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.

Please read before leaving a comment

After 3 years of personally replying to comments, I’ve decided to leave this amazing and helpful discussion to readers. I will still read them all before publishing to make sure the content is suitable for younger readers, but time constraints mean I have to focus my attention on other parts of the site.

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 still add them to the growing list of practical solutions.

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2,513 CommentsLeave a comment

  • I just experienced my first “sleep paralysis” I’m 20 (now) & I experienced the “demon & burglar”
    experience well earlier I was talking to my best friend about a “guy friend on Instagram” & I showed my Best friend the “guy” because he did know of him but this what’s going to kinda start off with my experience I had said a prayer before I was about to doze off & out of no where I knew I was asleep or thought I was dreaming then the “guy” I told my best friend about earlier was the start off the whole “Sleep paralysis” my friend has a window by his bed & the “guy” I had told my friend about was trying to break in my best friends window I could see his face & who it was it was “the guy” I had told my best friend about then I was like what the heck so my friend is laying next to me so I started to pull on him tap him or what I thought I was trying to wake him up but I guess I really wasn’t… I was sleeping on my stomach ‘ because that’s the only way I fall asleep well anyways out of no where i felt something picking up my feet i had looked back but my eyes were barely open I was struggling & struggling to move & see what was touching my feet but I could see some what well when i had tried to look back I seen nothing then i started to feel my legs Getting bended back then I just seen a black floating thingy i couldn’t​ see it well all I seen was a black figure standing so I started praying I can hear my self as I was saying “I rebuke you in the name of Jesus” I was that like about 2 times & I still couldn’t wake up and I felt my legs getting bended back more so I said “I rebuke you in the precious name of Jesus 2 times then I finally woke up ! & My best friend out no where woke up at the same time I was struggling to wake up and I was telling him about what I had just experienced & he told me you probably had /have
    “Sleep paralysis” because he had , had this experience several times but it was not fun at all. I’m still scared but I said another prayer & feel a little bit better.

  • I had to look up anything on sleep paralysis,I have passed all of the above survey answering yes to all.i first got one in someone else’s house I was staying at…in the same room along with two friends .one the son of the occupier of the home.i was only 18 and in words I had woken up being able to open my eyes while my 2friends slept away.i was really petrified and for what seemed like ten minutes I was held down and I remember having the feeling of something sinister that wouldn’t let me even open my mouth although I tried and tried to scream to get help..my chest being pressed on and a feeling of hate both times it happened…i kept this a secret for a while until it happened again later on in my 20’s.i told a friend who said that it had happened to him once and he was so excited to talk about it.although he didn’t say or mention anything about the feeling of anything evil or inhuman.i moved on years and in a new flat in 2008,I’ve had so many family loses when my elder brother died of sclerosis of the liver on November 4th 204.i was so angry and I have always stayed angry stage of grieving..,i then lost my other brother in law in january 2006,i was still angry even in the chapel while the service for my best friends as well as family I didn’t pray and in a way I was in an so upset with god,Jesus or whoever took them to soon.. especially when my little brother who was murdered by culpable homicide in April 1st 2009 at the age of 25.ive lost my best friend and little cousin who died with a heart attack at 32 while she got out a taxi just yards from her home and even worse my gran and mother who was a devout catholic and built water wells in Uganda.after changing her life from being an alcoholic after her son(my elder brother) died from alcohol.i carried four of the coffins in ten years.I FEEL THAT TELLING THE DEATHS IS A PART OF UNDERSTANDING THE REST OF WHAT I WRITE.ive been now getting sleep paralysis not every night but every now and then.i used to feel a demonic presence after I started talking out loud to help with grieving to all of my family who has passed on.ive downloaded apps of my mobile and used them alot.even getting real answers to secret questions I only knew.now I had started getting these sleep paralysis a bit more often although not every night..just once every know and then that I’m scared to go to sleep.ive much more information but I feel its to much to put it into words.i always get the feeling of a demonic presence I’ve seen myself at my own grave side.i believe I’ve been shown heaven and had been with angels as well and seen my little brother to.whats upsetting me is I no I’ve been against god and used any method of trying to contact to the other side I’m quite scared I’ve brought something from the other side.i get lucid dreams of my sins against god.ive not been to confession in well over 20years.so when I do get the sleepy paralysis I’m literally fighting to make the sign of the cross and believe me I try so hard its like an arm wrestle with something who nos that if I make the sign of the cross I will dispel the demonic creature.ive asked god for forgiveness to even stop this.ive gotten blessed water and signed the cross over each doorway.i no I going off track but I can’t find anyone to talk too to actually take me serious.even family.!I’ve even captured an orb on video I took of myself one night while dancing to test out my flashing strobe lights…it comes from my top half of my body and shoot’s in an angle out my living room door and slowed it in frames to catch a face or faces as it moves.most of my social media friends have seen it but it really is an orb.theres no way to explain I as a white blip.anyway I have seen a psychiatrist although to him its all to do with my medication.even a cat scan.I truly believe that its not scientific..this is all to do with my religion and the things I’ve said and done.maybe your reading this and think I’m mad but I’m an ordinary guy who’s 37..sleep paralysis is horrifyingly scarey.even now I’m still worried if it will happen later tonight.

  • My name is Emma, I experience sleep paralysis or something similar early this morning at about 5am, I lay with my eyes shut as my husband had just left for work, it was the strangest encounter, I rolled onto my left side and felt as though all the air under the blankets was suddenly sucked out, I felt someone lying on my feet, I was not afraid as I usually have relatives (dead) visit me when i’m in need of some comfort, I felt someone walking across the bottom of my bed, stepping over my feet, and then they wrapped their arms around me and hugged me tight, I was to scared to open my eyes as sometimes the relatives aren’t very nice to look at (remember my husband had just left for work and I was very awake) at the moment I have a cold and am struggling to breathe at the moment anyway, who ever it was was hugging me so tight, I yelled GET OFF, GET OFF, they slowly rose and sat at the edge of my bed right in front of me. I don’t know whether it was sleep paralysis or a relative that felt I needed a big hug but when I turned on the light about an hour later, at the end of my bed was my dressing gown and it was laied out as if someone was walking on it, and the blanket was so tight around me. It was like a suction to me. It was very weird

  • Okay, so I had my first sleep paralysis a few days ago.
    I was reading on my phone and fell asleep on my side.
    So I woke up but I couldn’t move, I couldn’t open my eyes. I could feel three of my fingers on my phone, I could feel the sun on my legs.
    I tried so hard to open my eyes, but I was trapped inside my body in the dark.
    I started to panic.. 5 seconds later I was like -hey is this sleep paralysis?
    -This is pretty cool, okay calm down.

    So I realised I couldn’t do anything. So I decided to continue my dream.
    Next time I woke, I was still trapped.
    This reapeated 4 times till I actually could move again.

  • Hello my name is Dennis and I’m 34 years old. Last night on may 24th 2017, I was awake laying on my side watching TV, then, I turned over on my right with my back towards my gf, I was listening to tv and thinking, no more than 2 mins later, I was overcome with absolute terror and fear that I have never experienced before out of nowhere. – knew my gfs hand was to my left, I immediately tried to grab it as I was scared for my life, but I could not move my my hand, as I was terrified, I tried to yell out her name, but even that, to my surprise, I could not even say her name in my head, as a thought, I started to panic even more at this point, I kept trying to call her name out for help, but yet, the thought could not even register as a thought in my head, from the first time I tried to call her name, it took my roughly 20 seconds of trying to call her name when I can finaly mumble it, then I can finally hear my voice calling Linda, I called her name about 5 times, and when she finally said “huh?” at that instant, I was able to move my body and jump out of bed and explain what happened…from then I was scared to fall asleep, petrified, but I fell asleep, then had the worst nightmares of my life. But the first time this had happened, about 10 years ago…- was well asleep on my couch for a couple hours, I woke up and can see down my hallway with the light on, I could, I could see a tall dark figure, I was very scared, could not move a muscle in my body, I tried to yell out for help but I could not, all this lasted about 20 seconds too…

  • Firstly I’d like to just say how relieved I am that this happens to other people. I’ve been tormented with this for years, starting when I was about 12. I am now 25. The first few years were absolutely terrifying. The very first episode I remember being awake and feeling like I was being dragged by a creature off my bed and I couldn’t move or scream for help. It lasted a very long time. Since then I have learned the best way to snap out of it is to recognize what it is and to focus on making small movement and sort of flipping mental switches to get the brain to allow me to move voluntarily again. When I first try to move my brain feels fuzzy the more I try the more resistance I feel. My muscles sort of vibrate or shake. I have noticed in the past few years that when I wake into this nightmare Im not breathing. If I focus on breathing it reminds me that I am not really in a nightmare. So that can help sometimes. Once I finally snap out of it I have to distract myself so I don’t fall back into SP. I turn to my phone and watch videos, sometimes I get out of bed. If I don’t distract myself It can continue happening all night. Its happened as much as 5-6 times in one night. To be honest I felt a little crazy but it’s such a comfort to know its actually fairly common. It happens to me about at least once a month and sometimes up to 3 times a week.

  • I have had an encounter like this i was 13 i was sleeping at my great grandmothers and i had for some reason woken in the night i couldn’t move couldn’t see i couldn’t speak it felt like something was pushing down on my chest as if it wouldn’t let me up i dont know what or why but i wouldnt get up i finally somehow was able to move my one arm and i put it up and and tried pulling myself up i remember saying a spell i had learn in my head to help protect yourself from demons(i do witchcraft ) and i kept do that and i kept trying to pull myself up i was finally able to when i did i saw a black figure quickly run and i screamed and my grandmother came in and asked me what was wrong i told her and she told me that some people say it was a demon trying to possess you when that happens idk but if it was why me and what did it want from me

  • Hi!
    So i just woke up from a horrible experience. I was trying to fall asleep, but couldnt. So at some point on the way i just remember i was looking at a word, and i started saying it backwards and then all of a sudden both my ears started making a whooshing, turbine of fan sound simultaneously like four times and my body was paralyzed too. I tried slowly moving it like i do when i get sleep paralisis, but im reslly scared because of the word i remembered. What is this guys? I have been sleep paralyzed before and its been scary but this got out the line.

  • I had one last night. I felt something holding me down by my shoulders and then it puked out something down my neck. I could feel it running down my neck but i couldnt move my arms to wipe it away. I knew something was there because I felt anxious and scared. I knew it was a dark person cause I could feel and sense it’s presence and breathing. I couldn’t move at all but I was awake. It stayed on top of me for awhile but just looked at me. Finally I woke up and checked to see if I actually threw up but there was nothing. This is the second time this creature or presence has come to me. I don’t know why. Strange.

  • ANTIDEPRESSENT
    I typically only have these episodes rarely but they are now frequent.
    After 20+ years I have decided to go off of antidepressents. I had no idea that my most current one, Cymbalta, would be so difficult to stop. The manufacturer calls it “discontinuation” syndrome. This drug is an SNRI, as are most of the newer, most widely prescribed antidepressents. I am on 20 mg. per day, which is a low dose, and I can only decrease about 10% per two weeks.
    I would like to use every platform possible to warn anyone considering an SNRI to research throughly before beginning therapy.
    Even with the smallest changes in this medication, I think my brain becomes off balance and thus the sleep paralysis, which is frequent now.
    It’s comforting to know that more than likely it wasn’t a real demon in my bed with me last night. My experiences are like your readers, pressure against me, like someone laying next to me. My demon puts the sheets and blankets over my head and holds them there. Also, on the corner of the bed sometimes I feel like a person or a dog just got off the bed. Like the mattresses bounces back up, but I didn’t know anyone was there. BTW I live alone, no dogs.
    Last night, it was so hard, but I was able to mumble the word “out!” And it broke the spell.

  • I have my first sleep paralysis yesterday. Really it was the most scary thing that happened to me in my whole life.I am 17. I remember clearl that i was in deep sleep. i slept at 10:30 and it happened in 11:25 just in the begining of my sleep.I was seeing a dream that i was with my friends in a hotel and suddenly my friends said me that they are growing and i remember that i woke and said my brother thinking him as my friend and tell him not to go than i got my head rolling and i got sleeping on my back and it started .
    I feel something is grabing my hands and a huge thing is on my chest i tired to move and call my mom but i was unable to move,speak and do anything than i tired to move my toe continuously and i felt that someone is in my room and doing all these things that later on it left my and i told my mother to light up the bulb who my on the other bed on the same room .Really it was a horrible night which i cant forget in my whole life

  • Ok so I’m 17 and I think I had my first episode when I was maybe 10. The very first one that happened to me was way to scary for a young girl. I had woken up out of no where not being able to move and looking around to have a scary looking girl just staring at me, as soon as our eyes locked she just started screaming in my face, I could feel tears coming down my face and screaming but nothing would come out, it eventually stopped. 7 years later I still get SP. Second one happened in Australia when I was on holiday, I was on my side and I woke up to a hand print on my pillow, I freaked out about that and when I learned that I couldn’t move I just cried because I couldn’t believe this was happening to me again. This one has got to be the worse one that has happen to me. This episode it felt like the thing was lying behind me basically on top of me and whispering my name in my ear, over and over; whilst I felt hands drape up and down my legs. Once I felt that I just closed my eyes and wished it away and it was over. Today I still get SP, sometime I get it 3-4 times in one night. I dont know when I’m going to have one but I have grown so use to them that I can feel when ones going to happen. May be stress or whatever but I need it to stop

  • I’ve been experiencing sleep paralysis on and off my whole life (i’m now 24). It seemed to have fade for a few years, where I would only experience it once or twice throughout the year. I recently started getting them more frequently (once or twice a month). Often, I never actually see anything happening, but I hear a lot during my episodes. My eyes are open and i’m able to see the room i’m in. Usually I have a sense that someone or something is intruding my home. I’ve heard yelling from downstairs before, i’ve heard voices whispering, and i’ve heard foot steps or running from other rooms in the house. Since I can’t move I usually just sit there and wait it out because i’m familiar with these occurrences and often can tell when i’m actually in sleep paralysis versus when something is actually happening. Regardless, it is very disturbing afterwards, and I usually have a hard time falling back asleep.

    I will say, and recently discovered this helped me, I have a cat that sleeps at the foot of my bed. When I recently had an episode where I heard (and I know it sounds crazy) but I heard something that sounded like walkie talkies, and people talking back and forth on them, that seemed extremely loud, I looked toward my cat who was fast asleep. She’s usually pretty alert, and if anything where making an unusual noise she would have at least been awake or more attentive then literally being asleep. I think if someone has a pet, and often experiences sleep paralysis, maybe start having the pet sleep in bed with you. I’ll now remember next time i’m in a situation where I hear something to look toward my cat which will remind me that nothing is happening.

  • I use to have it a lot when I was in my 20’s but lately it seems to come in spurts which isn’t really good I might add. Reason being it always leaves me unprepared or should I say caught off guard and I still get fearful till this day when it happens. More so to the fact that when I finally wake up do to prayer I tend not to go back to sleep do to my own choice.

  • I use to have it a lot when I was in my 20’s but lately it seems to come in spurts which isn’t really good I might add. Reason being it always leaves me unprepared or should I say caught off guard and I still get fearful till this day when it happens. More so to the fact that when I finally wake up I tend not to go back to sleep do to my own choice.

  • I had a lot of the same things happen as you described but I heard a noise in the hall which woke me and I felt heavy and couldn’t move, I had a feeling of dread wash over me I felt something lightly touch my hair I could open my eyes but I couldn’t move I finally was able to move but the feeling of dread stayed with me.

  • I am 17 in 2 months. Recently, sleep paralysis (sp) has been coming to me so very often. I’m not sure when the first sp happened to me, it could be when i was 15 or 16. it’s always an out of body experience,never others though. it happens usually after I’ve woken up and trying to get back to sleep in the morning and no matter what sleeping position I am in, it still happens. idk why. I can feel great strength or force trying to pull my body up and out floating on bed. it’s a horrible experience. there’s this thing pop up in my mind whenever I’m in sp state like ‘will i die?’ the worst is when I’ve successfully fight the so called ‘demon’s strength’ and come back to a normal state with a conscious mind but then I’m falling back to sleep again. at the moment i fall asleep again, sp happens eventually so i wake myself up again as quickly as i can to duck the ordeal. since I’m reluctant to get up for the 3rd time cos im knackered, things get worst, the strength of pulling me out is crazier than ever, it’s sucking me out and I’m trying to hold my bed frame so hard. and thats how it usually happens but till today in the morning sp happened in the same way but what is different is i felt myself became an evil and could feel im gradually becoming one. my question is why is my sp can be continued after I’ve woke up from it.

  • I’ve had sleep paralysis for around 5 years. I’m about to turn 15. After dealing it with on almost a daily basis for a good 2 or 3 years, I’ve found an easy way to completely pull myself out of it no matter what. I just imagine myself standing at a door way of a building, that has every demon that I’ve felt in my room in it, and then as I’m about to go through the door, I breathe as out my nose in a weird way, and kinda yank myself into my own body, and I wake up. I’ve read on several websites that says their is no way to get out and i decided to share my way.

  • Thank you this really are helpful.

    I always had this tick – tick noises in my cottage and seems that “this” are following me even in day time. Wasn’t relaxed at all but never really afraid of it and always tried to ignore it.
    Anyway I had a good deep sleep on Tuesday the 16 May 2017 to wake with a num surprise.
    I was sleeping on my left side almost in a spoon position, when I felt a slight pressure feeling from where my body touches on the sheet…almost like a line that stretches out and have more pressure..
    The feeling started at the back of my back and almost if the line pressure increased and it felt as if it was like a thin line stretches out on both ends….reached towards my shoulder and the other end towards to the back of my knee. Then I experienced more pressure, by then I wasn’t sure what to expect but … I couldn’t move, I tried screaming, tried calling Jesus Name, nothing came out. Till a moved my head towards my right shoulder and thought I could maybe bite this thing…but my mouth felt like I was making bubbles with soap lol
    And…There, I could move again and I switch the bedside light on and saw the time was 3H43 in the morning…. I was terrified and so sad and victimized. I knew this was the point where I need to deal with this evil spirit
    Now I feel like a night owl with wide open eyes at night and a red eye zombi in day time.
    Then Friday night….I think, I can see things….but I don’t see figures, its almost as if I can see a blink of movements short and fast moving…heee and even when its by my curtain, I pick up his movements.

    I did, what I believe should do the trick, to chase this “evil kenevel” back, to where he came from. And been praying and worship my Savior.
    I even told this thing, I am a child of God and this is my home, he is not welcome and I repute him in the Mighty Name of Jesus Christ.
    At around midnight, I passed out being so tired and slept till my alarm woke me this morning. Thank God
    Even though the click – clicks remains there clicking sounds.
    I have spoken to my loving daughter and she will bring the Pastor and looks like he knows what to do about it.

    Have peaceful sleeps to everyone reading here and experience the Sleep- paralyze.
    Regards
    Sonja

    • When i was 9 to about 11. I used to hear Morse code. But its stopped and i used to get so terrified because i thought it was saying help in Morse

  • Hi, I’m 26yo. from Portugal.

    My experience regarding sleep paralysis happened last year. It started out with me falling asleep with my stomach facing upward.
    I remember hearing someone or something wandering and snooping around the door to my bedroom. I looked to the right, where the stealthy noise was coming from, but nothing that I could make sense from for a few minutes. I was able to move my head.
    Then I looked frontwards, and a sudden ghostly figure screamed to my face, but no scream were shout, just a loud noise like a gunshot or a punch in a wooden furniture, it looked as if it wanted to frighten me.
    I don’t believe in ghosts, but my complete body immideatly paralysed, it shivered the whole spine and my heart beated so fast. I tried raising my head, but my neck was too tense, also tried blinking my eyes to see if I could wake up, till I did.
    Woke up in the same position, same atmosphere in middle of the night with my eyelids sore, as if it was in the early morning.
    My sight was was lost in total darkness and patterns of TV like without-signal were being displayed.

  • I’ve had many sleep paralysis incidents since childhood. They used be very scary when i was a kid and happened more frequently than they do now. I personally find trying to move my fingers, and then slowly my whole body, to be the most useful method to get out of it. The scariest one I’ve had was as a kid, where I dreamt about a creature like thing strangling me causing me to wake up. When I woke up in my room…. the thing was still there strangling me. I couldn’t move any part of my body and it was too dark to see. The worst part was that i couldn’t scream to call my parents. After that, these episodes just increased and i started waking up and feeling like there was someone in my room.. behind the curtains, on my chair… and i ran over to my parents’ room almost every night. Until one night i had another experience where my hands were pinned above my head and it felt like a heavy blanket was smothering me.Once i could move… i just had enough of it and decided to stay and sleep there. I was still really scared, so i turned to the wall and just lay there for most of the night until i fell asleep. They pretty much stopped after that. I only have them about once a month now.
    The had a very interesting one last week. In the dream i break into someone’s house and decide to sleep on their swimming pool, pretty weird. As I’m sleeping a long procession of tall women in long red gowns start filling into the room and lining up on the right side of my bed.. they look mean and dark and start laughing and I can’t move or run. That was the first time i had this dream. The second time ends the same way, I am just calmer since i know what’s going on so i just lay there and let it play out. But this time when i regain full consciousness, and the ability to move, i realize the women were jut the long red curtains i have on the window on the right side of my bed. Since my bed is on the floor, they look pretty tall when i lie down.

  • i have sleep paralysis almost every month and I hate it. im 17 and I sleep with my service animal, I have so many stories of my episodes. and lately all of them involve me not being able to breathe in my dream so I of course get up (in my dream) to go and call my mom. before I leave my bedroom I always try to turn on my light, and they never turn on its like the power is off. I do have some Christmas lights around my window that I keep on during the night while I sleep because of this experience. but anyway while I try to turn on my light it just will not turn on but yet my Christmas lights are still on, I don’t know how so I walk out of my room and the minute I step out I start floating, I try to yell for my mom and nope it will not work, I try to move one of my fingers and sometimes it works but while im in bed having this I know I am not alone I just don’t get that feeling like its just me or my service dog in the room. I even sometimes try to wake up my dog in the dream so she can wake me up but it doesn’t work. I try to reach for her and it seems like shes farther from me from where she was when I went to bed. the feeling is so horrible but ive had it so many times already that I no longer get scared, last night while I had it I said in my dream “in the blood of jesus” and “put me down” I kept repeating it and while I do that it seems that I get loose little by litter my grandmother is very spiritual so she tells me to say that in my dream and for me it does work. the other night I got woken up by my mom saying “are you okay” and of course I woke up scared because she was looking at me with a scared face, and I asked her why, it was 3:33am and she said she heard me screaming for her in my sleep. im not sure why I get this, im very good at falling asleep at the same times and waking up. before I go through this experience I do get the feeling of falling and I wake up or I switch, my leg or body will switch or I feel like im going unconscious and that’s how I know im about to have sleep paralysis

  • I remember the time that I had my first sleeping paralysis, it was when i was in the 8th grade when i was about 14 years old, i think it was around 3 or 4 O’clock in the morning, and it was terrifying. When i woke up from a weird dream, i had needed to go to the bathroom, but what i realized is that i was laying on my side, and then somehow my body turned from my side to laying on my back, and from there, i could not move a muscle, i was so terrified and i couldn’t breathe. It had felt like someone or something had laid on my chest and never moved, i tried gasping for air, but nothing happened. Thankfully i had a night light in my room, so i can see everything, so that when i get up and its still dark out, i could walk and see where i’m going when i need to go somewhere. But then suddenly i heard a breathy whisper voice in my ear saying, “get out, get out, get out,” over and over again repeatedly, “get out, get out,” then i felt tears started to come down and when i tried to look on my side who’s there i couldn’t even move my head. And then i tried to call out for help, but i couldn’t speak either. And right then and there, i had thought that i was being possessed or a demon or someone was there, but i couldn’t see anything, so i tried again, but couldn’t move, breathe or say anything. And the voice just keeps on saying the same thing over and over again, and i wanted to get out! A minute later, the next thing i knew is that eventually i had sat in bed real quick, gasping for air. And then quickly i grabbed my pillow and ran to my mom, who was on the couch in the living room. And then like every year i would get sleeping paralysis like once or twice a year. And i’m so scared, how can i stop this, is this something that can be cured? Help!

    • I normally have sleep paralysis once in a month and i have been facing this since my childhood.there are many reasons for this. Some of these are sleeping on your back, tiredness, bad thoughts.

      Earlier when i got into this, i used to put all my efforts to move my body. Even if i get success in this still it was like brain damage or fast heartbeat situation. So i would suggest to avoid this. I used to take deep breaths for 4 to 5 times and then try to give a jerk and move the body. Although my fingers move but still it is like a situation where you feel that you can’t breath. At times, put all energy in moving your body works. If it doesn’t then you may take 5-10 deep breaths and then try to move.

      Hopefully it helps!

  • i had this “sleep paralysis​ demon” every night for almost 20 years. what i can say is that one night i finally decided to get out from under the bed (where i was hiding in that moment) and to grab that demon by the neck. he never showed up again and i finally understood that i can get my self out of this “between worlds” state where you can’t speak or move by simply moving a finger. of course you can also move but that requires a lot of effort as you first need to feel your body before moving it. Finally i confronted my demon and got rid of him… From my experience the nightmares are the cause of this “sleep paralysis” sindrom, the trigger of a long disturbing “first seat at the conjuring movie” series. As a self defense mechanism my brain was waking up during these nightmare episodes though my body was still asleep.

  • i had this “sleep paralasys demon” every night for almost 20 years. what i can say is that one night i finally decided to get out from under the bed (where i was hiding in that moment) and to grad that demon by the neck. next thing i remember is that he never showed up again and i finally understood that i can get my self out of this “between worlds” state where you can’t speak or move by simply moving a finger. ofcourse you can also move but that requires a lot of effort as you first need to feel your body before moving it. Finally i confronted my demon and got rid of him… From my experience the nightmares are the cause of this “sleep paralysis” sindrom, the trigger of a long disturbing “first seat at the conjuring movie” series. As a self defense mechanism my brain was waking up during these nightmare episodes though my was still asleep.

  • I experienced sleep paralysis a couple years ago. I fell asleep on a movie on the floor. I remember being extra tired. I was sleep on my back (which I heard is one of the occurrences of SP) I tried to awake but I couldn’t move. My arms, legs & everything was paralyzed. I felt like my mind was awake & through my eyes I seen some demonic presence on top of me smiling. I was terrified and couldn’t breathe. It was nighttime and dark but I seeing somewhat detailed features. Another strange thing that’s hard to explain is I felt sexually harassed by the presence. It took full advantage of me. I began to tear up & pray in my head with a screaming tone. It then looked at me as if it got frightened by my thoughts. It finally disappeared and let me go. Then I was able to
    move and yelled my brother’s name. I then did my research on my exact experience with a sexual demonic presence. They are called incubus and succubus. I think mine’s was a woman. I’m almost sure of it. Which is the succubus. I am a woman as well.

  • I have sleep paralysis quite frequently…the most recent one was the most disturbing of them all!! My eyes opened in the middle of the night…my body paralyzed my eyes wide open…my mind fully aware of what was going on…I couldn’t speak…I couldn’t move…I couldn’t breath…I felt pressure on my chest as if something that I couldn’t see was holding me down…all I could do was lie there…then through the door way of my bedroom walked in an entity!! Completely transparent…wearing a white dress…she approached the foot of my bed…my eyes watched her as she walked around to the side of my bed where I slept….she stopped next to me…I was still watching her…no way to move or scream or call for help…she then started to reach for me. I felt the urge to scream but still…nothing!!! Then all of a sudden my body started to move and I was able to roll over….most frightening sleep paralysis event yet

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