Sleep Paralysis Stories – Intruder, Demon Or Delusion?

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-Shui 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.

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.

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1,549 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Has anyone else been able to successfully attack an “intruder”? I have had episodes of SP going back to the early 80’s (I’m 47). I’m going to give a very abbreviated account of what I found to be a watershed event/episode here. About ten years ago, on a camping trip, I fell into and out of SP several times whilst sleeping in the back of my (seats removed) minivan with my GF. I know what SP is, and the physiological reasons for it (I’m a pretty “rational guy- I work in the sciences- and an agnostic) so although it disturbs my sleep, I generally shake it off and go back to sleep after a position shift. Anyhow, it kept repeating, and finally, I actually “saw” something above me/on me (which I had seen off and on for thirty years- which looks very, VERY similar to those faceless creatures from the Harry Potter movies… the Azkaban guards, whatever they are called- but I’ve seeing them since loooong before the art directors of those films put them together… except they have black, salamander-like cold flesh, are asexual and unclothed, with strong, yet atrophied, limbs. Finally, after swatting this thing away and dropping in and out of SP several times, frustrated, I was filled with blinding, white-hot rage that this filthy thing would NOT leave me alone. I had the distinct feeling it was attempting to feed off me in some manner, perhaps off fear. This pissed me off, and there was a flash and a snap- and “spiritually screaming/vibrating with berserker rage” – I don’t know how else to describe it- I grabbed ahold of this thing, enraged, determined to destroy it and the consequences to me be damned. I was in a full kamikaze rage. I felt a strong “pop”, a sensation of its menace turning into utter and total surprise, shock, fear, and dismay from the “thing”, and it bolted. I held on, with DESTROY/KILL my only thought- and I popped through the side of the van, over my sleeping GF- and headed straight down into the earth and darkness… this surprised ME, but I still held on for what felt like about ten meters- and as soon as I let go, I popped back up like a fishing bobber, and SNAPPED back into my body and came fully awake, sitting up so fast I banged my head on the dome light and broke it. Strangely, my GF was awake- and terrified- she had been having her OWN experience (I quizzed her about what was happening with her before I recounted what I had just experienced, and what she told me was the most unsettling part of this entire experience.). Funny thing- I have NEVER EXPERIENCED any “sense” of a presence or fear or terror DURING SLEEP PARALYSIS SINCE this particular incident. Now, I, again, know the neuro and chem roots and causes of SP. I used to be so used to it that I often just used it as a cool opportunity to jump into a lucid dream, even while/in spite of feeling the “presence”. On the other hand, I sometimes wonder about this particular experience-even though I assume it was a form of lucid dream (especially considering what the GF told me she had been experiencing- that was a little chilling and too coincidental) and others I have had. Bottom line, if these things exist, they are cowards, and PARASITES, NOT PREDATORS. They cannot stand agaist the focussed rage of a living human. Just some advice, and my two cents. They feed on fear. DENY THEM A MEAL. Go get ’em. If ANYONE ELSE has had similar experiences or revelations, I would love to hear from them. Also any other comments. I should add, I am male, and am no stranger to extreme violence in my personal and professional life. This may have made me more prepared, disposed, or likely to take the “action” I did in this dream state. I’m one of those guys who (I have to warn surgical staff before anaesthesia) come out of being anesthetized by flying off the gurney swinging, so for their (and my) protection, I have them restrain me before bringing me up. Anyhow, more than a decade has gone by with NO episodes of that type of SP. I obviously find this very curious.

    • Hi Scout
      Thanks for your comment, and very interesting description of your interaction with the sleep paralysis entities you saw. I imagine you wouldn’t have had the time to read all the other comments – it would take hours, if not days. But from memory, I do recall one or two previous readers also saying they’ve had experiences in which they felt they were in control to an extent and able to take action against the hallucinations. As you say, there may be an element of lucid dreaming happening, with a blurring of the lines between more passive sleep paralysis, hallucinations and dreaming. I think it’s often hard to fully understand what happens during these episodes, but they are definitely fascinating stories!

  • Hi,
    I’ve been searching the net all over and can’t find any explaination for my experience because there is always one symptom missing. I only experienced SP once in my life, it was about 6 months ago. I woke up at night lying on my back, i very rarely sleep on my back, at least not by choice. I open my eyes and look around the room and realise that I can’t move.
    I get very scared straight away and try to move. My left leg lies on top of my partners right leg and I try to wiggle it to wake him up but it doesn’t work. Then i try to say something but I couldn’t get out one tone. My heart is beating really fast now and then I look to my right and very very close me at the side of my bed I see something like a little figure. I can’t see a body, only a head which has a weird, wide football-like shape. It looks transparent, not like a firm body. It has a dark blue colour to it and large black eyes. I think I saw something like a little mouth, it looked like it was smirking actually. I only see it for 2 seconds as the face just looks at me, getting a bit closer and then I’m passed out. Completely gone. I woke up the next morning (it was the weekend so no alarm) and immediately told my partner about it. I still remember it very vividly. Now, nowhere explains it if one can actually pass out and stay asleep after a SP. I’m wondering if this works perhaps because of the fear. I’m quiet certain that its not possible to naturally fall back asleep if one is in panic like this. So, perhaps you can provide a logical explaination for me. I know it sounds like a crazy alien abduction scenario but I an assure you, if it was a dream element it does’tn make sense because I have never seen tiny blue football-head aliens neither in my dreams nor anywhere else so I wouldn’t think it was projected. Thank you in advance

    • Hi Maria
      Thanks for your comment. I remember many previous readers also saying they fell asleep again after sleep paralysis, and I have myself done the same. So I don’t think you need to worry too much about the fact that it happened to you. Even though the events can be scary, they still happen when we’re either feeling very sleepy, or still half-asleep. So sometimes people do just drift in and out of sleep paralysis and sleep without being so frightened that they wake up completely.

  • I’ve been suffering from sleep paralysis for years,more then 10,its very disturbing and frightening.But I think I’ve found the cause,caffeine before sleeping!I have stopped drinking tea 6 hours before sleeping and no more sleep paralysis.Hope this helps someone else xx

  • I do all kinds of craziness in my sleep from talking to singing to hitting people to this sleep paralysis both while falling asleep and when waking up. The sleep paralysis was never really bothersome until last night I literally thought I was dying! I was on my side. My hands were clinched together as if in some sort of prayer and they were tingling all over and hurting. My heart started racing like it was going to explode and I could not move a single body part no matter how hard I tried. My whole entire body felt numb and I could NOT breath. I tried screaming (I am a mouth breather at night so my mouth was open) but nothing came out. I thought this is it I am going to die. I live with my 14 year old son-he is going to wake up and find my dead body and this is the end. I tried to cry and I couldn’t. This seemed to go on a LONG time. Till finally the screaming I kept thinking of doing came out of my mouth. And my body slowly started moving. I have never been so scared. I wonder if that is what it is like to die? It happened 8 hours ago and I still feel weakness all over my body. I have been googling this all morning at work. Which has made it make sense. Thank you for your article. I drank wine last night and am wondering if alcohol may be a contributing factor to the intensity of these occurrences? Anyway it is extremely scary and I hope to never experience it like that again. And I sympathize with anyone who has it happen on a regular basis. As I said I have had it happen before but it lasts a second and that’s it. Never this intense and for that long of a period.

    • Hi J
      Thanks for your comment. sorry to hear you had such a horrible experience. It could be that alcohol played a part in what you experienced, but it’s impossible to say really. Thinking about the other things you mention at the start of your comment, that sounds to me like there’s a possibility of a sleep disorder known as REM sleep behaviour disorder. Have a look at this article and see if it makes sense to you.

  • Hello my SP is amazing!! First off I travel the world and I have seen some unbelievable things and met some truly magical people hell even got tatted up by an aborigine in Australia. My SP is a “to be continued” adventure. I leave off start right where I woke up. Today has got me good. Considering my geographical location this very minute in the country Jordan. So I was awake all night took a late afternoon/evening nap yesterday. Had a super early morning. Did some running around got back and it was just about 11:00am, I took a quick nap and then some time before 1:30pm I woke but during that time this SP was more vivid then ever before! I could smell and feel what was holding me down. I also was back in a Casino I spent some of my early years working at. Trying to explain to my boss who was alive then (he later committed suicide) I need this position in the main hall to get more tips. I then jump to these woods in those woods were portals of light some places i recognized some I still have no clue. I was held down but to the point I struggled it got tighter then I smelled her. It gets interesting now! I was able to move my hand while in SP I felt a breast! Yeah that’s a breast! Twice actually nothing more happened. I physically felt it either mind/or entity there was some one there. I woke but couldn’t move nothing new there, but the feeling was crazy in fact it has racked my brain all day now. So we shall see for my next couple days will be long nights a early afternoons. Anyways thought I would share that with anyone who has this topic in interest. Take care and sleep well.

    • Hi Doc
      Thanks for your comment. To be honest though, I’m mot sure if you’re describing sleep paralysis or dreams here. When you have your episodes, are you dreaming still, or awake in your bedroom but hallucinating?

  • I’m 15 years old. Tonight I had an episode of sleep paralysis that freaked me out more than others do. They usually start up with I wake up in the middle of the night in the same position and I fell asleep, and I can’t tell if I’m using a blanket. I instantly notice my breathing is different and I can’t talk. I can barely talk. But it’s a whisper that you do if you’re sick, dehydrated, and you have to whisper to someone. But I have to breath in every time I talk. Usually I try saying “no” and “stop” and even just “help” like that. But tonight, it was weird. Usually whatever it is doesn’t pull me off my bed. Something was talking me by the legs, and pulling it off the bed diagonally, and I levetate that part of my body for a minute, and then they drag the next piece. This happened twice then the last time I was dragged all the way off my bed. I should have known by then it was fake because I didn’t bump my head or get the wind knocked out of me, my bed is super high up. I was able to get back on the bed somehow. But i dont rememver when that happened. Then I started dating “its. Not real” but after a few times. I heard an eerie voice go “real” as if it were sorta hissing it. And until I woke up, it did that. I feel as though I woke up earlier than I usually do with sp. I didn’t know it was so till now. But even now I’m not so sure.

    • Hi there
      Thanks for your comment and for sharing your sleep paralysis story. Sometimes people do have an episode which seems extra strange, even by usual standards. Try not to worry about that too much though, as it does happen to lots of people. I think maybe you could try some of the techniques in the article and see if they work for you in future, especially wiggling your finger or toe, as that helps lots of people.
      All the best

  • Wow glad I’m not the only one who notices it ONLY when I sleep on my back! I’ve experienced this probably more than 30 times.

  • Came across this article after researching SP because I had an episode last night. It’s usually the same scenerio… I’m either falling asleep or waking up and I am looking at the wall or window… Wherever my head is facing and I see a dark shadow (for anyone who has read or seen the Harry Potter series I would compare it to a dementor) that seems like it is trying to come at me.

    Sometimes I realize it’s SP while it’s happening. Last night for example I kept trying to yell “Wake me up!” to my husband so the episode would stop but I couldn’t move my lips. Finally I succeeded in getting the words out before I could move the rest of my body and he shook me scared wondering I was yelling for him to wake me. Other times I don’t realize it’s not real. Haven’t figured out why sometimes I know it’s happening and sometimes I don’t.

    My sleep schedule is pretty bad and I take naps at random times throughout the day so maybe that is attributing to my experiences with SP.

    Needless to say it’s terrifying, but it’s reassuring to know that I’m not the only person who has experienced this before.

    • Hi Sharice
      Thanks for your comment. I think sometimes it just happens that you have more awareness than other times. That’s not uncommon at all. Yes, the sleep disruption could be im some way contributing to the sleep paralysis. In general it’s a good idea to avoid naps if possible, as this can help fix your sleep schedule.

  • When I was younger I experience sleep paralysis roughly 3-5 times. From about the the time I was 16-17. The first time it happened I was truly terrified. I thought maybe it was an alien abduction or perhaps I was being possessed. I have never experienced anything like it.

    I remember the lights in my bedroom were flickering on and off. There were shadows all along the wall’s. And no matter how much I wanted to speak or move, I couldn’t.

    The second time I actually experienced a sensation that felt like I was being pulled off of my bed and I couldn’t breath.

    The third time I was able to wake myself up from the nightmare. It was very similar the first time expect I was able to make it stop before it got too bad. More than anything I think meditiaon and prayer are helpful for people in these situations. Even of you are not religious or spiritual. It will give you a sense of strength and power in the situation. Eventually, you will learn how to snap out of these nightmares . and one day they may go away altogether. Good luck to anyone dealing with this

    • Hi rebecca
      Thanks for your comment. I think that focussing your mind and distracting it from the scary things you may be seeing is a great technique, which is why praying of any kind seems to help people in my opinion. That and trying to wiggle a finger or toe are evidently very popular ways to deal with sleep paralysis.

  • I need some advice. For 4 years on and off i have been experiencing demonic presences. Depending if things in my life are going good or not.. Especially this week has been very bad. The lady who lives with me is now experiencing the same things. Two nights ago she saw a dark figure standing right beside her staring at her. Last night she saw symbols on the curtains. Her and i both have been hearing as if there are people in our homes. The noises starting on thr kain floor and then it literally sounds as if someones walking up the stairs .. And only stabding outside the door. We heard scratching and foot steps in the bedroom last night. Her abd i both have gotten nausea feelings the past couple of nights. I also woke dead from my sleep last week feeling as if someone was hovering right over me. I got lost in the woods 3 nights ago when i was working i felt as if someone didnt want me to get out of the woods.. That night my car got towed away while i was lost in the woods. As well when someone picked me up to take me home my friends truck ended up getting impounded. The feelings ive been feeling are getting worse. I talked to a minister from my church earlier today but it didnt help. Can someone help me please. The lady i live with was acting strangef last night, she got angry all of a sudden and even when she spoke it didnt seem like her. I feel as if its getting worse. Help

    • Hi Keshia
      Thanks for your comment. I can understand why you’ve found this difficult to cope with and I’m sorry you’ve been distressed because of it. I think it can be very easy to get into a situation where you believe you’re being tormented, especially if people around you believe the same thing. But it’s also good not to read too much into coincidences such as the vehicles or hearing similar things. I think if the minister hasn’t helped and it’s getting worse, and you’re having symptoms such as nausea, maybe talking to your doctor about it will help. Even if it just means getting some advice and support.

  • I’ve only experienced sleep paralysis, which happened right this morning just a couple hours ago. I’m new to this sleep paralysis stuff, but not new to scary stuff at all. Well I have a small feeling why this happened. Me and my friend were on the bus, we decided to get out my phone and videotape us doing “Bloody Mary”. We did it, and we even found a way to spin around 3 times. That’s what I think caused it. Well on with the sleep paraylsis story. First of all I woke up from a HORRIBLE dream, and I have a nightlight sense I’m scared of the dark, that things so bright. You can see shadows on the ceiling from things outside my doorway. So if my mom and dad woke up I would see their shadows walking past. Well I woke up looking at the part of my ceiling that was not lit up by the nightlight, and out of the corner of my eye, there was a shadow walking back and forth in front of my doorway. I blew it off as it was just my dog walking back and forth waiting for my mom to get up, haha nope. One dog was downstairs in his cage, the other two were in my sisters room, she sleeps with her door closed. I don’t have any cats. That FREAKED me out. I had a strange feeling, it felt like I just got back from running 5 miles. My heart was beating so fast, and I had some trouble breathing. I couldn’t move at all, I could only move my eyes. I started praying, I swear I prayed like 5 times. It didn’t seem to help, it wouldn’t go away. I tried to talk to command it to go away, but nothing came out. Then I tried to wiggle my toe, it worked! I woke the rest of my body up and I could move again, I started breathing better. But the shadow was still making me shake and my heart beat really fast. I thought I was having a heartattack, but the strange shadow still walking back and forth. I tried to get out of bed turn the light on and run to my parents room, I couldn’t, I was to scared something would grab my ankles and pull me downstairs. But after at least a minute I remained confident that nothing will hurt me, I got up turned on my lamp and RAN to my parents room. After I’ve woken my mom up I told her about what I experienced and she didn’t believe me.

    • Hi Clara
      Thanks for your comment and for sharing your sleep paralysis story. Yes, unfortunately people who’ve never had sleep paralysis find it hard to believe, especially if someone tries to explain it as if it were a real event rather than a hallucination etc. it’s good that you managed to get yourself up amd turn the light on after you were initially frightened. Hopefully if it happens abain it will get a little easier each time.

  • Just to clarify. At first I felt like I was staring at myself from above. I saw a guy clearly walk into my room and felt him lay on top of me. I opened my eyes and couldn’t move. I knew nobody was there but still felt as though somebody was on top of me and after about 15 seconds of telling myself that it wasn’t real I could move again.

    • Hi Melissa
      Thanks for your comments. I think these kind of sleep paralysis stories can be the most scary in many ways, feeling like someone is physically there with you. Hopefully if it happens again you’ll remember some of the ideas here and manage to break out of it sooner.

  • Today I had an episode. I have been really stressed out and have a lot of anxiety. I knew when I was falling asleep that something was going to happen. My skin felt crawly and I was uncomfortable. I dreamed that there was a burglar that had come through my door. I could see him so clearly. I was sleeping on my side and I felt like he laid on me sideways across my arms. I knew it wasn’t real somehow. I kept repeating it and finally I was able to move and open my eyes. Obviously nobody was holding me down but I still felt terrified. I’ve had them since I was a little kid. I was a foster child and have always had stress and anxiety because of my life with my parents. I get these dreams about once or twice a month and they always start with my skin n feeling crawly. I also have sleep apnea several times a month from stress and anxiety.

  • Ive only told a few people this, but I want to find answers. Few weeks ago I had a ‘dream paralysis’ I’ve grown up calling it because ‘scruffed by a ghost or demon/entity’ that’s just what my mum and family call it. I was sleeping at my friends house for a few nights and on the first night I got the feeling and I was familiar with it because it hadn’t been the first time that I have been scruffed although something was different and stranger than usual about this one, so the next night I decided to sleep upstairs in my friends room and it was all fine until around 3:46 in the morning and I seen about 4 dogs at the end of my bed so I was in this dream thing and I was able to move, I walked to the door to let them out of the room and I could see a big black shadow in front of the door and something yelled at me not to go any further but I did anyway because I was very curious of what it was and it pushed me all the way back into my bad and then I started to get this dream paralysis. The next night I went back down stars to sleep and all was fine. The night after I fell asleep early and I woke up in a dream paralysis and then couldn’t get back to sleep so I turned all the lights on in my bathroom and bedroom and stayed awake reading magazines. The next night I prayed because I was sick of it happening ( my mum said to pray to god whenever this happened ) so I decided to pray asking for protection, although I could feel that it was working until I woke up being in the paralys again. I haven’t lost faith in God because every times something like this happens I think of him and it all gets better. The next night I said to myself before I went to sleep that if I had this uncomfortable feeling again that I wouldn’t leave and wouldn’t sleep at this house again. I fell asleep at the usual time I would, I was sleeping and woke up to a heavy warm sensation up my body that was giving me goose bumps, I couldn’t move or speak, I knew I was in this dream paralys but I wanted to experiment and see what would happen if I resisted and I started having a body spasm, as I started to regain consciousness I heard something evil laughing so I turned my head and then was lifted up out of my bed by my foot hanging in the air or what it felt like. I first thought to myself that I was being possessed and then a demon like face was in my face. so i was very scared and yelled out ‘help me god, help I need your help’ and I started to get put down slowly until I was back into my bed. I was extremely scared and am afraid of when this could happen again. I didn’t sleep there again and went to my grandma and grandfathers house the next night, didn’t believe me and neither did my mother or father. But this is honest and I have full belief that God had saved me that night and that is why I still have faith in the Holy Spirit.

    • Hi Akirra
      Thanks for your comment and for sharing your sleep paralysis stories. I can understand why you were shaken by this experience. I think when people have these type, where they feel physically lifted out of the bed, it can be extremely scary. But it’s important to remember that it is just sleep paralysis and nothing bad will happen to you. You now habe some more ideas for dealing with it too, so hopefully if it happens again it will be easier to deal with.

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