  • They might consider whether there’s an underlying mental illness if you’re experiencing hallucinations outside of the sleeping environment.
  • They would explain the biological processes involved in sleep paralysis, as outlined above, in the hope that educating you about sleep will help you accept it as a normal occurrence.
  • They might talk to you about having healthy sleep habits, which is known to help reduce many sleep problems. You can find these practical techniques covered extensively in the section here on sleep hygiene.

How to stop sleep paralysis – tips and techniques provided by readers

In the comments below, many readers have explained how they either deal with or stop sleep paralysis. Firstly, I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone for the ideas.

Secondly, you should know that I’m simply going to list the ideas which might help; for many of these there’s no evidence that they work beyond the fact that some people say they do. Remember that what works for one person may not for you.

  • Don’t let yourself become sleep deprived as it often happens more then.
  • Try to keep a regular routine of going to sleep and waking up.
  • Try to reduce stress and anxiety in your life. These are thought to be triggers for sleep paralysis.
  • Stay calm and try not to panic.
  • Try to wiggle just one finger or a toe. Some say this is more achievable than trying to move your whole body. Then you can try to move the hand or foot and slowly wake up the whole body.
  • Tell yourself that you’re actually in control. You can ‘order’ the experience to stop, or whatever you’re seeing to go away.
  • If you feel a weight on your chest, try to imagine there’s something friendly causing it, such as a big happy dog.
  • If it’s happening repeatedly, why not film yourself sleeping? This may be especially useful for people who have experiences where they feel that they have been physically ‘moved’ in their bed by some being, or their furniture has been moved. You would be able to reassure yourself that you weren’t actually dragged out of bed.
  • Try wearing a sleep tracker and see if it records you as being awake or asleep. This can help you work out if it was actually a nightmare or not. It can also help check your heart rate and breathing during the night.
  • Try not to think about what it ‘could’ be that you’re experiencing, seeing, hearing or feeling. Your imagination will probably just go and make up something scary in the darkness.
  • Try to relax and ‘go with it’. Some readers actually enjoy sleep paralysis, and they welcome the opportunity to have out-of-body experiences or see what strange experiences they can have.
  • Don’t sleep on your back. Many people say they only have it in this position.
  • Try to organize your bedroom in a way which makes you feel safe and secure. Look into Feng-Sui to make your bedroom feel peaceful.
  • Don’t hang dressing gowns, coats or hats in places which look like figures in the dark.
  • Don’t read in bed as this can encourage you to fall asleep on your back.
  • Sleep with a night-light on, or with music or the radio so that if you do wake up you aren’t in silent darkness.
  • Remind yourself that nothing bad will happen.
  • Imagine your body rolling from side to side in your mind and count each roll. Eventually you might notice you re-gain control of a body part. Focus on this part and try to grow the capacity for movement from there.
  • Count numbers to focus your mind on something other than the hallucinations.
  • Don’t sleep with a high pillow – some suggest that this effects the supply of blood to the brain.
  • Keep your eyes shut and try to clear your mind instead of focusing on the things you can see.
  • Try squeezing your eyes tightly shut if you’re able to control the muscles around your eyes.
  • Keep well hydrated – drink water before going to bed.
  • Talk about it to family or friends – they may have experienced it too.
  • Write about it here. Some people find it helpful to describe their experience in the comments below.
  • If you have it once, get out of bed for a while to reset the brain. Perhaps also keep a light or music on when you go back to bed.
  • Many people who have a faith say they find prayer can be helpful. Some also say that calling on their religious beliefs and ‘commanding’ what they see to leave helps them.
  • Don’t take recreational drugs.
  • Check if any sleeping pills or herbal remedies you’re taking are causing it – either by discussing it with your doctor, or stopping taking them for a while.
  • Once the episode has passed, it’s good to take a moment to remind yourself that you overcame it again. Tell yourself that you overcame it, are not afraid and will always overcome it.

 How I recently stopped an episode of sleep paralysis

Since writing this article, I hadn’t had a single episode of sleep paralysis, until recently in march 2015. And I’m happy to report that I used two of the techniques in the above list to successfully stop it.

I woke up in the middle of the night to find myself in a strange position with my arms crossed on top of my body, almost like you see with medieval carvings of knights on tombs. And I could literally feel strong hands pinning me down by my wrists.

I have to admit I was immediately scared. The whole event was very blurry, and I think I was having some dream-overlap, but can’t remember exactly what now.

Anyway, luckily two things sprung to mind after a brief moment of panic: ‘stay calm’, I said to myself, and ‘wiggle a finger’.

The calmness I only managed with moderate success, perhaps because this was the first episode in a long time so I was caught out by it. But I did manage to focus my efforts on wiggling a finger. For some reason, despite trying to wiggle just one finger, it seemed like my body wanted to try and wiggle all of them.

In the haze of the night and the moment it felt pretty odd, like my fingers were wiggling in different directions. But I guess that’s possibly due to the disconnect between by body and brain with the paralysis.

Eventually I felt my arms loosen as well, and then pretty soon afterwards I was able to shake the whole sensation away as I regained full control.

What I then did I still think is a little strange. Despite having the overwhelming feeling that something had physically held me down, I decided not to turn a light on to reassure myself.

I spend a lot of my time reading and replying to comments about this article, so I think the scientific explanation is now firmly etched in my mind. Maybe I didn’t feel the need to double-check that there was someone or something in the room with me.

Instead I spent a few minutes doing some breathing exercises to ground myself and calm down, and then fell asleep again.

The mere fact that I knew about the finger wiggling technique was enough for my brain to remember to do it when the sleep paralysis occurred.

So my recommendation, from personal experience, is to plant that thought in your mind too!

Further Reading

During 2013, a British team of film-makers, researchers and academics worked on an interesting project exploring sleep paralysis.

They produced a slightly scary documentary and also have an excellent website with detailed information about sleep paralysis. You can visit the sleep paralysis project website for more information.

You might find some useful ideas in my article discussing how to stop nightmares and night terrors. I think you can definitely put some of those tips into practice and see if they help at all.

For any readers wondering if there’s a genetic factor involved in sleep paralysis, it seems that there could be. A study by researchers at Sheffield University in England in 2015 showed this in their research into twins who experience sleep paralysis.

Finally, in 2016 another UK study looked into the fascinating connection between sleep paralysis and lucid dreaming. They all examined the relationship between sleep paralysis and well-being, poor sleep and stress.

Your views

It’s always fascinating to hear your sleep paralysis stories, and I know that many people find it helpful to have a place to describe what happened to them.

Moreover, other readers find it helpful to know they’re not alone and perhaps find someone who’s had similar experiences.

So feel free to talk about your experience of sleep paralysis, and if you have any tips or techniques for dealing with it, I may add them to the growing list of practical solutions.

Leave a comment >>

2,050 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Ok not everyone is experiencing lucid dreaming there IS a form of energy that visits people black energy it’s not a ghost or a demon it’s something else it seems to feed off fear two people have seen mine and various mediums have warned me about mine without any prompting I had an attack four years ago and the weight of it pushing down made the wood in the chair make cracking noises my latest attack a few days ago was witnessed and the black mass was seen. I think our current Science isn’t capable of understanding this kind of thing it’s a completely new field but there is something more than waking in a dream.

  • so I’ve had tons of s/p but today was strange I had took some xanax to help me sleep the night before. I woke up to go watched my daughter her mom got home so, i decided to close my eyes and instantly instead of being pinned down it felt like gravity is holding me down im thinking im not even sleep why is this happen i get out of it because i was uncomfortable so i moved to her bed to actually try again and boom it did it again but this time I’m seeing images of people i know, places I’ve been, and events that happened in my life I wanted it to keep going to check it out more because I’ve never had that happen before but my daughter was crying for me so I got out of it again…. has anyone had an event like the one i described

    • Hi Lafayette
      Thanks for your comment. I know many people have described being held down by a force like gravity. However, I can’t recall many talking about seeing life events. Perhaps you entered a dream state in which that happened?

      • i tried some lucid dream techs to see if I’m dreaming not much i got lucky the one time i was like this is most def a dream but for what happened last night it was like a photo book of images of stuff that has happened but would tripped me out is that i wasn’t even sleep when it happened

        • Hi again
          It sounds like it might have been sleep hallucinations in that case, or perhaps just your brain playing through some memories, as is often the case. It may have seemed more vivid as you were relaxing and getting ready to fall asleep.

  • I had my first paralysis experience last night. I do believe in ghosts, evil spirits and good spirits. We had an evil spirit lingering in our house 7 years ago, right before our 17 year old son was killed in a snowmobile accident. The evil spirit comes and goes, but you feel or sense when he is around. Last night I woke to the sound of footsteps in our bedroom, I felt the covers on my side of the bed move and I looked up to see a dark figure of a man. He took 2 steps and stopped right by my shoulder and just stood and looked down at me. I was trying to scream, but nothing would come out, if it did it was a growl from my throat. I tried reaching and waking my hubby up, but my arms wouldn’t move. I don’t know how long this lasted, but when I could finally move I felt short of breath and have a sore throat. (Like you get when you scream at a concert all night). I know this wasn’t the evil spirit that visits our home. And I don’t feel it was trying to harm me, even though I was scared to death. Hubby says maybe it was our son, but I don’t understand if it was him why I wouldn’t be able to move or talk to him. Maybe I am going crazy, I have friends who have said they actually see their mother or other loved ones when they have this happen. Mine was just a black figure of a man. But it was dark and the middle of the night.

  • Okay, so I was on my back all the sudden and I couldn’t move. Then I started seeing a black figure standing above me pinning me down. I was trying to scream for help but nothing would come out and I couldn’t breath. I tried saying “leave me alone” but I wouldn’t come out then all the sudden it was at the end of my bed and it started crawling up me and I was like crying for help, but nothing but weeping would come out. When I finally got out of it I was sitting up against the was shaking and crying.

  • I’ll start by saying that it helps so much to know that I’m not the only one going through it.
    I don’t really remember not having SP (the earliest I can think back to I was four or five), but the first bad one was when I was about nine or ten. It was a little after my dog had died, and I woke up on my back, paralyzed (of course), and staring towards the closet which faced the foot of the bed. I remember that the sheets looked like they were tangled around my legs, and that there was a big black dog laying down by my feet and growling. I felt like I was in so much danger, but because that dog looked like the one I lost, I tried to tell her that it was alright and to calm her down (even though I couldn’t move). When I looked up, I saw a hooded shadow staring at me, and the bad feeling was intensified. I don’t remember anything after, but that one is my most rememberabe one.
    The next one was two years later, and after I finally realized what it was, as I had already heard about it from somewhere. Since then it still doesn’t happen on a schedule, but will hit for a few days straight, or a few times a month, and then skip a month or two. I don’t open my eyes anymore, but I can pull myself out by trying to talk, counting, slowing my breaths, and trying to move a little. It used to go away when I prayed, but that actually stopped working. It’s also gotten to where I’ll be sleeping on my side (and on the worst cases) it will feel like I’m being pulled onto my back, stomach, or other side. On one of the more terrifying cases, I felt like a man was laying beside me (for close to a minute), and then he moved closer and laughed in my ear, I even felt what felt like his breath.
    I’ve gotten used to it, and I hope that as I grow old it will begin to go away.

  • Had it happen last night. First time ever. Felt like a presence in room. Heard breathing and some very disturbing mumbling. I had no idea what was going on, was actually convinced I was about to be murdered or something. I’m nearly 30 and I tell you I’ve never been so terrified in my life. Managed to will myself into moving in the end. Felt really sick and dizzy after too, but that was probably shock as like said, never happened before.

  • I’ve had quite a few experiences of sleep paralysis in my lifetime, but only 3 that included hallucinations. The first time I experienced it I was staring at my bedroom wall. I had the sensation of being pulled towards the wall, with absolutely nothing I could do about it. I couldn’t move or scream when I tried. It was terrifying. At the time I didn’t know how to interpret what had happened, so I brushed it off as a bad dream. The next time I was drifting off to sleep on my cousin’s couch. I was not yet asleep when I heard a voice whispering in my ear. It sounded like Parsel Tongue from Harry Potter. The words didn’t make any sense. This scared me enough to do some research, and I learned that auditory hallucinations are common during sleep paralysis. Last night I had my third sleep paralysis episode with a hallucination. When I woke up and couldn’t move I knew exactly what was happening. What I didn’t expect was the dark shadowy man to come over me from behind. He put his hand around my mouth so I couldn’t breathe and I was filled with the terrifying notion that he was going to rape me. Thankfully I was able to bust out of the paralysis after a minute or two. I sat up, shook my head a few times until the sleepiness feeling wore off, and went back to sleep. I usually feel really drowsy after it happens, and if I give into that drowsiness too soon after a paralysis episode, I will have another occurrence in a matter of minutes.

    After reading some of the comments on here, I think I may have had sleep paralysis as a young child too. I had a recurring nightmare of three faces on the wall – one happy, one sad, and one angry/evil. The evil one was terrifying, but the happy one usually saved me from him. One night at the peak of these nightmares, the evil face jumped off the wall and ran around my room. I woke up screaming, insisting there was an evil demon under my bed. My dad had to pretend to throw it out the window before I could go back to bed. It happened so long ago so I don’t remember if I felt paralyzed, but I do remember feeling like I was awake in my room.

  • I’m 27 and I have experienced this almost all of my life. I think I have sleep apnea, at least my boyfriend says I do. I just woke up while still dreaming and everything looked blurry, but I felt an entity pushing on my hand and leg I thought it was my cat at first until I heard her scratching behind me, so then once I realized that I got a little freaked out and yelled stop. I’m not sure if I actually yelled stop or if it was in my dream. Then I dreamt I woke up and called my mom to tell her about it, and proceeded to wake up again. Often times I do experience the thought of an entity grabbing me or an intruder being in the house, or stumbling out of bed pretty much just dragging my legs across the floor because I cannot walk (which does not happen I just dream it does). I want to learn how to lucid dream because I have heard sleep paralysis is one step away from being in control of a lucid dream. It used to scare me as a child and sometimes still does, but once I snap out of it everything is okay.

    • Hi Jackie
      Thanks for your comment. It’s important to remember that there’s a distinction between sleep paralysis and dreaming of being paralyzed. They are very different things. There are lots of interesting resources available about lucid dreaming – let me know how you get on in the future if you have any luck with it.

  • When I was in my mid 20s I had 3 sleep paralysis episodes. The first one was I was paralyzed and I couldnt breathe at the same time when I woke up it took a few seconds to get back my motor skills. The second time one difference was that I felt something evil in my room observing me. The third time it went a little further in that I woke paralyzed and felt the evil presence again, but this time it approached me and touched me and started draining my life force(my perception). I had a simple thought ,that if it could drain me I could drain it. so I did I felt I was about to die. but it felt what I was doing and broke contact. That is the last of my paralysis dreams. since then all was normal. it all seems so silly now but it was terrifying then.

  • Hello,
    I’ve been having these weird experiences sense I was 7 years old. I’m now 18. After reading this article I’ve noticed I’m 100% likely to get one if I sleep on my back. Till this day I can see how they look like as if it happened a minute ago. Three years ago I had one where I was on my back with my hands by my sides while a girl with a white dress, black hair and a white face with no futures was above me. Another one where I was on my back again this time it was a black figure with big eyes and a long smile. After this one i searched on google what sleep paralysis was and on the images there’s a picture with one who looks exactly like the one I saw. My sleeping schedule is normal and yesterday I had a day off so when I wanted to take a nap I had one of a man in all black with with no face but I can tell he was wearing a jacket and a top hat. Again I was sleeping on my back but this time I remember having my hands intertwined together on top of my stomach before i fell asleep, then i saw the man and he was holding my wrist together pushing them down with strong force I could feel the pain but then I saw and felt a third hand grope my breast.. I cried “help” and remember screaming “no” I also looked to the side where my door was opened and saw my sister pass by the hallway like she didn’t see anything. I then opened my eyes which felt so weird cause my eyes were already opened so it felt like my eye balls were eyelids. I woke up and the first thing I saw was a black shadow immediately disappear to the right, I then look to my left where my door is and saw it was closed. My hands were still on my stomach like how they were before I fell asleep, I tried to move but I felt drained. I took my “nap” at 8 am and woke up at 2 pm and this all felt like it happened in a minute, I didn’t even feel like I went to sleep.. I get these at least once a week. Some being shadows others being figures some being scorpions.. I started writing them down, just in case.

  • I had felt the same in two different occasions, the first was one night in my room at my parents house and I was questioning the existence of God just before I dozed off, while I was a sleep I continued to question and something maybe that little bit of faith I still had made me question myself and why I’m thinking this way. As I was questioning my self it felt like I was nearing conciseness and I felt something dark and heavy on top of me whispering in my ear, I felt paralyzed and I called for God and fought harder to move. At that exact moment I felt the being push off of me and it disappeared, I was able to move and couldn’t sleep the rest of the night but told no one. The next time it happened was at my friend place where I was staying while I went to school. I took a nap on the sofa and in my dream or what seemed like a dream I opened my eyes and saw a black being sitting on a chair opposite to me. It was if I wasn’t supposed to see it, it quickly grabbed a pillow and shoved it in my face hard enough to wake me up and leave my nose a little sore. There are other stories like them piling the blanked off of me however I became aware of when these beings are in the room it’s strange and hard to explained but it’s a feeling that’s always accompanied by goosebumps or the sensation of goosebumps and it would happen at random times of the day but only appear or act out when I sleep. I believe that faith has a lot to do with my defense against it. I’m a Muslim and we believe in such demonic beings just like other faiths who as well have the power to shield from their harm. My faith explains to me that my being is much greater and stronger if it’s aligned with faith in God. though I was freaking out at the time my calls for Gods protection seemed to work every time. Not that I’m super religious or anything of the sort but faithful nonetheless. And to be honest I can’t really say if it was truly faith or my subconscious beliefs that rescued me but those visitors were real! Over time and continuous fighting they stopped coming at me while I slept. Every now and then there presence is felt like invisible people in the room but it’s becoming far apart as if they’ve given up on me. I hope this helps those of you who are battling their own dark visitors.

  • I have multiple dreams where I am being held down cannot move or scream or even reach for my husband I feel as if I’m screaming but nothing comes out what is that I go thru it multiple times a month

    • Hi Dawn
      Thanks for your comment. If it’s a dream and you’re definitely not awake, it’s not sleep paralysis but a nightmare. For it to be sleep paralysis you need to be awake and unable to move.

  • I’m only 15, and this has only happened twice, but with in very short periods of time.
    I woke up from a dream of me and my boyfriend cuddling whenever I woke up and still felt somethings arms around me and I couldn’t move. I heard whispering and various conversations of gibberish and I laid there and tried to calm myself down by thinking of other things and I broke out of it. Seriously so lucky I was laying on my side towards to wall.

    The second time this happened was last night. I was having a normal dream, maybe a little too vivid, and I felt like I was being ripped out of that place to somewhere else. It had kinda like an Ocarina Of Time deku tree kind of background, a little peaceful but it felt like something from a horror movie because I tried to scream but I couldn’t. Anyways, I tried my very best to wake up, and I did. But I still couldn’t move. This time I was facing towards the room. I moved my fingers and toes trying to break out of it and still refused to open my eyes. I swear on my life I felt something right in front of my face though.
    I’m afraid to sleep because I don’t want it to get worse. What if I open my eyes and there’s a demon less than an inch front my face?
    My mom looked at me like I was crazy when I told her about it because she’s completely ignorant to the subject of sleep paralysis.

  • White noise and staying off my back when sleeping has always helped me. I get this I’d say 80%+ when I fall asleep on my back.

    • And to get out of it, just take slow, deep breaths and relax. Try to say “ah” or just make a sound. I’ve have countless episodes and every single one lasted less that 10-15 seconds. I have to make sure to change positions quickly though or I’ll fall right back into it. My girl friend was next me last night for the first time when it happened. She reached over and asked me if I was OK during the paralysis when I was trying to say “ah”. It was the first time I had it confirmed that I wasn’t always dreaming it.

  • This happen many years ago when I was around 20.
    I was staying at my cousins house and was trying to fall asleep, all of a sudden I heard a loud buzzing in my ears that just kept getting louder, next I saw a mist hovering over my body. The mist entered my body and as doing this I felt more and more pressure on my chest. After it entered my body I said to myself you can’t move your paralyzed and I was.
    I struggled a little while trying to scream but no sound came out. Eventually it broke and I was able to jump up!
    Very scary experience!

  • This is probably one of the scariest things a person can experience. I’ve had episodes of sleep paralysis for as long as I can remember. It would happen maybe a couple of times a month and then stop for a long time. I’ve had episodes of sleep paralysis for two nights in a row and then one right now during a nap. I never feel like there is an intruder or a demonic presence in the room but in one of the episodes I remember feeling like I heard my boyfriend unlocking our apartment door and walking in from work and I was laying on the couch feeling like I couldn’t breathe, I was trying to yell but I couldn’t open my mouth and I could not move any part of my body. When it was finally over I was awake and he wasn’t there. The episode that I just experienced right now I was napping on the couch and I thought I was looking at my boyfriend sitting on the sofa directly across from me. I also thought that I was waving my arms and legs to get his attention to wake me up. I remember him actually waking me up he was shaking me and I guess I was telling him to get me up but I was trying to ask him to lift me up because I couldn’t sit up by myself. He said that he wasn’t on the sofa he was sitting on the couch where I wouldn’t be able to see him directly and I was not waving my arms and legs I was just making a weird noise and nodding my head Back and forth. I’m honestly scared of going to sleep tonight after this because I really felt like I was waving to get his attention because I could not breathe at all. The other night he said he tried shaking me but I wasn’t waking up he literally had to start clapping really loud. It’s all so confusing because I don’t remember having a night mare at all and just now I remember the dream I was having and it was not a scary one so I don’t get why it happened. I just know that I’m scared of sleeping because it’s happening so frequently lately.

  • So, I’m 14 now, and I’ve had this quite a few times, only for a few seconds.
    Every time, I just try to move a part of my body (Toes, fingers) But I’ve found that trying to breath really hard wakes me up more. Your body can’t really stop you from holding your breath, or breathing really fast, so yeah..

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