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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1,720 CommentsLeave a comment

  • It would be interesting to measure the brain function, O2 consumption and CO2 emission while during a sleep paralysis stage. I bet the O2/ CO2 indicators will be different for “regular” sleep and during the phase of sleep paralysis. I have sleep paralysis from time to time. I “tell” my body to move, and evidently it does. I am very groggy and then walk around to shake the heaviness of the experience.

    • Hi Marie
      Thanks for your comment. That would be interesting, yes, and I’m sure there would be some differences. But it’s not the easiest thing to test at home! For now, I think you have a good way of dealing with sleep paralysis. And hopefully even more ideas having read the article.

  • I just had first sleep paralysis dream and came onto this website as I was looking for info to see if it’s normal and surprisingly it’s really normal.

    My experience started off with me just getting ready for bed and relaxing, lying down as you do. And then all of a sudden, everything just started spinning. The scary part of this was I swear I hadn’t fallen asleep yet! I thought I was still awake! The room was completely dark and everything was just spinning, and I was spinning as well! I tried as hard as I could to open my eyes but I just couldn’t I felt trapped!

    And then I started to hear this low pitched evil laugh and I’m getting visions of this demon like face and he’s the one laughing at me. I can’t see anything clearly everything is moving and then I hear whirring sounds, it felt like I was in a tornado or something but I could still make out that I was in my bedroom. And then all of a sudden since I was spinning in my dream I thought I’d fallen off my bed and was almost certain I was rolling on the floor screaming the house down! And since I thought I was screaming, I’d imagined my roommate had ran through to my room to try and wake me up but I couldn’t wake up. All I saw was black, the demon, and spinning and screaming noises.

    Then I managed to wake up somehow. And I woke up in my bed. I went through to check my roommate and she was fast asleep. It’s was all part of the dream. So that was my experience with sleep paralysis. It was so so terrifying but really really interesting!

  • Just last night I had a Lucid Dream, Astral Projection, and a painful Sleep paralysis. It started as I was dreaming about being in my elementary school when I realized I wasn’t even a 5th grader so I shouted to everyone that it was a dream and all the kids were so happy. I was happy. I started turning people into cats but it didn’t completely work. So then I thought, I wanna go home. So I transported myself there by closing my eyes and opening them but when I opened my eyes, it was as if I woke up in my bed, and I technically did. So I assumed I really did wake up. Now I didn’t really pay attention to my surroundings but I still kinda remembered them. As I tried to get up I realized my body was still there. I got scared remembering my mom telling me about a book where a girl was tricked into doing it and her body got stolen. I immediately went back into my body, but as I did I found myself paralyzed. But it wasn’t any normal sleep paralysis, it was painful. I was kinda vibrating but it hurt, like something was angrily pinching my hard with claws. It felt as if a demon was happy to see me about to leave my body so it could possess me, but got angry as soon as I went back in. I was so scared but I refused to let myself be in fear. I could barely slur a few words so I called out to Jesus to wake me up for real and to rebuke whatever terrible demon was attacking me. Then I couldn’t speak at all so I thought the words in my head and finally I woke up for real, but when I woke up I remember seeing my stuffed animal in front of me and I heard my fan on in both my sleep paralysis and in the real world. I hope this story may have helped some of you. Also this was my first time.

  • Thanks for the article! At age 48, I’ve handled all the OBE’s and beings in the room pretty well. I’ve experienced that since childhood. I remember the first thing that really helped: a large cluster of quartz crystal put under my bed. Yes, prayer, intention and filling the room with angels for protection helped too. However, looking beyond conventional science, I am clear that what those with Narcolepsy are experiencing is not illusion. It is an ability to access other dimensions, to see/feel/sense other beings etc. We are literally between the worlds. Furthermore, we can shift into various dimensions and timelines – hence why you might hear your loved ones voice, hear them coming into the room, only to wake fully and remember they are at work. It is disempowering to think we simply have a “sleep disorder”. Remember the seers of past: they would be in their sleepy state, awaken to tell the king a prophecy, and slip back into their state. We also do a lot of work while we sleep – releasing, learning, downloading. As a spiritual intuitive and Angel Therapy Practitioner, I have no doubt that my Narcolepsy is a blessing, not a curse. You don’t have to believe any of these, but consider that if you re-frame your experience, your reality will shift. The FEAR we feel when these crazy things happen is what we need to address. Whatever it takes for you personally. It is then that you can discern what you are experiencing – is it “evil” or is it a loving being or a deceased love one present? It’s time to claim our power and to move into love and trust vs. fear. We take that power back with our free will, by calling in light and our divine guides and angels for assistance, being in our hearts, and learning ways to ground and protect. Any interference/beings not of loving intention can be sent away with a wave of the hand, commanded by the light to be gone. They feed on fear, seeking power over, so know that your fear is amplified by them. Call forth the light, pure crystalline unconditional love. Command it. Be the love light warrior that you are! May you be blessed with more love, trust and courage then ever before.

    • People will try to put a scientific notion and claim that it is sleep paralysis. I won’t discredit the science to maybe what happens when going through the phase of not being able to move, but from my experience I know there are somethings that are undeniable and far more greater when going through the “attack”.
      It has happened twice in my entire life and I am in my 20s now. Because I am Christian there is faith that ties in with this so my views and explanations to things may differ. But I am here to only give a solution and insight to why it may happen and a proven fact that whether we give it a scientific name or not the bottom line is there is a spiritual realm that deals heavily with this, in relation, to the experience we go through and what is happening during the attack.
      The first time was in pure curiosity I wanted to know if the spiritual world is real and actually exists or is it just made up because you see from movies, hear stories, or experience things yourself but your not sure if your just making it up or if it really happened. So I asked God and said, “Lord I want to know if the spiritual world is real or is it just made up.” I remember so clear, that same night I went to sleep everything was normal. I remember I woke up and as I wanted to move I felt stuck. I was completely paralyzed I remember I was was trying to call for my mom and I could not speak or make sound. I was trying to move with all my strength and simply couldn’t. I was so hot and sweaty and completely terrified. I noticed a tall dark figure at the corner of my room as it started coming towards me. I tried yelling the name Jesus and could not speak but I kept trying after the 4th time of saying Jesus it completely left and I was able to move again. I did not know what to make of the situation because I never experienced anything like it. My senses were completely intact they were just repressed. My mind was awake and so were my eyes because I was able to see in the dark and I was clearly speaking to myself and was aware of what was going on, so I knew it wasn’t a ‘bad dream’. That night I prayed and told the Lord I believe I believe it is truly real. I couldn’t believe a question I had literally led to me fully experience this whole scenario. I was put in such a comfort that things would be fine. I apologized for testing him because I literally asked him and sure enough it happened the same night. I was in high school 17 years old when this all happened.
      I will say the Spiritual realm is Real. I always grew up in faith so my relationship with Christ was personal His Name alone is what stopped it. It never happened to me after that except for another time which was last year. Again everything tied to faith and the spiritual realm.
      I was going through a faze of healing in my life for certain things that had happened I had anger towards my mom and the anger blinded me to see the deeper realities of what was going on. In the bible it says “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12
      Now bare with me here. What ever your religious belief may be lets have an open mind I am only showing my perspective to things. Notice it says we don’t fight against flesh and blood simply meaning we don’t fight against humans but against principalities and darkness all meaning the there are dark spiritual realms of this earth behind certain things that happen. I make it clear as Satan or the Devil and every thing that ties with it. Clearly I know for a fact they do exist given my first experience which solely happened in curiosity to whether they exist in the first place. Now that I know they do I take this verse in the bible and it makes so much sense… Either way sorry if I explain in lengths I just want to make things clear.
      I was saying the second experience happened when one night I was 19 and I chose to take all the anger towards my mom and unforgiveness for things that happened and decided I wanted to pray into this verse and actually pray for her because I never really did, because of how I felt. We have fought I have tried to make her understand why I felt the way I do in things that she has done but we never saw eye to eye. And I realized I have done everything in my flesh so meaning in my own hands and never really prayed for her. I decided to pray for her when I was alone and talk to God in how I felt. That night when I went to bed the same experience happened I couldn’t move and I saw a dark figure and I was trying to yell for help and when I said the name Jesus after the 3rd Time it stopped. Now I knew exactly this time why it happened! The only thing I did different that has caused for the “sleep paralysis” or as I like to say Spiritual Attack was I prayed for my mom and I knew the Enemy did not like or want that! Why?because prayer changes everything and something the enemy likes to do is put people in fear or intimidate. Fear is the leading cause to so many things that happen in life.
      I chose to stand up and proclaim the Name of Jesus over my house and Mom after and it has not happened ever again. I grew strong in faith and everything that happened made so much sense. I tried going to other Gods Buddha, Allah or just be plain atheist when I had a faze of is religion worth it? Is God more specifically Jesus even real or made up? Or am I just living for lifetime and that’s it?
      I will tell you we have free will to chose daily what we want but if we ask Jesus to come in our lives I can’t promise life will become easy it never says that in fact in the bible it says the opposite because the world hates Him and I know Jesus is Real because Christians are the number one persecuted religion all over the world. People die every day especially in middle eastern countries just for having faith in Christ. But to be Buddhist, Muslim, Wiccan, Hindu, or atheist is completely ok and accepted. This made it so more real to me because in the Bible it mentions how Jesus was despised and hated and so will the world hate those who follow him. How can someone hate someone who is Love when I read the scriptures Jesus was the most fascinating person to ever walk the earth. He came to heal people preach the Gospel and die on the cross for us and our sins. Now me explaining. If he is real to begin with is another topic but He is very much so, isn’t it evident by just looking at how the world is and the things that happen. Or pure encounters with him.
      The only and last thing that has made me believe fully in Him is when I came to see how much he wants personal relationship. That sounds weird but really it isn’t. It’s simply talking to him and laying every burden and heartache to him. There’s a love that literally can’t be explained with Human words we all have a void and he was the only one that actually made my void feel filled with love and peace. There is peace that flows through you, I have seen people healed. And lives restored I have seen the power in the name Jesus like with the instances of what happened to me.
      I know that there is an enemy and I come to see how far I was from God and how my life was until I came to Christ again I always had faith but never had actual relationship because I didn’t know that played a critical part. It’s just like when you know someone there’s a difference in knowing them like acquaintances but there’s another end of actually hanging out talking and getting to know the person who you call more than an acquaintance but actual friend. The same applies to Jesus.
      I am tying this all to Christ because He was the only answer that came when I had to face life and the problems in them. And because I have seen with my own eyes how the Spiritual realm works we conclude it is real and if I can come to believe that Darkness exists and all its evil then how can I not believe in Jesus who’s name alone has proven to have power against the Evil things of this world. I was simply a no body a broken girl who went through not having a father and being bullied simply because I was “quiet” and an abusive relationship. All my life I knew I had a friend… When I came towards my late teens that’s when things in my life seemed to have a pattern and when I found that God wasn’t just something I believed in but there’s an actual relationship. That’s when my life began to change. He became as what I always knew my Father. He healed me and I am still going through healing in my life from things that have happened. Are we human and get angry or feel hurt yes we have emotions but I chose to come to God with my emotions instead of blame him because he opens your eyes and starts to show you a different perspective of why things happen and most of all brings closure and healing. So for whoever has read this far it is not a mistake if your going through ‘Sleep paralysis’ and not sure what to do you tried breathing techniques or tried to stay calm but it still happens I can tell you test it for yourself and call upon the name of Jesus. Also see when it happens what were you doing before. It’s just having an awareness and then you will start to connect the dots to maybe why it happens to you. If you have any further questions or simply relate I would love to talk. I hope this helped you and I pray that you will have peace and rest.

  • I had one of these experiences just today actually,
    Explaining why I’m awake at 6:32am. I was in my bed lying on my back asleep when i suddenly woke up and started feeling paralyzed, i didn’t experience anything at first and the paralysis soon stopped, i was a bit frightened because i just now started getting these and i pulled the cover over my head slightly just enough where i could see and breath. Then i fell back asleep, when i woke up yet again, i was paralyzed and could sense something in the room with me, immediately my thoughts go to demon or anything malevolent and i start panicking, soon after i feel and see the cover being pulled away from my face slowly and a horrible heavy breathing starts erupting in my right ear, from there i really start to panic and try to get up and run but no avail sadly, there was this time where i kept going through tiredness and couldn’t will myself to get up because everything around me felt so slow and my body felt so heavy so i kept closing and reclosing my eyes. Now I’mafully awake!
    These things are pretty terrifying however..

  • Hello. I’m Jennifer. Since i was in high school, 12 years old, the so-called “sleep paralysis” started and i have encountered it many times in my life. The things that i’ve experienced during sleep paralysis is that, I cannot move and the worst part is that I heard some voices whispering into my ears and I don’t understand the words he/she was saying. It’s very near in my ears and the feeling that some entity is really and present there. But it’s like a form of a prayer or something that made me scared sometimes. To overcome that fear, I always do this 2 things. The first one is, I try to shake my feet and even move my fingers to make me stay conscious and the second one is, I try to shout any “one word” like “help” and “Jesus” and it will be gone.

    My only concerned is this. What does the whispering voices mean? Is there some entity present with me everytime I experience sleep paralysis? The coping method that I am doing, Is it alright?

    Thank You Very Much!


    • Hi Jennifer
      Thanks for your comment. To be honest, I doubt the voices mean anything at all! It’s not an entity, but just your brain creating hallucinations which are very vivid and realistic to you. I think your coping method is very good, though it might help even more to stay calm by telling yourself there’s no evil entity and that nothing bad will or can happen to you.

  • Hi, thank you so much for giving us a chance to talk about our experiences. People assume I talk and cry over them for attention.

    So I’ve had a few experiences of sleep paralysis before. The weird thing is I’m never on my back when the occur. I just don’t sleep that way. Also, my breathing is normally stopped. I don’t ever notice a big pain on my chest as described, rather I have to co trip my breathing. It’s like if I stop, then my body won’t automatically do if for me. That scares me because I can’t move to a position where I’d breathe easier. Normally I’d focus on moving my hand then my whole arm until pushing myself up.

    However, just now as I thought I was waking up, I had my first terrifying presence. I was again on my side, and j kept hearing a scary voice whispering things. At first I’d focus on it, then it’d disappear again. It reached a point where it wouldn’t leave anymore. All I could hear was this terrifying, terrifying voice in a language that was not English. It began to get louder – or maybe closer? But along with it was a riinging noise. They both got so loud, I was so scared. I immediately thought it was a demon. I tried calling out to my mom, but I couldn’t. And I’m not religious, but I was so scared and in that moment I truly believed this was the devils work. My breath seemed so loud, I wondered how nobody could hear me. It was shallow and nervous breathing.
    At one point I tried praying. I only thought a few words of the prayer before the ringing and voice was blasting in my ear. I suddenly felt a warm feeling in my ear, and thought it was filling with blood. I slowly gained control of my body and sat up. My sisters were kind enough to listen to me, my mother was confused as she’s never heard of sleep paralysis.

    I hope this never happens again.
    This is sleep paralysis, right? I know everyone says the see something and feel chest pressure- also they’re always on thei back. I don’t know if this is considered that.

    • Hi Katie
      Thanks for your comment, and I’m glad you found it useful having somewhere to share your story. It does sound like sleep paralysis to me, yes. People have all kinds of different versions of it, and some do get it when not on their back and not everyone experiences the chest pressure.
      When you say you stop breathing, have you spoken to a doctor about this? I think any breathing problems during sleep should be discussed with a doctor to make sure it’s not sleep apnea.

  • Once I went through this and I was laying in my bed but instead of being midnight it was maybe around 9 am. I woke up and in the doorway was some disfigured being, I wasn’t scared though. It slowly walked toward me and it morphed into a male whom I’ve never seen before and it said, “wake up or never.” I forced my head to move and then focused on my hand. It felt so numb, like it was a sleep and I tried to lift it. At first, I wasn’t successful, the second time I got it several inches of the bed but it got so heavy and my head started hurting that if fell back. My mind was screaming, “wake up!” But my body just didn’t follow. The male then reached out to me and said he would return. Then I woke up and felt somewhat calm but my heart was racing. Ever since that incident it has never happened again. I hope it stays that way

  • I’m not sure if what I’ve experienced is sleep paralysis or just a very real-feeling dream. It’s happened before and both times its when I’ve been having a terrible night’s sleep from feeling sick or stressed and I’m home alone. I’ve always been a little nervous about sleeping in a house by myself and my biggest fear is someone breaking into my house while I’m sleeping. So my possible paralysis feels kind of like I’m waking up and hearing voices in my house, and I just assume they’re burglars, and I start to panic, I try to yell, move, do anything to get help and I just can’t. Everything seems hazy and I feel like I’ve been drugged because my entire body feels heavy and unable to move. I don’t remember much about coming out of it because I think I am so tired that I give in and close my eyes and eventually wake up feeling like I had a nightmare, but it felt incredibly real. Any thoughts on wether it’s a dream or paralysis?

    • Hi Ann
      Thanks for your comment. I think it’s quite common to worry about sleeping alone in the house, and it’s no surprise the anxiety can affect sleep. If you were definitely at least semi-conscious when you experienced these things, then yes, sleep paralysis is probably the best explanation. But it can be hard to tell when you drift into it then fall asleep again without really waking up fully.

  • I have had a few occasions, in which I awake in the middle of the night. I can feel a pressure holding me down, I can’t move, speak. Couldn’t even move my toes. And on a couple of occasions I could feel a strong presence in the room with me and after what feels like a lifetime lifts and passes. On two other occasions and the most recent, I see the presence, dark and ominous looming over me and it’s terrifying. I can do nothing but wait. I haven’t had any since confiding in my partner. But I also have many bouts of nightmares involving a child I’m protecting, and this same figure pursuing me.

  • Hello, I always have crazy dreams some scary, some creepy, and some just wth! I woke up an hour ago TERRIFIED!! I had a dream about a friend that passed away a couple years ago. He was visiting me with a little girl, other people saw hjm and kept saying he shouldn’t be here. I took a selfie with him and he showed up in my photo. (in my dream) I then started talking to him asking if he visits his kids. He looked VERY sad but never spoke a word. He kept playing with this little girl while looking sad. Some how the little girl ended up laying ontop of me on my chest on my kitchen table. At first it was fine i was playing with her hair and just holding her like a hug then she slowly started sitting up and as she was sitting up she looked evil I started pinching her to get off of me but she kept sitting up more n more. Light was flashing in the back ground and I started to scream but no sound would come out. I screamed another 3-4 times before sound came out and I opened my eyes to my dog pawing at me and whining. I woke up terrified with goosebumps, and felt extremely weak like jello arms. I went outside smoked a cigarette and uncontrollably started crying. The dream seemed so real!! It still does!! I have outrageous dreams a lot and sometimes my dreams come true in away as if I saw a preview of what to come. Example. My boyfriend was lying about something and I knew he was but couldn’t prove it, I had a dream that had the facts. I confronted him saying a friend told me this just to see what he would say and he got mad that “someone” told on him But I’ve never has a dream like this! After I went to lay down and sat back on the couch I got goosebumps ALL OVER from head to toe. Thats when I started looking up my dream (as i always do) and it led me to this sight.

    • Hi Tabatha
      Thanks for your comment. I think that in fact you just had a dream in which you saw these things and felt unable to move at some point in the dream. That’s not the same as sleep paralysis though, as in sleep paralysis your brain is awake but you would see or feel these things.

  • I’ve been suffering from sleep paralysis ever since I was 5 years old. they would happen once or twice a week and I’m 20 now. up until tonight I hadn’t experienced one in over a year. I fell asleep around 7:30pm and a few minutes later I opened up my eyes and tried to reposition myself to get comfortable and realized I couldn’t move (I never worked out a plan to get through them because mine weren’t ever this bad before). realizing I couldn’t move, I started to freak out. breathing was labored and then I heard a voice behind me. I tried with all I had to turn around and I didn’t get far but I did see my wall was blood red and there was a slim shawdow figure. I tried to get up and turn my lamp on and all of the sudden the figure was crawling up me saying “your end is now” at this point I’m just trying to kick and scream and just as it got face to face with me, I regained full control and woke up all the way. it was definitely the most terrifying sleep paralysis attack I’ve ever had.

    • Hi Airiel
      Thanks for your comment and for sharing your very scary story. That sounds pretty awful! Perhaps now you’ve had this experience you’ll develop a strategy for dealing with it should it happen again. You have plenty of ideas in the article, and hopefully some of them will help you when you need it.

  • Hi my name is Diamond and I just really want to tell someone, anyone about my sleep paralysis experience. I’ve never told anyone about it and I feel like if I just tell anyone about it that it’ll make me feel better and stop thinking about it. I will always remember the first time I experienced it and I was probably 9 or 10 but I remember going to sleep and it was probably like 5 or 6 in the morning because there was a little light in my room. Anyways I was sleep and I thought I was awake so I tried to move my body and I couldnt , so I struggled and my bedroom door is right above my head and I could hear it opening and I was able to look up and I stared at my door for like a minute and I see a very tall black shadow appear by my door and as its coming closer I seriously start to struggle and everything in my room was blurry and dark and I finnaly break free and wake up and I was sweating. It doesn’t happen everyday or anything it just happens random and every time before I sleep I get this feeling like its a familiar feeling and I know that its about to happen but every time it happened again I never saw the black shadow again ever… But when I get that familiar feeling I’ll force myself to stay up and listen to gospel music and it’ll go away but when I say I have to force myself to stay up its really hard, it feels like someone drugged me and I’m doing everything I can to not fall asleep.

    • Hi Diamond
      Thanks for your comment and for sharing your sleep paralysis story. I think it’s good that you have shared it as it can really help yo put your thoughts down somewhere concrete and express yourself in a different way, which is what writing gives us.
      I can understand why you would have been freaked out by the shadow – that happens to many people. But it’s good that it hasn’t reappeared recently, and hopefully it will stay that way. If sleep paralysis is an on-going thing for you though, do have a good look through the list of readers’ tips and try to keep them in your mind.

  • I just had my first sleep paralysis episode early this morning, around 4-5 a.m. I remember getting up to get a drink of water at the kitchen and returning back to my bedroom. I felt unsettled and had trouble getting back to sleep. I finally fell asleep on my left side, but shortly bolted awake. I tried moving but I couldn’t. Then I tried to see if I could speak and I couldn’t. I didn’t feel the pressure on my chest, I’m assuming it’s because I didn’t fall asleep on my back. I read a lot about sleep paralysis in the past, so I was aware of what was happening. I also remembered what my father had said long ago when he experienced sleep paralysis. He told me that the first thing I should do was to pray. Pray over and over until it ended. I decided to do so, but stopped when I heard multiple whispers to my right. It felt like all those whispers were coming from one source and the breath of that said source was cold. I listened closely to see if I could interpret what was being said but did so with no luck. After a minute or so, I regained my mobility. Being the first time I experienced sleep paralysis, I felt absolutely no fear, but it’s probably because I only experienced auditory hallucinations and not visual hallucinations. It certainly was a strange thing to go through.

    • Hi Renee
      Thanks for your comment. I think that knowing what was happening probably went a long way to helping you keep calm throughout. The vast majority of people find their first episode to be very disturbing, so it’s good you escaped that level of fear. And not everyone does experience chest pressure when they have sleep paralysis. The actual hallucinations experienced vary a lot between people.

  • Hello, My name is Orlando and I am looking to write a play that consists of various sleep Paralysis experiences. I don’t want to dramatize anything. I just want people’s real stories. I’ve heard recently that people have positive experiences with sleep paralysis and really hope to hear one or two of these stories as well. I went through sleep paralysis myself for months (never positive) and it changed my life. Even when it ended I struggled with paranoia for about a year afterwards. So I promise I’m not trying to exploit anyone. If anyone has a particular story they feel like they must share please reply to this comment!

    • Hi Orlando
      Thanks for your comment. That sounds very interesting, though I can imagine a possibly scary play depending on how you write it! If anyone is interested, I’m sure they will reply to you.

  • I just had my first experience of sleep paralysis.

    It was the third dream that I remembered having in the night. I thought I had woken from my second dream…
    Like I looked at my phone and saw my notifications and everything.
    I tried to go back to sleep (I was laying on my right facing a wall next to the door) I heard a knock and but I couldn’t see the door. I was paralysed… Frozen and couldn’t speak… I tried so hard to speak or move but I couldn’t. I saw a shadowy figure come towards me in a ghostly way and put something over my face as if it were going to suffocate me.

    I ‘woke up’ convinced that there was someone actually at the door. Because of a light outside in the hall it looked open to me so I called out “yes”…. “Hello”…. Turned on my phone torch and it was fully shut…

    Then my friend told me about it all and it made more sense to me but 100% the most scary thing that’s ever happened to me!



    • Hi Micah
      Thanks for your comment. The first time sleep paralysis happens it can be particularly disturbing and a bit of a shock, to say the least. With a bit of luck it will be a one-off, but if it does happen again hopefully the ideas in the article will stay in your mind to try.

  • I’m only 24 years old but I had experience countless sleep paralysis since I was 17. Some are scary, such as someone is choking me, but sometimes its just nothing, as if that ‘thing’ just want to lay next to me and chill. But recently, I experienced something different, which I felt someone was trying to kiss me or try to make love to me. I immediately try to wake up, and succeed every time but I always felt fatigued afterwards and felt so sleepy at work. I don’t know what else to do.

    • Hi Ayane
      Thanks for your comment. Sorry to hear you’ve had such a disturbing experience – that must have been very unpleasant. Perhaps you’re feeling fatigued because of not getting good quality sleep in general the nights that you experience sleep paralysis. Try and see if the advice in the article can help you reduce the frequency or it happening, and also try to work on your sleep habits if you don’t sleep well generally.

  • This was my first ever experience with sleep paralysis. This occoured the same night as this is being posted. I was having multiple nightmares, and constantly was waking up. One example was when my mom told me to “take the wheel”, and me being under aged, I tipped the car. However, the car stayed up in an odd way, and everything got dark and quiet, and I couldn’t move or talk. After that we teleported somewhere and I was hallucinating in the dream, I say a cheetah on a bush, and a weird satanic doll on my moms hand, and it all got dark, and I couldn’t talk or move again. After these constant nightmares is when the sleep paralysis occoured. It felt as though my whole bed was moving, and someone was pushing hard on my chest, but I couldn’t feel any hands, just feel it. After this I just had to calm myself and get a drink.

    • Hi there
      Thanks for your comment. I think it’s quite common for people to have a link between a nightmare and sleep paralysis. I know what you mean in having to calm yourself down, and it’s good that you did that. If it happens again, try some of the techniques in the article.

  • Ever since I was in the 6th grade I’ve experienced sleep paralysis. Sometimes I see the face of the girl from the original exorcist movie when she gets possessed right in my face, as if she were laying on top of me. And I can’t move and it’s so scary, how I just have to stare in her face! I am now 23 and this is still happening to me every now and then. I also experience another one where I’m just laying down and I feel something or someone tugging on my covers, but in this one I don’t see anything. Just feel the presence of someone, and that too is so horrifying
    I can 100% say that what has helped me go years without having an episode was reading some prayers. As when I didn’t do that I noticed that episodes would come back. I think It’s a way for me to know that God is good and he will always be there to protect us no matter what.

    • Hi Alyssa
      Thanks for your comment. That sounds like a very frightening experience indeed! I can’t imagine what it must be like to see such a scary face in front of yours. It’s good that you found something that helps though, and now you should have some more ideas to try out too.

  • So I have experienced sleep paralysis for 4 years now. It started when i was twelve, and now I am 16. My first couple times I thought it was lucid dreaming because I was able to control some aspect of what was going on. I kept on reading online about how lucid dreaming is a good experience, but these dreams were not. It was recurring for about 3 months before I told my mom. She researched it and found that it was sleep paralysis. After all the signs matched up I was sure it was, and I did alot of research on it. The stories made it even more frightening for me causing more episodes of it. Three years later from that I have come to accept it and it does not frighten me anymore when I am awake. However, the experiences have gotten alot worse since they’ve started four years ago. In the beginning, I only felt the aspect of where I could not move or speak. It wasn’t until after I told my mom that I began to feel the weight on my chest. I still had no feeling of anyone else in the room. This past year is when it has gotten worse. It happens at least 5 times per month and there is always something else in the room that I can see a shadow of. Like I said, while the episode is occuring, It is one of the most terrifying things, but once I wake up from it, I am usually too tired to do anything and I just flip over and fall back asleep. I find it fascinating to read articles about it. I really like how this article was put together.

    • Hi Mia
      Thanks for your comment, and your kind words about the article. I’m very happy to hear you found it useful. I can totally appreciate how it’s so terrifying. And it can be distressing when it happens on a regular basis. But I also think that because it happens so regularly, it’s important to find a way to learn to cope with it and not be so scared by it. I think it’s good in this case to try an remind yourself on a regular basis too than nothing bad happens and that you do get through it every time it happens.
      In addition, I hope you’ve found some useful ideas in the article. Try to keep in your mind the idea of staying calm and wiggling a finger or toe. They are both very helpful approached to dealing with it in the moment.

  • This has been a highly interesting read.

    I have suffered from sleep paralysis regularly from the ages of 21 – 32 (current age), as well as periodical bouts of “exploding head syndrome” where I’ve been jolted awake by loud auditory hallucinations and tactile, current-like hallucinations. On some occasions I have experienced “lucid dreaming” where the conscious mind is fully awake. This has subjectively felt like travelling fast through a tunnel before returning to more regular sleep while remaining fully aware of the situations.

    In regards to the hallucination of travelling through a tunnel, I believe this must be caused by some sort of feedback loop in the visual cortex, where the visual cortex is disabled in preparation or cessation of REM sleep.

    This results in a tunnel-like image, similar to when one points a camera at a monitor while filming the monitor – a tunnel-like image appears which is really only iterations of the previous input.

    Similarly, “exploding head syndrome” must be caused by a feedback loop in the auditory cortex in the temporal lobe, as when one holds a microphone to an amplified output, or a guitar next to an amplifier. I guess this is essentially an amplification of ambient sound due to these iterations which build upon each other.

    Like sleep paralysis, these interrelated conditions must be caused by some sort of malfunctioning in the “boot sequence” of the various brain functions/parts when entering or leaving REM sleep. Consciousness and self-awareness return while neural processes related to REM sleep are ongoing.

    In my experience, the most consistently easy way to escape the paralysis is to focus on movement on a small appendix like a finger or toe. This seems to “synchronize” the rest of the CNS.

    When younger I used to think tales of alien abductions, religious visitations and out-of-body experiences were tall tales, but after experiencing full-on sleep paralysis a few times, there is no wonder some people believe these things. Darn, this experience can be highly uncomfortable.

    • Hi there
      Thanks for your comment and for sharing your interesting theories about sleep paralysis and exploding head syndrome. The feedback loop idea is an interesting one, though I’m not sure if it’s the exact cause.
      I think your technique for dealing with sleep paralysis is a good one – I recommend it myself as it’s helped me in the past. And you’re right I think in that sleep paralysis could well be responsible for many people’s experiences of things like alien abduction.

  • I have had many episodes of sleep paralysis before, but this last one might have been the most vivid and frightening yet. My sleep pattern has been kind of strange lately, and I’ve just come back home from college, and tonight was my first night sleeping in this new place I haven’t slept for a year. Maybe that explains it.
    Anyway, I was falling asleep, and can’t have been asleep for very long. Suddenly, my eyes snapped open and I couldn’t breathe. A figure with a white sheet tied over its head with rope–it looked sort of like the Magritte painting ‘The Lovers’ and sort of like a hanging victim–was on top of me, trying to strangle me. I felt like I struggled for minutes. My first instinct is always to call out, and I could hear my parents in the other room, could see the light under my door, and I literally tried to yell “mom” about 20 times but felt like I wasn’t making any noise. Then something shifted and I was gazing at the room across from my bed. And then I could see a dark, terrifying figure, who looked like a woman, contorting all her limbs and cackling, and I was sure she was controlling the figure on top of me to try and make it kill me. I thought my room had been somehow severed from the rest of the house and I would literally die in here, 20 feet away from the rest of my family.
    I’m obviously awake and alive now and thinking more rationally, but still not eager to go back to sleep. Reading the explanations and other comments here was helpful though! Thank you!

    • Hi Juliet
      Thanks for your comment. That does sound like a particularly scary experience, so it’s no wonder you weren’t too keen on going back to sleep. I’m glad you found the article and comments useful though. Hopefully the tips will also stay in your head in case it happens again.

  • Sleep paralysis began for me during my high school years. Back then they were frequent, but tame in comparison to what I’ve read/heard–usually only experiencing faint sounds or the feeling of an invisible presence, and since then they went on hiatus for a few years.

    Fast forward to this past Thanksgiving. I’m now 25 years old and living in an apartment. My younger brother was visiting and had pushed open my bedroom door halfway to stand in and ask me something while I lay on my bed, tilting my head up to see him. Some time later I fell asleep in the same position, and around 1am I woke to paralysis, which after so many years no longer felt familiar to me, so naturally I struggled without success to break free, and that’s when I noticed I could tilt my head, and upon doing so I was hit with deja vu–my door was pushed halfway open, but standing in the crack wasn’t my little brother. Instead I saw a silhouette shaped like my brother, pitch black with pupil-less, milky white eyes staring at me. My fear immediately heightened and I went back to struggling, but again I couldn’t free myself, and against my better judgement I peeked back up at my door. The door was still ajar, but there was no longer anything standing in it, and just when I thought of relaxing there was noise. It sounded like something was scuttling along the darkness of the floor, and it grew louder as whatever it was drew near, and with that I pressed even harder to wriggle out of my paralysis. The instant I has freedom of my limbs I sat up without hesitation only to see that my door had been closed the whole time as it had been before I dozed off.

    Thinking back on that night, now around 6 and a half months later I can’t help but feel curious about what I had seen. It was literally as though my brain had taken a mental image of my younger brother standing in the doorway and kept it for a later, sinister usage.

    • Hi Kyle
      Thanks for your comment. I can completely see why that episode was so scary – it’s the stuff of horror films! I think very often the content of sleep paralysis hallucinations is based on memories, whether recent or in the distant past. The brain has an amazing way of retaining information and it then surfacing as the most unexpected of times. Hopefully it won’t happen again, but if it does, try out some of the tricks and techniques in the article.

  • I just experienced an episode of this a few hours ago. I thought it was an evil spirit that had me pinned down because I was unable to move. My 16 yr old son explained sleep paralysis to me and I decided to Google it. I’ve never heard of this before today but as I researched this, it sounds very much like what I experienced.

    • Hi Tomika
      Thanks for your comment. It’s great that your son realised what it probably was and pointed you in the right direction to find out more. Hopefully the article will have given you the information you needed as well as some tips for dealing with it if it happens again.

  • Hi. I had a really frightening experience the other night of which I’ve never had before. I’m 55 yr old, female recently lost my father. I woke to a creaking sound in my room like floor boards an thought it was my partner, I then saw a dark shadow at the foot of my bed an I felt it’s weight sit on the corner I still thought it was my partner it then lay down on the space next to me an o felt an arm coming over me like a cuddle. I could feel the weight of it along my body at my side. For some reason I knew it wasn’t my partner an I tried to shout out to my daughter in the next room an couldn’t open my mouth. I fully woke but wasn’t really scared just baffled an was drifting off again when it happened again. Tried to shout again, this time I woke fully an sat up looked at the time 1.30 am. I wasn’t that frightened that I got anyone up but kept the light on an asked if it was my dad to stop as I was scared. I was freaked by it that I kept my light on at night for weeks.

    • Hi Lori
      Thanks for your comment. I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your father. It does sound like sleep paralysis to me, due to not being able to speak when you woke up and had these hallucinations. In fact though, you’re not the first reader to say they had an experience like this after the passing of a family member. I do wonder if there’s something to be said for the powerful emotions and thoughts we have when something like this happens possibly triggering sleep disturbances like this. It makes sense that our brains are very occupied with trying to come to terms with the loss, and so perhaps in the nighttime it can materialize as hallucinations, dreams, nightmares etc.
      Try not to stress about it too much – easier said than done I know. And I hope you can sleep well again now after the period of keeping the light on.

  • Hello, thank you for your article! I just experienced something alike -few minutes ago and it’s second time this month I decided to Google it… it happens in a stage when I am waking up from a dream… I feel someone’s or something’s presence behind me, moving on the bed. First time was on my back jumping like a dog and now it was near me… it’s stopping my breath…

    • Hi Elena
      Thanks for your comment and I’m glad you appreciate the article! When you say stopping your breath, do you mean because you feel scared when it happens? I’m guessing so, in which case hopefully you’ll feel a little more at ease with it having read the article. Try to stay calm if it happens again, and see if you can put the tips into action to deal with it better.

    • Hello,

      This exact experience happened to me as well. I let my sister have my dog for the night and went to bed. That night, my dog (or so I thought) jumped on my back and walked up my back to sniff my neck in between my hair. The second I realized that’s not my dog, he’s not home, something starting pushing my face into the pillow vigorously. It was absolutely terrifying. Then another experience happened right after as it always happens in twos.

  • I experienced this for the first time last night. It was the most terrifying event so far of my lifetime. I am 54 years old. I was asleep, then I felt as if I were awake and could not move, I kept yelling for my partner to wake up. I wanted to go to the emergency room as I felt something was seriously wrong. Then I had the demon experience. I felt as if something was in the room, in the house, I dreamed that I was trying to get the lights on but they would not turn on. I thought the electric was out and I could not get it back on. I went to the fuse box and my body passed through the wall. This was so very real, I was totally terrified. I felt as if a demon was in the room and controlling the events. (I think it is the closest to entering the gates of hell, that I every want to be) I finally was able to yell and wake my partner up, who in return woke me up. I was afraid to go back to sleep. After a while I made him sit up, and watch me sleep on the couch for a while. After about 45 minutes of what seemed a calm sleep, he gently woke me and I went back to bed. This was horrible, and something that I do not want to ever experience again.

    • Hi John
      Thanks for your comment. I know sleep paralysis can be extremely frightening, especially the first time it happens and with such vivid experiences. Hopefully from reading this article you’ll feel a bit more informed about what happened, as well as have some ideas for dealing with it should you have another experience. But with a little luck, it will just be a one off, as is the case with many people. Do try not to allow it to keep you awake worrying at night though. I know it’s easier said than done, but it’s important not to allow worry to affect your sleep.

  • Excellent mate! But be thankful to people,Ethan and mainly this website for this trick. Wish you all the best and I hope you fully eradicate it.

  • Interesting read! I occasionally experience a floating/hovering or “standing-in-the-corner” presence. (I’m 47, didn’t experience this years ago.) I feel like I SHOULD be frightened by the presence, but like other responders to your survey, I kind of enjoy the thrill, like a scary movie. Somehow I’m aware I’m half asleep and hallucinating.

    • Hi Martrese
      Thanks for your comment, I’m pleased you enjoyed the article. It’s always good to hear from readers who aren’t so scared by sleep paralysis. I guess if you’re naturally a fan of scary movies, it makes sense that some people would enjoy the ride as you say. But maybe not those who enjoy them, but have to hide behind a pillow when it gets too tense!

  • Great article. I want to say that I’ve experienced this since I was young. Examples of what I mean is I remember when I was about anywhere from 8 to 11 years old I shared my room with my brothers, one Saturday morning my brothers were up early watching Saturday morning cartoons and I was the last to wake up I could hear the tv on and see the light on in the room and everything but like many could not move until a few wiggling of toes and fingers. Never really thought much of it because I thought it was because it was a result of sleeping late.

    Told my parents on many occasions and brought he idea you feel like something is pushing down on you like a weight no your chest so it might be hereditary maybe passed down through me. Oddly enough out of all my siblings I’m the only one I know of that has experienced this phenomenon.

    Later experiences and present day now in my 20s I was still experiencing sleep paralysis I had on a few occasions where I would know I’d be falling a sleep in my room would ask my brother who would be watching TV or laying in his bed next to mine “if you see me begin to shake or wiggle my fingers, toes etc or even try and speak try and wake me up” which he has and it sort of worked to a certain degree.

    My current solutions towards fixing my sleep paralysis problem has been as follows.

    – I watch a movie to go to bed help tire me out some more if I’m not already feeling sleepy I obviously stay away from any horror/scary movies for obvious influential reasons don’t wanna trigger a nightmare or anything although haven’t had a nightmare since maybe I was kid. I mostly watch a action film like Star Wars, Karate flick, or comedy like Wolf of Wall street.

    – Going to Sleep early and on time.

    – I workout early in the morning hit the gym as soon as possible I get a cardio session and weightlifting session in helps out

    – I eat a properly balance diet especially something nutritious in the morning like oatmeal and banana/cereal. As well as clean hours before bed.

    – Drink water daily and all throughout the day even before bed.

    – I listen to a podcast radio with headphones on if I don’t watch a movie. Whatever my liking is whether it’s Stars, cars, relationships podcast or comedy.

    – Try and keep my mind clear prepare my myself an hour before bed. I can be a deep thinker at times and find that going to bed thinking heavy on the days thoughts and past thoughts have something to do with it.

    – But I also try and think positive. It’s been happening to me a for sometime now and really isn’t scary at all just more so annoying. But, I know it nothing to worry myself about and haven’t had an incident since.

    • Hi Adam
      Thanks for your comment and for sharing your sleep paralysis story and techniques. I think everything you say makes good sense, not just for helping with sleep paralysis, but for sleeping well in general. Keep up the good sleep practices!

  • Hi everybody! I used the ‘wiggle a finger’ technique but kinda’ improved it slightly and I was happy with it. I used to experience many hallucinations. You all can say that my experiences were quite disturbing as it would not at all let me sleep at nights. One night,I was somewhat aware of this disorder as it happened me a lot times (Maybe because I met with an accident years ago which caused me to bleed from my head).So at that night,while sleeping, I started pain in my head as usual and was unable to move. It troubled me a lot beforehand. I felt like my brain telling me to bear all the pain and die. I felt like I may die because I had my body disabled and also sensing suffocation. Right then,(maybe because staying in that crucified state for longer)I started having hallucinations and symptoms that consisted of hearing wierd sounds like a microphone feedback(constant). Plus, I had illusions of events that occured in that day itself. For some examples….um….I remember that day was quite boring in the school. Instead of the words’Translate these’, I saw the word ‘Concentrate’ written on the blackboard and heard my teacher yelling that word constantly. It was a total headache. It indicated that I had terrible headache and instantly decided to try coming out of the nightmare. I tried hard and managed to wiggle my hand. Finally, hard work paid off and eventually recovered from that state. It ended the chapter that took whole 5 minutes to get free from the paralysis. I then googled the disorder that night itself in the internet and discovered this site. I learnt more about this disorder and wiggling the finger. With this ‘coolest ever’ article, I devised my own method-‘Emerge in seconds’ and this time I patiently for my appointment of the freakin’ disorder to happen… Ta da! It was quite enjoyable session to break the link between my brain and the paralysis within 5 seconds. Thanx a lot again and remember my trick ‘Believe that you have the key to end that madness as we are humans and there is nothing that a human can’t do! Remember this every time to experience it and while it happens, BREAK THE BRIDGE,EMERGE VICTORIOUS! By practising it, maybe you book yourself a ticket to a happy ending for that freaky disorder. But I believe that it may tell you how you should improve yourself the next day as I lacked ‘concentration’ on that day. And one more thing,’Are Astral realm true?’ It may not be!

    • Hi Binju
      Thanks for your comment. Now I understand what you meant by improving the next day that you mentioned in a different comment on this site! I’m very glad you liked the article and I think it’s great that you used it as a base to go on and devise your own successful technique for dealing with the sleep paralysis. Long may it last!

  • I tried the ‘wiggle a finger’ technique too and was successful in breaking the paralysis. Thanx a lot bcoz i experienced many things while starting to sleep. I once thought that it would kill me as i was exposed to it for a longer time. What happened that time was that i was involuntarily trying to bear it…it felt like my brain told me to bear the pain. But it was quite different. I was experiencing some type of sound on my ears like a microphone feedback. It also showed me corrupt views of the day like instead of seeing the word ‘translate this’ on school blackboard, i noticed the word ‘concentrate’ more often and heard my teacher repeating it many times in that wierd sleep session. Later, i became inspired from your method of breaking the disorder and devised my own technique-‘awake in seconds’. It made me somewhat invulnerable to its effect. I can now break the sessions in just 2 seconds before realizing full paralysis. I think that the sleep paralysis disorder might be a part-time helper too, ’cause it tells me how should i improve the next day..

    • Hi binju,
      Thanks for your comment. Well done for your success in getting the finger trick to work. I’m not sure I follow the part about improving the next day, but anyway, hopefully you’ll continue having success with dealing with the sleep paralysis.

    • Hi Jaco
      Thanks for your comment. Many people believe things like this, but I would say not to worry about it. Perhaps show this article to your grandma and see what she thinks after reading it.

  • All these events happened with me too.. Not once or twice.. But hundred’s of times…
    I m 18 now.. And it doesn’t happen now… I experienced it when i was 17… It happened so many times that i got used to it..
    Lets start from beginning…

    When i was younger i had ability to control dreams… I knew that it’s just a dream.. (though no one believed me.. :3 )

    Then one afternoon I experienced a astral projection. Unable to move .. Or breathe.. The more i tried to move the more pain i had in my head.. N felt like someone is there behind me… It felt like i m going up towards fan.. But after trying a lot to move.. I fell on bed again.. And became normal…
    But i at that time too.. I believed that its just a dream.. (n never shared it with anyone.. That astral projection happened only once..)

    Soon I started experiening them again n again.. (not that astral projection part)…
    That pain I had to suffer to move was just horrifying..
    But i still refused to believe in demons .. I thought its just a dream that i can’t control ..

    The more i fought with it the more it happened (sometimes thrice a night.. Just after going to sleep…)
    It felt so real… So one day to clarify whether i m actually wake or not.. During that experience.. It kept my rooms lights on..

    So as it happened i opened my eyes and founded tthat light turned on.. Which means i was truly awake n its not a DREAM… it’s REAL..
    I was thunderstruck…..

    I started to fear sleeping..

    As months passed i got used to that .. That awkward pain…

    N started enjoying it…( believe me.. :p)

    Thn those events stopped…

    Here are the things that i learned..

    1- Just believe that u r going to be okay.. No one is around u .. N there is no demon trying to kill U..
    2- relax and concentrate on the part which u wanna move… U may not be able to.. But still try ur best..
    U may feel pain but u will wake up with a boom …
    3- Start enjoying it andstart experiments (like i did with the light)
    4-If u are havin them frequently ask someone to watch u while sleeping..
    5- feel lucky enough that u r special to experience those things…

    Hope it helps…. (i wish i can get those experiences again.. ;))

    • Hi Akshansh
      Thanks for your comment and for sharing your experience of sleep paralysis. I think many of your ideas are very useful, and I know many readers have success with focusing on one part of their body at once. Also, many have tried experimenting with different ways to either go with the sleep paralysis, maybe lucid dreaming, or changing the environment to deal with it better.
      It’s also always good to hear from people who enjoy these kind of experiences. It gives hope to others that perhaps one day they won’t find it so scary either.

  • I used to experience sleep paralysis every time I’d go to sleep, including my daily naps, so I would often force myself to stay awake as long as possible because I had no clue why I was paralyzed when I’d wake up and why I’d see things.
    The first time it happened was absolutely horrifying for me. It started a few years ago when I was a freshman in high school, I would come home and nap after school, but when I woke up I couldn’t move or speak. I hallucinated that a shadowy figure was crawling into my room from the door frame, and even when I closed my eyes I would see the horrible figure, as if I could see through my eyelids. The only part of my I could move was my toes, but I could only curl them very slowly.
    After a while of experiencing these, I started to try changing my sleeping habits and discovered that they didn’t occur while sleeping on my side. Since that discovery, I’ve avoided sleeping on my back at all costs. Even to this day, if I fall asleep on my back, I wake up in sleep paralysis.
    I wish I could understand why this only occurs when I sleep flat on my back.

    • Hi Kristy
      Thanks for your comment. Many people have said the same, that it only happens when they sleep on their back. I’m not entirely sure why it happens, but I sometimes think the brain doesn’t register the same fear from the pressure on the lungs or heart when sleeping on the back, and that it’s easier to see something familiar like the bedding or pillow rather than gazing upwards into the darkness between the body and the ceiling, but those are just my ideas.

  • I have had hypnogogia and sleep paralysis since I was a child. The other night, I went to bed around 3 am. I know I don’t get enough sleep and I am stressed. I also sleep on my back which is a prime position for it. Anyway, I shut my eyes and thought I immediately opened them (there wasn’t a lot of time that passed because I checked the clock later). A light went on in the other room and I knew someone was in the house and I needed to wake up my husband, but I can’t wake up. I can hear them moving around and then I’m fighting to wake up or moan. Usually I do moan loud enough for my hubby to hear. Then I see a shadow move into the room and it’s about to attack me and I think I’m moving when in reality I’m not. This time, I screamed loud (what my neighbors must think). I repeatedly have this type of dream. Sometimes, I see a dog or a person and feel like they are going to hurt my hubby and I struggle to get him to shake me awake by making noise. Somewhere in my mind I know it’s not real, but I feel terror. There are times when I will wake up (usually because hubby shakes me awake because I’m making noise) and I will feel like I’m falling right back into it. Sometimes, I have, but now, I force myself to stay awake until I feel it has past and then I let myself go back to sleep. There were times in college where I would know that if I made one more move, I’d fall to my death and I would think I was moving to get out of the dream (feeling like if my head touched the pillow, I would die), and my roommate would look at me like I was crazy when I would yell at her because she didn’t help me when I was making noise and moving, but she said I never moved. It’s scary and happens to me a few times a week usually.

    • Hi Nikki
      Thanks for your comment and for sharing your sleep paralysis story. I know it can be very frightening when you’re in the middle of episodes like you describe. Hopefully though you’ll now have some good ideas from the article for dealing with it the next time it happens. Try to remember if you can that it’s just sleep paralysis and try the finger or toe wiggling trick. Many people have success with that.

  • Really glad I’ve come across this and is kind of a reliefe that its “normal” to happen to anyone. Last month i actually was dreaming that i was being crushed by a wall and woke up couldn’t move my legs or arms just felt so heavy and whole body was aching was very scary x

    • Hi Vera
      Thanks for your comment. I’m glad you found some relief in learning about this. It does sometimes happen that people have sleep paralysis experiences which seem to link from the dream. Hopefully it won’t happen again though, as many people do just have a one-off.

  • Mine is happening more than a year now my doctor recommended a cpap machine it is quite helping but it started to happen again every night it is terrifying specially when i am soo tired.I jolt from my sleep and focus myself to reassure that i am really awake.The feeling is scary as sometimes i need to shout out my sleeping husband to wake me up and if he’s not around i wash my face with water .Please help any suggestions would be appreciated .My greatest fear is a sleep coma as my sleep doctor said there is really such a thing.My episode happens the first 30 mins when i start sleeping at night that is my crucial moment .

    • Hi there
      Thanks for your comment. Was the CPAP machine recommended because you have a form of sleep apnea? If so, it doesn’t sound like sleep paralysis is what you’re experiencing. If you feel it’s not helping enough, then really you need to talk that through with your doctor to make sure the machine is right for you.

  • my sleep paralysis only happens when i sleep in my room ,( to be exact when ever i sleep on turning right side it triggers ) it always starts with my bed shaking roughly then i feel my bedroom door open and then someone force me down . after it started happening every night i realized that my bed wasnt shaking roughly , it was ( my heart or brain pounded) .i felt like my soul shaking inside me every time i woke up paralysed.

    • Hi Yamin
      Thanks for your comment. That all sounds quite scary indeed! Try some of the tips in the article next time it happens, and try to avoid that sleep position if you can.

  • Hi.
    thanks it was a very helpful article. I had sleep paralysis in past like 2 or 3 times but I didn’t took it to seriously. but from last week it’s happening frequently. I got paralyzed like 3 times in last week, I was a bit worried about it but thanks to you for clearing that for me. But I want to ask is it possible for 2 guys getting sleep paralyzed at in same night because this is what happen to me and my friend when I got paralyzed last time (not talking about this week incidents) first it happen to me and then my friend. I am actually very relived to read this article but I am still not sure to trust which one is causing it stress or some paranormal force

    • Hi Ahmed
      Thanks for your comment. Actually, a few readers in the past 2 years have said they experienced it at the same time, or in the same night as someone else. But it’s not that commonly reported all in all. My view is that it’s a coincidence, or one person’s experience is somehow triggering a partial waking in the other person, leading to sleep paralysis.
      I know that it’s not always easy to let go of the paranormal explanation. But my advice would be to try, and you’ll find it’s easier to forget about it all once you know it’s just the brain at work.

  • I just had a lucid dream where I heard my name being called. Then an evil ghost like face came towards me. Suddenly I got chills throughout my body. I tell myself to open my eyes but I can’t. Then I fixed on something positive and it went away. Very scary.

  • I had a number of sleep paralysis ( if that’s what they were) episodes in childhood that were terrifying. I would wake to find small,malevolent creatures on the floor of my room. Even weirder than that , sometimes I would wake top a loud rushing noise on my ears or a huge wind threatening to blow me away .Once I remember hands seeming to be pulling me by the feet, out of my body. Sometimes I would awake to feel my body as an energy field , buzzing at high velocity. After these events I would wake properly, in terror , part of the terror came from thinking I was awake ( thus it was real not a dream to me ) and then waking properly. I had some more of these in my late twenties ( I am now in my sixties) I also had a lot of lucid dreaming which still happens very occasionally and usually bought on by intense physical activity while dreaming ( surfing, running, anything involving acceleration) . So I read quite a bit about lucid dreaming, astral travel and sleep paralysis …its all mixed up , sorry, not very scientifically recounted and the fear associated has played havoc with my sleep quality over time. The scientific explanations are not comforting or even convincing , nor are the spiritualistic/religious ones. I think we are still in a very primitive stage of understating consciousness . The binary model of conscious/unconscious doesn’t help.

    • Hi Miles
      Thanks for your comment. You’re right int that there’s still so much to learn about the human brain and consciousness. I guess if none of the explanations for sleep paralysis sit well with you then perhaps just taking a practical approach to dealing with it might be a way forwards. Some of the techniques in the article do work well for many people. So until it’s fully understood in a way that means something to you, try some of those ideas to at least reduce the fear factor.

  • I exprienced my last sleep paralysis on last night. I can’t exactly remember the time for which it happened to me but I slept at 12 and woke up at 12:20 of midnight and also the attack is in 3-4 lots.
    First time I experience like someone was trying to press me hard but I somehow manage to shrugg off. At the same time I also know that I am in my room and I am trying well to shrugg him off. Second time it feels like someone was trying to cover up me with a blanket and I was trying hard to keep away that from me. Next time I feel like I was in my native hometown and an old lady (I know her, she was a distant grandmother) was saying something to me . At that time , the attacks got sharp and this time I tried my best to keep that pressing thing off and managed to wake up. I was in fear when I woke up.

    What is even more interesting that I got these attacks at least once in a week. And when I place a matchstick box (as my mother suggested me, it keeps devils off from you) besides me, I never experoence such type of sleep paralysis attack.

    • Hi raghav
      Thanks for your comment. I guess you should keep that matchstick box next to the bed every night! I’d love to know the history behind that concept – I’ve never heard of it before. Hopefully as well as this trick, you’ll also have some other ideas you can put into action next time now.

  • Brilliant and very insightful, thank you. I am so relieved that there is another explanation, to what feels like a pure evil force.

    i am in my forties and had the out of body, bedroom ceiling and also the astral soaring experience a couple of times, but the demonic like presence very close to my face, more often.

    I usually try unsuccessfully to move and scream. And eventually my screams become mumbles that release the paralysis and most of the fear.

    I keep the light on for comfort after such an episode.

    Thank you, I hope that next time I will remember to use the one toe or finger wiggle

    Renette H

    • Hi Renette
      Thanks for your comment, and I’m very pleased you found the article helpful. I hope you do remember the technique if it happens again and that it helps you effectively.

  • I had a episode in the wee hours of this morning.. I have them several times a yr but this time something was pushing on my chest. I do suffer from anxiety and I didnt take my meds before bed which i regret. I also had a few panic attacks yesterday that sent me to the ER and then I wake up to this this religion has always told us that this mean the devil is on you back..smh…I only have this experience though when I sleep on my back which is my favorite position..I don’t get much sleep if I don’t sleep on my back..I can’t stand this whole experience..I’m so tired of it happening.

    • Hi Sophia
      Thanks for your comment. Sorry to hear the sleep paralysis and anxiety has been affecting you so much. Perhaps it might be good to try and sleep in other positions if possible – it might take some training to get used to it, but may be worth it. I also literally just replied to someone else that panic attacks, whilst horrible, can be helped. Have you tried looking for specialist websites with help? And there is also cognitive behavioral therapy which can be very effective in helping people learn to cope with panic attacks.

  • I’ve experienced this probally 7 are 8 maybe lil more times. Iam 33 years old with still rods in my my back only way I can sleep on my back. Its horrible iam a Christian one time the 2nd in fact I woke up too a black looking cloud of energy and I could feel how evil it was in my heart I’ve had a mild stroke in my younger 20s so I no heart pain and my heart feelt 3 times as stronger hurting than a stroke I’ve seen and felt every time like something there I just can’t see it only twice have I actually seen demon like creatures I say in my mind in the name of God command u go and it works for me that 2nd time I mentioned before I sleep butted up too my window and as I said that the black energy ball went towards my window and as it went byside me I was able too roll over on my side and as I watched it go out the window soon as it was gone I came too I’ve been having panic attacks every since. it’s sucks when u wake up and can’t move are speak and your heart feels like your dieng

    • Hi Klaus
      Thanks for your comment. I know, it can be very unpleasant indeed. Hopefully this article will have given you some peace of mind though. Panic attacks are also extremely unpleasant, and you can get help to control them. There are websites which specialise in this, but you can also get help from a cognitive behavioral therapist if you have access to one.

  • This runs in my family…..used to happen quite often as a younger woman, along with what they call, night terrors. I am now 63 and it hasn’t occured since I took my specialist’s advice. You see, in my family, we all suffer from arthritis & some, including myself, have slight to major curvature of the spine. My rheumatologist said that since it only would happen when I slept on my back, that it was caused by miss alignment of the vertebrae. Once I focused on NEVER lying on my back… it never returned. But it was extremely frightening and I remember sweating profusely and only being able to make this horrible sound, similar to an animal being caught in barbed wire !! Panicking certainly did not help, but I never was able to calm myself. Now I needn’t worry about it, BUT remember well how isolated and scared I was!!!

    • Hi Mignonne
      Thanks for your comment. Yes, it can be difficult to stay calm when it’s happening, even if you know you should do before it happens! It’s good that you don’t get it anymore, and interesting that you think it’s connected to position, as many others have said.

  • This article has been so very comforting to know that I’m not crazy. Lol. My sleep paralysis started at 16. First time I felt I had levitated. It was the scariest thing I ever experienced. I was terrified for years after that. Waiting for it to happen again. Then as years passed I think I looked back at it like maybe it didn’t happen. It didn’t happen for years later. I was 22. And then seem to happen every 2-3 months for a few years. No reason or pattern causing it. And back in the late 70’s early 80’s. It wasn’t heard of. I didn’t know what was happening. Until by chance maybe 10 years ago I decided to google my symptoms. And there it was everything I ever experienced was right there in black & white. I wasn’t crazy. I wasn’t possessed I wasn’t abducted. So then I told my mom thinking she would commit me. I never spoke of it to anyone. I still get them. My middle son goes on my computer in my room at night while my husband works grave yard shift. He knows when they are coming. He says I seem to whimper at first then cry. He then immediately wakes me up. Thank god he’s there. He watches me every night it’s been 2 years or more since last one. And I still fear it will happen. Never fall asleep on your back. Don’t go to bed right after being on the computer or phone. Relax at least 30 minutes in a calm environment with the tv off maybe petting your dog or washing your face etc. and when it happens never go right back to sleep no matter how tired you are you will slip right back into it. I’m not afraid anymore like I was. Because I know now what is happening remain calm and realize your body is just frozen as your mind is awake. Have someone watch you the first few hours you are asleep. And just know it isn’t a demon or a ghost or an alien its your body most likely so very tired. I hope it never happens again I try to be positive and not be afraid. But there’s that one chance my son won’t be in the room when it happens. And maybe I won’t cry or whimper to alert him somethings wrong. But I can’t live in fear. But every time it happens takes me months to be able to go to my room and bed without dread. I still look at my room like is tonight the night. You’ll never forget what it’s like. And no one really understands what it’s like unless they experience it. And the best thing dont use to many pillows. Run a fan and keep a light on in the hallway. Good luck to everyone ❤️??.

    • Hi Diana
      Thanks for your comment. It sounds like you’ve really been battling sleep paralysis for a long time! A lot of your advice makes good sense, and it’s great that you try to be positive about it. However, the one thing that concerns me is having someone watching you for so long every night. I think this is probably a bit of a drain on the best of people, so perhaps it would be a good thing to work towards being able to sleep alone. Hopefully the article will have reassured you that nothing bad will actually happen, so it’s a case of finding ways to snap out of it yourself and reduce the dependency on your son. It’s something to think about anyway!

  • My sleep paralysis episodes happen only on Sundays… Not sure why. Mine feel as if my whole body is numb and a vibration passes through my entire body. And sometimes this vibration has a creepy sound, like a deep humming. Although the first time it happened to me there was a lot of whispering in both of my ears. I didn’t know what was happening to me, but now this has almost become daily. And when i feel that weight and vibrations I know exactly what’s happening I just hate the entire experience.

    • Hi Jessica
      Thanks for your comment. I can understand why you’d hate if, especially if it happens every day. Did you find some useful ideas in the article? I recommend trying the finger or toe wiggling if it happens again. And if that doesn’t help, try some of the other ideas.

    • Can you stop taking any prescription that makes you drowsy or less alet to see if that is causing it? I have had this happen twice, once after surgery with local anesthetic and once while on Dr prescribed benzodiazapine for back pain.

  • Has anyone ever noticed that this happens to them when they take anything with melatonin for sleep?? I think that’s my trigger. Had an episode just this morning! So scary!

    • Yes, I believe that any “downer” can do it. Correlated with Dr prescribed sleep and back pain pills and the other time, I had a surgery with just local anesthetic earlier that day.

  • This has been such a good article for me to read. I have been bugged by sleep paralysis since I was about 14, (28 now). At first I was terrified of it & I was told of how jinns/genies/demons would do this to you & this belief stayed with me a few years.

    The first experience I felt it was very intimate & horrific (thoughts of the movie The Entity). After that it was demons floating above my head & forcing me to stay down if i happened to be laying on my back.
    After a few years of thinking it was demons, I thought it was maybe suppressed memories with “demons” forcing me down.

    Then one day I realised it happened mainly when I was too hot. From then on when it would happen, I’d be on my side with my shoulders hunched up, violently shaking as if someone was tickling my neck but I’d be unable to move or make a sound, eyes open. Whenever I did share a bed with anyone, they never took notice of me shaking.

    After reading this article however, I now think it may just be my head sitting up too high on the pillow & being too hot that gives me the sleep paralysis. This happens to me on a regular basis, sometimes up to 5 times in one night, but most of the time it’s occurs about 7 times a week.

    Great informative read, thank you :)

    • Hi Naz
      Thanks for your comment and your compliment. I’m glad the article was informative and has given you some ideas for dealing with it. I’d love to hear back from you if you do try changing your pillow and bedroom temperature, and if it worked or not.
      Good luck with it!

      • So it’s been a few weeks & I haven’t had too many episodes to my relief!
        Watching how hot I might get certainly did work, I haven’t changed my pillow yet, but found that supporting my neck a lot more helped keep my head even so that it wasn’t sitting too high. I haven’t banished them forever yet though!

  • I just had my first episode about 30 minutes ago, and I’m still so shaken up. It was the scariest thing I have ever experienced in my life. I can’t remember the last time I had a nightmare.. maybe 5 or 6 years ago but this one was insane. I was running away from a time bomb that was going off at 3 and I remember time ran out, I crouched on the ground and some sort of creature was crouched over me as if they were protecting me, but it morphed into something scary. It came down next to my ear, whispered to me, and I woke up at this instant with my arms crossed over me. I gasped for air and felt this HUGE presence leave. It felt like someone was on top of me.. so here I am googling and distracting myself. So crazy!! Thanks so much for the article. I’m happy to know I’m not alone on this one.

    • Hi Laurel
      Thanks for your comment. I can understand why this must have been a very scary experience. Sometimes people do wake up from dreams with the physical sensation that whatever was happening in their dream is still continuing. I think it’s hard to tell sometimes whether it’s still the dream state continuing or sleep paralysis or a bit of both. But anyway, if it happens again hopefully you’ll have a few tricks up your sleeve for dealing with it that you’ll find in the article.

  • Thank you for this informative article. In 2007 at the age of 24 I was diagnosed with Narcolepsy (excessive daytime sleepiness). Before being diagnosed with Narcolepsy as a child I would often experience sleep paralysis. Like other’s, I was unable to move and also felt terrified (words can not explain this terror); however, unlike others I was not able to make any sort of verbal noise (believe me I was trying). Not until recently, when experiencing the same exact situation did I recall my child hood experiences.
    I guess my questions is, do others also experience the inability to verbally make noise along with the inability to move. It would be extremely helpful if I was able to relate with others, as having Narcolepsy is already hard enough to find others who I can relate with.

    • Hi Tara
      Thanks for your comment. I remember many previous comments in which readers have said they were unable to make noise. Perhaps if any are following this thread, or come along later, they will respond to your comment and connect with you.

  • Congrat. Good article. I am a 57 yr muslim malay raised in very remote area in malaysia without piped water or electricity often walk to school bare footed. Our culture back then will always blame sleep paralysis (SP) to attack of jinn or genie. With our strong islamic faith… it is not a problem to majority of us. Recite verses of Quraan prior to sleep. If still get the attack… just recite a verse and we wake up.
    At age of 15 due to a good academic result i was selected to a govt project for rural poor student. First time in capital city… finally enrolled to a medical faculty in a local U age 19. Very good student were sent abroad.
    My first attack of SP is during my first week staying in hostel provided. First time in my life sleeping alone in room. All of my life either sleeping with siblings in open area aka living room or in dormitory 20 of us housed together. And the stories of jinn attack was rife among freshies during 1st week. I can see vividly a black monster pressing my chest…but i manage to wake up before i start reciting the verse.
    During medical students years we learn about all sleeps in details… so i never have that problem again.. except for sensation of falling for couples of times.
    So far i had witneesed my wife coming out of SP at least 3 times..lasi 1 witnessed about midnight she fell asleep while i was busy texting and messaging. Suddenly i heard soft sound groaning… i took a look at her … her eyes closed. Normally i just wait a minute and when she woke up she will tell me the dream. When she woke up she is to afraid to tell me the dream….she just mentioning she saw me beside her…but she cant shout or move. Only now she had a dream that a very scarry creature chasing her and suddenly she cant run and the creature start caressing her back till she woke up.
    So… dont worry brothers and sisters… there is no demons or intruder…just a dream..
    Tq for reading

    • Hi Zahari

      Thanks for your very interesting comment. It’s always fascinating to hear from readers who come from cultures which have specific explanations for sleep paralysis, even if you no longer believe that explanation. Thanks also for your positive words of encouragement for future readers – I’m sure it will be appreciated.

  • I’m so glad I saw this article. I’ve had these episodes and never told anyone…. I’ve actually awakin screaming and unable to move
    I have had one in a good while but use to have them regularly and the discription given here is exactly what occurred each time

    • Hi Randy
      Thanks for your comment, and I’m glad you found the article helpful. Perhaps you’ll also have learned some good techniques for dealing with it if it happens again.

  • I’ve had this experience quite a lot. At one time I remember waking up and I could see around the room. I saw two men standing next to the bed. I knew they weren’t real, at the same time I heard someone banging on the wooden headrest and screaming right next to me but I couldn’t turn around to see who that was. I started to pray in my mind and I was able to wake up. And my last episode was yesterday. I fell asleep and then woke up and the room was filled with light. I didn’t hear any noises, I was alone and I felt like I left my body. I couldn’t breathe and started gasping for air. As I calmed down my breath I was able to move to the kitchen, still all alone in the house and then I returned to my body but on my way back to my body I saw a weird figure of an old woman, like a fragmented energy of someone who is confused and not knowing what they’re doing. I wasn’t afraid. I just returned into my body and woke up. The light and old woman’s energy disappeared.

    • Hi Tina
      Thanks for your comment. It sounds like you had a very vivid out of body style experience in the episode you describe. It must have been very unusual to go through, but it’s good you kept it together and woke up peacefully.

  • I have narcolepsy and cataplexy and regularly suffer from sleep paralysis and sleep hallucinations. The experiences are always bad and frightening, and can be tactile. Very often they are of an intimate nature and these are the worst. I never allow myself to go to sleep on my back as you say and when they occur use “mind over matter” and let yourself fall into a deep sleep (this does take a long time to master as actually you ARE asleep).

    • Hi Judy
      Thanks for your comment. It’s good that you’ve found some ways to deal with it, and I hope you continue building on your methods for coping with the various issues you have to deal with.

  • Thank you for all the information. I’ve experience sleep paralysis (a terrifying experience for me) most of my life… probably 4-5 times per year. My mind is awake but I cannot move or talk. I try screaming, hoping someone will wake me… but I can’t make a sound. By the time I can scream, I am waking up, (then too afraid to go back to sleep.) Anyway…. I often wonder what would happen if I just went with it, allowing myself to go back to sleep, or go anywhere it wants to take me. (In the moment I feel like I am going to die… fighting it will all my might.) [I just started reading the comments… I may find more information there.] Thanks again.

    • Hi Audrey
      Thanks for your comment. I can understand that it must be scary thinking of just going with it, but many readers do find that’s the best way for them. Whether it helps you or not you’ll just have to wait and see. But hopefully you’ll find some inspiration in the comments from people who’ve found good ways to deal with it.

  • First time it happened to me I felt as if some thing had jumped on my chest I tried to open my eyes but couldn’t I tried to move my arms and legs but could not move at all I was very. scared in my mind I tried to move my body eventually woke up it has happened twice more since that first experience very frightening

    • Hi Denise
      Thanks for your comment. Yes, sleep paralysis can be very scary indeed. I hope you understand it a bit better now having read the article. You also have some ideas for dealing with it, so if it does happen again you should be able to cope a bit better.

  • I have sleeping paralysis for about 7 years and is still scary for me because evry time is different.
    In the last year it occurred when I’m sleeping on the side of my body not just when I’m on my back.
    It’s seems so real all that happens.
    When I try to move one finger or my hand or another part of my body it gives me a strong headache.
    Is so frustrating that has no cure!

    • Hi Lacry
      Thanks for your comment. Perhaps you could try some of the other ideas if it happens again and if the finger wiggling doesn’t work for you. Perhaps focusing on your breathing instead? There are lots of tips here, so perhaps if you try some of them, you might get better results.

  • Wow I had this happen to me quite frequently. I had left my body and was looking down at myself , my right hand was hanging towards the bed I was trying to grab the bedclothes to get back to me if that makes sense. I was level with the ceiling first few times seemed slow but the last few times lifted very quickly, terrified me, I remember trying to call out but no sound came, never knew really what it was, hasn’t happened for a few years now but was terrifying. Interesting to read your articles .
    Thanks Tracey .

    • Hi Tracey
      Thanks for your comment. I’m glad that the article has helped you understand what happened to you in the past. I can imagine that it must have been very disturbing at the time. It’s good that it hasn’t happened for a long time – let’s hope it stays that way.

  • this is the third time i can vividly remember it happening, im writing this after waking up from the third time and decided to seek online advice ive got to say there isnt much to help but these pointers have reassured me… not only does it happen to me at night but it happens to me in the day time too… i live a very stressful life and have an open imagionation which dosnt help things… not only did i feel a presence in the room i heard him come up the stairs and slowly open my bedroom door, i dont know if hes tall or small as i can only see his hands but i was seeing it from both points of view i saw myself on the bed but i felt like i was on the bed and also felt like i was him, he had pointy fingers which pulled my tounge out of my mouth, i was laid on my side facing his purched body, he had black hands but i couldnt see his body, i was dreaming of normal things before this when my body and brain came aware someone was coming up the stairs, due to certain sercumstances me and my girlfriend slept in different rooms on this night.. i tried calling out to her which didnt work at first so i tried forcing my tounge through my mouth at what point it was grabbed by the pointy fingers.. i thought i had woken up because i thought i was screaming babe babe babe… but no i was still asleep and the pointy fingered fiend waass tormenting me letting me think i was awake to further provide him with pleasure of my torment.. next time im going to use some advice read tonight to try controll it or try to reason with him but for now im going to write this all down in a book for future references… all im happy about right now is that im safe and im not the only one to go through it which makes it easier to beleive that its just a clash between body and mind.

    • Hi Jami
      Thanks for your comment. I’m glad you found the article reassuring in some way. I’m a little confused as to whether you actually had sleep paralysis, or if you were asleep and in fact dreaming of being in your bedroom with this happening. It’s a common misperception that people have, so have a think about whether you were definitely awake and experiencing this whilst unable to move in your bed, or if you were in fact dreaming about being in bed.

  • The first time it happened to me, I was sleeping and I tried to wake up and I tried opening my eyes and I couldn’t. Then I tried moving and I was stiff. Then before I woke up, I felt as if PEOPLE were choking me. Is that possible?

    The second time is when I was laying on my back and hands kept touching me while I was dreaming. I tried to wake up and I saw my room but I felt there was someone in there with me and it was extremely dark. Is it possible for hands to touch you too?

    • Hi Sarah
      Thanks for your comment. Many people do experience tactile hallucination during sleep paralysis, with feeling such as hands touching them. So yes it is possible, and you’re not alone in having experienced it. Try some of the techniques in the article if it happens again and try focusing on them rather than the probably scary hands touching sensations.

  • This was an interesting read, i agree with the scientific adpect, but i also believe that some cases are spiritualy connected.I do get sleep paralysis but it happens rarely I’ve had it 3 times. The first time it was terrifying like I could look around the room but couldn’t move, I can hear the price is right on TV in the other room, I tried to call for help but couldn’t speak. I fought till I could move. The second time was the strangest, my eyes opened and I noticed I was on my left side facing the wall, I felt this pressure on my side and pushed me into the bed, I then tried with all my might to say get off me, and I could move. I rolled on to my back and on my ceiling blacker that the darnkess in my room looked like a black hole with black tentacles floating out towards me. And I turned to my right side and I saw this outline of a shadowy figure with a silvery whitish skull with a veil of smoke swirling in front of its face. My third experience was pretty awesome but extremely terrifying. I had just got done shoveling snow all night the night before, I got home and fell asleep on the love seat, my eyes opened and I was on back with the feeling of being paralyzed, I then realized I could move not physically anyays so I sat up and looked around, and I looked down at my self sleeping on the couch, as I was about to move off the couch this really tall shadow thing came rushing into the living room squealing like a dying pig and rushed at me, it attacked me spiritually and I struggled to reach for my cell phone, as I know someone who deals with these things, I could not physically touch my phone, and as I reached the entity knocked it off the table onto the floor, I had to act fast I laid back down into my body and I woke up. Now I was skeptical about it, but what makes it very real to me was the fact I woke up and my cell phone was on the floor. These experiences are few years apart and that last experience was in 2013. I haven’t had one since.

    • Hi Matt
      Thanks for your comment. I can understand why you’d be confused considering what happened with your mobile phone. I can’t explain it obviously, but my scientific mind usually comes up with ideas such as you may have knocked or moved it yourself in your sleep, or in the confusion of waking and sleeping, moved it at some point during the process of dealing with the sleep paralysis and drifting in and out of different states of consciousness.

    • Matt, I think that sometimes these experiences get really frightful depending on what state we are in emotionally, e.g. Whenever I get overwhelmed with daily problems or watch too much negative stories on tv I get scary experiences. But when I’m more positive, my experiences are much less frightful. I don’t know whether u believe in attracting energies that might be resonating with our current states of feeling or whatever we surround ourselves with concerning movies, stories, books, music, people etc. this is the way I understand discrepancy in the scenarios of sleep paralysis.

  • Thanks for the article. I’ve been experiencing sleep paralysis off and on for about two years now, and without knowing the scientific reasoning behind it, I admit that my mind did jump to a demonic presence causing the feeling. After another episode this morning, in which it happened during a nap in the daytime, I found myself being able to analyze the feeling with less fear. I decided to search the internet to see if this was a common phenomena. I was amazed to find an exact hit on my first search. Not surprisingly, I’m relieved to learn that this is a fairly common experience. I am more than willing to believe the science and can even understand how it all works together. The one part that I haven’t yet found explained, is the feeling of the bed beside me being depressed and a weight moving over top of me. I frequently sleep on my stomach, and I will feel the weight on my back or down the entire length of my body. Any explanation for that? Thanks.

    • Hi Jay
      Thanks for your comment. I’m very pleased you found the article helpful, and first time round!
      What you question at the end of your comment would probably fall under the category of tactile hallucinations. Many previous readers have commented about how they feel presences on top of them, by the side of them or behind them. So what you experiences does still very much fall into the typical symptoms of sleep paralysis.

  • I used to get this a lot when I did recreational drugs. Sometimes when I was a child too. But nowadays I don’t do drugs and I take an anti anxiety sleeping pill. Trazadome, I’m never scared going to sleep and don’t hardly ever have nightmares. I rarely even remember my dreams. This used to really really freak me out, now I can’t imagine it happening.

    • Hi Jay
      Thanks for your comment. Other readers have also said in the past that it happened more when they used recreational drugs. It’s good that it doesn’t happen any more, and hopefully it will stay that way.

  • I almost always experience sleep paralysis it first happens to me went I was very young I was scared to tell anyone but nowadays I only experience it during sleeping day time.I always pray in my own religious way went it come and now am able to discuss it with friends and family.

    • Hi Sainey
      Thanks for your comment. I think it’s good to be able to talk about scary things like sleep paralysis. Sometimes when we keep an experience inside, it seems much worse. When we speak about it, it helps to reduce the feelings that can come from it.

  • Hi, i hav had SP alot. I learned when it happens that i have actually stopped breathing in my sleep due to bad positioning when sleeping leading to blockage of airway. This would cause me to partially pass out from asphyxiation . As this happens my brain forces me to awake to correct my breathing but my body will take a little longer to wake up, maybe because of the lack of oxygen. Then my body would wake up. I have the same experience everyone does when it happens. There is some one in my room that wants to hurt me… I know they are there, i sometimes see them and it feels like im in a horror movie as the victim. This is what happens when im snapped into a semi concious parylised state from near suffocation and part of my brain is dreaming and part of it is awake because people are always in my dreams. Ive been on my side parylised and litterally hear a feel a scary entity breathing onto the back of my neck , that woke me up completly very quickly I’ll say. Ive had a living shadow walking up and down my bed.
    I could go on about so much more but i will cut to the experience that is testing my belief system.
    I woke into SP, I felt difficulty breathing and could only see, zero movement but to open my eyes once. And in my mind I thought ” ok next is the part where a scary presence torments me until i can move.” I dont get scared as often by it at this point and know I wont be harmed or whatever and in my mind i interact with the entity.
    As of right now today, i would be completely convinced that the entity a figment of my dream half crossing into my semi concious half awake SP state if it wasnt for what happened next…
    I had the most vivid experience I have ever had concerning the entity and my ability to interact and observe her.
    Usually i only feel the presence of a living threat very near, i panic until i force complete awakeness and go back to sleep. I dont see them that often. This time in my head i think ok i know its coming i will challenge it confidently. I had no fear becuase of long term exposure to the experience. And then this time, for the first time ever i clearly see an entity and hear it speak very clearly. It was female, it wasnt an entity or presence i was expecting i mean it wasnt the usual shadow lurking predator i was used to. It was a ghost and it looked like a perfect human except it was cliche translucent blue/white in colour just like the stories and movies depiction. In my mind i was on guard because i expect to feel threatened by it and I attempt my only resort to defend myself and that was to will it to cease by shear mind power. Rediculous i know but im paralyzed half asleep and out of options. I was confused by what happened when i tried to use my mind power to hurt it, It was forced into a postition as if it was being crucified, i did twice until i realised i was hurting an entity that was undeserving of it. I then felt trusting and accepted its presence and felt a secure comfort that it exhuded and in my mind was welcoming toward it. The blue lady literally hovered to me and
    Said “dont do this”. She then placed her mouth to mine and breathed, as she did i felt life and oxygen flowing from her to me and at the same time the opposite. Im not trying to impose any mythical ideas nor do i believe unsubstantiated claims or beliefs. Anyway she stopped, and started to move back out of my room , turned around and came back and done it again and then a guy wearing a white hat pulled ovee his eyes popped his head round my door and she left with him and i went back to sleep. The first time ive spoken of it is now, a year later. I used to have SP once or twice weekly but i have had it once 6months ago and thats all since.

    • Hi Sno
      Thanks for your comment and for sharing your interesting sleep paralysis story. I’m wondering when reading it if you’ve been to a doctor regarding the breathing problems you mention at the start of the comment? I think if you have breathing issues whilst sleeping it’s important to get checked out for sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, just to be on the safe side.

      • I havnt seen a doctor but when i associated the position was sleeping in with the difficulty of breathing part of sp i changed the way i sleep to insure i wont fall into a position that limits oxygen flow, thats when i stopped having sp. I dont have apnea but i realised that i would hav sp most times when i would sleep on my back and my head had slumped forwards hindering my air flow i would wake into sp and that was why my chest felt pressured when i did. The fear of the intruder would scare me into doing everything i could to snap out of paralysis so i think its a survival mechanism.

      • I take it back that I dont have sleep apnea because I don’t know if i do and i appreciate your concern. I have a friend with apnea who described having SP experiences also.

        • Hi Sno

          Thanks for your comments again. That does make sense what you say about changing positions and the effect it has on the frequency of sleep paralysis. I’d still recommend having a check-up though and mentioning the breathing issues, just to be on the safe side.

  • Hello!
    This article was extremely informative and helped me to understand what happened to me yesterday. I’m a 22 year old male (for what it matters, I don’t know) and I had my first experience with sleep paralysis, or what I thought was sleep paralysis, yesterday and it was the most terrifying thing I have ever experienced. After being fairly sleep deprived the last week I laid down in my bed to take a nap at about 1 o’clock with plans to doze off for 45 minutes or so then go to the library. I do this often and can often consciously tell when I’ve been sleeping for a certain period of time and wake myself up.
    So I threw myself into bed, shoes on, feet hanging off the bed, like your normal college slob would do. I had dreams that were very intense, vivid, scary, and seemed real. Like driving through my neighborhood and crashing my car into something and then driving it up into my front lawn where I got out and realized one of the wheels was gone and I had been driving around like that.

    I had a few dreams that were filled with anxiety which I would wake up from. But now I’m questioning whether I actually woke up because I’ve experienced these false awakenings before and also multiple false awakenings in one sleep, which you explained to be quite rare. I don’t find them scary, but more interesting and confusing. And they never last long, I usually realize very quickly that I’m dreaming and I wake myself up.

    So after about two false awakenings in a row I “woke up” again, but this time I couldn’t move. I was laying awkwardly on my stomach with my arms in a weird position. I could hear two friends of mine downstairs saying “come on let’s go!” And laughing with each other. I then began to panic, my eye lids felt as though they were fluttering, so I was screaming that I thought I was having a seizure and for them to come help me. But still I couldn’t move and felt like my sound was not being projected because they continued to laugh with each other. This lasted maybe no longer than a minute or so but that minute was torture and felt as real as it could be.
    I then actually woke up covered in sweat, jumped off my bed, ran down the stairs frantic and still unsure if I was actually awake or not. I was very shaken up about it for hours.

    I called my brother and he explained similar experiences that he has had which I was unaware of. He said that it happens to him sometimes when he’s sleep deprived, takes a midday nap, and has something to do after his nap, which was the same situation I was in. He also said that he learned just wait it out and not to panic because he knows what’s happening now and that it will stop.

    From what I have read I don’t think it was sleep paralysis because I wasn’t actually awake. I think it was the body’s natural occurrence to paralyze itself, to prevent you from acting out in your sleep, coupled with multiple false awakenings in a row, which became more real with each one.
    I wanted to share this story and hopefully get some feedback on what may have caused this, what it means, or if there’s a term for exactly what happened. Also if anyone has had a similar experience.

    Thanks for reading,


    • Hi Donovan
      Thanks for your comment and I’m glad the article was helpful. I think you’ve pretty much hit the nail on the head with your assessment to be honest. Many previous readers have described dreams in which they were paralyzed, then mistaking it for sleep paralysis, or often coming across my article when they google things like “paralyzed in sleep” and getting a little confused, which is very understandable considering how strange it can be.
      I do think though that the key is whether you’re conscious or not, as you say. So in your case, I think it was literally having a false awakening in which you experienced what would be sleep paralysis – if you were actually awake. So really, it was just a series of false awakenings, complex as they might have been.

  • Just because you can’t see it, does not mean it does not exist. Science try to describe things, but sometimes science can’t describe it accurately. Just like this sleep paralysis. Since I am rational guy, I believe some people just have sleep paralysis just like you describe, like brain temporarily disconnected from the body, but I also believe that some people really is disturbed by spirit from the deceased when they experienced sleep paralysis. Like just one case of my friend, she had her eyes wide opened and see this creature sleep besides her. You can’t just treat it like she had hallucination or dreaming. Just like people who have gift to see things from the other world, science tend to treat them as people with mental illness, hallucination, or etc, and that’s the part of science I can’t agree with. Now I understand why some of my friends who can see “this thing” don’t want to talk about their ability, because the others will just think they are crazy.

  • Thank you so much for this article! It really has helped give me so much info. I’ve experienced SP for years, not all the time, like maybe once or twice per month. I know what it is now, and the underlying causes of it, so most of the time, I wait them out and that’s it. However, I was wondering if it’s normal for people with SP to hear things during the episode. It’s only happened to me once, 2 days ago. It was a normal SP episode (for me), I was absolutely terrified and couldn’t move, and I felt like there was a demon hovering right over me. Usually I feel like it’s a ghost for some reason, but this time it was a demon. Anyway, as I’m trying to move my toes and throw off my blanket so I could run into the other room, I heard very clearly a whisper/hiss and it said, “Take it off, it’ll make it easier for us”. I assumed they meant the blanket but it was by far the most horrifying episode ever. So I was just wondering if the auditory hallucination part is normal?

    • Hi Krissy
      Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, yes it is normal to hear things during sleep paralysis. If you read some previous comments you’ll find many readers say they are told things by whatever presence their brain conjures up in the room. Try some of the tips listed in the article and hopefully you’ll learn to deal with it quicker each time.

  • It’s currently 3:38 am as I’m writing this I have had sleep paralysis since the age of 9 I am now 19 I get them at least twice a month recently I’ve been having them every night I just woke up right now exactly at 3:13 and that got me more scared than I already am. The tv was loosing signal so it had those black and white dots I guess everything was in good timing to scare the heck out of me! Like if it was a actual demon possession . 2 nights ago i had a out of body experience and I was screaming a language I didn’t understand . Pretty scared of what it is and hopefully I over come this

  • It’s been 1 hour and 20 minutes, my heart is still beating uncontrollably fast… it is the second time this happened to me this week, I’m too scared to even fall asleep now. I’m 17 and never had to deal with this before. The first time wasn’t so bad, I could sense a presence in the left corner of my room near the window, I tried to scream to alert my parents upstairs, but coudn’t make a sound, I coudn’t move, and I could feel something warm like a hand on my face, after a few minutes I got out of it, I went upstairs and woke my twin, and he said he had experienced such anomaly the previous day. I decided to put it behind me, but tonight’s episode was 10 times more severe, same experience, you feel surrounded by unexplainable things, can’t talk or move just like the previous time, but suddenly out of nowhere something grabbed me around my waist and literally lifted me of my bed almost against the ceiling, it through me against the wall, I coudn’t breathe and I started to pray, as I closed my eyes I could see throught the wall for a second into a dark void, then the figure dropped me, I ran upstairs to tell my mom and talked to her for a few minutes and suddenly woke in my bed, I was so frightened I coudn’t even walk when I wanted to switch the light on… Too scared to even close my eyes now, because I know what I saw isn’t the explanation of that of a scientific origin.

  • Hey since I was 14 I been experiencing this, I am 21 and its freaking terrifying it’s been happening to me through out the day(if I take a nap) and at night !! For a week straight I’ve been feeling as though someone is sitting on my chest choking me and holding my shut ! I start saying I repent you, I sleep with my baby and I try to feel him while that’s going on and I can’t ! It’s a horrible feeling ! Reading this site has gave me tips! But I’m so scared you guys

  • 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!

      • Ethan-

        Writing the above comment the other evening got me talking to my wife of five years (we’ve known each other for over thirty) some about my past experiences; we’ve never really discussed it much. She doesn’t and never has experienced SP, and,, of course, when you try to describe both the experience itself and its intensity, as well as the extremes of horror and fear involved to someone who has never experienced it, you get either a blank stare or a sidelong “is this person crazy?” glance. I more or less got the same reaction this time around as before with her, but then then as an afterthought, she said “Y’know, I think I saw some documentary was up on Netflix about this.” Of course I was interested, and we watched it tonight. I was BLOWN AWAY. Not just at the similarities in experiences recounted by folks in the doc to my own, but that a few of these people had COMPLETELY INDEPENDENTLY COME TO SOME OF THE SAME CONCLUSIONS I HAVE, at least in the arena of “non-scientific” or “non-rationalist” conclusions or explanations. It was chilling to hear one guy describe his out-of-body “fighting” with entities, another woman state that she believes they feed off fear, and another guy describe having a simultaneous experience.with his GF UNBELIEVABLY similar to the one I loosely described above. (Seriously, that one gave me goosebumps, to the point where I almost want to contact the guy). Anyhow, reading this site and then seeing that doc all within a week has encouraged me to try to make myself a part of what seems to be a community of us out there. Any suggestions where to start? (For the edification of myself and others too lazy to google much). Here’s to a good nights sleep!


        • Hi Scout
          Thanks for your comment. I think that sleep paralysis is a topic which is very often connected by people to more esoteric ideas, and more and more seems to be a topic of rather scary and often over-the-top documentaries and films. If you think about it, it’s a great topic to spur fiction and one which taps into people’s deepest fears of being attacked when vulnerable or helpless. Personally I’d take these kind of communities with a pinch of salt if you do decide to explore alternative explanations for sleep paralysis. I can’t recommend any place to start because I neither know much about them nor would want to advocate them to my readers. Sorry to reply with my scientific and skeptical mindset, but that’s where I stand.

        • What was the name of the documentary? I have spoken to my doctor about my sleep problems and she had no idea what I was talking about. She said she had to ‘research’ it. It’s been about 3 weeks and haven’t heard from her. I believe she thinks I’m a little crazy but I’m relieved to know I’m not the only person out there with SP episodes.

    • I am a female. I had my first SP when I was about 4 or 5. (Yes, I remember.) I was in the process of waking up, and I felt something suffocating me. I opened my eyes, and it turned out to be one of the dinosaur characters from Barney (Don’t laugh. It was my favorite tv show). I was kicking and screaming for my mom. Moments later, I found myself under the covers with my head holding them down as I was still fighting. To this day, I believe something was after me. I was just hoping this article could give me a bit more insight. I’ve had about two more since then.

  • I finally found the answer!
    I have had an experience defined by sleep paralysis and I have just realized that I have had previous experiences. The last time I remember was a few months after my grandmother passed away. I was on my stomach and I felt something on top of me that kept me from moving. I was extremely scared as I was trying to move, I tried to call out to my grandmother for help as I thought I was having a paranormal experience. Finally, the force on top of me went away and I found myself crying. I explained this to my mum but she couldn’t find any explanation either.
    I can also recall having another experience when I was really young. During this experience, I simply could not move or talk but I could feel several shadows moving around me as well as a very loud noise that I really don’t know how to explain. The noise was almost like a large crowd of people talking but I could not tell what they were saying. However, I was not scared at all.

  • I have experienced sleep paralysis a few times when younger, but never knew what it was I just knew I was in control and could wake up from such issues, last night was the first night in my life I had an episode where I saw a shadow man, he told me if I tried to get rid of him he’d kill my dog. (he came in my room stomping around like a mad man) Normally, I would think nothing of it and move on with my life, but earlier today my aunt asked me why I was stomping around last night at 3 am, why was I so angry? I didn’t get up from my bed from 10-7. I then went on to explain my experience last night and it was so freaky that she heard it. I believe in science and think it’s a great explanation for a lot of things. I don’t think I can hallucinate the same time my aunt happened to be wide awake due to insomnia. I have been looking and looking and cannot find any similar stories of other people experiencing someone else’s hallucination, but, I can tell you now, science can’t explain that

  • I’ve experienced sleep paralysis ~ if that’s what we’re calling it. mostly when I was younger and periodically throughout the years but I recently last night experienced one of the worst ones ever. I never heard of the term because I am deeply spiritual. And I was not sleep deprived. I actually was sleeping a lot. What happened was I knew that I was sleeping. I could not wake myself up. I could not move at all . and I could hear two voices arguing in numerical values just yelling back-and-forth in numerical values.
    One of the voices which was coming from the side of the bed and pulling my arm was yelling in lower numbers which I clearly could hear. but as soon as I woke up I couldn’t even remember any of the numbers. (Very unusual because I have vivid dreams which I recall most of the info)
    the other voice which was pushing me down at the same time, was yelling in higher numbers. I couldn’t remember them either. But it was a more sinister voice. I could not see these beings clearly. I could hear them and I sensed what they were doing to my body and I could see vague figures which were not clear. There were human shaped. The only thing that I could physically feel was my hand being held I felt another hand squeezing my hand. I absolutely physically felt that hand in mine. This continued for an hour. I was trying to move out of it, but my body was rocking back and forth. for what seemed like an hour.
    I sleep with tv on always so there is light and noise. If you say this was anything other than a demonic force battling an angelic force. You are the crazy one. This was the longest time this has ever happened to me before. And definetly the most obvious of a demonic presence. Except for another that happened when I was young (similar) I’ve seen dr. I’m not mentally ill.
    Demons exist and so does God. There is a spiritual battle for souls. It will soon come to an end. They are getting desperate. People who experience this need to pray. And pray often.

  • Hi! Thanks for this article!

    The first time it happens to me, it was awful, in the morning I though that I was going to believe in Lucifer, hell and demons… I did some sleepless nights after those sleep paralysis (I am not so surprised that people pray against that). So, if some are interested, here are some dreams synopsis of what happened to me:

    I was sleeping (obviously) and then the atmosphere changed, I was awake, I couldn’t move, I felt a presence (or I saw shadows), I tried to scream (but the terror takes the sound before you make it!… just kidding.) (actually I though I was really screaming, but no). I knew, the person (or else) was here to kill me. Sometime I felt that something touches me, caressing my arms… Sometimes I saw the devil himself (and not a Tom Ellis-style devil, a proper frighting disgusting one… to bad). So, one night I tried to think about something that can make reasure me and make me laugh quikly so I though about my friends. I tried to pictured them instead of the devil (I don’t normally believe in the devil or any of this but I don’t see another way to describe it). But when I finally succeed to see a friendly face, I relaxed and the face of the devil came back: I just wanted to die at this moment so I let him stab me (don’t remember what happened next).

    The more frightened thing after that was that night when the same kind of thing happened and I finally wake up (I though that I was able to move, to open my eyes for real but it was only hallucinations). Actually I wasn’t awake and it all started again and again and again and again. My “fake waking up” happened like seven times so each time I was more and more afraid (if it’s possible) and I couldn’t wake up for real.

    Today I am 21 and all of this is over. If it happens again I can stop it quite easily, I think the thing that helped me the most was to realise that it was a real thing that happened to other people (I wasn’t crazy). I even succeed to levitate above my bed (on purpuse) one time (Oh yes because, it also happens to me like I was a sacrifice or something… And I don’t do drugs!). So I just would like to experience a sleep paralysis again for cool stuff like that.
    The end.

    Sweet dreams

    (English isn’t my mother tongue, sorry for the fault if there are any)

  • I had my first serious run in with this today. I fell asleep around 4am and ‘awoke’ around 6 I know I was dreaming and I all of a sudden. I was stuck in my head. I was trying my hardest to move and freak out and scratch mt boyfriend hit him do anything to wake him up! I couldnt! Butbits felt in my head or my dream or whatever that I was moving and scratching and freaking out. And finally I dod wake up. I felt weird and horrified.

  • I think that something is holding my wrists and ankle s and sometimes someone is on my chest or on the bed. I used to panic, but last night I just went with it and calmly uncurled the fingers from my body…. must admit my heart was racing after. one night I dreamt ???? that something had scratched my leg and in the morning I had blood in my bed and still have the scar on my leg… what is it???

    • Hi there
      It sounds like the first experience is probably sleep paralysis. As for the second, it’s probable you did the damage yourself, either whilst dreaming or perhaps randomly whilst sleeping which then triggered a dream about being scratched.

  • Hello,

    I am 31 years old now but the house i grew up in, I had this feeling of someone holding me down and terrorizing me from a very young age up until I moved out at 19 years old.
    I experienced not being able to scream, move or even open my eyes.
    I remember trying with everything I had to scream for my mom and nothing would come out. I always, always, always felt it was a woman terrorizing me… like a bad spirit or something.
    I never said anything to anyone about this until a friend spent the night at my house. We were about 18 years old and she told me the next morning that there was something crazy that happend to her. She described in detail the same exact thing that I had been experiencing my entire life. She said that it had never happen to her ever before. She later became my sister in law and sometimes we talk about this and how the one and only time that had ever happen to her was when she stayed at my house that night.
    I also want to mention this would only happen when I stayed at my house. Never happened at anyone else’s house and stopped when I moved out.
    I told my brothers both about this when I was much older and they both tell me that nothing like that ever happen to them. I swear this thing that I was experiencing was not SP. I’m sure I sound crazy but I have never been able to figure out what it was.
    My mom still owns that house and now rents it out but still creeps me out when i think about it…

  • I have sleep paralysis. Have since I was little. Do not like it. I always sleep on my stomach, can’t sleep on back and have no idea when in my life I slept on my back. About three years ago I had my worse experience after my step grandma passed, which I was having alot during that time. I woke up in the paralyzed state, saw a moving shadow in my room, heard a paper crunching like noise, felt blanket come off and shirt go up and felt 3 pokes like needles down my spine. When I woke up, seconds after the moving shadow left, I actually had 3 spots on my back where it looked like someone put needles. No one was in the house except me and my 1 yr old at the time whom I could see sleeping next to me like an angel, peacefully while this happened. I did not use drugs or prescription medicine at this time. Usually it would just be someone sitting on bed next to me or at my feet during these episodes, also very often like someone was on my back. When I was a child I had the out of body experience during the paralysis, which has only happened once as an adult. During the worst experiences for me I felt I had no energy during the day, would fall asleep at the worst times during the day. I had an episode at least twice a night during that time and my hair was falling out, I was sick all of the time also. I also lived in the house my step grandma lived in before she passed. I didn’t have it after I moved out of there for a couple years but it started again for me last week. I recently moved and have had recent positive lifestyle changes in my life and now the dreadful paralysis is back ? I can kind of “jump” out of the paralysis if I haven’t had it in a couple days, if that makes any sense to anyone but me, and that works sometimes. I also imagine a white room with me in it and darkness, I clear the room however works. I imagine screaming or a force field and it works. Do I sound crazy yet? No one believes me so I chose not to tell people around me all of it. Never talked to a doctor, not trying to get put on pills. Its disturbing. Just my experience.

  • My experience of sleep paralysis was from years ago but the memories are vivid. The difference with my paralysis is I grew up in a loving family environment but in a house I knew was haunted and never called home but called The House.
    As a child I had many ghostly experiences but managed to accept it for what it was and didnt allow it to scare me. As I got older I started experiencing “sleep paralysis”. Of course I associated it with the spirits in the house but this time they were having physical contact with me, where like sleep paralysis I couldnt move, I would try and fight, I couldnt scream, it took all my strength to push the shadow off me. It was terrifying! I was about 17 years of age when these terrors started. These terrors would become a regular ocurrence for me while at the house.
    I moved far away and the terrors stopped. Then I moved into a house in the same area I was brought up in and I started experiencing night terrors again. So for me I associate the terrors and spirits with the area I grew up in.
    I now live 10 kms from where I grew up and havent had any experiences like that again.

  • Hi Ethan,

    I have had these uncountable sleep paralysis experiences they started when i was a teenager but it became an everyday experience while I was working night shifts and would be sleeping during the day. Weekends would be a trauma as sleeping at night terrified me. i would have these out of body experiences and would feel being dragged out of my room to the main door of the house and banged against it but whatever energy was trying to take me out of the house couldn’t manage as we had a sticker of God’s picture on the door. I would be praying all the time and then would feel that someone would throw me back on my bed unable to drag me out of the house. I had these experiences regularly even after giving up night shifts. These experiences became irregular after marriage but i did experience it a few times after marriage when I read about sleep paralysis and since then I tried to calm my mind praying and telling myself its scientific.

  • I recently began having sleep paralysis. I actually began experiencing it only after I read about it’s existence, I have nightmares often and to try and control this I had looked into lucid dreaming, and I read that one of the side effects of a lucid dreaming technique is sleep paralysis. Now, I never actually tried the lucid dreaming techniques, but I began experiencing SP…. It usually happens when I don’t fully wake up and then fall back asleep, for example early in the morning when the alarm rings and i wake and when it stops I fall a back asleep. What happens is, I’m dreaming and I wake up, but I can’t open my eyes and I’m still IN the dream, only I realize it’s a dream, and I want to move my physical body but can only move the body in the dream…I never feel a presence in the room, probably because I can breathe quite normally.Once it happened right after I fell asleep, and that time I dreamt that I was in a coma, but i was fully conscious, and my mother was sitting next to my bed and she was crying and talking to me like I couldn’t hear her, and at the same time I “knew” that she was in the next room and I was trying very hard to call her, but couldn’t because I was in a coma!
    This only happened once to me, but when I told my mother she said it’s happened several times to her.
    What helps a lot for me is to stay calm and tell myself “I don’t need to move just yet”- Act like it’s my choice whether to move or not, then I take deep breaths and focus on the air going in and out.

  • My sleep paralysis began when I was about 9 years old. I grew up in an extremely abusive home-physical, emotional and psychological abuse that began in infancy. I understand now that due to my experiences as a child, my brain wired itself into a constant high alert status and am wondering if people who were abused as children often experience sleep paralysis. I stopped having the episodes when I left home at the age of 17. When you are abused for years, anything out of the usual will cause anxiety. I was diagnosed with Complex Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. My guess is that maybe I heard an unfamiliar noise during the night and that is what brought on the episodes. I never saw anything but I was nearsighted and did not sleep with my glasses on but I did feel a crushing weight.

    • Hi Cierra
      Thanks for your comment. I was saddened to read about your experiences growing up and how it affected you. I think that yes, difficulties in childhood can definitely lead to sleep problems. Though I’m not sure of the exact link, if any, between that and sleep paralysis. But I imagine you’re probably right in that you may have been in a hyper-vigilant state on many occasions which could lead to sleep problems when you do hear or sense something threatening.
      I hope that you’ve managed to get some good help in later years and have worked through the issues arising from the past as best as possible.

  • I’ve read several scientific explanations for sleep paralysis, and they don’t explain my experiences so I have to conclude there’s another, not so easy for some to accept, explanation. I’m not looking for a “comforting” explanation, and I haven’t had any further experiences since I was 17, so I’m not reluctant to have an open mind about what happened.

    At the age of 12, it was my habit to go up to my room after dinner. For 3 nights in a row, the door to the attic (a 2-1/2×3 foot door set into the wall of my closet secured by wing nuts) fell down at exactly the same time – 7 pm. I was sitting at my dresser each time, awake, not asleep. The first time, I was startled, but not scared – I just put it back up and forgot about it. The second night it scared me – what are the chances? – so I closely examined the door and tried to assure myself it couldn’t happen again because it was securely fastened. Problem was, I could see it shouldn’t have happened at all. When it happened the third night, I just ran from the room, thoroughly spooked. It had never happened before these incidents and it never happened again.

    Not long after this, I was fast asleep one night when for some reason I found myself awake. As my eyes tried to adjust to the dark, I tried to figure out why I was awake. Suddenly I saw/sensed something materialize out of the wall behind my headboard and step onto the pillow behind my head. It was a cat (somehow I just knew that), and it sat down, right up against the top of my head. I could FEEL it, and I was so terrified I couldn’t move – couldn’t get out of bed, or scream for my parents. My parents were Christians and told me about Jesus – I tried saying His name but couldn’t speak, so I screamed it in my mind. As soon as I did that, the cat got up and jumped off the bed (I could feel it launch itself). I was immediately released from my paralysis and turned my head in time to see the cat run across the room and out the door. It was black and one-dimensional, like a silhouette. Then I saw the silhouette of a little girl standing in the doorway, looking into the adjacent bathroom. She moved towards it and dissipated. I was wide awake when I saw all this – whatever sleepiness remained when I first woke up vanished when I became paralyzed with fear.

    Nothing else happened for another 5 years. Then one night (age 17, different house) I awoke out of sleep, wondering what woke me. I saw/sensed something coming out of the closet at the foot of my bed – like a black fog. It flowed across to my bed and over my feet. I became frozen with fear – couldn’t move or scream – then I felt something grab my ankle. I screamed JESUS! in my mind, and immediately it let go, and flowed back into the closet. I was wide awake and remained so for the rest of the night. Thankfully nothing else has happened since.

  • Reading this actually brought me to tears.
    I have experienced sleep paralysis since my sister moved out of my parents house a couple of years ago. I was probably around 15 when it started, so I had NO idea what was happening. I was terrified. After a year of having it on and off, I decided to look it up and found it to be sleep paralysis. I was thrilled that I wasn’t the only one going through this. Since I’ve been living with my fiancé, I’ve had it happen twice. Now I’m on the search of information. I’m thankful to have found this. Thank you.

  • I don’t believe in sleep paralysis, however if there is someone out there that could benefit from this comment id certainly be glad to write down my experience. Anywas, I’ve had plenty of experiences where I once was in such a position… couldn’t move, couldn’t talk & I could only move my eyes. I was brought up in the truth and I was taught about Jehovah and I learned about the spiritual realm… Ultimately I learned about the worlds ultimate ruler that currently inhabits this earth, satan the devil and his demons. When this would occur Id hear grissly and beastly noises.. Booms , and bangs and an overall numbness feeling as if there was another presences around. I know who it was.. It was the demons. I’ve learned to cope with such demon attacks by calling upon the name of Christ & Jehovah.. They have to leave!. Don’t be fooled by this scientific foolishness that people like to come up with because they don’t want to seem crazy… But truth be told your not, its oh so real and I know it’s terrifying. Stay strong everyone’! Pray!

  • I’ve had a series of sleep paralysis usually during phases of my live where i felt most vulnerable or distress. (job transition , country transition, break up)

    For my case, It started 4 years ago ; post graduation trip after experimenting MDMA for the first (and last time), the after math of it had caused me to feel down for a period of 4 days.. And during this time, i might have suffered from minor narcolepsy. I encountered experiencing sleep paralysis with an out of body experience simultaneously. I had the ability to walk up to my mirror and touch it! It felt like jelly, i couldn’t see myself but i was consciously aware of my inability to move. It did not make sense to me, this possibility of me walking up to my mirror could have been a hallucinated action? I also felt a dark presence in my room at that point.

    The second time, I was staying at a peaceful mountain with my best friend. I experienced sleep paralysis while i had intended to take a short nap beside her. I felt this intense sexual presence on top of me – almost like it was trying to invade my body without consent. It was disgusting and terrifying. In my mind I kept calling out for my friends name, i wanted her to wake me up – and she finally did after what felt like 10 mins , she said that during that episode, she felt some sort of discomfort while i was asleep.

    The third experience I encountered happened two years later. My ex and i went on a hiking trip. It was a challenging one as we were both racing to the bottom of the jungle before pitch dark. We fell asleep at our hotel after sex, this was about four hours after the hike. Then again – another episode of a dark presence in my room visited me. I was having all sorts of irrational fears , then I hyper ventilated after waking up. I kept thinking i was having a minor panic attack while sleeping because of the fact that my body was unable to cope with the heightened breathing. I was having mixed emotions – guilt, excitement , pressure, etc.
    Guilt – I was in love with someone whom my parents didn’t approve of.

    The forth one recently happened about 30 mins ago. I dreamt that my ex (same as above) physically left me to deal with my own issues after getting robbed. This one was a bit political. I know i dig into deeper hidden meanings behind it all but I felt his presence in my room, i did want to let go of him. We broke up about three months ago, so this might have been some sort of coping mechanism.

    • for the 2nd experience, i was going through a confusing job transition.

      Also, based on my own personal experiences , I have concluded that sleep paralysis is induced by the link to some deep underlying mental condition (stress, guilt, sadness, pain), substance abuse, narcolepsy, and even lack of sleep.

  • 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.

  • I have had SP several times in my life starting as a young adult. In my late 50’s I contracted Rheumatoid Arthritis. The steroids and chemo I took stopped the SP. after taking them I found out it had deteriated my adrenal glands severely. Since then I still don’t have SP. I think having my adrenals damaged has stopped me from having adrenaline rush which my be the reason the SP stopped. What are your thoughts.
    By the way after 10 yrs. of taking chemo for RA a new Rhematologist re diagnosed me that I never had RA. What a horrible way to stop SP. if that is what did it. I am now 70 and still no SP

    • Hi Stephanie
      Thanks for your comment. Yes, that does sound like an extreme way to go about stopping sleep paralysis! To be honest though I’m not sure if this is the reason it would have stopped. It could have been pure chance, or perhaps something else as a result of the chemo. But I’ve never seen any research would suggest it would have an effect on a sleep disorder like this.
      All the best

  • I’ve only experienced one notable experience of sleep paralysis. I ‘woke up’ I guess you could say, sometime in the middle of the night. Only it felt like there was something in my room. And I could not move. Then I saw it. A demented looking, huge, Russian nesting doll on the opposite side of the room. Its eyes looked crazy, demonic. The thing was huge and…moving towards me. In reality, I have a Russian nesting doll in my room, but I have no idea where it came from. I also have a fear of dolls and things of that nature. The doll was also not in view at the time of the hallucination. So I was terrified. I kept trying to move. I started to choke out “stay away” but my mouth wasn’t working well, but I kept trying. I remembered the spot where the doll belonged, and kept trying to turn my head or, at least, move my eyes to convince myself it was still sitting harmlessly on my dresser. As it was moving towards me still, I focused everything on moving just my eyes, then my head. However, I never had to use logic to see the doll was sitting there harmlessly because once I had forced myself to move everything was over. I regained movement. I turned to make sure that the doll was indeed in its proper place. I began to calm my breathing back down and assure myself that everything was okay. I waited a while after that, to ensure I would not prepare to sleep and experience the sensation yet again. While all of these things have already been explained by science (and are included in this article) I still don’t yet understand why I experienced this. It is not a typical occurrence for me, and I don’t have regular sleep patterns anyway. I don’t remember being particularly dehydrated either. I do remember that I was lying on by back, though.

    • Hi Alex
      Thanks for your comment. To be honest, you may never know why you experienced this on this particular day. It might just have been a one-off ‘glitch’ in your brain that causes the out-of-sync brain and body experience, and the hallucination that went with it. My advice would be to try not to worry about it too much, but do remember one or two of the tips in the article in case it happens again. But you may well find it never does.

  • It just happened to me a few times recently, and i think it become more frequent.
    My first experience is about a month ago. I’m not sure if i was sleeping or not. I was laying in my bed facing toward the wall. I felt like someone or something entering my room. I flipped my body and looked toward the door. I saw a boy standing in the middle of my room. Suddenly, the boy jumpped on to my arm. He squeeze and hug my arm really tight. I couldn’t move my body, my eyes can still looking around my room. I tried to move my body, I could only move my forefinger. I tried to scream, but nothing came out. I could see the boy face clearly. I heard so many disturbing thing and some kind of buzzing. I’m depressed and try to pray but nothing happened. I relaxed my body and and accepting my fate. I thought I got a stroke or else. It happened for a minutes or hours. Slowly, i could feel my arm getting lighter and i could move my whole body again. The boy is gone. It was a very terrifying experience.
    My second experience is like an astral projection. I sit and could see my body laying on my bed.
    My third experience, I have a dream, and then i realized that i’m on a dream. I tried to to fly in my dream. I could fly, and then my dream start falling apart. I couldnt move my body or control it. I wake up and couldn’t move my body. I can hear someone calling me, my gf voice and many several voices i can’t recognized. I try to focus on my gf voice and then i can move my body again.
    I have one or two more experience just this month. I’m a skeptic person, but this dream, this sleep paralysis is become more and more frightening. I start to lose way to define which one dream and which one the reality.

    • Hi Albert
      Thanks for your comment. I know it can be confusing sometimes trying to work out if you were dreaming or awake and seeing these things. My advice would be to try the tips in this article, no matter which of the experiences you have and see if they help. You might find that they do help you to snap out of whatever it is sooner. And in terms of the being awake in your dream, that’s a great thing to be able to take control of, though it can take a little practice. But if you can, there are many ways to have fun!

  • I have been experiencing sleep paralysis and out of body experiences for over 30 years – My husband can sense my troubled sleep now and he knows to do everything to wake me – When I awaken my heart is racing and I need to get up and sit wide awake – have a cup of herbal tea – and then go back to sleep peacefully. Out of body I can “go with it” – I don’t tell anyone about it as I am sure they will think I am off my head! I am 50 now – not a child – Over tiredness is the trigger – BUT – out of body can often happen early morning – If I was alone it would be much harder but my husband, even in his sleep – can hear me making throaty noises which indicates I am trying to talk but am paralysed. It can take him a good few minutes to “get me out” of it. Its horrible – although some of my “out of body” experiences can be amazing – Stuff I wont tell – for as I say – folks would think I am a nutcase! :) People who experience real out of body – can describe looking down at themselves – and I can feel myself going through the walls in my home – I can visit places and people – and choose where I want to go. I can feel myself travelling through the skies like a thousand miles per hour – I looked at your chart – I am one of the 500s who have experienced this regularly for many years – I think sleep paralysis and out of body are two different things – but one does lead to the other. For example – if I have been in paralysis for long enough – my “escape” is to get out of my body…. That’s how it works … (nut job or not!)

    • Hi Ruby
      Thanks for your comment. Hopefully you’ll now know that many people experience sleep paralysis and episodes involving out of body experiences. It’s a shame you don’t feel you can talk about it – you might find other people who also experience it and enjoy talking to you about it! It’s good though that your husband is able to recognise it and help you through it. Perhaps you could also try some of the techniques here and see if you can get out of it sooner yourself too.

  • Hey! Great site! Definitely interesting and I’m sure, for some people, very reassuring and helpful too.
    I have so many of these stories to tell- from being ‘picked up by the feet and hung upside dopwn above my bed

    by someone or something’ – AND THIS WHILE FULLY AWAKE! No sleep paralysis involved in that one… Just the

    sensation of being lifted by the ankles and hung up side down. Funny thing though, I can’t for the life of me

    remember how or when I got back down! (what I do remember is that it was not a jerky, fast lifting motion,

    but not slow either. Almost careful in it’s own way… And I was hanging there for probably a minute or

    That particular time, there was none of the usual fear and paralysis because I was just completely astounded

    that it was happening at all, let alone while I was awake! Usually it’s always when waking from a dream, and

    the dreams that cause it every single time are always about ghosts for some reason.

    Usually when I have these dreams, I whimper and make a little bit of noise and my girlfriend recognizes

    what’s happening and calls my name. It is her VOICE, and ONLY her voice that can instantly bring me back to

    earth. I say ‘bring me back to earth’ because it’s like I’m lost out in ‘limbo’, (again, my only

    explanation… It’s definitely NOT in THIS universe anyway!), and upon hearing her voice, it’s like a rope or

    something is imediately strung between me and ‘home’ and I can find my way back. I call it an ‘Anchor’ cos

    that’s exactly how it feels. I have an ‘anchor’ back to this reality again.

    Another time I was laying in bed nest to my girlfriend and she was on her side facing away from me and I

    was on my side facing her back., I kind of ‘dreamed’, (really more like actually “SAW”), a small ‘demon’ and

    this thing WAS a demon! It looked all creepy, kind of like those “Gremlins’ in the movie, only way more

    menacing and seemed like it was about 2 and a half, maybe 3 feet tall if it had have been standing but it was

    just kind of ‘squatting’ there on her hip and it was looking at me. I kind of woke up for a few seconds and

    decided that I would go back to into that ‘sleep’ state I suppose you could call it, and get rid of this

    thing. (I didn’t like the fact that it was around a member of my family and I was DETERMINED to rip this

    little thing to absolute shreds!)
    So, I made myself as aggressive as I have ever been in my life in readiness to attack it and went back to

    face it. A few seconds later, (and it WAS only a matter of 3-5 seconds), I was face to face with this thing

    and made my move. I went to ‘explode’ at it but the very SECOND that I made an aggressive movement, it stood

    up and threw it’s arms up above it’s head and ‘roared’. (there was no sound but the movement it made along

    with the open mouth, baring of fangs type of thing made it seem that way.) It was now towering over me by 6

    -7 feet to make a total of about 12 feet tall, (that’s counting as tall as what I am standing up – although

    neither of us was standing because everything in this ‘dream sequence’ was the exact same as real life. I was

    still laying behind my girlfriend, and it was still sitting on her hip, and that’s where it stood up)
    It had massive ‘wings’ that I hadn’t been able to see before, which added to it’s size, and it just seemed to

    ‘grow’ to be about 15 times the size it was at first and it scared the HELL out of me, enough to make me

    instantly drop the aggressive ‘Bravado’ act and shrink back into my self like I was a tiny child!
    Pretty much instantly, I ‘woke up’ and sat there for a while thinking about all of this.

    The fact that it had all happened within mere seconds was the most astounding thing about the whole

    situation I think. From being awake, then back into the ‘dream state’ then awake and making the decision to

    fight it, then back into the ‘dream’ again, getting scared off by it and awakening again was just amazing. It

    was like I was awake the whole time, (which I KNOW I was for ‘some’ of it..!), and travelled back and forth

    between ‘realities’ at will.

    I have ‘night terrors’, or sleep paralysis quite often, (my 14 yr old daughter also has it! But she’s not

    lucky enough to have a person there to wake her up like I do…), most times it’s after I haven’t had much

    sleep over a few day period…

    There was one time when I had to go and look after my sick father and stay at their house for 7 nights and

    I had these same dreams every single night except the last night! (THAT was weird!! And scary!) I had stayed

    there plenty of times before and NEVER had those dreams, so to have then have six in a row was REALLY scary!

    It seems that these dreams ALWAYS have something to do with a ‘ghost’. Now, whether that’s a person who was

    living at first and then died in my dream, becoming the ghost, or it’s just a ghost that I never see but

    just somehow KNOW is there in my dream and it’s THAT that starts it all off.

    I have NEVER had a felling of someone being in the room apart from that once, nor have I ever had a

    feeling of not being able to breathe.

    Both myself AND my daughter have some kind of ‘strange’ ablitities… She has been able to fully control

    her dreams since she was little, and has a VERY strong ‘Women’s intuition’! I have ‘dreamt’ the future on a

    number of occasions, had a LOT of dreams where I’m able to fly, I also occasionally have ‘visions’ of future

    events when I touch an object. I have also had a large amount of De Ja Vu! I don’t know if any of these

    things are related, but I did read ealier that a lot of people that have these sleep paralysis dreams also

    seem to have ‘unusual’ abilities that not every one else has.
    I don’t ever brag to be psychic, and am astounded that my mind is capable of these things!

    When I dream normally, it’s usually very happy dreams where I’m important to people, girls love me -Sorry

    but that’s the truth!! I DON’T THINK that, its just how my dreams are.

    Humans use 10% of their brains. (The other 90 is taken up with the subconscious daily runnings of our

    bodies… – IS IT?!? I somehow doubt that! Nearly 90% of our DNA is ‘junk’ and not even ‘switched on’!! Why

    do we need it then?!? It get’s weirder… I’m sure some of you have some pretty MAD stories to tell!)
    There are SO many things that just can’t be explained out there!! How do you know that when you dream, you

    aren’t really ‘living’ another ‘life’ in another plane or dimension!?!

    Anyway, Thanx for listening!!! Everything you have read here is the TRUTH, and nothing but the whole truth!!

    • Hi Michael
      Thanks for your fascinating comment. You’re right in that the human brain is an amazing thing, and may be capable of wonderful things which most people just don’t tap into. As for living in other realms when asleep, I don’t know about that but it’s an interesting theory for sure!

  • I’ve has several episodes of Sleep Paralysis before, a year ago I Was using prescription medications and it was common for me to have these experiences.

    But lately the episodes have returned, I been feeling tired and uptight, maybe the stress is what doesn’t let me sleep, but is pretty scary.

    Right now is 3 o’clock, just had a episode, was having trouble to sleep. I remember that I could see everything, I had the feeling that a evil presence was in my room, I tried to call for help but the words didn’t came, felt I was trapped in a cycle.

    In my episodes I wake up and get out of my room crawling with difficulty, only to return to the cycle and find myself still paralyzed on my bed. It happened like six times until I finally woke up (for real)… Seriously I didn’t now if it was real or still was part of the cycle, really thought it was a hallucination

    Strangely when i get these experiences I hear a horrible buzzing on my ears, coming and disappearing… It is pretty scary!

    Thanks for the information, this website helped me to understand what’s really happening every time i get the experience. Now I feel safer.

    P.D I’m sorry for my English, still learning to write it correctly ;)

    • Hi Gera
      Thanks for your comment. I can understand why this would be distressing. I’m wondering if you not only get sleep paralysis, but also have what’s know as false awakenings? This could be why you feel like you crawl out of bed but then find yourself back in bed again. Have a look at the article there and see if it makes sense.

  • I’ve been experiencing sleep paralysis since i was 16. I am 27 now. For the most part I know when I am about to have an episode and can talk myself out of it, moving my toe always helps shake my body awake. It has happened to me frequently enough that I have just gotten used to it. Recently though I have been hearing things, not voices, loud high pitched ringing. And sometimes a whooshing sound as if a helicopter was flying around my head. Twice i have also felt like my body was vibrating or tingling all over, these moments freak me out more than thinking a demon is visiting. It’s difficult to snap out of those episodes. This morning though I did wake up and found myself unable to move my body so I started talking to myself telling my body to wake up but i heard footsteps coming up my stairs, at this point I knew I was not dreaming and was aware of my surroundings, strange how my mind can hear things even when it’s awake. Anyways, there’s a you tube video called sleep paralysis noises and the first few seconds are exactly what I’ve been experiencing, if you have any input or curiosity check it out. I’m intrigued by it.

    • Hi Brittany
      Thanks for your comment. It’s actually very common to hear noises during sleep paralysis, due to the hypagogic hallucinations which occur. Try not to worry about it too much!

  • i have had this happen for about a year now. at first it was multiple times a night for 4 or 5 months straight. it stopped for about 2 months but it happened again last night. this one was the scariest one ive ever had! It started as a dream. i had my dog with me and we were at some prophets house and my dog could see god. he was looking up at him while the prophet was telling me what god wanted me to hear. then my dog just looks straight up and starts growling and freaking out! i looked up and there was this black floating ball of mist right above me and I started yelling and trying to get it to go away. then i laid back and i was in a bed. this is when the sleep r\paralysis or whatever happened. I thought i was awake so i went to wake my boyfriend up and realized i was back into lucid dreaming or whatever so i started trying to scream but i couldnt. there was a man in the corner in all black just staring at me and my dog was still going crazy. I finally woke up but had to pinch myself. everytime i have sleep paralysis i can turn it into lucid dreaming but they always end up terrifying and i cant wake up from them. i usually have to rip my face off or shoot myself to wake up! its the worst and i thought it finally stopped but lastnight told me otherwise

    • Hi Kayla
      Thanks for your comment. It’s fascinating that you’re able to turn sleep paralysis into a lucid dream, but obviously very scary for you too if it ends up as you say. Perhaps you could spend time in the daytime imagining a different technique to wake yourself up? Sometimes dream imagery rehearsal, as it’s called, can help a lot to change the content of dreams. Look it up online and you’ll find some ideas.

  • Dreamed I was in an old theater alone in the dark. Sitting in the back with my head propted up against a folding theater chair looking at the opposite corner of the ceiling. Can feel the room getting darker with a demonic presence. Calling out to God , Jehovah, saying to the demon” don’t touch me”. It came right up to my right ear and laughed with a deep, scary, demonic laugh. Then I woke up with the covers off me knowing I was screaming out loud and kicking. Had these nightmare’s hundreds of time since I was a kid. I know it’s some kind off evil spirit tormenting.

  • I have been having these sleep paralysis episodes for years. I will go for years without one and all of a sudden I will get one. Last night I had one that was so terrifying that I had to get up and turn the light on and leave it on. Mine always have the someone is in the room with me and its an evil entity. I have also had the one where someone is pushing me into the mattress…and I cannot wake up or move.. At one time I fought back and told that thing to leave me alone and go away and it worked but last night I was really afraid of it. The room seemed extra dark even though I have a night light on and I was crying in the dream because that thing was so close by and just looking at me struggling. I started feeling like my body was tingling all over and some evil spirit was coming into me. I was trying to scream but couldn’t …somehow I got off the bed and moved toward the door and I was so scared because that thing was coming after me. I finally woke up and I was so scared and couldn’t go back to sleep even with the light on. It was so vivid. I hate to have these episodes because I am afraid it will keep happening. Tonight I will wear a Catholic medal to bed . I used to do that when I had one. I will try to be brave and fight this thing off because it cannot get the best of me. I also pray right after this happens and it helps me a lot.

    • Hi Ana

      Thanks for your comment. I can completely understand how frightening this must be for you. Sleep paralysis can be extra scary when you get the feeling that there is an evil entity there, and when you feel physical contact. Do try to remember that it’s just sleep paralysis though, and your brain playing tricks on you. If you can, have a go at some of the techniques in the article if it happens again. Hopefully they will help you to relax and deal with it quicker.

  • My experience with sleep paralysis may be different, but I have a couple questions? is it normal not to hear or see anything during sleep paralysis? when I have sleep paralysis, it’s dark and I can’t move or open my eyes . it’s like i’m still sleeping but i’m awake . I remember I was dreaming and a UFO was flying towards me, I was in the room with my mom, and little sister. I couldn’t move my arms or legs and I couldn’t open my eyes . It lasted for about a minute . that was my first experience . so my question is, can sleep paralysis happen without hearing or seeing anything?

    • Hi Janet
      Thanks for your comment. Yes, I think it can happen with the absence of other senses. It may not be the most common way for it to happen, but it does happen.

  • How often do REAL paranormal prowlers carry out their agenda while you slumber peacefully in your bed? Men, women, and children everywhere awaken and learn that we are not alone.

    The following five classic symptoms of Awareness during Sleep Paralysis easily negate ASP as the explanation for GENUINE paranormal home invasions:

    Waking Paralyzed — The crucial, never changing, symptom of Awareness during Sleep Paralysis is waking up paralyzed. If you do not awaken paralyzed, then you are not experiencing ASP. Less than twenty-five percent of witnesses to genuine encounters mention an inability to move. In any case, encounters involving (subsequent) paralysis should not be dismissed.

    Unseen Presence — One of the more commonly reported symptoms associated with ASP is that of the “sensed” presence. Nothing at all is ever seen. This unseen or “just out of sight” presence is at odds with our reports of visible nonhuman intruders. Genuine encounters deal with eyewitness sightings.

    Extreme Terror — Terror plays an integral role in ASP. Even sufferers who are knowledgeable about sleep paralysis still experience intense fear unlike anything they experience in waking life. Some folks who meet real nonhuman intruders manage to remain quite calm and curious.

    Folklore Symptom — During ASP, few muscles of breathing are active. Many people have a sense of suffocating, as if someone is standing or sitting on their torso. None of our witnesses to paranormal home invasion reports this frightening signature folklore symptom of chest pressure.

    Dream Overlap — Auditory hallucinations are the most common. Many people are taunted by sinister voices. In a distinct minority of cases, dream overlap can result in wacky or scary illusions projected upon actual physical surroundings. These visions are vague, often described only as being blurry or shimmering. The occurrence climaxes rapidly and the “visual” hallucinations evaporate when the sufferer regains control of his or her body. ASP figments of the imagination and paranormal home invasions are two very different things.

  • has anyone had this happen? i started getting these bad dreams about 13 years old i remember i had just went to bed my eyes were open and i could hear people talking and watching tv in the other room when i started to hear like a bell in the distance i could see everything my eyes were open but all of a sudden i couldnt move or scream and i just had a feeling of terror like something evil was trying to take me away to i have no clue were but just knew it was bad. i started to pray untill i was able to move again that happened for a while till i was about 14 and i had a bad dream this time i got up walked to the kitchen for watter the entire time feeling that same feeling but able to move it wouldnt go away till i walked to my mother and woke her and asked if i could lay down by her i was having a bad dream. when i was about 36 i was living with a boyfriend that would get them i had told him if i ever scream out or nudge you to please wake me up he told me about his and told me how he confronts it gets mad and yells at it to go away and it does. that week i had a bad dream this time i confronted it and told it to go the f*** away and i dont know what it was but it confronted me back and it was mad i cant say i seen it but it got in my face and yelled back with a rush of fear and i woke up screaming.

  • Not sure if anyone can explain this or can relate. But, I just recently had a night terror/ paralysis episode that started as a lucid dream. I was in my bed (during my dream) I heard the backdoor swing open. I sat up and went out to shut it. when I got to the door and moved the curtain, something grabbed me by the back of my neck, and removed something from me, slapped me back in my body on my bed and proceeded to sit on me. I then freaked out and fought until I got it to leave. I am not sure what it was but, it was a black mass.

    • Hi Jill
      Thanks for your comment. Just to clarify, when you had the feeling of being sat on and fighting it, were you still dreaming or awake at that point? If you were still dreaming, it wouldn’t be classed as sleep paralysis but rather just dreaming of being in your bed still and having those things happen.

  • This happen to me but mine was a bit different there was a black shadow in the corner of my room its there everynight it sort of stands on the bottom of my bed its hard to explain really.
    Its not walking or crawling up my bed but i can feel my quilt getting tighter round my legs and i didnt think nothing of it until it got to the top of my legs i couldnt move my legs it went all the way to my chest i couldn’t move my body at all,i couldn’t speak and i was to scared to open my eyes as i knew something was looking at me i was scared and managed to move

    • Ive experienced several of these maladies if i didnt fight it my stomach muscles would tighten up severaly. Its ur body is asleep but ur mind wakes up very very frightening

  • Hi. So i feel the need to share some information about myself to you because it feels so good to know that i am not alone. First of all this article was so very helpful because it explained a lot of the things happening to me and i really thank everybody who took part in such an amazing article. so it’s 4am my time and i’ve been searching about what just happened to me (it’s not the first time though i’ve had it since i was about 15 and i am 18 now and it’s been happening a lot) but this time i felt it was longer than the last times and it took me a while to realize that i was trapped in my own bed so i said a prayer and i woke up sweaty and scared i was even scared to look this up online because i suspected there’s some kinda demon in the room and he dosen’t want me to know about it. what happened basically is that i was at my bed texting my friend and it was normal so i thought it was real and it was fine because it wasn’t disturbing (yet) and then i started seeing people i know from collage at my bedroom so i started asking them if i was dreaming or not and then i saw myself doing something really fun but the thing was how am i doing this thing over there if i’m standing right here so then i knew something was wrong and then i felt this pain like someone is binning needles around my spinal cord in the cervical region so i said the prayer and woke up not feeling the same and i still feel that this area (of my pain) has just completely changed. So this is the strongest attack i’ve ever had and i actually made my decision to talk to my family and friends about it and spread the word because i feel like this is very common but not really discussed. So yeah that’s my story and i would like to thank everyone who made this article happen (not being cheesy) you really changed my life. Thanks

    • Hi Amal
      Thanks for your comment and your kind words. It’s great to know that the article was so helpful. It sounds like you’ve had quite intense experiences there. I’m not sure if sleep paralysis is the best explanation though. Do you ever feel like you’re in bed and completely unable to move, even if you try? It seems to me that perhaps you were dreaming during this latest episode. Do you think you were consciously awake and seeing things, or asleep?

  • I’ve had quite a few SP experiences in my life. At first, I called them night terrors, but as I researched, SP seems to fit better.
    The first happened about 18 years ago. I was spending the night at my fiance’s house and I woke up and saw something coming out of a picture on his wall at me. It startled me so much, I screamed and ended up waking him up as well. It scared me so much, my whole body was shaking.
    It didn’t happen again until a few years later after we moved into the house we had built. I “woke up” and someone (it was a dark shadowy figure) was standing in my doorway, then all of the sudden, he was coming at me. I startled awake and screamed, again waking the sleeping husband.
    These happen every few months. I’ve had the same shadowy figures either coming out of the bathroom at me, the main door, standing over me or beside my bed. Every time, my body jerks awake and I scream and start flailing and shaking uncontrollably.
    I called them night terrors simply because I felt I was having a dream within a dream. Like I was dreaming I awoke to find something over me, then waking up and realizing it was a dream.
    We recently just moved again and so far haven’t had any in the new house. It’s been well over 6-9 months since I’ve had one, but they are truly frightening.
    I can’t say that I’ve felt like I was being crushed, but I do feel that surge of adrenaline once I’m coherent.

    • Hi Jen
      Thanks for your comment. It’s possible that you are dreaming about waking up and seeing those scary images. It’s also possible that you’re waking up and having hallucinations. And if you’re waking up, feeling unable to physically move and seeing those things, it would probably be sleep paralysis.

  • I tend to have episodes of sleep paralysis. Sometimes its a few nights in a row or it can go on for weeks every night. I’ve recently started having them again, not always in the same sleeping positions either. It’s rare that I project my hallucinations but there have been times where I have seen things and it’s utterly terrified me.
    With all the episodes though it’s just the underpinning feeling of terror when my eyes snap open. Last night was one of the worst ones I’ve ever had though as I could move my lower jaw but couldn’t produce any noise. Whilst I was trying to wake myself with this motion I could feel my arm contorting in the air and trying to stop my jaw or strangle myself, I’m not sure which and thankfully didn’t find out as I woke before. It scared me enough to stop me going back to sleep. I’m not sure what to do about these episodes and I’m slowly starting to fear sleep when the episodes start.
    I find exerting all my effort to almost push myself out of my own body helps and wakes me fastest. Sometimes however the terror is too much to even try that and I just have to reassure myself in my head it’s happened before and I’ll be fine, just have to wake up.
    A question for anyone reading this too, have you ever woken from an episode of sleep paralysis to fall into another one almost as if waking from one dream straight into the next? Those are the scariest. I’m 21 and have been having these episodes for years now. Thankfully there tends to be a few months respite between them.
    For anyone else out there suffering from it, I don’t know why but I found it quite calming and reassuring to read this article and write out my own experiences. Guess I don’t feel quite like I’m the only one or that I’m going insane haha.
    If anyone has any tips to help wake from these then I’m more than happy to listen to any advice. Could do with a decent nights sleep!
    P.S – I’ve tried alcohol induced sleep and it helps but I don’t want to pickle my liver :P

    • Hi Josh
      Thanks for your comment. Did you check out the section with readers’ tips? There are lots of good ideas there which you can try in the future. Many people have said they find they can drift from one episode to the next in the night. That’s why it’s good to get up for a while and re-set the brain, so to speak.

  • Hi. I’ve been experiencing this for 10 years already. When I was 10 years of age, I was visited by a young girl inviting me to play with her in the middle of the night. Out of curiosity, I always come with her and she brings me to this house, everything was so fancy, there were a lot of toys and food, and we played and everytime they tried to feed me I refused. and so I thought it was a dream, but I woke up with mud and dirt on my feet. In the morning while going to school, I look at the house where she brought me, and I couldn’t see anything but long grasses and an abandoned house. This continued until my parents noticed, I was sleep walking, and I was also talking alone. I told them whats been happening and they never believed me. They even thought something was wrong with me. And so we moved into another house, this girl vanished. But I am still experiencing sleep paralysis, and I have been seeing a man staring at me during that period, and when I wake up, I can see his shadow walking out my room. I am now 20 years old and things got even worst. I cannot barely sleep anymore, I can hear and see him clearly when I am trying to fall asleep, he has no face. And he says he is taking me. I don’t understand whats happening I badly need help, I am living independently, my parents are not around. I don’t know what to do. please help me. I am in danger.

    • Hi Angel
      Thanks for your comment. I can understand why you’re distressed by this. However, try not to panic about it as I’m sure nobody is coming to do anything bad to you. I think if you have a history of sleep disorders, and this is distressing you, then perhaps the best thing would be to talk to your doctor about it. They might be able to refer you to get a sleep study done and then you’d get some professional advice.
      In the meantime, I’d recommend sleeping with a night-light and perhaps some music, radio or tv on in the background. That might help you feel a bit more reassured when you go to sleep and allow your brain to recognise the room and not fill it with hallucinations, if that’s what is happening.

  • Hi. I am not sure if this was sleep paralysis that i had but usually i am not aware during my regular dreams and two dreams i was aware in but could not move. The first one i woke to find some goblin/vampire creature in my room standing in front of the door smiling at me i tried to call for help but could make no sound and its smile got wider. I whimpered then woke up. The second one i woke and there was a tall black shadow in the shape of a man that glided over to my bedside i tried to scream but couldn’t. I woke up when it leaned down over me. These events have puzzled me.

    • Hi Chelsea
      I think if you were dreaming about being in your bedroom, then it wasn’t sleep paralysis but instead a bad dream about being stuck in bed. If you were mentally awake, in bed, and imagining things in your bedroom in the real world, then it was sleep paralysis.

  • I started experiencing sleep paralysis at the age of 16 or 17. A year or 2 prior, my stepmother passed away from a 6 year battle of cancer . It effected me a lot . After she passed and a year later , my dog wouldn’t go into a certain room anymore , we’d have to drag her in . But she couldn’t stay in the room and people who slept in that room couldn’t stay ; they’d usually leave in the middle of the night because of them being awake and seeing things . Not during sleep.
    Before I explain my sleep paralysis story , I’m going to tell a story about the day she passed . The day she passed it was raining and my father went outside to the front door to take her to the hospital, where she then passed away. But he said when he was heading out the door , he saw her plant healthy and alive. When he got home after she passed later that day, it was still raining , and her plant looked like it was lit on fire . It was golden colored , which indicted death.
    One night , I woke up to a golden light shining on my wall , and when I stared at it , it looked like it “slipped into disappearance “. It was strange .
    Now to explain my sleep paralysis stories . Usually when I experience them , my vision turns on , but my body is paralyzed . Sometimes I feel a heavy pressure on my chest . And almost always , I hear banchee screaming and exorcist noises and see my room and what surrounds me but I hear scary demonic noises . I try my hardest to move my body parts or flip my body to release from the experience , but I have to try and make all my strength stop it from occurring .
    One night though, I had a strange sleep paralysis experience . My vision turned on and I was sleeping sideways and I could see my wall , but my body was paralyzed . I heard someone calling my name and shaking me but I couldn’t see who it was . When the figure stopped, “she” walked to the middle of my room . She had a bald head with a night gown (what my stepmother used to look like) and the figure walked through the door and I was able to get out of the paralysis .

  • I’ve only had sleep paralysis two or three times in my life. The very first time I had it was when I was lying on my stomach actually, and it felt like someone was forcibly pushing me iinto my bed, and I couldn’t move. I was so terrified that even when I gained control of my body, I still didn’t move for an hour. Another episode I had was just last night, and I made the mistake of sleeping on my back. A couple of hours before, I was going to attempt to kill myself, but my friends talked me out of it and I went to bed really stressed about school. Yes, so I slept on my back, and pretty soon I was already having a nightmare. Near the end, I had the sensation that someone was slowly wrapping their hands around my neck, trying to choke me. I didn’t know what else to do other than to breathe deeply. At first my breathing was shallow, but with each inhale it got deeper, until I finally opened my eyes. I immediately slid my hand up to touch my neck, but there was nothing there and I laughed. I still had the sensation of hands around my neck for a couple of hours though.

    • Hi there
      Thanks for your comment. I want to say something about what you say about feeling like killing yourself. It’s good that you talked to your friends about it, and I’m glad you changed your mind. I know school can be extremely difficult sometimes, and life generally has a way of being hard at times. But remember you have people who love you, and who will be heart-broken if something happens to you. I do hope you can find someone in your family also to talk to about how stressed you feel. But if not, do keep talking to your friends and share your thoughts and feeling. Whatever it is that’s pushed you to this point will seem easier to cope with at some point, I promise.

  • Hi, very interesting article.
    I remember having sleep paralysis when i was very young, maybe aged 11, and have had it since, im 21 now! I get it probably once a week, although in this past month ive had it about 6 times, and still terrifies me every time! What i find extremely strange is that i had previously moved out into my own flat for 2 years- and during this i never once got sleep paralysis, and was so thankful for it being over. Since returning to my original room back at my parents, its started again and ive had it frequently. I find it strange because i feel very safe in this house and i am sleeping on the same bed / mattress. Also im not sure if this happens to anyone else, but the majority of the time during it i get extreme back pain, like someone is bending my back backwards to snap in half, the pain is unbearable and gets worse and worse until im able to move again. Even when i do wake up i can still feel the pain so i know its a real thing. Im not sure if its maybe a cramp i get during it?
    When i do get sleep paralysis i usually try and stay awake for ten mins as im frightened it’ll occur again, and put my tv on to fall asleep too.
    Also which i find strange is that i can usually tell that its going to happen, before i fall asleep. Just a strange intuition i can feel, i dont understand it but usually im right and it does happen when i think its gonna.
    It is a very disturbing experience in which i do get scared there’s some sort of demon in my room when it happens. I just wanted to share my experience to everyone and see if anyone else’s experiences are similar?

    • Hi Selina
      Thanks for your comment. Many previous readers have said things similar to you. For example, that they find it only happens in certain rooms, that they feel physical pain during and after, and that they kind of know it’s going to happen. So I can tell you you’re not alone in all this.
      Why you would feel pain during and after, I’m not sure. It’s possible that you’re getting yourself into an awkward position during the night, and then when you get the paralysis, it feeds into that, and you then associate the paralysis as the cause of the pain. But they might be independent.
      I think it’s good to take 10 mins afterwards to watch TV or do something you find comforting. Perhaps you’ll also have some new useful ideas to tackle it as well now.

  • Hi I experienced it again just this afternoon when I decided to take a quick nap. I’m not sure if I could open my eyes but I can see things. I can see my sister coming to me holding my hands but I couldn’t shout. Strange is there’s nobody in my home at that moment. Maybe it was a dream but it’s weird since I always can see my sister when I have sleep paralysis. I never had it before but it was worst since this year. It happened to me almost twice a week and also when I’m sleeping in my back.I’ve talked with my family and they say 2 or 3 years ago I always sleepwalk in night. Do you think I should consult to the doctor?

    • Hi Shin
      Thanks for your comment. It sounds to me like it’s just sleep paralysis. If you think you’d feel reassured by speaking to your doctor, then by all means do so. But the chances are they won’t do a great deal apart from give you some advice about it. Perhaps try the tips in this article for a few weeks first and see it that helps.

  • Okay so 2 nights ago I had this horrible dream. A woman with no eyes was staring at me, and that was the entire dream. As soon as I woke up, I noticed I was completely still and was way too scared to move. As soon as I felt comfortable with turning on a light, I realized I couldn’t move. I started panicking and suddenly got this freezing cold chill down my entire body. I tried to calm myself down reassuring myself I could just be cold (my mom keeps the house very cold at night!) but then my hearing went out. I sleep with a noisemaker because it helps me sleep, and I stopped being able to hear that or any other noises in the room. I truly believed something was in there with me when I felt I couldn’t breathe. I didn’t dare open my eyes because I didn’t want to see who or what was in the room with me. I tried to scream out multiple times but my lips weren’t even moving. I kept getting the weird chill, my hearing was still gone, and I couldn’t move. I started praying then for safety and that was when I finally regained the ability to move, breathe and hear. I looked over to see what time it was but my alarm clock was turned over (I turn it over every night because the light bothers me when I try to sleep). I was too scared to even reach over to turn it upwards. I remember staying completely still the rest of the time I was awake and eventually falling back asleep after crying a good 45 minutes. I don’t know what time this happened, or if I was still dreaming or just hallucinating. What I do know is it was the most terrifying experience of my life, and I would never want to experience that again. I’ve been searching for a similar experience on google forever now and I can’t seem to find one, but the scientific explanation has seemed to help me a little bit. I’m still very freaked out and don’t know what caused it. Has anyone else had this happen to them?

    • Hi Emma
      Thanks for your comment. I can understand why you were so terrified by this experience. If you look through the previous comments, you’ll see that many other readers have had very similar experiences. I’m glad the scientific explanation has helped you feel a bit better about it, and you should also now have some practical ideas for tackling it should it happen again.

    • Omg yes I had the exact same experience. I’ve lately been really stressed about this new life of mine, I recently quit drugs n alchohal and also don’t get to talk to my family much. I have anxiety and PTSD and I’m very emotional. At first, and I’m still not ruling it out, I think I’m being haunted. But it only happens right as I’m falling asleep. Then I thought that maybe a witch put a demo is spell on me because it started happening very frequently, like every night for 2 weeks and that was a month ago. So I cleansed my room. With sage, holy water and I made a safety bag I keep in my pocket and dipped my necklace in holy water and sleep with it. So far it has stopped. So how is that sleep paralysis if god can wars it away? Anyways when this would happen I was cometlely paralyzed and I could literally feel it breathing on me. I was so scared I couldn’t even call out for help and I was to scared to open my eyes. It was the most terrifying moment I. My entire life. I could even tell when I was going to have them, I would get a strange feeling when I would get ready for bed. This was a month ago and I haven’t had one since, but I sleep with the TV and light on every night now because I’m so terrified

  • thanks for your comment Ethan–I guess I’m trying to figure out if this was a “visitation” from my mom who visited me long ago also with a tapping of a coin sound on tile. I was just confused by the fact that I wasn’t scared–everyone else is terrified. I didn’t have that.

    • Hi Karen
      You’re welcome. Not everyone finds it terrifying – have a look at the poll graph I put up yesterday and you’ll see that whilst yes most people do find sleep paralysis scary, there are some who don’t.

  • JUST had this happen last night. What I’m confused about is my experience was not frightening. I woke up to a sound that frightened me–told myself it was nothing and went back to sleep. Woke up again and thought I gotta get outta here. Went to get up out of bed and couldn’t move. I asked myself am I dreaming or am I awake? I decided I was in fact awake but it was dark. I “said” LET ME GO! Nothing happened–I said again (not out loud because I could not speak) but in a very controlled tone–LET ME GO! I was able to get up and leave the room to sleep in another room without incident. I was not afraid and felt nothing in the room with me yet I felt like I was yelling this to someone. Would love any light you could shed on this.

    • Hi Karen
      Thanks for your comment. There’s not a lot of light I can shine on this which hasn’t already been covered in the article really. It’s very common to wake up hearing noises when entering into sleep paralysis, and people often find that by focusing their mind on speaking or moving a body part, it helps to break out of it. It seems that that’s exactly what happened in your case.

  • I guess I have had sleep paralysis for over 40 years. A few times per year and it is the same thing. An invisible entity of some sort comes up from behind me and pushes me to the wall and up to the ceiling. I can’t do a thing. Of course that big shout and nothing comes out starts the night sweats. Sometimes I can run away, but of course not fast and it always catches up with me.

    These types of dream are always towards the morning. Lately, I find I am fighting back. Yelling, screaming, taking back the control. This morning was completely different. I asked it to reveal itself and show me their face. In my dream a cloaked female showed up, wrinkled, old. I asked how I could help her. What could I do for her so she would stop bullying me? Then I woke up.

    My theory is that I have my own demons to deal with and possibly I am starting to take control of them?

  • Hi i just went through sleep paralysis last night but when i woke up and i sleep again it came back. This happens four times (if im not mistaken) till i can sleep peacefully again

    • Hi Ameera
      Thanks for your comment. Yes, this can happen to some people unfortunately. I think the best thing to do if this regularly occurs is to get out of bed for 10-15 minutes after the first time. Go into another room and do something relaxing for a while, then come back and try to sleep later.

  • My name is vishnukumar.I dont know the word “sleep paralysis” till I see this website.Which I am experiencing since 2011.
    Today Morning also I experienced the sleep paralysis.
    Someone has fallen on me and pressed down. And I unable to move any part of my body Except opening my eyes.Even I unable to shout or speak except recollecting god’s name(Jai Shree Ram).
    And I feel I am flying on my hostel beds in such a way that how I assumed to be fly.
    I tried to move my body but I can’t.After some time,I came to consciousness.
    This is happening to me on an average 15 times a year.

    This sleep paralysis started in me after introduced by my friend regarding this demon activity.(2011).But he also told me one thing,to avoid this sleep paralysis which is very scary,solution is : to keep your hand or shoulder in touch to adjacent person who is sleeping with you in hostel or room.When I feel sleep paralysis I follow this trick.

    • Hi vishnukumar
      Thanks for your comment. I haven’t heard the idea of keeping in physical contact with someone. However, some readers have said that it happens less when they sleep with someone else, or are in contact with their partner’s body, so maybe your trick will also work – assuming the other person is happy for you to be touching them. Otherwise, try out some of the techniques listed above.

  • I had sleep paralysis first when I was in class 10…in 2015..till then from now on it happens regularly… but it actually happens only I sleep alone…I can see different faces as intruders during sleep paralysis…some of the face are known to many of them are unclear..

    • Hi rehnuma
      Thanks for your comment. People do sometimes see familiar faces during sleep paralysis, but at other times they are completely unknown. If it’s happening regularly, try to think of one or two tips to try next time it happens. Especially the finger wiggling one, which many people including me have had success with.

  • I had an episode of sleep paralysis last night. I started having episodes about 2 years ago and this was my third and worst one. I was trying to fall asleep and felt like I was actually almost there and then came the feeling of my wrists being held against my chest. I could feel what seemed like thumbs pressing into my wrists. I could breath but couldn’t move or speak. Somehow the way out of it for me is to do my best to moan until my daughter hears me. Once she is fully awake it stops which is strange because that should not affect what I am experiencing. I have always been on my back when this happens so the idea that the supine position is responsible at least partly for this phenomenon makes sense. But the part that bothers me the most is that today I woke up and had two bruises on my wrists that looked like fingerprints. I got the ominous presence feeling which is related to the fight or flight response so I am trying to rationalize all of this however the bruises leave me feeling very confused and a little freaked out. There is nothing near my bed that I could have hit them on and the bruises are on exactly the same spot on both arms where I felt like I was being held. Both arms are incredibly sore today which I can also not explain away. This time I felt a feeling like a current was running through the top of my body for a short period, kind of like the feeling you get when contrast is injected before receiving an MRI. This is a new symptom I have never experienced leading me to believe my issue may be worsening. My mother has narcolepsy but only developed it after having brain surgery to repair an aneurism that had not yet ruptured and was explained to be a side effect of the surgery.

    • Hi Jessey
      Thanks for your comment. I can understand your concern, especially with the finger marks happening. I’m sure there’s a very rational explanation for this, as there always is for people who wake up with some bruising. It’s most likely you did somehow manage to do it to yourself in your sleep, weird as it might seem. It’s not unheard of for people to act out their dreams, causing injury. This then might have been associated with the sleep paralysis experience you had. Try not to worry about it too much, difficult as that might sound. And to try some of the other tips for dealing with SP if it happens again.

  • I have had these episodes several times and always remember them vividly. I had one last night which drove me to do an Internet search to find out more. Last night I woke up to find three evil black and foul things trying to drag me out. I knew I was wide awake, couldn’t move and I tried to yell to my wife to “Pull me up!” but no sound would come out. Finally it passed, obviously they were unsuccessful.. I am a US Army veteran and a world traveler. From my perspective this was a terrifying experience.

    • Hi Dave
      Thank you for your comment. That does sound like sleep paralysis, and an unpleasant one at that. No matter what we’ve seen in life, sleep paralysis can still be tricky to cope with when it’s that vivid and scary. Hopefully you’ll be better equipped to deal with it now should it happen again.

  • I cosleep with my 20 month old dtr.had this dream while awakening after a bathroom break, I’m 6 months pregnant. in my dream A being cute says mommy Jesus is coming as we are driving down road. later at home lying on her bed she is talking, says thank you for my wardrobe and holds up a shirt to my face as I’m lying down with her. I’m thinking that is sweet as she is staring at me making eye contact smiling and I feel a pair of hands on my shoulders and become completely paralyzed. I can barely muffle out a squeak as A stares at me smiling. she is beside me speechless, full of color no dark image. I struggle to move, speak and muffle out a whispered no and somehow find an ounce of strength to ever so lightly make resistance against the force taking over me moving a finger and then my hand and arm. I pried the finger like grip off one shoulder with what strength I can muster up under the paralysis. the force resists but then releases…

    I had no food before bed.. when I woke up. have had many paralysis dreams over the years but this one was different involving Jesus. I’m not a church attendee but believe in God. I’m.a nurse that deals with death regularly. any idea what does this mean??? I moved into a new home about 5 months ahh and am praying no demon is sleep pattern is regularly broken, due to bathroom breaks and dtrs sleepwalking behaviors. she was sleeping soundly on this night.. thank u for feedback :-)

    • Hi Lori
      Thanks for your comment. However, what you experienced I don’t think is sleep paralysis. It is in fact a nightmare most likely, which just happened to involve feelings of paralysis. In terms of meaning, you might find it helpful to look at my article discussing theories about why we dream. You might find some clues there.

  • Hi There,

    I saw everyone else’s comments and decided to leave my own. I have had this dream 5 times now, and I have been able to help myself deal with this. The first dream was by far the scariest.

    My girlfriend leaves the house before I do, I was laying in bed dosing in and out of sleep. Then I heard her come down the stairs, our bed is in the basement. My girlfriend was standing at the side of my bed, I remember asking her why she was home. I sleep with the blankets over my face and I could see her through the blankets. She was unbuttoning her shirt getting ready for bed.

    All of a sudden it wasn’t my girlfriend it was this demon, it was black and had a creepy grin and all I wanted to do was push this thing away but I couldn’t. It then crawled over me into my bed as I saw it move over me from the right to the left it had this creepy laugh, and I remember being able to move my head and eyes but not from my neck down. When I “woke up” i was staring in the place where i was last staring in my dream. But the thing was gone. I then threw the blankets over my face again to see if I could see as a test, turns out I could.

    My second dream was a few days later, it always starts where i can hear something in the room. This time I tried my hardest to move a muscle because I knew what was about to happen. The worst part was i was waiting for her to come to the side of my bed but she didn’t. I had the blankets over my face again. This time she hit the blankets over my face, the impact felt so real. She hit me with a decent force I could tell she was mad or something.

    After that instead of fighting my dreams I started accepting them as dream. I am a vivid dreamer and can control my dreams to an extent. So now when I hear her enter my room I just start dreaming about other stuff. It’s not too bad anymore at least I got the demon part out. I still have paralyzing dreams I have had all five of them in the last 2 months.

    I have narrowed the reason why I have these dreams in the first place. I always have them right before my alarm goes off. My body clock knows when it is about to go off, my mind knows its coming but my body is still “asleep”. Anyways there is my info on this hopefully it will help someone.

    Basically if you fight the dream it becomes scarier if you accept it as a dream it is a lot easier to control. I read this article on how lucid dreamer have less nightmare because they can influence their dreams. So far it has helped a lot.

    • Hi Derek
      Thanks for your comment. I’m slightly confused as to whether you had sleep paralysis in which you were definitely awake in bed and hallucinating, or dreams of being paralyzed in your bed. They are very different things, and sometimes tricky to work out from people’s descriptions. Which do you think it was now I phrase the question that way?

  • I’m my religion we call them Jinn, there like ghost but they’re not dead. There just a whole other species of earth’s creatures. Though they are very fast, invisible, have brains capable of human things, the ability to possess, and satan as a member of their species, most won’t believe me but… My dad says the have feeling and not all are bad. Not all Jinn are satan worshippers. Some just live there normal invisible life. They have children, family, friends and all that and are still living. And when they die, they die just like us humans.

    Anyways, I heard of a Jinn who possessed a married man after frequently visiting him in his dreams as the most beautiful women ever, because she was in love with him. The Jinn also cause problems with the man’s wife to get them to part.

    Jinns are basically a modified made cooler version of humans. Unless they were made first. The own soul and heart.

    Plus, all you need to do to get a Jinn out of a possessed body it to recite Quran over it. Though it won’t kill the Jinn or stop it forever you can speak to it then and only then. If you anger the Jinn while talking to it the Jinn could leave the body and possess your or spend it’s like stalking and terrorizing you.

    • Hi Ray
      Thank you for your comment. It’s very interesting to hear your cultural explanations for sleep paralysis and what you understand the Jinns to be. Thank you for taking the time to describe this, as I’m sure some readers will find it an interesting idea.

  • I’ve been frequently having sleep paralysis. But for me I’m not just paralyzed. One time I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t move at all. Then I suddenly felt a heavy large mass on my lower legs. I could move my eye balls though, so I moved them to look at my legs. I didn’t see anyone. But it felt like a huge person was sitting on my legs. After a few seconds, it was like the mass got off of my legs. It wasn’t on me anymore. But strangely, I managed to know exactly where the mass was. It was like I could sense where it was. It was invisible but my eyes followed its presence as it walked to the door and left the room.

    • Hi Ray
      Thanks for your comment. Whilst some people actually see a presence during sleep paralysis, others do just sense that something is there. This often happens when the presence is behind them or somewhere in the room where they can’t see anyway. Hopefully you now have some ideas of things to try to stop it if it happens again.

  • First of all, I would like to thank you for collecting all this information, which I’m sure is very helpful to a lot of people who suffer from any kind of sleeping disorder. Especially for people suffering from sleep paralysis it can be a huge help firstly getting explained what happens biologically with one’s body, and secondly simply being aware that one isn’t alone.

    So here’s my story about SP, maybe there is someone who’ll find it helpful as well.

    It all started when I was about 15 years old. Like many teenagers in my country, I started experimenting with weed at that time, which turned out to be a bad idea – I didn’t like the experience at all and got very scared; Me and my then boyfriend where listening to music when all of a sudden I got the feeling that the music changed, it got strangely distorted and full of echoes as if I was in a huge church. Also, I got the feeling of falling and had to lay down, where the feeling continued. Opening my eyes was incredibly hard, so was moving my body. After a while the feeling disappeared.
    Naturally, I kept my hands of weed from that day on, but shortly after I had my first of many sleep paralyses. For me, it always happens when falling asleep. I could not move, felt like I was falling and fought to get my eyes open. I was terrified, especially because I thought it was some kind of drug induced dysfunction and that I was about to turn completely crazy. I had never heard of SP before and was too afraid to tell anyone about my experience, among other things because I did not want to tell my parents I had been using drugs, naturally.
    The SP returned every night so at some point I couldn’t take it any longer and told my mother everything. She sent me to a psychologist who sadly was more about the money than about helping me, but I was too young to figure that out right away. She did not explain to me that what I was experiencing was sleep paralysis, although this (which I know now) is something every psychiatrist is learning during education. So, I went to therapy for half a year every week, still suffering from SP two to three times a week, not able to sleep alone or without the light turned on anymore. I slept at my sister’s place nearly every night. It had a really huge impact on my daily life. Before that period, I used to be a very happy and open child, but after that, I was tired all the time, had problems concentrating in school, got silent and depressed. I was terrified of going to bed every night, and still I did not know what happened to me, whether it was dangerous or whether I was about to go crazy. As a kid, I often have had nightmares about some sort of horrifying situation where I tried to call for help and couldn’t, so I thought this was the continuance of that.

    After some months, the SP started to get less frequent. What helped me a lot was reading the scientific explanation online one day – I remember exactly how relieving it felt finally having a name for the thing that happened to me all those nights, and needless to say I was incredibly happy reading that it was not dangerous. I did not see any point in going to therapy anymore, because I didn’t feel any connection with my therapist and I didn’t feel it was helping. She threatened me that it would come again if I would stop, but I couldn’t stand her any longer. After a while, the SP stopped completely and I went on with my life.
    I would like to talk to my psychiatrist today, asking her why she never told me about SP, but unfortunately she died some years ago.

    Today, I’m 26 and find my self in a new phase with SP two to three times a week. It first happened again when I had my year abroad some months ago, an incredibly illuminating experience and a very important time for me. Also a time with a lot of stress and changing, which I think has something to do with the SPs. This time, in addition to the feeling of despair, not being able to move and a frightening feeling of falling, for the first time my SP where accompanied by auditive and tactile hallucinations as well. Thus, I heard a whisper in my ear and felt something/-one leaning over me. I could not see anything though. This particular SP was very strong and felt to take for ages, also it was accompanied by a feeling of getting sucked in or down. It is really hard to describe, but it was horrifying. Since the people of the country I lived in are very superstitious, they frightened me a lot with their stories about ghosts, demons and other stuff like that, although I already knew the scientific explanation for SP. In addition to that, I had a rooster crying every time I got free of a SP, which I am sure was not a hallucination because I was already awake. The friends I told about this were sure this was some kind of warning that there were demons close. I’m not a superstitious person at all, I don’t even believe in God, but the horrifying experience of a SP can make the hardest atheist fear stuff like that.

    I’m stronger now than I was as a teenager and I do not permit the SP to have that big of an impact on my life anymore. Still I hate that I have to go through this again. I thought I was done with it. I have tried many things to get out of a SP, nothing really works, but I have found a few things helpful. First of all, I try to regain control over my breathing and eye movement. I try to breathe deeply, to get my eyes open and then focus on something known and then I simply wait as calmly as possible. Fighting it makes it stronger somehow… I know this phase will end eventually just like the first one did. Still, I wonder whether I should try to see a doctor again, or maybe a sleep specialist.

    I hope you’ve found my history helpful or interesting. Also, I’m sorry for any mistakes I made, English is not my native language.

    • Hi Mary
      Thanks for your comment and for sharing your sleep paralysis stories. And actually, I think your English is very good!
      What a shame your therapist never recognized that it was sleep paralysis. It sounds like it might have saved a lot of time and stress if they had. But at least you know now what it is and already have some strategies for dealing with it. Sometimes it does just seem to come back years later, often for no apparent reason. I think your ideas of focusing on your breathing and eyes are good ones. Perhaps try out one or two of the other suggestions in the article and see if they also help.

  • I’ve had two episodes I’m hoping was sleep paralysis. They happened about 3 days apart I believe this month. The first time, I closed my eyes but I didn’t feel like I was asleep yet. All of a sudden I had a dream that I was falling. And when I “woke up” I felt like I was numb and floating. My eyes also wanted to open by themselves but I kept them shut. The second time it happened, my legs felt like they were asleep and I couldn’t move them. No dreams this time and I didn’t feel like I was asleep either. My eyes were wanting to open by themselves again, but I didn’t let them. Another thing was that it felt like something was either pushing the blanket down on both sides. I just waited until it passed. What scared me the most was that my eyes wanted to open against my will. It was very freaky. I’m hoping it doesn’t happen again.

    • Hi Jenny
      Thanks for your comment. It does sound like it could well have been sleep paralysis. I know it can be very scary, especially the first couple of times it happens. But now you have a better understanding of it, and hopefully some ideas of things to try if it does happen again – which it may not do with some luck.

  • Sometime the bedroom get windy no window open or fan on then the weight on my body mostly my leg been happening since I was a teenager now I’m sixty years old and still happening don’t get the wind all the time but I can’t move it happens several times a year sometime more can you help me

    • Hi Debbie
      Thanks for your comment. If it is sleep paralysis you’ve been experiencing all these years, then I recommend trying out some of the ideas in the readers tips section. There are many great suggestions there which have helped lots of people.

  • My husband has some type of mental illness, we don’t know what it is but, he hears voices thinks people are watching him and he wasn’t always like this…it happend 2 years ago he changed over night, he was a drug addict but is sober now but he also hasn’t had a good night sleep in years.. He wakes up every hour literally and when he does he wakes up all of a sudden or he’ll jump up and lately when he’s trying to go to sleep he screams out something and he’ll say I’m sorry I didn’t mean to…I feel like,not sleeping has made him have mental issues..I need answers I’m so worried about him

    • Hi Casey
      Thanks for your comment, and sorry to hear your husband has been struggling with his mental health. I think from what you say, it’s important that he sees a doctor about this. It’s not my place to provide a diagnosis, but if he is hearing voices during the day and feeling paranoid, then that sounds to me like a mental health issue which will require some professional oversight.

  • Well.. A few weeks ago it was nearing time to go to bed. My eyes felt heavy and just as they closed I shot awake, I felt as though something was above me and something was choking me. I soon snapped out of it. I turned my light on then attempted sleep again. But I felt it coming on again so I sat up as fast as I could, still feeling as though something was at the far side of my room. Tonight I knew it was going to happen, I was going to sleep and I told myself it would be alright and I layed on my stomach and closed my eyes. I then shot awake and I felt like my bed was shooken very violently and I couldn’t breath but I somehow slid and managed to reach my light switch…I am now here typing this

    • Hi Branden
      Thanks for your comment. That sounds very much like sleep paralysis from what you describe. Other readers have also described moments when the bed felt like it was shaking, and that’s understandably very upsetting. But do keep in mind that it’s just your brain playing tricks on you.

  • I literally just had an episode of what I’m assuming was sleep paralysis. I was laying on my side and I felt like something (wind,demon,etc) was flying through my back and out my chest. Also I couldn’t move or yell. I felt like I was looking into a strobe light because all I could see was flashing light. It felt like it lasted for several minutes. When I woke up or came around I felt like my heart was beating out of my chest. So I immediately googled my symptoms because I thought it was some type of seizure and it led me here. Scariest moment of my life!

    • Hi Lindsey
      Thanks for your comment. That does sound like it could have been sleep paralysis. It’s often very scary the first time it happens, so I can understand why you describe it as the scariest moment of your life. With a little luck it will be the one and only time it happens. But if it does repeat, you can try to remember some of the tips here.

  • I had an out of body experience when I was about 13 years old and it was scary. I lived on the third floor of an old Colonial style multifamily house in New England at the time. I was sleeping in the living room and there is a door that leads to the shared stairwell. I remember getting up and seeing that the door was wide open and beyond the door was pitch black, which me with terror that there was evilness luring behind the door. I turned and saw my physical body sleeping and I was so frightened that I immediately jumped back into my body. I’ve also had sleep paralysis where I have felt throbbing pain like my brain is going to implode or where I feel like my brain is being sucked into a powerful vortex. When I was 19, I took a nap and I went into SP w/ the pain, but I felt my body was levitating, but my head was still on the pillow. I’ve also had sleep paralysis without the throbbing pain. About 5 – 7 years ago, I had one of the worse SP where I suddenly woke up to feeling that I am being strangled. I felt without a doubt in my mind that an intruder had murdered my children and my husband and that I was the last one and in the process of being murdered. I couldn’t move and I saw barely a dark shadow standing near my bed and I was so frightened. I tried to wiggle my finger and my toes, but that didn’t work this time because my fear was so great. Finally, after what seemed like ages, my husband shook me and I woke up. I will never forget that feeling that there was evilness in that room that night. I’ve never felt such evil before, but I knew it in my heart that it was a malevolent entity that was never human. Throughout the years, I had sleep paralysis and always thought there was probably a chemical imbalance, but as more and more research became available, I discovered that more people experience SP than I had ever imagined. About a month ago, I experienced a painful SP experience and thought nothing of it. Last night, I had another SP experience with the throbbing, pressure filled pain. I was dreaming that I was in a large room and suddenly I saw a ghostly girl with decaying face come at me with her right arm and then I felt her hands around my throat, which woke me up, but I couldn’t move. I cried out to God and to Jesus to help and then I was finally able to move a finger and snap out of it. I closed my eyes and the SP w/ the throbbing pain took over again and I would wake myself up and close my eyes and this continued over and over until finally I turned on my light and looked at the clock and it was 2:47 am. I was so scared because I still remember the ghostly girl strangling me and 3am is considered the witching hour so I was too scared to go back to sleep so I decided to play on my phone until 4am. Then I was brave enough to go back to sleep and sure enough, the SP w/ the throbbing pain came back again and again and again until finally I fell asleep around 5ish. After doing research a few years ago, I attributed SP to the scientific explanation, but after last night’s experience I started reading up on it some more and in reading the stories of others and comparing them to my own, I’m really questioning the scientific explanation. I do fear and wonder about that pressure pain during SP where if I allow myself to succumb, would I somehow fall into a permanent dream/nightmare state where I will never awaken? It doesn’t make sense to me that the throbbing, unbearable and overcoming pain is not a medical concern as I’ve read articles that this is not anything to worry about.

    • Hi Kat
      Thanks for your comment. It sounds like you’ve had some very unpleasant sleep paralysis episodes so I can understand that it has left you questioning what’s going on, especially with the pain you describe. However, you’re not the first person to describe feeling pain in the comments here. What they all have in common though is that people always survive the experience! There is no evidence of anyone ever dying from sleep paralysis, and I think it’s important to consider that when you’re worrying about the worst possible outcome. I know it’s easier said than done, but I do feel it’s helpful to remind yourself that you’ve always gotten through the sleep paralysis, and so you always will continue to do so.

  • Hello, I heard about this earlier today, having in mind I’m only 11, I am worrying a lot about this. I haven’t had an experience with sleep paralysis before, so has anyone with experience got any tips on making it less ‘scary’???

    • Hi Tommy
      Thanks for your comment. I think the best thing is to try not to think about it. Not everyone gets sleep paralysis, and even those who do don’t get it that often really. So the chances are you’ll never even experience it. There’s no point in worrying yourself about something you’ve never had, and probably won’t have. So if you think about it night, try to do something fun instead like read something you like, play a game or watch some TV.

  • I had sleep paralysis two days ago and it was the scariest thing ever. I remember waking up and not being able to move and when I tried talking I couldn’t speak. My hands were on my sides and I felt like something was holding me down. Grabbing my arms down and on top of me. I remember looking throughout my room with my eyes and I saw a dark figure in the corner of my room but it diseases red a second later. Then I remember having an out of body experience and I was standing in the side of my bed and I remember hearing the name ‘Ophelia’ and seeing a women with a white dress and her hair down. I saw her and a second later she disappeared and I immediately woke up after that. I woke up and I tried to turn on my lap but it wouldn’t turn on. I had to get up and run to the light switch at the other side of my room to turn the main light on in my room. When I went to see why my light wasn’t turned on I saw that it was unplugged. That’s impossible bc I had it on before I went to sleep so it was plugged when I fell asleep so how’s that possible?

    • Hi Julisa
      Thanks for your comment. Out of body style experiences during sleep paralysis can be quite disconcerting. I don’t know what happened with your lamp. Perhaps you had tried to reach for it, or unplugged it, without knowing in your sleep. Things like that do happen. I wouldn’t worry about it too much.

  • I had an outer body experience 28 yrs ago due to being strangled by an ex but my experience was totally different to what other people are saying…. I would really like to understand it

    • Hi Susie
      Thanks for your comment. Sorry to hear you had to endure such a terrible ordeal. I don’t imagine it would have been sleep paralysis though. It’s thought that slipping onto unconsciousness can result in hallucinations and out of body experiences, which is more likely what it would have been.

  • Today i’m 21 years old and have not experienced sleep paralysis in at least 5 years but I’ll never forget one of my first experiences. I was a freshman in High-school and all I wanted to do was sleep all day. I would go to bed at 2am and sleep until 5pm the next day. I went to sleep like normal but woke up paralyzed one day. (I experienced this feeling once before so I had an idea of what was going on) Terrified I remember trying to wiggle my fingers or move my head to pull myself out of it. In the corner or my eye I seen a black figure come from the door way of my room and move to the other side of my bed where my computer deck and chair were. I heard the creek of the chair move as if someone had just sat down on it. Then the smell came. This extremely overwhelming but familiar musky perfume smell. It took me moments to remember but that smell was the same smell that came from the funeral home where my great grandmothers wake was held years before. Was it her? I still felt a bad presence in the room though, I was still scared. Then in a split second I could see myself outside my window with my body blocking the bright rays on sunshine. It made me look like a shadow but I could still see myself. I took one step off and hung myself. I was seeing my own lifeless body hanging from my roof in front of my window as if I was standing inside. At that moment I felt like I forgot how to breath, like my neck was broken and i couldn’t even move it side to side. This still is one of the scariest sleep paralysis episodes I have ever endured and always left wondering if it was a sign for problems in the future (suicidal thoughts and depression), my grandmother trying to make contact or that i’m just crazy and its all in my head. I always wanted to share my experience. Thank you for Listening.

    • Hi Kendra
      Thanks for your comment. I can see why that must have been very scary. I wonder if the second part in which you hung yourself was you slipping back into a dream state, or if it was an unusual out of body experience. It’s possible you’ll never quite know though, so let’s hope that you long time without these episodes continues!

  • I have had a couple of sleep paralysis experiences but lately they have become much more frequent.
    Some days ago I couldn’t sleep but suddenly I had an insanely vivid dream with old memories who started normal until i fell down in the dream and then I just kept on falling, I was floating trough the air by some boat houses and I heard a woman scream at a man who was trying to hurt her but then I realized it wasn´t my memories anymore and that it was another SP. It didn’t start scary, I was just floating right over my bedroom floor in sitting position. When I got to the door I turned and floated back and front in my room who isn’t very big. I always rush out of SP but this time I wasn’t afraid so I wanted to go with it for a while. This quickly changed when I saw a dark mist in the corner of my eye and got a chilling sensation that someone was gonna cut my pulse so I started moving my finger to wake up.
    Then I was standing in what I thought was awake by the bed. But I was frozen and couldn’t turn around. There was a white glowing pillow on my bed. I struggled to lay down on the bed and managed to do it halfways, My legs were hanging outside when the dark mist appeared around my legs. I couldn’t get out the regular way by singing about Jesus even tho Im not so much a christian so I gave up but then suddenly I snapped out of it. The dark mist were still in the room but its always there when its dark so Im used to it.

    The next day I fell asleep at daytime and had a dream were I was in a parking house and a strong wind blew me off the ground and a woman screamed again(happens everytime). I flew up towards the sky but woke up in my bed without being able to move. A black misty orb flew right in front of my eyes. Inside of it there was the glowing contour of a old ladys face. I fell asleep staring in to the wall but my neck were pushed up so I stared into the wall behind me while the orb with the face followed my sight. Since I had read that hyperventalating would wake me up I tried it but couldn’t breathe so I panicked and woke up with my face facing down in the pillow. When I sat up I was fully awake but stared into the same black orb as it turned purle and sparkled of electricity. It continued for over two minutes I think.
    I dont know what to think of this anymore… I always had my faith in scinece but the explanation doesn’t add up to my experiences …

    • Hi Toni

      Thanks for your comment. Sometimes it’s difficult to work out whether someone’s description is of sleep paralysis, a dream, or maybe sometimes one and sometimes the other. If you do sometimes think you wake up, but you’re actually still dreaming, then it could be whats called a false awakening. But if you are definitely waking up and unable to move, then it would be sleep paralysis. And perhaps in your case an out of body experience style. If it happens again, try out some of the techniques in the article if you remember to at the time.

  • I have not had these experiences of late however, a few years ago I had a series of sleep paralysis “dreams.” Maybe 8 or 9 total. All were very similar. The first waking up paralyzed lying on my stomach my head turned to my left and my right arm down along my side. At first I heard a small dog coming up the staircase I could hear his nails on the hardwood floors. He jumped up on the bed sniffed the back of my leg and then jumped off. I then felt some one get into bed with me. Everyone knows that unmistakable feeling when you are in bed and you can feel someone on their hands and knees moving towards you. I’ve never been that scared in my life before. However, at the same time I could feel they meant no harm. It also felt like it was female. Whatever it was laid beside me on my right side. They were laying on their back. I could move the fingers of my right hand slightly and could feel long slender fingers and some kind of garment. Second event I felt someone get into bed with me and straddle over the small of my back. I could feel their knees pressed against me as well as their weight. Again a definite feeling that it was female. Third event same thing except that I was sleeping with both hands flat under the pillow. Again someone astride my back but then I felt two hands slide under mine and interlace their fingers with mine. Before the fourth event I thought to myself perhaps I should try to remember an important question to ask if it happens again. Again same thing something got into bed with me and sat astride my back. I tried to speak the words were slurred however I asked “is their a God” where a female voice answered me and said “you should know the answer to that by now.” For me I know they were not dreams and reason why I say that is because in a regular dream you never have your mind speak or self talk present. You don’t actually think in a normal dream. During these events my self talk or mind speak was very much present. When told “you should know the answer to that by now” I thought to myself “what kind of answer is that?” Thinking here I am I finally have the chance to ask an important question that perhaps cannot be answered by someone in this life and this is the kind of answer I get you’ve got to be kidding me.
    So I know that for me they were not dreams. Not sure who or what was visiting me.

    • Hi Robert
      Thanks for your comment and for sharing your experience of sleep paralysis. It was interesting to hear your thought process regarding asking a question. I think that’s a good idea, so I can understand the frustration in getting such an answer! The ironic thing being that it was your own brain deciding not to give you the answers you might have otherwise appreciated.
      It’s good that you haven’t had any episodes lately, and hopefully it will stay that way.

  • My first experience of this was when i was 6, i saw a dark figure hunched over me and it slowly dissappeared as i woke…I noticed as i got older that it occured when having sleep deprivation or irregular sleep, it is like dreaming awake and my mind would turn inanimate objects into different moving objects. I was never suffocated albeit i felt claws digging into my skull, pulling my hair, sucking at my neck, demonic hands coming over my chest, whispers, radio signals/conversations and a faceless dark figure telling me to leave my body. I was once warned to go back to my body and I would sometimes scream myself awake though i mostly am not afraid. I would sometimes feel like i was being tested and items in my room had been replicated to fool me. I’m also not religious and demons don’t scare me. These experiences actually make me feel more in control of my own mind. I feel there is a scientific, psychological elimant to them albeit i don’t feel this rules out other ideas and science/the aetherial can be closely linked. I always felt alone when having OBE until i started hearing other peoples paranoid stories and then my OBE stopped. It would happen the moment before sleeping or waking when the heartbeat is very slow,i would hear a swooshing sound and then lift up but i never saw the blue chord people speak of. I want to ask if anyone has ever had another experience i’m going to describe and have never heard before…i would sometimes have sleepless nights when as a kid i was forced to go to bed and i actually felt like i was in a sort of hell, my bed felt like concrete and it was as though my head was throbbing/zooming in and out, no pain, i would then drift in and out of sleep wishing my night would end but i felt as though i was trapped in a cycle. It’s the worst feeling and i actually prefer to see a monster than have this feeling, has anyone ever experienced something like this? Perhaps it’s simply the feeling of emptiness and feeling trapped

    • Hi K
      Thanks for your comment. I haven’t personally experienced the thing you ask about. I do know that kids have very active imaginations, and all sorts of things can influence the way they think at night. Perhaps other readers will respond, having experienced something similar.

  • Very enlightening read! I thought I was the only one who experienced these things. I recently had an episode in my first few hours of sleep. I could feel a weight on my chest and shoulders pressing me down, enough so that I could feel my mattress sink down a bit behind my shoulders. When it passed, I remembered feeling my shoulders rise up again as the mattress returned to its normal position. What causes this? I am inclined to think these are demonic attacks because they usually coincide with some spiritual event or retreat I am preparing for. I also sense a strong presence of anger and hatred near me when these happen. Whatever the cause of mine, I greatly enjoyed reading this!

    • Hi JC
      Thanks for your comment, and I’m glad you enjoyed the article. I think the physical experience you describe is best explained in terms of a tactile hallucination. It’s very commonly experienced by people during sleep paralysis, and is nothing to worry about as it’s all part of the brain’s amazing ability to trick us into thinking something is actually happening to us.

  • I’ve had sleep paralysis really all my life. Just recently have they dialed down. I am 16 years old and the most recent experience I’ve had happened about a month ago. Keep in mind, as a kid I think I was troubled. I used to have night horrors but I never had sleep paralysis like this. Before it was me fighting to get up and often waking up to see dead bodies lying on the floor even when wide awake for a few minutes. I was only like 10 when this happened. I didn’t want to tell anybody because I knew they wouldn’t believe me. I only now told a couple people for that the things I’ve seen are enough to make you kill yourself.

    Recently, my parents were going out of town so I decided to drive to my grandparents. I haven’t seen them in a minute so it was nice but I remember being tired early that night so I went to the bedroom and relax. I turned on the tv and started to fade off. During that same night when I tried to wake up, I was paralysed. I knew I was before I opened my eyes because I had a feeling something bad was about to happen. I eyed then quickly and nothing was their. So, not caring about the fact I couldn’t move, I fell back to sleep. This happened 3 other times that same night. The last time it happened that night was the scariest. I couldn’t feel the bad presents anymore but I felt a bad present. This time I tried to move but I was on my side and my arm was pushing down on my whole body. I started to hear a steady knock at the door. My tv was still on so I thought it was my grandma so I said come in but faintly, almost a mumble. But whatever was at the door that night definitely was not my grandma. Keep in mind this is the fourth or fifth time this night I had been unable to move so I wasn’t new to this by now but this one time was just strange. This knocking happened for about 1 minute and then stopped. Then, as smooth as a hot knife on butter, my door gently opened and this demonic thing glided towards the foot of my bed. I was sleeping on my side but I could still see this thing out the corner of my eye. It had a big head, mainly to match his big and scary grin. His eyes every time I looked at him pierced my soul. I, almost curious, kept looking. I’ve had some scary experiences before but this one was kind of new so I wasn’t too scared. I couldn’t help but mumble the words get out and it came closer and closer to my face. As it got closer I could feel fear but I kept staring at it. It was making this noise like he was laughing but it didn’t match his mouth because he was smiling. Since the tv was on I could see the figure as clear as day. It seemed like he was wearing a black gown and was holding something but he wasn’t holding anything, but his hands resembled this. As he got closer his smile got uncomfortable and unusually big, almost like it was past his face. His teeth were sharp as samurai swords and he looked down at me with red eyes that seemed to be examining my body. He looked up and started laughing but is wasn’t a regular laugh once again. It was this weird noise that again, didn’t match his mouth. Him being so close to me triggered my fight or flight senses so I used everything I could to get up and hit him or to make leave. After about 10 seconds I leaped out the bed and swung my arm but he was gone, my door was shut, and the commercials were over…

    • Hi DJ
      Thanks for your comment. That must have been a very frightening experience. It seems like you get the sleep paralysis visual element to a very vivid degree, like many previous readers have also. It’s good that you’re getting less of them these days, and they will become easier to deal with, I’m sure. Try to remember some of the tips if it happens again and see if you can get out of it more easily.

  • About a month or so ago I had another type of phenomena happen to me that may be linked to sleep paralysis or something like it. I was dreaming and I was in my old trailer from childhood in one of the back bedrooms on the floor. In this dream a young woman who I went to school with years ago says they are trying to summon something. All of a sudden I am outside but it is not my trailer but like some long building with people in there sleeping on the floor. My brother was in the dream and he was on the floor and he said something but cant remember what. There was a TV over by where my brother was and all of a sudden I hear this horrible growl and me and him freak out. I wake up and fly out of my bed into the living room terrified beyond belief. I have my doubts in the existence of anything supernatural but it seemed so real it was beyond terrifying.

    • Hi Shane
      Thanks for your comment. I think that really you just had a bad dream. I know it can be tempting to attribute supernatural explanations to bad dreams, but it’s not the case at all. Try not to worry too much about the meaning of bad dreams like this, and if you like have a look at the article about nightmares.

  • I have been experiencing sleep paralysis for about 6 years now, since I was about 20.
    The first two or three times it happened, it was the scariest thing I’ve ever experienced. I lived in a great old house woth my mom and sisters and we all at some point had some weird paranormal experiences there. Then this happened to me, so naturally it freaked me out. I experienced the hallucinations and felt the presence in my room. Both times, were in the middle of the night. I woke up on my back with a pillow on my face, so I figured someone or something was trying to suffocate me. I could not see or breathe, so I didn’t know if this was real or not. I didn’t tell my mom until we moved away from that house, because I didn’t want to scare them. I of course had never heard of sleep paralysis and I honestly thought that some being was trying to kill me.

    It stopped happening for a few years, and in the last 2 years it probably happened about 3 or 4 times within a year. Now it happens in the morning before I wake up. I am always a little scared at first. But I had researched it a bit so I learned to control my breathing and wiggle my toes. Which usually works. It lasts about a minute and I go back to sleep.

    I never really knew if my mom believed or better yet, understood what was happening.
    Today was a different story. I had the first experience in about a year.

    I had fallen asleep for a nap on the couch and woke up from a dream. Unfortunately I had fallen asleep in a bad position so my arm was a bit numb. I tried to move but realized I couldn’t. I was in sleep paralysis, I panicked a bit, I tried to calm my self down, this time however, it lasted way longer than any other experience. I started to get really nervous, and of course I panicked. I could hear the TV, and the gardners outside running the lawn mower, but this next part was really interesting.

    I knew my mom was somewhere around me. She was actually sitting at the dining room table about 6 feet away from me. I couldn’t see her, but i knew she was there.. I tried moving any party of my body to get her attention. I was only able to wiggle my toes and open my eyes for a seconf, but they would close. I was able to move the muscles around my mouth but I could not form any words. I could hear myself mumbling, but I could not scream out or say anything. I tried calling out for her for what seemed like a very, very long time.

    Finally my mom came over and started speaking to me, she was calling out my name and I tried to respond. She saw my eyes open and close and saw that I was twitching. And responding, but I wouldn’t wake up. She tried to wake me by smacking me lightly on the cheek and putting her hand on my chest to ground me, she knew that I was in sleep paralysis and figured that her hand would give my body an idea of where I was and what was going on. I kept feeling like I was waking up, but I kept slipping back into sleep.

    She lifted my head and I would open my eyes and look at her and my face muscles would tense up, then my eyes would roll back and my muscles would relax and I would go limp again. This happened about 4 or 5 times. It took her over a full minute to get me to wake up. And I was conscience the entire time.

    She almost called 911 because there is no way I wouldn’t have woken up with her screaming my name and basically shaking me.

    I finally woke up gasping for air and crying. I sat up to tey to catch my breath. I’ve experienced this by myself, but nobody has ever seen it happen to me, and it had never been that scary or difficult to wake up.

    It turns out that my mom had been sitting next to me at the dining table for about 15 minutes while working on her computer. She said that the entire time I was mumbling and twitching a bit, but she figured I was just dreaming.

    I know sleep paralysis is common and usually lasts a few seconds, but I feel like my recent experience was a very odd, and extremely scary. It made me wonder if this is what it is like for people when they are in a coma. What a terrible thing to experience, to feel like you are completely gone, while you are actually right there, but helpless.

    Has anyone else had an experience this intense?

    • Hi Giovanni
      Thanks for your comment and for sharing your sleep paralysis story with us. And it’s a very interesting one due to what happened with your mum. Previous readers have described at times being woken up by a partner in bed, but your description is probably the most detailed I’ve seen during the years since I originally wrote this article.

      I can completely understand why you were so scared by this, and perhaps your comparison to being in a coma has some sense considering what you went through. But fortunately you were able to wake up fairly quickly. Having said that, it does seem like you just had a bit of bad luck in terms of how long it took to wake up.

      Perhaps having read the article you’ll have a few more ideas for dealing with it, so if you do have another nap which goes that way you’ll have some more tricks to try.


  • I liked the scientific explanation but what if the person who had a dream did see the “demon”? It was a very scary old woman and she managed to change my direction towards her please give me an explanation for that thanks alot

    • Hi Sa-ad
      Thanks for your comment. If you see the demon in a dream, then it’s simply that – a dream. If you see it when you’re awake but paralysed, then once again it’s an invention of your brain, but just more realistic because you’re hallucinating it in your bedroom, which makes it feel like it must be real. But it’s not.

  • I’m not sure if I’ve experienced sleep paralysis or not. Tonight was my second episode in as many days and I’m looking for guidance. The first episode I was dreaming and I heard a loud scream in my head and it woke me up. I immediately tried to assess the situation by confirming with my partner what was happening, as I was instantly filled with fear. Except, she’s 2500 miles away and has been for over a year (finishing her contract in the military before rejoining me). I’m certainly used to it being just my dog and me in the house, so this was odd. When I realized that it wasn’t her I was sensing near me, I froze. I was overwhelmingly convinced a presence was in my room. Or, I was being warned of an intruder and m other senses took over…breathing, hearing,…even my sinuses cleared up on the spot. I felt like I COULD move, but I was compelled not to…or too fearful to? Either way, I didn’t. I doubted several aspects of the experience after it happened until tonight…

    I never remember my dreams. Maybe one or two a year…but that is it. I haven’t had a nightmare in 10 years, because I’m generally proud that I’ve conquered fear (I even have a tattoo suggesting it). But, here I was. In a dream. Feeling the craziest sensation- like I was having an earthquake inside of me and I wasn’t moving physically. Instantly filled with fear. This time I was in a house with my mom (in the dream) and I was seeking her comfort. When I arrived at the couch she was napping on I frightened her and my voice sounded slow and demonic. I immediately woke up and the sensation (earthquake shattering internal feeling) hit me like a freight train. Once again I felt like I could move, but didn’t. This time I was more compelled to assess the situation and take in as many clues as possible, but why was I filled with fear? I almost felt like I was in a trance like state and was “tingling” all over. I was on my back. Thoughts?

    • Hi Chad
      Thanks for your comment. You actually raise an interesting questions – when we wake up and things aren’t quite right, leading to fear and the feeling of not being able to move, is it really physical paralysis, or simply a fear of moving in case something bad happens or is attracted to us by our movement? I’ve actually had both in my life, though the fear one a long time ago when I was in my late teens. But I do remember it very well.
      In my opinion, the distinction is normally made by what happens if you attempt to move. With sleep paralysis, you will actively try to move, even if just an arm, and find you can’t. Or try to talk or scream and again find either you can’t at all, or just a muffled noise comes out.
      So if it happens again, do try to move your body. If you can’t, then it’s sleep paralysis. If you can, easily, then it’s not sleep paralysis…and I guess you will also have broken out of the fear!

  • I just woke up a few minutes ago after experiencing sleep paralysis. I knew what it was because i heard this youtuber i watch talk about how he got it. And so in my episode i fell asleep i had no idea. Then i kept hearing my door squeak (it was an outside one and it was windy so i wasnt very scared) i was going to go outside to close it. Then when i realized the noise and got annoyed i tried getting up but i felt held down on my chest, i tried yelling for help but it came out very low and i felt choked. Then after like 10 seconds i blacked out, then 2 seconds later i could move and talk. I was filled with fear. I thought maybe it was paranormal because before i fell asleep my cat was looking up in a corner then she left and then that happened. But i read it was due to sleeping on my back which i never do usually . But yeah horrible experience ever

    • Hi Bryan
      Thanks for your comment. Yes, that sounds exactly like sleep paralysis. It’s a very scary experience indeed for most people, though some do enjoy it! And sleeping on your back does seem to be something which many people report as a possible trigger for it.

  • I had an episode two nights ago. I woke up to a man whispering to me. I tried to move but my entire body was paralyzed. He moved toward the door of my bedroom and continued to watch me until I could move again. I had had at least one other episode of sleep paralysis with hallucinations as a child, so I was partially convinced that it was just a hallucination. But during the episode I was convinced that here was an intruder in my room. My first experience was as a very young child. I thought a woman was holding my hands and feet down and whispering to me. When I could finally speak and move, I screamed for my parents, who believe in superstitions such as ghosts and such. Trying to comfort me, the told me it was probably a deceased relative but this idea tortured my sleep for most of my childhood.

    • Hi Emily
      Thanks for your comment. Goodness yes, I can understand why being told that would stay with you for years. I think unfortunately many parents tell their kids things like that, thinking it’s the best thing to tell them, when it’s really not at all. Now you know what it is though, so if it happens again you should be able to deal with it the best way possible.

  • I’ve experienced it now. I “woke up” with some man sitting by my bed and putting his hand on my mouth. I was scared he wants to choke me but I knew in what state I am and that it’s not real. I was struggling to talk and move his hand from my mouth. Was trying to think he is not going to do anything bad and came to kiss me instead. Then he disappeared but I remember a lady with a small girl next to me. My room was dark all the time and I was trying to switch on the light what was almost impossible to do. Finally when I reached the switch it turned out there is no light. That reassured me it’s a dream but I still wanted to have light so I went to the corridor and kitchen trying to put lights on everywhere but without a good result. I decided to run down to the lift and to the securities downstairs cause there is always light on in the building lobby. In the lift instead of numbers was only one button with an “x” on it. That scared me more but I tried to stay calm and wait until the door opens. Then I woke up, my breath was very deep and heart was pumping a lot. Think this paralysis last few decent minutes

  • Today I awoke terrified and ready to call 911. I’m in my house sleeping on my back I remembered I closed my closet doors and the house lights are off. When I “woke up” and looked around my closet doors were opened and the kitchen light is on. My room sits around the corner of my kitchen, so I can not see who was switching it off and on, but I can see the light going off and on. I tried to get up. I tried to move. My body had tiny prickly sensation, and I eventually regained movement, but when I closed and opened my eyes…the closet doors were closed. The kitchen light was off. Creeeeeeeepy!

    • Hi Cathleen
      Thanks for your comment. I can understand why this experience was so disturbing. However, I imagine it was either sleep paralysis with some hallucinations, or perhaps even a dream which seemed like you were in your bed still. Try not to worry about it too much, it was probably just an unpleasant one-off experience.

  • I decided to research this phenomenon, after having another experience this morning. I have had this problem on and off, since I was a young girl and am now 62yrs old.

    I too, was around 15 when I had my first episode. I’d wake up and could not move a muscle. It felt like my body was slowly sinking back, back, back, into some dark oblivion. I felt as if there was a demon or dark entity in the room, trying to pull me downward. I tried and tried to turn over to my side, open my eyes, scream out for help and somehow knew I was not fully awake. Finally, after what felt like a long, hard time and fight, I was able to pull myself up to a sitting position and would bang my head against the wall to WAKE myself up, because I knew that was what I needed to do. Then, I’d have to keep myself awake, get up and get a drink, or something because otherwise I would fall right back into it. The first time was the worst. In my young mind, I believed telling people about it, was the only way to pass the dream on, and sometimes felt guilty I would be sending it to that person. I haven’t had this experience in a long time, most likely because I realized in time, in was my religious background that was relative to that particular experience. However, I have often had night terrors, and the paralysis of not being able to wake from the dream, that I knew I was having. My husband has often had to wake me up, calling for help, which I felt I was battling to do. I decided to fully research the subject after this mornings experience, and realize that part of the problem is my work schedule. I wake up at 3:30am for work, and try to get to sleep the latest 8:30pm. On my days off, which are rotating, I generally wake up at the same time, tell myself I can go back to sleep, and if I only get 8-9hrs total of sleep, I wake up ok, although not refreshed. But, as in last night, I couldn’t stay awake past 8pm, woke up intermittantly during the night, and after 12hrs of sleep, was so totally physically tired, I could not wake myself up and had the same experience. I think I had too much sleep. I am going to try the suggestions you made and see what happens next time. Although, the one about allowing myself to just go with the flow, and allow myself to be pulled back down is a little scary.

    • Hi Connie
      Thanks for your comment. I think that shift work can be incredibly demanding, both on the body and mind, and often results in sleep problems. So it doesn’t surprise me that your work results in you having some difficulties at times. As for sleeping too much, perhaps you just need to be more vigilant with the time and set yourself the best sleep schedule you can, in which you get a regular amount of sleep. 12 hours is probably too much! Have a look at the article in which I discuss how much sleep you need for more on that.
      Hopefully some of the tips will help you, and I agree that allowing yourself to go with it can be a little scary. I think it works for some people, particularly those who think it’s quite fun or interesting, but it’s not for everyone.

  • It was the most terrifying thing in my life. It hasn’t happened in about 16 years. My son saw someone on YouTube talking about it yesterday and a flood of emotion came back, mostly scary. But I never knew there were other people experiencing this, or that it had a name!! I thought it was me, thought I was being haunted by demons. I was ready to commit myself, honestly. I struggled with these episodes for several years. I assume now from reading your article that it was from a lack of proper sleep. I’ll buy the scientific reason all day long! Thank you for the information, honestly.

    • Hi Molly
      Thanks for your article. Many previous readers have also said they they were worried about their mental health because of this. And whilst some people do experience hallucinations due to ill mental health of course, in many cases the things we see during episodes of sleep paralysis are nothing to worry about – even though they are very scary.

  • Last time this happened to me was 5 years ago I had just finished partying with some friends it was a friends wedding that night we were all staying at his house and he told me my house is haunted .

    I laughed and decided to fall asleep on my back I was sleeping but paralyzed and I could see things in the room my body felt pinned down I couldn’t move at all i couldn’t see what was on me though , I felt gushes of air going in my ribs like evil spirits I eventually managed to wake up and I said to myself it was probably just a bad dream

    Then I proceeded to put my head on the pillow again and it immediately happened again ! After a long struggle I woke up told my friend Alex to wake up he seemed terrified only to tell me he experienced the exact same thing .

    • Hi Edy
      Thanks for your comment. Several previous readers have also said that they sometimes experience sleep paralysis straight away after just getting out of a first episode. That’s why I think it’s good to get out of bed and do something relaxing for 10 minutes or so and then sleep again, just to kind of ‘reset’ your brain, so to speak.

  • The first time I had sp was about 2 months ago, and unlike most cases I’ve read about I was laying on my side when it happened. I woke up with an arm around me squeezing tightly. At first I wasn’t alarmed I assumed it was my best friend (I’m only in high school and she happens to stop by and spend the night whenever) but then I realized I couldn’t move and that my friend was out of the country. I freaked out and slowly the sensation got tighter and tighter before I just fell out of bed feeling like someone was still holding on to my arm for a short moment. I told my friend about this but only small details and she is very religious so she Immediately thought there was a demon. I didn’t know what to believe I never looked it up so when it did happen a second time I was freaked even more so than the first because I thought that what was happening. After the second time I looked it up and found your website and it really does help knowing what’s going on and how I can stop it.

    • Hi Sammi
      Thanks for your comment. I’m glad you found the website useful. The tips here can be very effective for lots of people, so do try to remember some of them if it happens again. But with a little luck, you won’t have a repeat experience.

  • I have heard stories of sleep paralysis, I learnt about it briefly during my study of psychology. I have heard experiences of my mothers and sisters, however hearing about it, and actually experiencing it are completely two different things. Only about 40 minutes ago I experienced my first episode of sleep paralysis. I was sleeping on my side with my arms across my chest, and I suddenly woke up. Immediately, I had closed my eyes (I am not sure at the time if I could open them or not, it kind of felt said they were open, but I still couldn’t see anything) and then it was as if a dream began. It was a horrible dream about some crazy man murdering some woman and then it almost felt like I was in the dream–it felt so real–and that he was coming for me. Then the most terrifying thing started to happen: I psychically felt a presence, now this one didn’t nessicarily feel like it was sitting on my, however thinking back, I did feel a heavy presence on my back. This presence, felt as if it laid one finger at a time on the back of my head, and pulled hard. It felt as if I was being pulled down the bed. This was so scary, I remember thinking why is this happening to me. I tried so hard to get out of it, I felt like I was yelling at my arms and legs saying “MOVE!” but it was no use. So then it felt as if I just had to lay there and have it happen to me, there was nothing I could do. I have always been a scardy cat, believing in ghosts and such, but I never thought–or I had hoped at least– that I’d feel something like this. I do recall my heart racing out of my chest, and because I couldn’t move, I couldn’t do anything to stop myself from being pulled down the bed. I’m not sure how long it lasted, maybe only 30 seconds, but it was enough to ruin my nights sleep and leave me in fear of everything. When I came to, I kind of just laid there, thinking what the hell happened, I was so tense, I still thought something was happening, then I thought about what actually happened and the symptoms of sleep paralysis became clear. I immediately started to look up sleep paralysis, and this is how I got here. Now even though I know there is a perfectly normal, scientific explanation for sleep paralysis, I find myself to still be scared. The whole thing was a traumatising experience, one I hope never happens again.

    • Hi Talia
      Thank you for sharing your sleep paralysis story. I totally understand the level of fear you had – I think nearly every reader who has commented here also reported being extremely frightened at least once. It’s a natural reaction, and nothing about being a scardy cat or not! I’ve even heard soldiers saying they were terrified by it!
      Hopefully you won’t have another experience, but if you do, you’ll have a better idea of how to deal with it.

  • @Diana Carrillo
    I don’t tend to be an expert on this issue but I have experienced much more than sp in that old house I explained about in my previous comment. Believe it or not I have seen a chair move across the room by itself ,heard foot steps pacing back and forth on the wooden floor just to discover nothing but an empty room,seen my father trying to stop something from getting on their bed (which I couldn’t see …after I went to their room when i heard the commotion. …I was studying late in the living room you see)…am really not scared of this things (mind you that am awake and have full control over my body …meaning not having a sp) my greatest power is my ignorance. ..this “entities” can not bother you if you are not scared of them…I don’t really believe in the existence of these “entities”. …as for the mobile chair I took it as an amazing physics phenomenon. ….well my dad was having his own special kind of sp . …and the footsteps maybe a lost soul wondering about. .lol…sorry it was starting to be a bit gloomy. So maybe your previous pet must have lingered around because it loved you so…as far as i am concerned you are a strong most lively person with body mind and soul which gives you a much more advantage than a feeble ghost or whatever you may believe it is which cannot do anything but growl at your ears.

  • I’ve been having night terrors since I was younger but they’ve gotten more common and worse in the past couple months. I’m a freshman in college so I’m assuming it’s due to anxiety. I had one of my worst experiences during a nap between classes today though. I think I had just fallen asleep, on my back which is abnormal for me, and I woke up but I couldn’t move. Then I heard something rummaging through my stuff to my left. It just looked like a dark figure going through all my stuff looking for something and then it turned towards me. Then it started slowly coming towards me and I started panicking even more. Whenever it happens I always wake myself up by trying to control my breathing. I try to breathe deeply to get my body to move. It took what felt like forever to work and then I woke up and calmed down. Then I went back to sleep and I don’t know if I’m remembering it wrong but I think it happened two more times during the same nap. It’s awful because after I actually get out of bed and think about how vivid it was it makes me terrified to go to sleep again. I’m definitely going to try the techniques for waking yourself up next time it happens though.

    • Hi Cheryl
      Thanks for your comment. Another reader also recently said they find breathing helps to control sleep paralysis. Hopefully some of the other tips will also help you to get through it quicker.

  • Scariest thing I ever experienced in my life. I’m 48 now. It happened about 8 years ago. Remember waking up on my my back pinned to the bed unable to move. Hovering above me was a blanket of black mist…. Purely evil. I could not move and didn’t want to anyway …. Too scared. I also felt a separate scary presence in the room. I prayed… I’m a Christian… And I felt sure this was the fight between good and evil. When it finally lifted and I could move I remember rolling over to my husband… Still scared to make any noise thinking it would come back!! I just cried! I seriously thought it was the Devil… Until Now! 8 years later and I came across these articles about Sleep Paralysis. Now I feel a huge PHEW……

    • Hi Rochelle
      Thanks for your comment. I can understand why it seemed so profound at the time. Sleep paralysis can be very vivid, feel very real and leave you wondering what on earth is going on. I’m glad that the article has finally given you a sigh of relief about it.


  • I have experienced some sort SP for a years… had been what I called “the spirit cat”. Frequently during the night I would feel the sensation of a cat jumping up onto my bed. I had no cat or dog when this began, however, I did have a cat in the past so I was familiar with that sensation. This went on several years at least 4-5 nights a week. I was not really frightening to me at the time. It was more annoying more than anything else.
    I moved to New Mexico from California in 2004. It wasn’t long until it started up again. I was staying at my parents home when I first arrived and I slept with my mom in her queen size bed. The occurrences would occur just before dawn when it was still dark. Now, it not only jump up on the bed, it would actually start walking between me and my mom. At first I did not say anything to her about it. I did not want her to think I was a weirdo. After about a month though my mom woke up and woke me up telling me that she felt something jump up on the bed. I was surprised but still did not say anything. A couple of days later we both felt it at the same time woke up at the same time. We laid there and could feel the “spirit cat”move up towards us…… was freaky ! I tried to look at it when I was able to move. After that, both of us were having this occur at the same time. We could just lay there and feel it on the bed. Then it would just “go away”. Then my mom started feeling it even when she would nape in the afternoon. FINALLY, I decided to tell her that I had been feeling this for years. My mom was feeling more frightened after she knew that. I felt because I thought I had brought something bad to her home. QUESTION….CAN TWO PEOPLE HAVE SP HAPPEN AT THE SAME TIME?
    I moved to my own condo and had not felt anything for a couple of years. Then it started again but with a twist…now it tugged on my blankets as well. This has continued a few times a month getting more and more aggressive getting up in my face .Just the other day, during the afternoon i laid down for a nap and I actually saw the corner of my blanket by my face moving up and down . quickly . Night before last I had a horrible SP night terror , I HOPE. It was dawn but still dark. I was woken up with the sensation of the spirit cat but this time I was “stuck” to the bed unable to move or speak. I tried to call out but could not….then I could hear a voice on my right side by my bed. A horrible little creepy voice making awful growl noises. It was horrific !!!!

    I have not slept there since !!! I have been traumatized!!!! Now, I don’t know what to do. I am really frightened. I would like to think that this was just a real scientifically explained occurrence but, given my other experiences and shared experiences with my mom, I wonder if this could be a new and more dangerously frightening phase of a real paranormal experience….
    HELP !!!!

    • Hi Diana
      Thanks for your comment. I can understand why you might be worried, but my personal opinion is that it’s not a paranormal experience. Sleep paralysis has a widely accepted scientific explanation, and although it’s not common for two people to experience it at the same time, it has been known to happen. Why you both felt the same thing, I can’t explain. But I wouldn’t put too much thought into it. There are lots of good tips in the article, especially from other readers. Have another look at them and try them out if it happens again.

  • I have been.experiencing sleep paralysis for quite a long time now…but not frequently …i did experience it today though..that’s why i read this article…i remember back at our old house i used to experience it almost every day…i thought the house was haunted given the fact that it was really very old…and.there were some.people who died there before we rented it …so i was acustomed to the habit of putting a bible under my pillow when i go to may seem stupid but it did help..afer that we moved to a new house and i totally stopped having sleep paralysis …then i moved out from my parents house and got a condo which I live in alone….then the sleep paralysis started coming back but it was not like the old days it happens only when i go to sleep really angry or stressed…and sometimes worried..i really get terrified when it happens and start fighting with all my power and also usually stops within seconds…then i get up in my dark room smile at my cowardly behavior and go back to sleep…

    • Hi Peevmik
      Thanks for your comment. I don’t think it’s cowardly at all – many people find sleep paralysis very scary, and we all have our own natural reaction and way of dealing with it. It’s good that it doesn’t last too long. Hopefully with the tips in the article you’ll feel even better equipped to deal with it.


  • I experience sp every time I sleep outside of a full night, even if I wake early & try to go back to sleep I get it. My eyes are open & I’m always on my side, seeing my lamp & fan, with usually a hand in front of my face. The lamp & fan are sideways, because I’m laying down…duh. My best bet is to roll with it & play with lucid dreaming until I wake out of it. I’m writing because I just had a weird experience waking from a early evening nap. I heard spirit voices in the room. ( I’m a ghost hunter and am well aware of recorded spirit voices & experience disembodied voices in my home almost daily while awake. ) I have a migraine so have been ignoring them today. I usually never see anyone in sleep paralysis but was woken out of it with a jolt & bright white light in my eyes, my crossed arms flew up like I was being electrocuted. I was pissed & told the spirits off & said a prayer. I know earlier this afternoon that I was getting warned of something dark that was lurking. I know I sound crazy, just have too much concrete evidence to laugh it off. Praying usually keeps us safe, just have never experienced the jolt before, not cool. I realize it was probably something like exploding head, just came at a time that mixed my waking & sleeping experiences together.

    • Hi Denise
      Thanks for your comment. I think many people who have sleep paralysis regularly, but generally find it ok to deal with, eventually have some new kind of experiences which take the fear factor to a whole new level. The trick is to try to keep that calmness no matter what. It’s great that you manage to play around with lucid dreaming. But as a firm believer in ghosts, I guess you must find it harder to stay calm. Where do you you do your ghost hunting out of interest?

  • Sometimes I think I see a 10 ft tall black transparent ghost thing in my doorway…I am terrified of the dark …have been since age 7. …I am frozen…sometimes I hear deep voices before I sleep…the worst part is when I see a transparent ghost thing inches from my face…I can’t move…when that happens…I try to scream but its only in my head…

    Anyone else have this severe of scary shit.. I also think my curtains move…

  • hello i have had these half awake half asleep dreams about 5 times all happened this past year… but this one i had last night really scared me…i have these when my husband isnt next to me in bed but it did happen once when he was next to me…. n ive noticed i have these only when its raining n storming at nighttime… last night i was lying on my back looking at the clock it was bout 8:30 p.m. i slowly felt my eyes getting heavy n i would open them close them over n over then suddenly the tip of the covers near my face started to rise a lil id pull them back down with my finger tips, thats all i could move, the rest of my body felt paralyzied n it took all my strenght just to do that n it was bc i was scared… but each time id lowered the blankets theyd rise again, then my eyes were focused at the foot of my bed i saw nothing but felt a presence then my eyes followed this shadow as it came from the foot of my bed to my side then to the top of my head… i could see this shadow as it passed by my paralyzied body it was small bout the size of an 9 month old baby but walked on its hands n feet like a caveman n it had no hair, it was bald…. i mumbled go away… it left my head n went back to my feet… i tryed throwing my arms up n moving them as to fight it n i did but they moved so slowly… then something horrifying happed the shadow made a demonic sounding growl… ive never heard this sound before, never have i seen or heard anything in my dream awake state… well i was hoping to scare it away so i growled back but it only made it mad n it growled louder, thats when i was able to move n jolted out of bed… i ran to the living room n cut on all the lights n burst into tears…. i stayed up n waited for my husband to get home but was to embarrased to tell him what happened n was afraid he’d think i was crazy… i dont like these half awake half asleep dreams… never sleeping on my back again…

    • Hi Trisha
      Thanks for your comment. It’s very natural to be scared by sleep paralysis, nightmares and other unsettling experiences that we can have at night. I think it’s good to talk about it though. You can explain to your husband more about it now you’ve read the article. If he does tell you you’re crazy, then perhaps suggest he reads the article, your comment and my response. You’ll notice from the many comments that lots of people have equally and even more disturbing sleep paralysis episodes. It’s actually quite common for people to experience at least once or twice in their lives. Hopefully you’ll also have some ideas for stopping it the next time.

  • I’ve experienced these episodes since I was a young boy—around 5 years of age. I found a couple ways of fighting them and getting out quicker. Generating anger at what I am facing instead of letting fear control me helps greatly. If I see an evil spirit in the hallucination I get mad at it, becoming afraid prolongs the experience for up to several minutes. I also chant an Sikh Mantra (Mool Mantra), not so much because I think it rebukes some evil spirit, but it focuses my energy towards calming myself. It’s a scary thing and I hope one day to find a way to end these. I suffered from one last night actually, and I would hope it to be the last, but I fear not.

    • Hi Jacob
      Thanks for your comment. I actually remember another reader last year saying he did something similar. I recommended finding a way to fight it with a more positive emotion, but he was convinced it was the best way for him. I think it’s interesting though that you seem to have a combination of getting angry and calming yourself.

  • I’m 33 and I have been experiencing this on and off for the past 5 years. I’ve never knew what it was. I just now started researching it. Before it was just me waking up not able to move and hearing voices. Terrified the hell out of me, I can’t move and I barely can talk. Being a religious woman but not uber religious all I can do is start THINKING the prayer the Lord is my Shepard till I can start voicing it. Last night was the worse, I actually saw what folklore has told us what a demon looks like, he was big gray with lots of teeth and red eyes , he was on my chest growling at me saying me and my parents were going to die. I just kept screaming Lord And Shepard over and over finally one of my dogs started barking and I really think that’s what pulled me out. I’m terrified to fall asleep tonight and have to go to work in the morning. I have no clue how to fight this anymore. Tonight I have both Lcats snuggled close and my bible under my pillow. HELP

    • Hi Jamie
      Thanks for your comment. Sorry to hear you had such a frightening experience – I can appreciate why you feel so worried about it. I think it’s important though not to allow the fear of SP to keep you up. It’s good practice to remind yourself that nothing bad actually happened the last time, apart from the fear of course, and that nothing bad will happen again. If you find religious mantras help, then go for it. But I’d also suggest trying some of the readers’ tips as well. Hopefully they will help.

  • I have this happen to me since i was, i can only remember as far back as a teenager. Im 31 now and it only happened last week. And it usually happens sometimes a couple times a night. Straight after the last one. Like, seconds after the last one. Or a cuple times a week. Or once a month or so. Its a reoccurring dream anyways. I dont know that ive fell asleep. I debate on wether i did or not. But none the less, im suddenly lying there, paralysed, sometimes i feel myself going into it, being pulled in before it happens and i just lift my head n change position keeping myself awake for a bit. If i do slip into it i lie there suddenly aware of a dark scary figure in the room. I feel scared but cant move and always struggle but eventually jerk my whole body waking myself up. Although im always sure im awake. as everything i can see is the same. Not like a dream where your in a different place or the surroundings are different. Everything is the same. Making me believe im awake. But the fact that id literally “fell asleep” proves to me that i havent carried something scary from a dream.. to the waking world. When i do wake myself up i get up turn on the lights, look under my bed n lie there for a bit wonder about it. Eventually sleeping with the light on. Its troubling. Ive had experiences when ive lived with family. Ive heard them walking around and ive tried to cry “help” and i think ive got the words out but not loud enough. And again have jerked my body after trying so intensly, but eventually.
    It seems to me too that maybe it is the body falling behind the mind at times but i struggle with that as there is a dark scary figure.
    Maybe we where about to dream of this dark figure? But if so. That would mean this dark figure is in all of our dreams. Yet we dont remember it. Because we all find it in DP. Yet never any other time.
    Also, just a theory, but all that ever comes out of dreams, into the real world, are premonitions, or phsycism, and considering how common this dream is, maybe there is something in it. I consider the fact that how death is our biggest fear, that we would premonise it in dreams, which makes me worry about us being stuck like that when we pass ect… A lot to say really, but pulling away from the facts so enough said.
    I just think its a very scary thing to happen, that there is a logical explanation. But also, maybe a supernatural one. Im very open minded and think for myself a lot so i find it hard to take in the scientific explanation for it. Its something that will always trouble me, and probably something i will never fully understand.

    • Hi Mark
      Thanks for your comment and for sharing your ideas about sleep paralysis. It’s good that you keep an open mind and try to think things through for yourself. But I do also think in some cases, it’s in our benefit to try and just go with what science tells us, especially where the alternative is so scary for many people.
      I think maybe there’s something in what you say about how we share a common fear about death, so perhaps that’s one reason why in sleep paralysis the fear kicks in and it triggers our brain’s creation of things which we might associate with pain, suffering or death.
      Hopefully it won’t trouble you forever though. At some point I’m sure you’ll find a way to rationalize it and stay calm about sleep paralysis.

  • On a school day I fell asleep on the couch doing homework at 12 am and around 5am I woke up and saw a green light through the window, I tried to move but I couldn’t, then I tried calling for help but I couldn’t move my lips, I felt like I was taken by the green light. It was a horrible experience

    • Hi Jose
      Thanks for your comment. It sounds like you might have had sleep paralysis. Funnily enough, some researchers think that sleep paralysis like the one you describe is a reason why some people believe they were abducted by aliens. It feels real, seeing lights or strange beings. But actually it’s just your brain playing tricks on you. So try not to worry about it – you’ll be fine.

  • I just had a SP experience last night, which is why I’m reading this article. I was EXHAUSTED, school was long and I only got about 3 hours of sleep the night before.

    (I was laying on my side with the blankets completely covering me during all of this, not on my back)

    First time I was falling sleep, it felt like some kind of ghost or person was pulling the blankets off of me, but of course I would open my eyes or move my hand, and the blanket would still be there. That happened a couple times, and it really freaked me out. I didn’t want to fall asleep because I was THAT scared that, I dunno a ghost was gonna get me or something. Then suddenly it felt like i was on some kind of roller-coaster, like i was swaying back and forth and flipping upside down in my own bed. that happened for what felt like 30 seconds, but was probably longer. And then, everything was still, and I couldn’t move. But I could see my bedroom. Perfectly, which i knew was impossible because i still had the blankets on me, and I KNEW I still had them on me, though I couldn’t actually SEE them. It was really weird. I felt like some kind of ghost was is the room with me. I got these weird short vision of a dark face behind me, on the other side of the bed. Of course i wasn’t even FACING that direction, so it was a weird dream of sorts. I knew all of this was happening, and i tried to wake myself up with my breathing. I started to breathe really rapidly and unevenly, thinking maybe it would wake my body up. It didn’t work. I was stuck in the weird, paralyzed, vision-seeking state for what felt like forever. And I was really scared. Then, my alarm was going off, and I couldn’t turn it off. I still couldn’t move. Then I guess the noise ACTUALLY woke me up, and I turned it off. So apparently I was in a SP state all night. Or maybe I missed little parts. I don’t know. It really freaked me out.

    Maybe this Isn’t considered Sleep Paralysis, but I’ve read a bunch of articles, and it definitely seems like that’s what happened to me. I’m honestly scared to go to bed again tonight, I’m afraid it’ll happen again. HOPEFULLY IT DOESN’T. That was NOT a fun experience.

    • Hi Brittney
      Thanks for your comment. I can understand why you were so scared – I think it’s normal to feel that way after such an intense experience. It does sound like sleep paralysis to me that you had. Maybe you fell in and out of sleep a few times and kept having it, which does sometimes happen.
      Try not to allow it to ruin your sleep though. It’s important to not allow fear to keep you awake. Tell yourself that you can overcome it if it happens again, and try to put it out of your mind before going to bed once you’ve reminded yourself that nothing bad will actually happen. And of course, there are lots of good tips you can use in the article to both prevent it hopefully and deal with it if it happens again.

  • I once read that holding your breath can force you to wake up. Whenever I’ve had sleep paralysis I just stop breathing and in a few moments I regain control.

    • Hi Jorge
      Thanks for your comment, and interesting suggestion! I haven’t heard that one before, but might give it a go if I remember the next time I have sleep paralysis.

  • Ive been experiencing sleep paralysis for 2 years now and I simply don’t accept the scientific explanation.
    2 years ago, I was laying in my bed on a beautiful sunny morning around 8am. Without warning my bed started shaking violently. I immediately thought it was an earthquake. However I soon discovered there was no earthquake anywhere in Australia that day.
    This began to happen on a regular basis. It was at this time my sleep paralysis episodes started. I have woken up many times during the night by my bed shaking violently. One night I woke up and sat up in bed. I turned my light on and the bed was still shaking.
    I yelled out to whatever was causing it to stop. A moment later I heard a knocking noise. I looked over to the table along side my bed and to my shock I saw a statue of Jesus (which my mother placed there) rocking from side to side all on its own. it only stopped when I took hold of it to make it stop. My bed doesn’t shake so much these days, however it’ now feels like something is inside my mattress.
    My mattress is memory foam, not inner Spring, but often I’m woken up in the night by something kicking punching and pushing me from inside the mattress. Several months ago I was sitting on the side of my bed mid afternoon talking to someone on the phone when my bed suddenly started to vibrate at a very high frequency. I was astounded to say the least. On another occasion about 12 months ago I was home alone and someone or something hit me fairly hard across the back of my head. I turned around but there was nothing to see. Over the next 30 to 40 seconds or so I was hit a total of 5 times on the head. It was quite hard and in no way imagined.
    When I experience sleep paralysis I’m often woken up first by the feeling of an overwhelming presence. Then the paralysis sets in and I have to fight like hell before it lets me go.
    The above is a brief overview of my experience and I absolutely know that science is wrong on this one. I am in no doubt at all that what I am experiencing is supernatural.

    • Hi Steve
      Thanks for your comment, and sorry to hear that you’ve had so many unpleasant experiences. I don’t agree that it’s paranormal, as I’m sure you’d expect me to say! But you are of course entitled to your viewpoint and opinion. Can I ask what you’ve tried to do about it, or what you’re planning to do? How do you cope still living there when you have to deal with all these things? Do you not find it too scary to stay there if you believe you experience supernatural attacks so regularly?

  • I have experienced sleep paralysis on and off since I was a child. I used to be terrified thinking it was some kind of evil spirit in the room, but since I’ve got older and researced about it I got over it and decided to use it for lucid dreaming. And I’ve generally had positive experiences untill today…

    So before I went into sleep paralysis I was having a dream where I was searching for someone but I had no idea what they looked like. So when I woke up I decided to send myself into sleep paralysis to find them. As I did the usually things happened where I felt the pull and heard the buzzing. Then a series of images flashed in front of me really fast searching for the face of the person I wanted but I couldn’t get a clear image, so I decide to go further down into the paralysis and the pull and buzz got worse, I did this a third time and as the images got clearer the paralysis became uncomfortable like the pull was painful on my jaw and I had to wake up. At this point it got strange as when I was struggling against it I was able to come out of my body and throw myself of the bed still being pulled to the floor and with a lot of effort stand, it was unbearable by this point where I couldn’t just wait it out so I screamed and then woke. When I did I was laying peacefully in my bed with my heart rate a lot faster than usual.

    The strange thing about this was the fact that I could change the depth of the paralysis and felt pain, which has never happened before. The outer body experience was also new.

    I like the idea of controlling the paralysis and using it for lucid dreaming, but this was weird. I will try and experiment a little more next time it happens. But has anyone else experienced a pain or discomfort before?

    • Hi Marie
      Thanks for your comment. Other readers have experienced pain and discomfort before – some saying it continues into the next day after waking up. But I don’t remember anyone talking about it happening after trying to intentionally use sleep paralysis for lucid dreaming or other purposes. Perhaps someone who is following this thread will respond to you.
      Good luck with your experiments though – it sounds very interesting!

  • I was around 15-16 when I experienced my first episode of SP. I took a nap in bed and I could feel my father beside me, watching television in my room since the one in the master bedroom went for repairs. And I could feel my dad there, see him, his clothes, hear the tv, feel him shifting about- everything, but I couldn’t move. At all.
    Suddenly, I felt like I wasn’t alone. It felt like emotional embodiment of goosebumps, or a chill down your spine. I felt like something evil was there. I don’t believe in the supernatural, but I felt highly threathened. Then on the other side of the room, there stood this tall, black, omnious, wavy ghost-like figure with no face floating near the windows. I was terrified because everytime I would shut my eyes it seemed to move closer to me. I felt paralyzed, I knew my dad was next to me yet I couldn’t call out to him or move because I felt so stuck in place, my limbs weighed like lead and just no matter how hard I wanted to move- and trust me I wanted to move pretty bad- I couldn’t. And this figure kept moving closer to me everytime I closed my eyes until suddenly it disappeared. It was gone. It was still hard to breathe and I felt a malevolent prescence but I couldn’t see it anymore. So my eyes closed again, and when I opened them the next time, the figure was hovering about 15 cm away from my face. I can’t tell you how bad I wanted to scream and cry and but I couldn’t. I was terrified.
    But my eyes shut again and just like that it was gone. I didn’t see it after that, and I woke up a bit later, still a bit shaky. I didn’t really have a coping method or a way to snap out of it, I’m not religious either so I didn’t pray during or after it since my first guess was it was a type of lucid dreaming? But I had no idea what to do, all I knew was I wanted it to end. It hasn’t happened to me since, and I read somewhere it happens usually only once during a person’s lifetime, and I’m hoping that’s true because I really don’t want that to happen again. But at least now I have an idea of what to do if it does. Thanks for this.

    • Hi Arien
      Thanks for your comment. It does sound like you experienced sleep paralysis, and not a lucid dream to answer your question. I’m glad you feel that you have some things you can do if it happens again.

  • Ive had plenty of these experiences while growing up. Although i havent had an experience like that recently, there is always one incident that i remember so vividly. I was sleeping on a blow up air mattress while staying the night at my grandparents house. I had woken up laying on my side, and i couldnt move. I couldnt speak. I could only stare at what was in front of me. which was nothing but the door that leads to the hallway. I felt something sharp wrap around my ankle. Almost like a big hand digging its nails into my skin. I tried yelling but it wouldnt work for the longest time. But the moment my voice actually worked, everything stopped. I woke up the next morning and my ankle was sore. Figured it was just a cramp or something. but for some reason I havent been able to forget that experience. And I havent had that sort of experience while laying on my back or feeling pressure in my chest. Just always feels like someone is there. watching me. Guess its sorta nice to know im not the only one who has been through this. But it sucks to know at the same time. This stuff is scary.

    • Mi Michael
      Thanks for your comment. I agree that it can be very scary. You’re definitely not the only one, and also not the only one who has felt a physical reminder the next day. My take on that is that either our brain creates a ‘phantom’ feeling of injury or pain, or that during the night we somehow twist, knock or strain part of the body which then becomes involved in the sleep paralysis. So in the morning we associate that pain with the experience we had.

  • I only experience sleep paralysis while falling asleep. It occurs with me feeling like I’m fully awake looking at the ceiling and then I’m paralyzed but I can still move my eyes around the room. There is always an alien looking at me. It took me years to figure out this only occurs when I’m falling asleep on my back so I rarely sleep on my back. I also experience the jerking awake or falling sometimes when falling asleep on my back.

    • Hi Joe
      Thanks for your comment. Many previous readers have reported it happens more on their back, so I can understand the desire to not do so. Hopefully you’ll manage to stave off more episodes this way.

  • Hello Ethan,

    None of this should be confused with a real and very rare medical condition called Periodic Paralysis. It is a mineral metabolic disorder in which the improper shifting of potassium in and out of the muscles creates full-body paralysis. For some people they cannot move, speak, talk and it is accompanied with heart issues (arrhythmia and heart rate), blood pressure issues (fluctuating), breathing issues, low oxygen levels, choking and possible death. These can last for hours.

    Sleep can be a trigger and it can occur at any time, not just during sleep. One can hear everything going on around them and appear either asleep or unconscious. We do not have feelings of ghosts, spirits or monsters nearby…but a real fear of wondering if we are going to come out of it without dying from the heart arrhythmia or if our breathing stops.

    These episodes are brought on by many triggers…certain foods, medications, cold, heat, different aspects of sleep, exercise, anesthesia, IV’s, alcohol, stress, salt, sugar carbohydrates and much more….

    If you have anyone responding to this article with these kind of symptoms…clearly not “sleep paralysis” you way want to refer them to the Periodic Paralysis Network (I am the Managing Director)because this is a very serious medical condition and needs medical attention….

    Thank you

    • Hi Susan
      Thanks for your comment and for sharing this information and advice. Perhaps you’d like to write a small paragraph which I could include in the article, with very specific symptoms and advice?

  • Once every month or so, I have sleeping paralysis. I wake up not being able to move or to talk. I try to wiggle my finger and scream at the same time ( I find it that it helps). But that’s it, I’ve never felt an “intruder” or a demon before. Until this recent sleeping paralysis. I slept on my side. Next thing I know, I woke up, not able to move, etc, but this time I felt someone hugging me tightly from behind. I could feel its body pressed tightly next to mine. It was breathing hard into my ear. And it said “I love you” in this tortured voice. So, I panicked and I tried to scream. Which helped to regain control of my body. So the big question is why now am I receiving these strange visits, when before I didn’t?
    Furthermore, I found your article helpful and reassuring. Its better to cope if you believe the scientific explanation verus there is something more. Thanks

    • Hi Eunice
      Thanks for your comment. To be honest I think nobody knows why the content of sleep paralysis episodes suddenly changes or people. I imagine there are lots of different factors which can contribute to it.
      I’m glad you found the article helpful, and I agree that it’s much more reassuring to believe the scientific explanation.

  • I’ve been experiencing SP since I was about 11 years old. In the beginning it started off with the basics I’ve read here on the site, the inability to move or speak, feeling an unwelcome presence, and of course being wide awake. Although it was quite terrifying as it was happening I was glad to come out of it after a few moments and relieved to to find I hadn’t been hurt. As I got older it started happening more frequently, incidentally it was around the point in my life where I’d left religion behind to take a more spiritual approach to life, again the SP did not have any affect on my behavior nor did I feel the need to investigate it. A. because I consider myself a logical person, so automatically I assumed that although I was awake my body simply hadn’t caught up to my mind after awakening. B. There was no evidence of what may have caused the event after I was fully functional. Then around 21 something changed during an experience with SP, I couldn’t move or speak being wide awake, but this time I could hear people walking around and speaking, I couldn’t understand the language, but that’s beside the point. What scared me was I didn’t just feel there was something or someone around I could hear them plain as a California day. When I was able to move I searched my house frantically. I was some when I went to sleep and as you can imagine I was alone when I woke. I thought about this incident for days. When I went to class is spoke with my psychology professor about it abs she told me this was a common phenomena and I was quite comfortable with her explanation as she elaborated on details I hadn’t brought up. As the years passed I was confident 8n my understanding of SP and that it was not something to be afraid of. I WAS WRONG! Very recently I experienced SP, typical scenario. I woke up in the middle of the night in bed lying on my side,after realizing I couldn’t move my plan was just to wait for it to pass, but that plan was not mine to decide as I lie there, there was no sound, but three figures in my room that I could clearly see in the dark. If I try to explain the way they looked I’d have to describe them as very tall 3 dimensional shadows with one arm that led into what seemed like a point instead of fingers. There were two standing over my shoulder and one standing by my room door that was wide open. I started to cry then one put there arm on the top of my right shoulder turning my body to a flat position, my face was trapped inside my pillow and I could no longer see what was happening. When it was all over and I gained control over my body I sat up to run and turn on all of the lights in the house, but upon coming into a sitting position I felt an overwhelming pain in my back. I got up anyway turned on all of the lights and of course there’s no one there. For the rest of the night I left the lights on. Finally after getting g back to sleep and waking in the morning I lie there for a moment thinking about the events from the night before. Remembering the pain in my back, that was now gone I sprung up and hurried to the restroom to take a look. With my sanity in tact I truly did not expect to see anything out if the ordinary, but I did, I found 2 identical moles right in the middle on the spine of my back, they are still here today.
    I have no doubt that science and spirituality can co-exist in any scenario. I am an open minded person and truly believe that science is simply God’s way of helping us understand the things we can’t explain. But in all honesty I don’t know what to make of my most recent SP incident. If anyone has any lead on what may have really happened to me that night I’d really appreciate the feedback.

    • Hi Yayus
      Thanks for your comment. I can understand why this last incident shook you up. I’m wondering something – you say they are on spine on your back, a place which most people don’t usually look at because it’s difficult to see our own spine, and not something we generally inspect in a mirror. So could it be that your moles had been appearing for a while, and you just noticed them this day following your incident? And if they did suddenly just pop up, have you been to the doctor to get your skin checked out?

  • I’ve always had sleep paralysis off and on. I enjoyed reading your article, particularly the portion where relating to occurrences when after successfully jarring oneself awake the images from the dream still appear visible and start fading. I’m inclined towards the scientific explanation. It intrigues me that the mind can fool me into believing that these events are outside of me. It also annoys me that it can’t employ it’s creative ability to make me a millionaire instead of pouring it’s resources into scaring the hell out of me!

    • Hi Yowseph
      Thanks for your comment, and I’m glad you found the article interesting. I couldn’t agree more about the power of the mind! One thing I would say though is that there is evidence the brain does try to help us out while we sleep. I wrote an article about how sleep can help problem solving, which you might find interesting. In it I discuss examples of famous people who have woken up with new ideas firmly there for the picking!

  • I’ve experienced sleep paralysis many times as well as hallucinations without the paralysis. In fact, I just experienced one of the weirdest cases of SP I’ve ever had. I must have been half asleep when I had the feeling that I was all fuzzy and was leaving my body, which I don’t usually get and was quite frankly scary. The shock I felt ended that sensation but then I fell asleep and dreamed about taking a shower, without actually feeling the water or any other sensations. Then I ‘woke up’, feeling that there was somebody behind me in my room and hearing sounds like suitcases shuffling. I didn’t believe the person was really there, I sort of felt as though it was a spirit but not a pleasant once so I tried moving and I’m pretty sure I managed to hiss like a cat haha. This time was strange however, because I kept drifting I’m and out of sleep and the sleep paralysis would continue.
    Just because it’s interesting.. Here are some of my other hallucination tales;
    – I once saw a hand typing on my computer keyboard. (It looked like the hand off the Aadams family).
    – During one episode of sleep paralysis, I was (in my mind) dragged into the floor where loads of rats were running around.
    – I turned over one time to see a relection in my window of a man sat in the room behind me, he said to me “you don’t want that”. (God knows!).
    – Countless times I’ve seen hufe spiders crawling across the bed or swinging from wall to wall.
    – I even saw a toddler crawling across the floor once, no thank you.
    – I had a litter of kittens living in my bedroom and one night saw one of said kittens elevated at the end of my bed as if being held Simba style.
    – Countless people in patterns on curtains, coats on doors etc.
    Sleep isn’t always so great.

    • Hi Bryony
      Thanks for your comment and for sharing your sleep paralysis stories. I can understand why sleep isn’t the most attractive thing if you have those kind of experiences on a regular basis. Did you find any useful tips in the article? Perhaps you’ll be able to deal with it better next time, and also if you look at the article about hypnagogic hallucinations, you might find some useful ideas.

  • I have had sleep paralysis several times. Sunday night was the worst where I actually saw a black wispy figure over my left shoulder. I have always awakened myself by yelling out, but this time I had a hard time yelling out. I could hear myself trying and I was making very strange noises until the yell finally came out. I sleep on my right side so I have never felt like someone was on my chest. This past episode disturbed me quite a bit.

    • Hi Caryn
      Thanks for your comment. Perhaps of the yelling doesn’t work, the trick of wiggling a toe or finger might be better for you? Give it a go if it happens again.

  • My experience with sleep paralysis is this, I feel i wake up but cannot move. I feel thteatened and out of sorts. I struggle and fight it, then eventually am able to move all the while reaching for and trying to to find someoone to save me but in super slow motion like i’m in tar.

    • Hi Ericka
      Thanks for your comment. That sounds like a classic case of sleep paralysis indeed! Now you have some tips for dealing with, hopefully you’ll escape the tar sooner next time.


  • I have experienced sleep paralysis and it was very terrifying. Completely paralyzed to the point of real fear. Anyway during these episodes I have heard my name spoken, felt someone in the bed next to me and the lights out. All in one blink then another blink everything is back to normal. The minute my head hits the pillow i know when it will happen. I can feel it. Why does this happen.

    • Hi Laurie
      Thanks for your comment. The explanation for why it happens is in the article above – have a read again of the scientific explanation if you’re not sure still. If you know it’s going to happen, then perhaps you can take action sooner to prevent it – I recommend re-visiting some of the reader’s tips in the article too.

  • My father passed away 3 weeks ago and since then i have been extremely afraid to me alone. I feel his prescence (not that he’s going to harm me or anything). Since his passing,I haven’t been able to sleep. When my husband travels I sleep over my mom’s house. My husband left town today at 5 am and of course I turned on the light and tv knowing I won’t feel comfortable without him there. I was only able to get 4 hours of sleep before my husband had to leave. I tend to sleep on my back with my knees bent. So while I’m watching tv I felt like something slapped my foot. I did not put too much thought into it. Suddenly I blinked and the bedroom light was off but the tv was still on…same show playing. I couldn’t move. I tried screaming but couldn’t….a weird noise did come out for a second. I tried to straighten my legs and my arms but I couldn’t. I don’t know how but I was able to grab my phone that was next to me but I couldn’t unlock (finger wouldn’t move). I tried calling my husband for help but my fingers were stiff. I kept praying and continuously asked God to save me. I blinked and everything was back to normal. Light was on. I’m not sure if this was a dream because my phone was not on the bed but on the night stand. During the episode it was on the bed so I don’t know. It felt so really and I started to cry. Everything last about a minute. I called my sister and she said she that she experienced this for years and for me to wear red underwear to sleep. I’m Haitian and in the Haitian culture it is recommended to wear red when someone close to you passes away so that they do not come and haunt you. There’s not reason for my dad to come after me. We did I don’t believe in demons, ghost or any other supernatural beings. I do believe I experience sleep paralysis but a little bit of me is wandering if it’s something more.

    • Hi Nirva
      Thanks for your comment, and I’m very sorry for the loss of your father. This must be a very difficult time for you, and it’s understandable that the night time is particularly difficult.
      I think it’s most likely that you fell asleep briefly and had a dream. It’s easily confused with sleep paralysis, but I think it was probably a dream.
      If you find that following your cultural traditions helps you to feel secure, then I think that’s a good thing to do. And in time I’m sure you will be able to sleep alone again without problems. Little by little, you will learn to cope as best you can.
      Have you spoken to a counselor about the passing of your father? Sometimes it can be helpful to speak to a grief counselor, even if it’s just one or two sessions. They can help you express yourself and your fears, and to help you find ways to cope.
      All the best

  • Thank you for this article, I found it extremely helpful and informative!

    I’m 30 years old and I have been having sleep paralysis nightmares for several years now. I’ve always considered myself to be a lucid dreamer, being aware enough that I was dreaming to somewhat interact or control the dream. If I was having a nightmare, I’d concentrate waking myself up by saying something or moving a part of my body. My first paralysis experience happened when I dreamed my nightmare was chasing me and then tackled me to the ground. I tried to concentrate on waking up, but the nightmare held me down and told me I’d never be able to wake up. I tried to move my body to wake up, but I couldn’t. A few years later I began having frequent paralysis dreams of an intruder entering my apartment and slowly making his way toward my bedroom. With these dreams I always assumed it was the set up of my apartment, just bad feng shui (from my bed I could see all the way to the front door). When I moved into a different apartment, the dreams stopped. Just recently, my reoccurring paralysis dreams have started up again. It’s always the same – I’m in bed in a half awake state, a shadowed intruder or entity is watching me from the bedroom door, I try to move or shout but I can’t, then suddenly it’s on top of my chest. My breathing gets rapid and heavy, until I can finally move and fully wake up. I often re-experience the nightmare several times, like its on repeat.

    After reading through other comments you mentioned there is a difference between sleep paralysis and nightmares, but I think there is an overlap. I’m not sure if I meet the criteria for sleep paralysis, but based on what I’ve read I feel that is what I’m experiencing.

    I’m confident that these experiences are physiologically based, which has somewhat lessened my fear; but regardless these incidents are always disturbing. I do think that in addition to body position (i.e. sleeping on your back), the organization or feng shui of your bedroom should be taken into consideration. Specifically, your room and especially your bed should be set up in a way that makes you feel safe and secure. I also feel that just as our muscles have “muscle memory,” our brain does something similar with these experiences. This would help explain the repetition of the nightmares and how the content is often the same.

    Again, thank you for this article and forum for people to share their experiences. I’m sure this has been helpful to a great number of people!

    • Hi Jessie
      Thanks for your comment and for sharing your story. I’m glad you found the article and space to share helpful – thanks for saying so!
      You’re right in that I think there is a difference between sleep paralysis and nightmares in which you are paralyzed. In fact, reading your comment I thought at first that you were describing a nightmare. But then a bit later it seems you describe actual sleep paralysis.
      I think there is sometimes some overlap, in that people may wake up with their dream content still kind of ‘playing’ and then have the sensation of paralysis in their bed, with the dream then ‘mapping onto’ their reality.

      But a lot of the time I think people simply get confused. They dream of being paralyzed, then google “dreaming of a demon paralyzing me and can’t move” or some variation thereof, find my article, and it makes sense to them.

      The real test lies simply in whether you’re mentally awake or not. It really does just come down to that! If you’re dreaming and fully asleep, it’s not sleep paralysis.

      I like your idea of feng-shui in the bedroom, so I will add that to the list of readers’s tips!

      Many thanks

  • I just had my first ‘sleep paralysis’ moment and during it I had the sensation of not only someone being in my room but a demonic voice growling and calling my name. After reading this article I didn’t notice you mention anything about name calling, just wondering if this is also an effect of sleep paralysis…

    • Hi Farris
      Thanks for your comment. I don’t talk about that specifically, but I know for a fact that other readers have also experienced hallucinations in which their names are called. So don’t worry – you’re not the only one!

  • I’ve had this happen to me for years… Several times in one night at times! I would be so scared to fall asleep! I think the most in one night it has happened was 3 times in one night. It was always the devil involed.. He was either chasing me or trying to steal my soul. The last time which was several months ago I knew he was trying to take my soul.. I figured out if I keep saying in the name of Jesus it would disappear. The last time I repeated and repeated over and over in the name of Jesus it wouldn’t get off me. It was literally trying to rip my soul out… My thought was Jesus isn’t with me anymore. He has given up on me. I cried and prayed to God I was so sorry for not living the way I was suppose to but please God please help me. The devil himself left me. That night I almost gave up. I was tired of fighting this demon.. I almost let him take my soul. I felt like if I did I was gonna die. It was the very first time in years of this happening to me I felt death was upon me.
    I can’t move, talk, scream, and with me I have never gotten to even open my eyes.. It’s been a few months and I pray it won’t happen again… I know it will tho! It’s a scary thing to deal with. I’m glad it’s not every night anymore. It started at 15. It would happen every other night sometimes a few nights in a row. When I had it several times in one night I was 28. It would happen everytime I close my eyes to sleep. I didn’t want to sleep. I dreaded closing my eyes. I was so scared wondering if this was ever going to stop. Praying just for one night of a normal life.. Just please God let this end. Think it happened almost every night or every other night for the next 2 years.. I was terrified. It finally stopped and now it’s just back here and there. Not much anymore not as frequent. But tat last time I felt death. I know if I let that thing take my soul I wasn’t going to wake up. I’ll never forget that feeling.

    • Hi Brandy
      Thanks for your comment. I can understand your fear, especially if you believe that it is the Devil himself attacking you during sleep paralysis. I’m not sure if it will offer much solace, but from my point of view I think you’ll be fine. Perhaps have a think about all the tips in the article, try out some of them and hopefully you will be able to deal with it better the next time it happens.

  • After reading this article I now know what happened to me last night. I’m a 21 year old female and I experienced sleep paralysis. I was in bed ready for a night of rest around 10:00pm the previous day. I remember watching videos on Youtube and falling asleep fast. Around 12:00am my boyfriend calls my cell to wish me a goodnight therefore waking me up from my sleep. I tried to fall back asleep but didn’t get to until around 2:00am. In my sleep I felt a certain entity strangling me. I walk by faith and was shouting “I rebuke you in name of the father” and felt relief for a few minutes. Like the article states my body felt frozen and could not move. In my dream I kept telling myself “Its just a dream wake up now”. Yet the dream went on this time I saw this entity on my grandmother who’s room is next to mine. In my dream I helped her out by saying the same thing to this entity and it then vanished. I woke up with my heart pumping fast, my hands felt magnetized to my stomach and I was laying on my back. All in all I went right back to bed and woke up fine the next morning. When I discussed my story with my coworkers they said that since I’ve changed my diet it may have caused this dream. I remember my mother telling me when I was a little girl that she had dreamt something similar to what I experienced last night.

    • Hi Christina
      Thanks for your comment. It seems like you were actually dreaming of being frozen – something quite common. That in itself isn’t sleep paralysis though – just a nightmare. But when you woke up and felt your hands magnetized to your body, if you weren’t able to move at this point, that would be sleep paralysis.

  • I just experienced it for the first time exactly 1 1/2hr ago and I felt the presence, it was pressing against my bed, in a fast pace trying to wake me up,i know I was halfway awake because I kind of groaned to let “”it”” ( whatever it was) know I was being bothered but as I did that, it kept on going, bothering me trying to wake me up, I had the surge of adrenaline pacing fast and I moved my leg to make sure I was able to move and I did have the ability to so I got up real quick and turned on the light but of course I wasnt going to be able to see anything in the light. I was so concentrated to atleast say “STOP” or yell oit my sisters name whose right across from me. I think it was something demonic because, like me I always pray, but right before I went sleep I prayed and told god I loved him atleast (10x) and then this happened :O 0.0 but I had a feeling it was the opposite. It just felt so real I was afraid to even pull my blanket downward, I just wanted to get up, and gladly I was able to. Anyways it was my first time and 19 yrs old.

    • Hi Adriana
      Thanks for your comment. I can completely understand why you felt so disturbed by your experience. It’s always particularly unpleasant the first time it happens. Do take a look again at the tips in the article though – perhaps if it happens again, they’ll help you find a way to deal with it quicker.

  • Well, I’m an 18 year old female who has been having these “episodes” since I was about 16 but thought they were caused by demonic presences. Lol..

    Uh, to be honest, the scientific explanation hasn’t been of much help to me. If it’s science related, why isn’t there a cure for it ?
    Yeah, I get the whole essence of it but there has to be something more..

    Listen pumpkin, I know what you’re going through. I have these episodes a few nights a week. And whenever they do happen, I just scrunch my face up really hard. I wake up instantly. Try that.
    As soon as you get up, sit up in bed for a minute, calm down and then go wash your face. I usually just call my boyfriend after it happens and he gets me feeling a bit better. So find something that calms you down and do that. Then go back to sleep only when you’re ready. Trust me, forcing yourself to sleep is the last thing you want to do.

    I know it’s a lot to handle but one thing to remember is that you’ll always wake up. Despite how scary or painful it may be, it can’t kill you.

    • Hi Ariana
      Thanks for your comment, and for sharing your ideas for dealing with it. I agree completely with your suggestions for making yourself feel better after it happens – assuming your partner doesn’t mind a late night call! Unfortunately there isn’t a cure for many illnesses and disorders. That doesn’t mean they don’t have a scientific explanation though. It just means we haven’t got there yet.

  • I have been suffering from sp for a long time and lately its been happening every other night it seems. I also have it happen repeatedly after and after again the same night. sometimes i have to get completely up and stay awake for at least 10 mins to avoid it happening again. if i do stay in bed and drift back to sleep it just happens again and again, its really taking a toll on me. I have no idea why its happening and the severity. sometimes i hear things i see things. After once finding out there was a logical scientific explanation i did feel better but lately i’m just not so convinced.

    • Hi Laura
      Thanks for your comment. I think you’re on the right track with getting up and doing something relaxing for a while to try and stop a repeat experience. That seems to work for a lot of people. It’s hard to say why it’s happening more lately. Sometimes a change in life circumstances, mood, lifestyle etc can impact on sleep. If there have been some major changes in your life recently, it could be due to that and the natural stress and anxiety they cause. Or equally it could just be a random change. Have a go at some of the tips in the article and see if they help.

  • I have experienced sleep paralysis twice in my life, but they both occurred within 24 hours. The first time, I woke up unable to move or say a word. I didn’t see anything or feel anything on my chest, I just simply couldn’t move. I didn’t think anything of it and went back to sleep and woke up later on to go to work.
    The second time I experienced it was very scary. Later on that day, I was able to take a nap in between work shifts. I had fell asleep and then woken up completely frozen once again. But this time, my head was facing to the left and when I woke up, I saw a teenage girl with dark hair and dark features just standing there staring back at me. I tried to turn over or yell for help and couldn’t do either of those things. I managed to shift my eyes away and looked at the TV screen that was at the foot of the bed and saw a bunch of people walking quickly and holding umbrellas. I finally was able to move my foot and I woke myself up. It was the weirdest experience.

    • Hi there
      Thanks for your comment. Yes, I think that when people see figures of people or other beings it tends to be the scariest. But it does sound like a very classic case of sleep paralysis you had. If it happens again use the toe or finger wiggling technique as it already worked once for you.

  • Hi, my name is Jonah I am currently 16 years old and too have experienced this phenomenon many times since about the age of 12. from the ages of 3-5 I had petrifying nightmares and I believe that they are somewhat connected to my sleep paralysis that I have since had later on in life. I do believe in the scientific explanation for it, but I also believe in spiritual entities. That may sound confusing to some, so just hear me out. I have had quite a lot of sleep paralysis over the years and I have noticed that there are different degrees of it. For instance, I some times notice that sometimes during some experiences not only does everything feel more real, but I’ll also find that I am much more lucid. I find that I am not always myself during sleep paralysis, I put this down to being in a dream like state. Over the years the severity of my sleep paralysis has changed. Sometimes I week go through weeks of it happening every night. Or sometimes every time I would begin falling asleep it would happen over and over again in one night. I have learned some techniques, (as you migty have guessed) due to the past four years of experience that I am happy to share with you later on in this comment. I also think that it is important that I mentioned that other family members have had it and my older sister struggled with it quit severely, she even went to see a doctor and went through various tests and had a brain scan. I was the first person in my family to have experienced it and as you might have guessed it was quite a negative experience. The reason I say that I believe both the scientific and spiritual explanation is because I believe that sometimes the experience could be something real and other times it’s just your mind playing tricks on you. I come from quite a spiritual background and some of my family members have had some amazing spiritual experiences and so I can not deny that there are some things outside of this realm that cannot be explained using conventional scientific methods. Most of the time when sleep paralysis happens to me now I get scared to some extend, but it’s something I just brushoff and go back to sleep. It doesn’t bother me anything like how it used to, and that probably has something to do with the fact that I believe only one of my experiences was real. My family has always been very passionate about God and my parents always wanted to have a stronger relationship with him. Unfortunately in their efforts that got them sucked into a cult. At first it might not have seemed like a cult but as time went on, it not only seemed more cult like and it became more dark. The people who ran the cult definitely had an agenda and they were obsessed with demons and fallen angels and as time went on they completely discarded the bible and imposed their own ideals on everyone. Eventually my Mum began to wake up and read her bible again and she began to realize how peverted everything was. We left the cult close to four years at ago now. Its still running to this day, and it has gotten quite extreme, you can search it up, just type in the turner Valley cult and it should come up. Any way the reason I went on this rant is because during our time in this cult, our lives were very negative and people had demonic experiences frequently in our house. One night my two red sisters were sharing a room and one of them heard a sinister voice call her name and
    she froze in fear, now ofcourse I’m sure you are thinking that’s normal but the next part of the story is not. When my sister heard the voice she immediately called out to my other sister who was next to her and she said “did you hear that” and horrifically although my other sister didn’t want to admit it; she indeed did. There are many other accounts Just like this that happened to guests staying over at our house and we didn’t tell them about our experiences either. One time when I was babysitting my brother I was just walking into his room (which he wasn’t in at the time) when one of his toy cars flew across the room and hit the wall I was only 11at the time and I was quite scared. There was no one else in the house and so I hesitantly shut his bedroom door as fast as I could and took my brother to the basement and shut the door and told him not to go up stairs. I kept him oblivious to the situation and I called my parents and they hurried home. Like I said there were many other scenarios just like this one but none of them are sleep paralysis so I will get on with that. One night everything seemed wrong I can’t really explain it but everything just seemed wrong. I remember late that night I got up to get a glass of water and my mum was sleeping on the sofa and she was calling out and wining I woke her up and she said that she had just had sleep paralysis and she thought that there was an intruder in the house, I went back to bed and fell asleep prior to this my sleep was quite good I had experienced being afraid at night before but I had managed to overcome that. That night I wouldn’t say I was actually afraid, all I can say is that there was just something unsettling in the air and it wasn’t triggered by my moms experience because I had this feeling before the incident with her happend. Anyways as the night went on I felt some what restless and I felt the need to constantly keep checking around my bedroom and the hall for something that I couldn’t see, I also remember waking up constantly, not with my hands crossed over my chest, but they were clasped over my stomach like sleeping beauty or something, all I thought was that’s weird and kept moving them back to a more comfortable position every time I went back to sleep. Finally as I was waking up again I couldn’t move and I felt pressure creeping up from my feet up to the rest of my body. Surprisingly I wasn’t very scared since I had had a similar experience like this before, the exact thought that went through my head was “damn this is happening again” and all I did was try to move, I remember that I could bend my knees slightly. Then suddenly out of know where came this horrific growl unlike any animal or any noise that I had ever heard before. By that point I stopped struggling and I froze not realizing what was going on all I began to do was pray and call out to Jesus but I couldn’t talk so I had to pray in my head. The more I tried to resist the more it would growl in my face, and so I continued to pray and it continued growl and I felt it gravitate back down my body and I could move again. As soon as I could move I literally had to pull my clasped hands off my stomach and I ripped off the covers off and got out of bed. That is the only sleep paralysis experience I’ve had that I believe not to be provable by conventional science.
    I couldn’t sleep on my own for weeks due to the intense fear I had from the horrific experience. It has happened many times since then and I have managed to come up with some ways of coping with it. First of all, you must realize that there is really nothing to be afraid of even if you do believe it’s a demon. There is no true danger during sleep paralysis, try to remember this while it’s happening also I’ve found that I’ve never given in to it and fallen asleep while it’s happening, you may be thinking how could you possibly fall asleep while being so terrified, sometimes this can become tempting after you begin to get used to it, but I have always felt to fight. Also one thing that is very important is to not look into it to much( don’t over spiritualize it). While I said that I do believe some sleep paralysis experiences are spiritual I don’t believe all of them are. This can make you obsessed and more afraid and it could become much worse. I would also like to mention, so what if it’s demons trying to torment you, doesn’t it ever occur to you why there just tormenting you? It’s because that’s all they can do. They try and envoke fear in you because they can’t do anything else. I’ve learned to just move on like nothing’s happened after an episode of sleep paralysis this helps because that way it doesn’t become this over whelming factor in my life, and it’s extremely unhealthy to always focus on the negative. I would definitely recommend the hydration technique, as this has worked better for me than any other technique. I’ve found that when sleep paralysis keeps happening over and over again back to back, the best thing to do is drink a glass of water. This works for me every time. Another thing to do is to get up and just wake yourself up a little bit before going back to sleep. I find this usually works if it’s continuously happening over and over again. I’ve definitely found that it usually happens to me now when I’m extremely tired, so trying to relax and getting some good quality sleep could be all it takes. Another thing I’ve noticed is that depression certainly doesn’t help, and I’m not just talking about chronic depression. I’ve noticed that on nights that I’ve gone to bed feeling worthless or upset about something in particular it would happen almost every time without fail. So try to keep up your morale, especially before going to bed. Ofcourse as you might have guessed STRESS is a major factor as it tends to keep you’re mind active as you fall asleep, which as we all know, that’s how sleep paralysis begins. Try to relieve some of the stresses of your life, there are many ways to do this so I won’t talk about it. Finally, I’ve found myself that I never give in to whatever presence I feel during sleep paralysis. I’ve taken this far enough to make a point of staring into the eyes of whatever creature I see during sleep paralysis. I do feel fear, but I tackle it. Sometimes I would even become angry towards the creature while I was experiencing sleeps paralysis. I don’t recommend this to everyone, but if you feel something trying to dominate you, you should not give in no matter what, just battle it out. This is important, even if you don’t believe in spiritual entities, because even if it’s something just simply neorlogical, it could begin to effect you through out your day to day life. Very much like when you make an unethical decision in your dreams, it can bother you for weeks after woulds. So there you have it, those are my views on sleep paralysis, and some of the methods I used to deal with it. And just remember that at the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter, just try to tell yourself that you’re above it all and try to just not let it bother you.

    • Hi John
      Thank you for your very interesting comment and for sharing all of your ideas and tips for dealing with sleep paralysis. It’s interesting to hear from someone who believes that sleep paralysis is sometimes neurological and sometimes something spiritual. Most people lean to one side only, with perhaps some doubts. I think though that your advice for dealing with it is generally excellent. It’s great that you’ve managed to find ways to cope with it, and perhaps your story will help some other readers to deal with it better too.

  • So this has actually been happening all my life but I never knew what it was. They always happen wherever I fall asleep and the first one I remember I was 7, I got out of bed and walked downstairs to see my aunt watching tv. I tried to say something but they couldn’t see or hear me then a figure behind me said “no one can hear you here” then I woke up unable to move. I don’t remember dreams often but it seems like when I do it’s some variation of this. Then the first shadow I saw I was 12 at a friends house. I opened my eyes but couldn’t move there was a black vale around me and a shadow came running down the stairs. As he stood over me I wound go completely numb and couldn’t move. I would “wake up” throughout the night only to find it all happen again. Then when I was 13 I fell asleep with the TV on and woke up a couple hours later with the Ed Ed and Eddy theme song playing, then it seemed to overlap on itself until it was white noise and I experienced head shaking. These dreams stopped happening until about 2 years ago I had the most terrifying one. I opened my eyes unable to move and the shadow was back, I fell asleep and woke up completely numb repetitively with the shadow standing over me for what seemed like hours. Then I woke up, walked in the hallway to find my brother standing there. He pushed me and it felt like he broke my rib, I woke up in my bed again terrified because I couldn’t tell if I was dreaming or not. When I was younger I would run up to my parents room after, but this time I went to call them so I picked up my phone (which was actually the phone I had in middle school which caught me off guard) so I called my mom and when I said “mom” it was my scared 12 year old voice. Then a voice said “oh you wanted to talk to your mom?” Then I herd my mom in the background screaming bloody murder. I woke up again completely numb but this time I fought it and sat straight up, looked at the shadow and screamed “F*%$ YOU” it screamed and I woke up again for real this time. Only 2 hours had passed since I fell asleep. I can still remember it like it happened yesterday and I shake thinking about it. I haven’t had any nightmares since that night, but I’ve experienced sleep paralysis a couple times. I embrace it now, knowing that if I dream I will be aware and have complete control over it and it seems to go away on its own.

    • Hi Dylan
      Thanks for your comment. It may be that you in fact have been having nightmares rather than sleep paralysis. It’s a common confusion that people have, but if you’re always asleep and dreaming of being in your bedroom, it’s not sleep paralysis. For it to be sleep paralysis, you definitely need to be consciously awake, but unable to move your body. That’s the difference.

  • There is a lot of things that I can relate with in this article or passage based on info but you seem to miss out something, when I experience sleep paralysis there seems to be some sort of eerie noise towards the presence I feel. Not only that but when it happens not all the time am I having bad dreams but interrupts my good dreams as well. It happens to me a few times a month. Is it weird that its been happening sense I was five years old? Because I can remember everything like of it was yesterday. I wish I could say more but that’s pretty much it.

    • Hi Jose
      Thanks for your comment. I don’t think it’s weird that it happened when you were little. The noise thing is actually very common as well. Many other readers have also reported hearing noises when they have sleep paralysis. And yes, it can happen when you wake up from good dreams too. If it happens again, try some of the tips I talk about in the article.

  • I have sleep paralysis, where I wake up but I cannot move at all. It terrifies me, I don’t know what triggers it and it doesn’t matter what position I sleep in. Thankfully I haven’t experienced it for a while!
    Until I read this article I was convinced that I had had a strange entity in my bedroom one night. I woke up on my side with something pressing down on me, when I turned my head I was sure I saw a dark figure leaning over me. Imm not one that particularly believes in the supernatural but I was convinced this was some other malevolent being, and it has always played on my mind. However, I never associated it with my sleep paralysis because I (thought I) moved my head. I’m so glad I read this article because I now know it was actually another form of my sleep paralysis. This is an excellent article. Although I think I will always be terrified when I wake up paralysed, I’m glad I now know what that dark entity was, and I’ll always be thankful that has only happened the once… Fingers crossed it will stay that way!

    • Hi Gemma
      Thanks for your comment and for your kind words. I’m really pleased you found the article helpful and that it has brought you some peace of mind. And also hopefully some tricks for dealing with sleep paralysis should it happen again.

  • Sitting in bed late one night I suddenly felt a huge crash on the crown of my head. I looked up really believing a piece of the ceiling must have fallen on my my head. I was amazed to see the ceiling intact. Since this time I have had a slight head ache and tenderness in the position of the crash.
    For some years I have had difficulty in sleeping.
    Any suggestions?

    • Hi Maureen
      Thanks for your comment. To be honest I’m not sure what that could have been. There are many different things which can happen in your sleep which could have led to that event. It may have just been a one-off experience, such as a hypnagogic hallucination. However, if you’ve had a headache since then, then perhaps talk to your doctor about it just to get some peace of mind.

  • Hi, firstly since I was about.. 5-6 I’ve always had nightmares but my first ‘experience’ of sleep paralysis was when I was roughly.. 13-14. I thought it was maybe some sort of demonic thing because I was at the time living in a haunted home so I obviously became scared of the dark, I’ve done (well tried) to do all the above but it don’t seem too be working! I sleep with a lamp on and my TV on (turned up!) I’ve tried wiggling my finger/toes ect.. Nothing seems too be working, I’ve been having these for years now I’m 21. It’s absolutely terrifying & I’ve ran out of options! Is there anything else you could possibly suggest too me. I must admit though which is very naughty of me.. I haven’t seen a doctor about this because I didn’t seem the need too, it’s got too the point that this happeneds about 2-3 times a week! And I’m scared too sleep!!, I stay awake until sometimes 5 o’clock in the morning and wake up about 8 o’clock. The reason I do this and survive on little sleep is because I wait till I’m so tired I’m falling asleep anyway.. This may seem ‘stupid’ or ‘silly’ but I’m honestly scared too sleep.. I don’t know what else I can do! Sometimes I’ll go all day & night with no sleep at all! Please, if you have any other techniques then please tell me!..

    • Hi Becky
      Thanks for your comment, and I’m sorry to hear you’ve been having such a horrible time trying to sleep. I think if it’s gotten this bad, then a trip to the doctor might be a good option for you. Eventually the sleep deprivation is going to start having some negative impact on your health and daily life, which isn’t good. Unfortunately there’s nothing else I can suggest right now, other than trying to follow as many of the tips as possible and see if any help you over the next few weeks. But I would definitely at least have a chat with your doctor about it.

  • I’m 11 years old and upset, when I try to sleep in my own bed I get heaps of nightmares first of all when I’m trying to sleep I think of slender man coming to get me then I think of annable coming for me I’m so scared and upset one time I woke up unable to open my eyes it’s been like three years now and I haven’t slept in my own bed, my mum try’s soothing me and telling me that (she closes the hallway door at night) nothing’s there and I would hear the door if it opens but I can’t prosses that in my mind, our house is quite old so the hallway creeks and that makes me scared as well, my bedroom is right next to the front door and is quite far away from my mums room, I can’t see my sisters room either and that makes me scared, my mum and my sister both keep there door shut as well whilst mine is open and unless my bed is against the wall when my sisters door is open I can’t see her, it’s been so long and I know my mum and sister are annoyed that I sleep with them and my dad has two hernias and is sleeping on my single bed just so I can hop in and fell safe with mum, please help me me and my family would really appreciate it also in ur response can u tell me if I can see a therapist about this to make me less scared? Pls help and if so thank u soo much

    • Hi Marli
      Thanks for your comment, and I’m sorry to hear you’ve been having such a difficult time sleeping. You know what? When I was 12 my parents moved to a really old house in the countryside. My sister and I had a bedroom each on the top floor, with my parent’s bedroom on the floor below. There were some vines which grew all over the house and sometimes they used to bang on the window in the wind. It used to terrify me! And every night I used to go into the storage room between out bedrooms with my torch and check for ghosts/monsters or whatever else there might be. We lived there for 6 years, and nothing bad ever happened. Eventually I stopped being scared, but it did take a while. Now my sister and I laugh about it and how I used to check the storage room every night.
      My point is, I can understand why you feel scared, especially living in a house which creaks and makes noises. But believe me, the fear will go away in time.
      Have you asked your parents if you can sleep with a night light on? If you get a soft glowing light with a color you like to have in the room, it might help you feel a bit more secure. If they look online they’ll find lots of different night lights designed for both kids and adults.
      In terms of seeing a therapist, sometimes it can be useful to speak to someone about things like nightmares. There are ways that they can help you with this. But it depends on how easily they can access someone. I think perhaps if you’re this worried about it, the best thing is to tell them that you’d like to speak to a therapist. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, and there are people who specialize in helping children.
      Have you also spoken to your parents about all the details you wrote here? Maybe if you work with them, you can find a way to organise the spaces and placement of beds in the house so that you feel more secure. If you can arrange things in a way which you feel is safe, for example being able to see your sister, then that might help too. Maybe with a little creative thinking and experimenting you’ll be able to find a way that works for all of you.
      And finally, you can also show your parents this reply if you like. Maybe they’ll have a go at some of the things I’ve mentioned. At the end of the day, it can’t do any harm to try some new ideas. And if it can get you all back to sleeping peacefully, it’ll be worth it.
      Take care

  • I just experienced it today for the first time and immediately went online to look up what it could be because it freaked me out. I was having a scary dream where I was in a car with a stranger and we were diving off the road and into a deep forrest. Right as we were diving in I jolted and then felt something pushing down on my chest while I felt something was screaming into my ear. The scary part is that while all this was going on I also felt a small claw holding my left hand down. I tried to fight the claw and it was moving around and slightly digging into my skin to try to keep my down. My blanket was around my face and I couldn’t move it out of the way so it literally felt like some clawed demon was on top of me pinning me down. Honestly, I probably wouldn’t feel this scared if it weren’t for the addition of the claw part. I can see scientifically how this could happen but what is with the demonic component of feeling claws and hearing something yell at me in the process? I hope this is normal :/

    • Hi Julie
      Thanks for your comment. I can completely understand your concern. The physical and auditory hallucinations you experienced are relatively normal, yes. Many people have these type of hallucinations and find them very frightening. The brain’s capacity to create things which aren’t actually there is staggering! Try to remember some of the tips here, particularly wiggling a finger or toe, if it happens again.

  • It’s so nice to read other people’s experiences. Mine have been terrifying and when it first started about 20 years ago I was fearful I was going insane as the episodes were very much like hallucinations. Unlike most of my other regular dreams where I am somewhere else, these “episodes” I am always in my own home, usually in bed. The worst experience in my life was hearing what I thought was someone in my kitchen torturing my dogs. I hear cabinets and drawers slam and my poor dogs were crying out loud and the paralysis was so intense. It felt like it lasted a very long time, but in reality I’m sure it was probably just a couple minutes. Reassuring to hear others comments and know I am not going insane.

    • Hi Mary Ann
      Thanks for your comment. I can understand both your fear of sleep paralysis and also the concern that you might be having mental health problems. This is something which crosses many people’s minds, but usually isn’t the case. Hopefully you’ll have some techniques in your mind now which can use if it happens again. The dog incident sounds horrible, so let’s hope you can prevent it or cut it short the next time.

  • I felt I was awake and a demonic man was on top of me trying to strangle and rape me. The rational part of me knew it couldn’t be real, and I was desperately trying to wake up. It was a real struggle to wake up properly and then I was too scared to sleep again as some nights it would happen again as I began to fall asleep. Some nights as I was starting to sleep, a spinning sensation would begin, getting faster and faster until I rose out of my body and began travelling around the room. I knew it would end and I would return to my bed – from many previous experiences – but it was always frightening.
    A friend of mine who was very into the spiritual world, advised me to repeat over and over when the demon appeared, “move to the light”, to the presence. This miraculously worked! And I read on a website to embrace the levitation experience and enjoy the feeling of flight! Once I started doing this, I began to be thrilled at the feelings of flight and ventured further afield than my home!
    Eventually my night terrors stopped, maybe they were caused by stress at that time in my life, or maybe my techniques of dealing with them helped. I was definitely more susceptible to them when I was tired but was finding it hard to drop off – which ties with scientific explanation.
    Yet, my vision of the demon was so similar to other peoples images of sleep terror images when I googled it, that I still wonder……

    • Hi Andrea
      Thanks for your comment. Your story is very interesting, and it seems more and more people recently have reported being able to use sleep paralysis as a way of venturing in to the world of lucid dreaming. It’s great that you’ve been able to do that, and even better that the scary experiences have stopped. I wouldn’t read too much into the similarity point – it’s very normal for people to have similar ideas about what an evil being might look like. But to my mind, that doesn’t provide any evidence that they are real.

  • Hey, found your article after having a SP episode. My first SP episode was when I was 13 but fortunately I never had a scary experiences with it. I remember my door was wide open which I keep closed during sleep. My brother had walked in looking around like he was searching for something, then he gave up and left. During this I couldn’t move but I wasn’t scared. When I really woke up my door was shut and he was in the living room, I asked what he was looking for but he claimed that he never walked in my room. At first thought that he was lying but when I thought about it if he couldn’t find what he wanted he wouldn’t have lied about looking for it when I asked.

    I had a couple of episodes all that were non eventful even after reading stories where people have bad experiences it never brought on a horrible one on my part. The weird part about my SP episodes all start off with me having a lucid dream, then I wake from the dream realizing I can’t move. All my lucid dreams are the same it’s sounds corny but they all involve present life being too good it’s not real. Which the rational part of my mind realizes this then the SP kicks in. After learning more about them and how to prevent them I never had another episode until now (I’m 17 now)

    I had taken a 3 hour nap, due to being tired because my sleep schedule is messed up from Christmas break. I usually don’t take naps cause that makes falling asleep on time worse. anyway I had another lucid dream realized what was happening woke up and I couldnt move. I usually never am afraid when this happen having a technique to get out of it quickly, but as soon as I started attempting to wiggle my toe, it felt like there was a heavy being next to me in bed snoring very loudly. The rational part of me told me it was impossible due to how small my bed it and how large the person was and the position I was in wouldn’t allow the smallest of people to fit next to me. The strange thing about it was I facing away from my door and my eyes were closed but I could make out the shape of the person’s body it was a male and actually reminded me of a teacher at my school whom I’ve never made contact with. The more I attempted to wake up it felt like this guy was trying to roll over osn top of me and the snoring sounded fake (kindof like when people pretend to snore, deep and obnoxious) however every time they inhaled it sounded like a hiss the same a cat makes. became really scared because the feeling became too much and I started to get real scared and actually had to jerk my self awake.

    I stayed up till 3am coming down from it till I fell back asleep. I had another episode in the same night worst from the first. I was really awake when my alarm went off at 5 but I pressed snooze to sleep longer. After falling asleep I’m not sure if I was having a nightmare a lucid dream or if it was sleep paralysis. In the dream I woke up running late due to sleeping through my alarm naturally I went to tell my mom so she could drive me to school, but when I got to her room it was pitch black save for her t.v that wasn’t making sound. The bed sheets were pulled and I noticed she came out the bathroom with her arms in front of her as she apaproched me she started choking me. But for some reason it didn’t feel like her attacking me more that she was a sleep walker gone violent. I woke up couldn’t move again but didn’t have a scary hallucination like before, and I was actually running late in real time.

    I’m not sure why my SP has turned scary but I’ve had recent panic attacks due to sleep apnea and lingering anxiety I have .

    • Hi Quianna Marie
      Thanks for your comment and for sharing your sleep paralysis stories with us. It was fascinating to read about your various experiences and how you have lucid dreams. It’s a shame that your sleep paralysis has changed form recently. It could well be related to your anxiety and panic attacks. Do you have someone you can speak to about how you’ve been feeling? Panic attacks can be very unpleasant so I think it’s useful to have someone to talk to, be it family or a professional. I’d also recommend trying some self-help techniques, perhaps in the evening. Something I often recommend is doing mindfulness techniques. Have a look at that article if you like – you might find some ideas you’d like to try out.

  • I experienced basically the same thing you experienced, except it happened twice in one night yesterday. The first time , I felt a tingling sensation & felt like I was slightly shaking . The second time I felt like something or someone was strangling me . I can say that due to the fear of it happening the first time that night i stayed up for what felt like hours . then started to doze off again, when it happened again.

    • Hi Ashley
      Thanks for your comment. Quite a lot of people find that it does happen again once they go back to sleep. I do wonder whether it’s a good idea to try to ‘reset’ your brain, as it were. Perhaps if it happens, get up and go into another room for a while, read a book or have a drink. Maybe watch or read something funny or light-hearted for 15 mins. Then go back to sleep, but in a different sleeping position. That might help prevent the second occasion with a little luck.

  • I’ve been experiencing these dreams since I was like 8 and I’m 17 now. the nightmares only seem to come when I’m sleeping on my back I don’t get scared anymore realizing the dreams can’t hurt me I just sleep on myside at all times. I never used to have those dreams until i asked my mom why she doesn’t sleep on her back she told me its because I have night mares when I sleep on my back. Eversince that’s night I’ve been having them when i only sleep on my back.

    • Hi Cory
      Thanks for your comment. Many people say that sleeping on their back is when it most often happens. If you can avoid it by sleeping in a different position, then that’s great. Maybe at some point you’ll be able to sleep on your back as well though.

  • I’ve had sleep paralysis sporadically throughout my life but it has started to happen more often recently. It’s always the same. I’m a side sleeper and it’s always a sound I hear that starts it. Usually it’s like creaky footsteps in my room. My room is on the second story of my house. The footsteps wake me up but then almost immediately I feel this tingly sensation and realize I can’t move. Sometimes I feel pressure but not always. Next I feel a presence looming behind me. The feeling is so strong and terrifying that I try to scream and move but can’t. The feeling that something is behind is so intense that it’s maddening. I have no idea how long the paralysis lasts but if I had to guess I’d say maybe 2-3 minutes. I feel like I pull myself out of it by trying to move. Once that happens, it’s like nothing happened. I’m not scared at all anymore and just roll over and fall back to sleep. Because of that, that is the only reason I believe in the scientific explanation. If I had just been in absolute fear for my life a minute ago, why would I not investigate? Wake my husband up? Call 911? It’s like as soon as I’m fully awake, it never happened at all. I remember it but it’s like I forget the terror of it all. I hate it. Wish it didn’t happen to me but definitely believe that it’s a sleep disorder and not paranormal in any way.

    • Hi Christy
      Thanks for your comment and for your very interesting bit of logic there! I agree with you in that it’s very scary, but once you wake and realise it’s gone away, it should make it easier to accept that it was just a sleep disorder. It’s good that you’ve managed to learn to cope with it and are able to fall asleep again afterwards. Perhaps the key now is to work out why it’s been happening recently more frequently. Have you been under more stress than usual, or lacking sleep? If you can work out what changed, perhaps you can take steps to relax again and sleep better.

  • I’ve experienced this years . But less so since I’ve stopped working shifts.

    I have audio hallucinations it starts with a buzzing then a pop then random voices very scarey when I first started experiencing it. I WAS LOCKED in. And once at one address the foreign voices came as screams with visions of people being slaughtered. I was convinced that it was evil spirits because my boyfriend experienced the same thing.
    I CAN NOW STOP it happening by saying the Lords pray which wakes me up immediately. I’m not religious but it’s the only thing that works. ON THE plus side I have managed to lucid dream on several occasions after this experience where I can make amazing music up in my head or take my self any where in the world sometimes in space. It’s an awesome experience which I imagine must be what people who take certain recreational drugs feel.

    • Hi Polly
      Thanks for your comment. It’s good that you’ve both managed to find a way to stop it if you want, and also convert it into a lucid dream. Many people do say sleep paralysis is a possible stepping stone to lucid dreaming, and yes it is amazing!

  • I suffer quite a lot. The last one was last week. Im always aware of an evil presence in the room. I was asleep on my stomach and it came and hovered right above me and it ran its sharp clawed hand against my cheek and giggled in my ear. The stroking of my face felt so real it woke me up. I also quite a lot get thrown around the room (is this common?). It feels like an evil force literally picks me up and throws me against the wall. I always feel fully awake and try desparately to open my eyes but they just wont open. Also trying to scream when no noise will come out of my mouth! Ive also been able to fly and can see myself from above. Its pretty terrifying stuff but I try not to dwell on it as I realise its just dreaming. I find it happens when I am more stressed. The worst is the demon presence.

    • Hi Debbie
      Thanks for your comment. It’s not totally clear whether you’re having sleep paralysis or nightmares. I suspect that you’re having nightmares, but the content is similar to what people might have with sleep paralysis. What do you think?

  • I can’t tell you how old I was when I first experienced sleep paralysis, but I’d guess I was approximately 6 or 7 years old when I first realized it (I’m now in my late 40’s). It happened quite frequently when I was younger, maybe once or twice a month, and much less frequent as an adult. Unlike many of these other people, I was a stomach sleeper and don’t remember my eyes ever opening during an episode which may be the reason I never felt or saw anything during my younger years.
    I used to be a heavy sleeper and was always happy when I could sleep in, unlike my siblings.
    I never told anyone about my experiences, but just thought it was somewhat normal. In my own experiences, I always figured it was a result of being overly tired and looked at it in more scientific reasons rather than something supernatural. While I can’t say my experiences were terribly frightening, they were a little unsettling and worrisome when I felt conscious and aware upon wakening, but couldn’t move for a period of time, no matter how hard I tried.
    I think the worst part for me were the repeated episodes as I struggled to regain movement. A handful of times, after struggling to fully awaken, I would quickly drift off to sleep again, only to experience a second or third episode that same morning. I must also add that the sleep paralysis seemed to happen on weekends and probably in the summer, when sleep times might have been altered or abnormal.
    As I grew older, the episodes happened less frequently, but happened on rare occasions. The last episode I remembered having, was also the most frightening. It happened 5 or 6 years ago as I was drifting off to nap. This particular time I was on my back, in bed, and while my eyes were closed and couldn’t see anything, I felt an evil presence of someone or something standing over me, ready to pounce on me and pin my shoulders down. It didn’t happen right away but when I felt it jump on me, I remembering thrashing around and saying a quick prayer (just in case) as I suddenly woke up with my heart racing. While I can’t explain the feelings I felt that day, I still lean toward a scientific approach and explanation, knowing that the brain is complex organ and still not totally understood. Whatever the reason, I’m happy to report I haven’t had an episode since then.

    • Hi Jeff
      Thanks for your comment and for sharing your story with us. It’s great that it hasn’t happened for years. It’s interesting what you say about it being affected by different times of the year. I wonder if other people who experience it regularly have found the same? It would be interesting to find out.

  • Hi Last night I had the most awful experience of my life , I felt like I was being strangled in my sleep , I kind of was half asleep and half awake as I can remember my husband talking to me but his voice was far away. My husband in the morning explained that my breathing stopped and one point and after that my breathing was very slow. This morning I still feel a weight on my chest and I am exhausted as if I had been through a struggle to stay alive. In the past 4 years I have had 2 strokes and now I have a rare disorder post stroke phycosis I am on lots of medication, I am with Mental Health Team who are excellent and I am at High Risk of Suicide … I dont drink and I dont take illegal drugs I am very young to have had these strokes and they dont know why I have had them . I have hallucinations of a dark hooded man in the daytime and at night also I have delusions in the day and night …. do you think this is all part of psychosis .. my husband was so scared last night Kind Regards Lili

    • Hi Lili
      Thanks for your comment. It sounds like you’ve had a lot to deal with over the last few years, but it’s good that you have the support of the mental health team and your family. That’s one of the most important things for recovery – having a good support network. And I think that along with that, it’s always good to keep your support network informed of any new symptoms you experience. It could be that what you had last night was connected to the psychosis which you have during the day as well, or it could have been just a random occurrence of one of the many strange sleep experiences people have. I would talk to your doctor about it, but try not to worry too much.

  • Hi I just wanted to share a story of one of two sleep paralysis I had but I’m only fourteen but one time I was laying on my back then I awake but I can’t move and feel that someone is there.

    Then i see two kids sitting at the edge of my bed and I tell my mom as I get away from the sleep paralysis and she tells me I was suppose to have twin siblings but they died.

    The only thing I knew about my siblings is that there was suppose to be one before me but not two after so there’s my story and happy new year but this site explains what I always wondered about sleep paralysis do thanks.

    • Hi Isabelle
      Thanks for your comment. It’s not clear whether it really was sleep paralysis, or perhaps you were having a dream. But in any case, I’m glad you found the article useful to read.

  • First time I ever had sleep paralysis was two nights ago. I was sleeping on my side, I had no clue what was happening since I couldn’t move at all It lasted about 10 seconds and the harder I began to try and move the more I felt I was coming out of it. I eventually did but fell back asleep and it started again while I was on my side I knew the feeling and increased my effort to move and was successful within 3 seconds roughly. I moved to my back sensing being in my side was the culprit turns out I was right. I blissfully fell asleep on my back and slept like a baby for the rest of the night.

    • Hi Jp
      Thanks for your comment. Many previous readers have also spoken about the importance of sleeping in a particular position. Though strangely, most say it happens more often on their back! Perhaps it was the shift in position which helped you to settle afterwards. A good idea to hang onto should it happen again.

  • Hi…thanks for your explanation
    what i experienced is, first it was afternoon. I took diazepam 5 mg to help me sleep..but when i slept a shadow (demon) came and covered me…i tried to shout & call my neighbour for help but i was breathless, i was not able to make sound. I tried to escape but couldnt even move because it was all over me. I felt like i was dying…its so terrifying. Now i know what it is. Thank to you.

    • Hi Getachew
      Thanks for your comment and I’m glad you found the article helpful. It does sounds very much like sleep paralysis, so hopefully some of the tips will prove helpful to you.

  • I had my first SP & OBE when I was only 18yrs old. My father had just passed away and I was sad at the time so I was pretty vulnerable. I remember going to sleep at night and I was trying to get some sleep, then all of a sudden it felt like I was being dragged out of my body by the shadow people and they were spinning me through each room in the house. I could see myself lying in bed.I couldn’t move, I couldn’t scream. This happened 2 or 3 more times and I scratched my sister who was lying next to me in the same bed to make sure I wasn’t going crazy, this frightened her. I had to race to get back into my body. I told my grandmother the next day and she told me to confront it and tell it to go away. It happened again the following night. This time there were people awake in the same room as I drifted off to sleep, I could see them watching t.v. I had the OBE and could see everyone awake. I felt like someone was taking me away and I had to get back into my body or I’d die. I swore and said F off and I screamed and woke up. That scared everyone who was awake and freaked out at my outburst. It has happened maybe 3 other times and the last time I saw the shadow people, I was taken to a maze with grey concrete walls. I was running from them and they were trying to catch me and frighten me. I decided to turn around and stand up to them. They turned around and I started to chase them away. It became a game and I was no longer afraid, although in the back of my mind I was still cautious. I entered back into my own body in my own time and never had another episode up until last year. I fell asleep in the lounge and I heard a heavy humming/ buzzing. I woke and it felt like the lights were dimmer than usual. I turned to face the clock and it was 3 am. I decided not to go to my bedroom as I was too tired. I drifted back to sleep when all of a sudden I could feel my legs rise, as if someone was holding them for me. I opened my eyes and saw my legs up in the air but I couldn’t move. I had to fight to get my legs back down. I woke up, went back to sleep, then it happened again. I just forced my legs back down and said F off. Some freaky &*%$.

    • Hi Bronquisha
      Thanks for your comment. I can understand why you were so freaked out. It must have been particularly unsettling to open your eyes to find your legs raised in the air! Do try to remember some of the tips in the article though. If it happens again, have a go at wiggling a finger or toe and see if you can bring yourself back to your body and bed, and hopefully lying horizontally.

  • I experienced my very first episode of sleep paralysis last night, quite frightening.
    Your article brings some relief but the edgy sensation still hasn’t left me. Is that normal, for it to linger?
    What are your thoughts on this being a means of connection to the higher self, or Source?

    • Hi Lisa
      Thanks for your comment. Yes, it’s very common for the feeling to linger. In fact, every time I reply to a comment on this thread I remember the times I’ve had sleep paralysis and it always feels like a very vivid memory.
      As for it being a means of connection to the higher self, I don’t really have much of an opinion on that. For me it’s just something unpleasant which happens sometimes and personally I’d rather prevent it or stop it in its tracks asap!

  • My family is really religious and i had sleep paralysis a lot of times when i was 12-16 most of the time i would feel like im awake and see my siblings sleeping next to me and i tried to scream to them because i felt an evil presence in the room i would wake up a few minutes later but it felt like a hours i went from having this dreams weekly to daily so i told my mom and she told me to say in the power of jesus christ i ask you to leave me alone n it worked everytime i would wake up and the dream would go away instantly but one night i said that once the dream started and i heard a voice say thats not gonna help you and i had to stay in the dream for a few minutes after that day i never had sleep paralysis

    • Hi there
      Thanks for your comment and for sharing your experience. Hopefully you’ll continue without having any more sleep paralysis. But if it does become a feature in your life again, perhaps try some of the tips here as well as the technique you previously had.

  • This is a really weird one for me…. Im 17 years old, my mum passed away when i was 16. I feel I need to tell you this as she was a part of my expieriance. On Christmas eve 2015 I was in a deep deep sleep dreaming, I remember I was dreaming but I can’t remember what it was about… But all of a sudden i felt like I’d woken up, (I wasn’t sure if it was still a dream or if I’d actually woken up) but I couldn’t breath anyway, I felt something really heavy on my chest and I couldn’t move my arms or legs. And it started to make me panic a little… Then all of a sudden a saw my mum she was right above my face, as I was looking at the ceiling because I couldnt move, her face was just floating above me, she whispered “I’m okay”. So i panicked, I tried reaching for her and I tried shouting my dad, (although he wasn’t in) because shouting wasn’t working I tried screaming and I could feel myself crying (scared because i couldn’t move) but also trying to reach up for my mum who I long to feel and hold one last time, I remember this so vivid, she smiled and then disappeared. And I felt myself take a huge breath, I could breath again, i felt my face but no tears, so i rolled over and assumed it was just a dream, but the same thing happened again last night, so I had too look it up, im not sure if it is sleep paralysis because everything on here talks about demons or intruders the feeling like something is going to hurt you, i didn’t think she was going to hurt me, i just panicked, the not being able to breath the longing for someone you can’t feel the not being able to talk or move, that is what scared me not the “intruder”, at first reading through the artical I was thinking “omg what if she was trying to hurt me, did I do something wrong am I doing something wrong” but i know I haven’t and I’m not, she was my best friend, she wouldn’t hurt me. I feel people need to see this, then they can see different types of it and if they believe in spirits like I do then they know that there loved ones are just looking over them, reminding them they are still here and never to forget.

    • Hi Mary
      Thanks for your comment and for sharing your very personal experience. I’m sorry for the loss of your mother and it makes sense that these two experiences felt so profound for you.
      As you say, sometimes it’s tricky to work out if it was sleep paralysis or a dream in which you woke in your bedroom and then saw what you did. Hopefully it won’t keep happening, as perhaps your mind will feel more relaxed and at peace having had these experiences. If it continues, then perhaps it might be a sign that you could find it helpful to talk to someone about the loss you experienced. Sometimes a loss like this and the subsequent grief can manifest in ways we might not expect.
      Best wishes

  • Hi Everyone, I have had these experiences since I was about 11 years old. I have them at least once a month.

    My recent one which was about 6 days ago. I had just fell asleep and then I could hear a person and dog at the bottom of the stairs (I don’t have a dog and live alone) I could hear the man and dog making their way up the stairs, I tried to move but could not so I realised it was another one of my episodes. The dog came up onto the bed and was sniffing my hair and face and was growling. Then I felt the person put his/her hands on my chest and felt a part of my leave my body. After a short while it ended.

    Further to my investigations I have realised if you scrunch your face 3 times quickly (like if you smell something horrible) you break the cycle in its track. You need to go to wash your face etc… else you are more likely to fall back into it.

    And all this time I thought Aliens were zapping my energy from me to use for whatever :)

    • Hi Amino
      Thanks for your comment. It must have been quite disturbing feeling the dog coming up onto the bed sniffing you! The idea of scrunching your face is an interesting one indeed. I imagine it is having a similar effect to the trying to move a finger or toe idea. By focusing on just one part of the face, you are more likely to break out of it it seems.

  • I have had many experiences with sleep paralysis starting when I was a young teenager. I remember the first time I was scared I couldn’t move and tried to call for my mother but nothing came out. Eventually it passed and that was that. Thought the years I have had it many many times now I’m in college but never in any of those experiences have I ever had a hallucination or anything. No feeling of a strange presence, no demonic figures, no feeling if hands or a weight pushing down on my chest. Every singe time the only thing I feel is that I just can’t move and that is it. The only time I ever felt scared or terrified was the first time and a couple after that. Ever since then I am very aware of the situation and what is happening and try to mentally and physically force myself to move. It seems now it is more of an annoyance to me rather than anything to be scared of. Anyway I hope that maybe helps some others. It is hard of me to believe it being anything but a purely biological occurance since that is all it has ever been for me with no hallucinations or terrifying feelings of prescences. I find it occurs to me basically any time I try to nap so I don’t take any and don’t sleep till I’m sufficiently tired that I will go straight to sleep and not have any difficulty going into it. As for happening when I wake up I don’t really have any ways I prevent that but it only happens occasionally and it is easy for me to work though. Anyway it was interesting to share my experiences and read others.

    As ever,


    • Hi Brandon
      Thanks for your comment. It was interesting to hear about your attitude towards sleep paralysis. I think it can definitely be helpful for other readers to realise that it is possible to work through it, and that it doesn’t always create intense fear.

  • I just woke up at this very moment from the scariest one yet. This has been going on for years but only the cant breathe cant move thing until tonight. I went to sleep in my daughters room she has been telling me for a year that she feels a presence and something holds her down she cant move and bring choked. As I fall asleep it happens so fast cant move fighting to breath I look at the foot of the bed and see a daemon figure then he shows himself into human form a teenage boy im praying lift my hand to the air doing a cross symbol he laughs and says oh I know what that means then tells me a message for my daughter and disappears only to see a second later a black figure outside the window then feel like something entered my body so im panicking worse than ever trying to yell or hit the wall to wake my mom up. It seemed like it lasted forever. Im in total shock right now!!!!!!

    • Hi Candida
      Thanks for your comment, and I can understand why you were so shocked by this experience. Sleep paralyis can be extremely scary, and sometimes the scene which unfolds can be remarkably vivid and upsetting. Hopefully you’ll have found some useful tips in the article which you can use if it happens again.

  • I’ve never experienced sleep paralysis, but the thought of it scares me. I understand that the real cause of it is probably the scientific reason, but a small part of me can’t help wondering if there really are demons out there. I apologise if there’s a minimum age requirement for this page, because I’m only 13, but my friend apparently experienced it, so I wanted to find out what it was. Anyway, I just wondered if this happens to everyone, or just random people.

    • Hi Izzie
      Thanks for your comment and don’t worry, there’s no age limit! Sleep paralysis doesn’t happen to everyone, no. And most people it does happen to only experience it a few times. The chances are that you won’t experience it, so try not to worry about it!

  • I have had a few episodes of this and they always start the same. Footsteps. I will always hear footsteps sometimes the front door opening then closing and distinct footsteps headed towards my bed room. The last time it happened though, there were no footsteps, only this sound that sounded like someone dumping a bunch of empty cans into a dumptster. This became louder and louder until it became the sound of a baby crying then 2 babies then more and and more then i looked to my left fully aware of what iwas going to see and there was a figure in my room just standing there with a symphony of crying babies in the back ground. Then i woke up screaming . Truly frightning feels like your awake but can’t move.

    • Hi Tweedy

      Thanks for your comment. I can understand why you were scared by the experience. Do you think you were awake and hallucinating, unable to move? Or were you dreaming of being in your bedroom with these things happpening?

  • Hello. Well I started going through this when I was incarcerated as I got closer to god I would have these dreams where I would feel something just not right. The first few times in the dream it would usually end with some type of scary figure like a baby or even a relative but there eyes would be huge and I would force myself to wake up…I have not had any of these dreams in a while. But every now and then I will be sleeping and wake up and feel a pressure on top of me not being able to move and I will quickly pray and fall back asleep but the weird thing is I can feel in my dream when this pressure is going to happen and I force myself to wake up but when I wake up I’m still asleep like its so hard to explain. These events happen for a couple days then go away for about a month or two I have dealt with lots of stress in my young life and I am a believer of angels and demons so it’s just very uncomfortable I am not terrified because when it does happen I wake up and say you are not welcome here this is a house of the lord my home has been blessed years I pray every night I have crosses in my room so IDK I just thought I would share my experiences here. I thought about talking to a priest about my experiences to see what he says but IDK I am not scared at all just uncomfortable thanks guys sorry I am not the best with words.

    • Hi Nikolas,
      Thanks for your comment. I can understand why you find your experiences uncomfortable, and you’re not alone in what you’ve been through. It does sound to me very much like sleep paralysis. If you find talking to a priest a comforting option, then by all means do. But I’d also suggest trying to remember some of the tips here, such as wiggling a finger which might also help you to deal with it better.

  • Hi i suffered for many years and i never told my mom or doctors. Never even knew what it was until i did research on the web. I do know that i only suffered when i slept on my back so one evening i didnt sleep on my back and it didnt happen. So for like more than 20 years i havent slept on my back and never had another episode. Sometimes i wish i could but i am too scared to try it. When i had my episodes there was always a strange presence in the room and i mean i saw someone so i was hallucinating. Scared the heck out of me. I am just so glad i found my own solution because it is truly a scary feeling. Glad to have found this site also to share my experience.

    • Hi Kathy
      Thanks for your comment and for sharing your experience of sleep paralysis. Many previous readers have also said that they find it only happens when sleeping on their back. So you’re not alone in that one. It’s just a shame that you haven’t been able to lie in that position for so many years! But I can understand why you wouldn’t want to if you were so sure it only happened in that position.

  • I’m 16 years old and I’ve experienced 3 demonic-like sleep paralysis. The first one was a shadowy figure that as soon as I looked at it, it said “Silence!” And lifted me off the bed. I just decided to pretend that I was sleeping and it went away.

    The second one was about two months after the first one. I felt awake and looked at my computer monitor from my bed and from the reflection I saw a shadowy figure move across my room and felt as if it dragged me out of bed. I cannot remember the rest, but was fully awake afterwards then I went back to sleep.

    The third one was the most scariest one of all. It happened today when I recently woke up from falling sleep then waking up then falling sleep again. It was morning and I was about half awake deciding whether I should go back to sleep or not, then for some reason I was repeating to myself “don’t obey the wheel” I said that in my head like 4 times then I felt something move my arm upward, literally, then I turned my head and saw a shadow blur screaming in my ear, just screaming, no words. All I could do was pray and so the figure vanished and I was shocked for a few minutes.

    • Hi Jack
      Thanks for your comment. That sounds very scary indeed, particularly the third one. Hopefully you’ll have some better ideas for dealing with it now, should it happen again. Try out the finger wiggling technique, and try to remain as calm as possible.

  • I started experiencing “sleep Paralysis” since i was a kid around the age of 7 or 8. I am now 17 years old and these experiences have gotten more vivid and disturbing. in my early years i would fell as if i was being pushed down and unable to breath. I was able to get out of it easily at first and never panicked. But lately it has been harder. A few months ago when I was starting to fall asleep, I felt as if an entity was reaching into my body and grabbing me by my stomach trying to pull it out of me. It would hurt like hell and I would not be able to move although I am aware of the situation. In the end I would wake up, and everything would be normal without any pain, but as soon as I try to fall asleep again the pain of my stomach being crushed persists. This has been going on for awhile. The latest occurrence was a few nights ago. I was sleeping but I felt uncomfortable, so i woke up. I was fully aware of my surroundings and I could even see the TV playing a show as I had left it on that night. But I couldn’t move or hear. The only thing I could hear was a high pitched sound in my ear. But suddenly I realized my head was shaking uncontrollably. I couldn’t feel my head shaking but I knew it was because it was my body. I couldn’t take control of myself. Soon my vision began to give out and a figure started to form right before my eyes. It grabbed my hand and clenched it. My head still shaking and I could feel my legs were starting to cramp. I was finally able to scream which helped me regain control over myself.

    The more I read about how science explains “sleep Paralysis” the more convinced I am that it’s natural. But lately, somethings are hard to believe and maybe I should have an open mind about how it may be a more unnatural phenomenon. So if anyone has an explanation I’m ready to hear it.

    • Hi Jefferson
      Thanks for your comment. I can understand why you would have trouble completing accepting the scientific explanation when you have such vivid and unpleasant experiences. Many people have in the past commented that they struggle to marry what they feel with what science says. At the end of the day though, the very fact that it is often startlingly vivid and scary is what makes it sleep paralysis. So I think that to doubt the scientific explanation because what you experience is so powerful is to ignore the main symptoms, if that makes sense. But I know that it’s easier said than done. My own experiences of sleep paralysis have stayed with me for a long time, occasionally popping into my head as unpleasant memories, since they were so powerful. But I personally choose to fully accept the scientific explanation as I find it helps me sleep easier at night. And that’s always my end goal when I go to bed!

  • P.S When I realised there were evil entities coming in the house I became aware I was paralysed. The out-of-body-whilst-possessed thing was also a simultaneous experience that physicaly I was paralysed, it was my (possessed) spirit leaving the bed and the room.
    For years I have had the paralysis whilst something evil is in the room and/or violently shaking the bed. What happened last night was new and especially bad. I’m scared to sleep now and will have to keep light on.

    • Ah ok, that answers my previous reply. I should really learn to read the next comment before replying to someone! I always forget that…
      I can understand why you would feel scared. Have you spoken to anyone about the frequency and violent sensations you have during sleep paralysis? Maybe you could talk to your doctor and get their advice about it.
      I’d also suggest trying a night-light. Something which is soft enough to not disturb you, but puts enough light into the room to stop your brain from filling the darkness with so much scary stuff.

  • Hi, it’s been helpful to know I’m not alone in this. Had various experiences every so often but last night was awful; It seemed real rather than a dream. I became aware that some evil entities had arrived at my house. Next thing I was involved in some sort of battle and felt I was being thrown around in bed. Next I felt I had been possessed and was moving out of my bed and into the corridor of the house, with the intention of causing some sort of harm to others. Then thankfully I woke up but felt terrified and had to keep lights on and text a friend (at!). I am now too scared to go to bed. It really felt that I had been possessed and was having an out-of-body experience as it felt like a real struggle to leave my body and go out the room. I have often felt like I was being visited or attacked while asleep but never like I’ve been possessed or left my body. This is new and I’m scared of whats next.

    • Hi Jayme
      Thanks for comment. It’s not entirely clear from your description of what happened if you had a nightmare which took place in your bedroom setting, or if you had sleep paralysis with an out of body experience type. Do you think you were in fact dreaming of these things happening in your bedroom to you, or were you awake consciously but not in control of your body, whilst hallucinating? That would be the main difference between sleep paralysis and a nightmare.

  • Hi,
    I am 32 years old and have, in the last few months, had two very intense episodes of sleep paralysis. A good friend has them often and as she described the experience and her scientific findings on it, I found it very strange that such events could occur to people across the world, of different cultures and belief systems, in such an eerily similar way and for as far back in history as people have been recording their dream experiences.

    My first episode I felt awake in the dark, but paralyzed. I knew instantly what I was experiencing after having been told stories but was still petrified. I saw a dark (and felt strongly male) figure hovering above me, holding my arms across my chest tightly. As I panicked something in me said to submiss and in that moment I truly felt the figure lower and kiss me on the mouth. I then woke up free to move, now truly awake and on my side as I usually sleep so I wasn’t actually on my back after all although the setting was otherwise exactly the same. I also wasn’t as scared as I thought I would be and went back to sleep.

    My second episode occurred a couple nights ago, this time of a darker variety in that I could literally “see” this demon like dark figures facial features somewhat and could “hear” a very garbled deep voice of it trying to tell me something. I was very scared so I once again just thought to give in and in that moment I felt my mouth open, body go limp, and felt myself absorb the demon somehow, as if through my breath. Again, I woke and tried to shake it off.

    I have been a bit scared that the intensity of these experiences might persist, and many people do die in their sleep of unknown causes so I’m not sure we can say definitely that such “visits”, hallucinations or however else we define them as, could not be the cause. I am not a religious person, but that being said I do find it hard to believe that millions of people’s brains all choose the same exact creepy imagery during episodes of dream paralysis. It’s just so interesting mostly to me and I’d love to know why every human who has experienced this, has such a similar experience.

    • Hi Juliana
      Thanks for your comment and for sharing your sleep paralysis stories with us. I think the first thing to do is reassure you about the worry of dying in your sleep. I think that really it tends to be elderly people, or people with serious illnesses, who die peacefully in their sleep. Healthy people don’t generally just die in their sleep. Try not to dwell on that theory too much if you can help it.

      As for why people have similar experiences, well yes and no. I know you’re unlikely to do it as it would take hours, but if you read all the comments here you’d discover that whilst there are some common themes, there are in fact a huge range of different things that people experience. But yes, lots of people do see, hear or feel dark entities in their bedrooms. My take on it is that wherever you are in the world, there are archetypal evil figures we are presented with my media throughout our whole lives: in horror films, ghost stories, Halloween figures and children’s story book monsters for example. So it doesn’t surprise me that someone in America, or South Africa or China might conjure up images they’ve seen in the same film, book or photo.
      That’s my theory anyway!

  • I am an 11 year old girl, and I’m pretty sure I just experienced sleep paralysis. I kinda am terrified of aliens being able to watch over me without me knowing, so I’m guessing that’s what j dreamed. Then I ‘woke up’ and I couldn’t move, say anything, but I also couldn’t see. I had the feeling of being watched and it increased, feeling like when my foot is asleep, but increased pain, and all over me. I immediately pointed towards aliens watching me, and tried to say something, protesting against the paralysis. Then, I heard a girl whisper “no.” And I was awake. The thing is this just happened to me and now I can’t go back to bed.

    • Hi Austin
      Thanks for your comment. I can completely understand why you were freaked out by it and why you couldn’t sleep again afterwards. It’s taken me a while to reply to your comment, so hopefully by now you’ll have managed to sleep well again. I think if it continues to worry you or make you feel scared about sleeping, the best thing is to talk to your family about it. It’s always good to talk about things like this as it will help you to get the worries out of your head. And they can provide you with some reassurance that you’ll be ok:-)
      And if it does happen again, try the wiggling your finger or toe trick. It works well for most people.
      Take care

  • I woke up this morning and realized I couldn’t move and I could only open my right eye about half way. I couldn’t say anything and that’s when I really had gotten terrified. I was trying to call my brothers name (for about 5 mins) but nothing would come out. I saw a dark shadow of some kind of figure standing about 3 to 4 feet away from me just watching. I felt some kind of pressure pressing downwards on my chest. I used all my strength wiggle out. I ended up on the floor trying to break the t.v. stand to make some noise. Then I actually woke up in bed breathing so hard my heart was pounding, I mean pounding. I looked around and everything was normal like nothing happened but it felt so real. I have been up every since 9:14 am this morning. This was the first experience I have had like this an I pray it’s the last one.

    • Hi Dee
      Thanks for your comment. I can understand why you would want this to be the last experience, and it’s possible that it will be too. I know it’s very scary when it first happens, but in case it does happen again, keep in mind some of the tips you read in the article.

  • what a fascinating and informative article. thank you for it. but i do have one thing to share. my father has always told me not to put my hand on my chest while i sleep. he said if u put hand on ur chest while u sleep, u will have somebody sit on u in ur sleep and try to steal ur breaths. ofcourse it was when we were kids. but in the year 2012, when i first had an experience of sleep paralysis, i was scared to death. but then i vaguely noticed that i was sleeping on my back with my right hand lying face down on my chest. i remembered my dad that night and felt gud. now i can voluntarily get this experience by putting my hand on my chest while i sleep. i have even played practical jokes on my friends and cousins who were sleeping by putting their hand on their chest and let them have this ‘scary’ experience. i request all the readers to try this and let others know that this is nothing but some biological phenomena.

    • Hi Naresh
      Thans for your comment, and I’m glad you found the article interesting. What a practical joker you are! How many of your family and friends have reported having a sleep paralysis experience following your late night trickery?


  • I tend to try to go to bed in a good mood, I’m kind of dealing with bi polar issues right now with all the stress in my life.
    But before all that at the age of 14, I would sleep to have a nightmare of a creepy little creature staring at me with wide yellow eyes and three lingerie fingers nails. It wouldn’t move or speak but every time I had this nightmare it would come closer, I would always wake up terrified or just try to stay awake which is bad I know. But in the last one when I know it’s the last possible way for it to be closer then the last dream I stopped having it. (My friend were praying for me they said)
    At the age of 17 I started to have horrible nightmares, I would be at an abandoned church with little demonic things telling me to not get caught by the lady.
    The lady was an old women who was very frightening looking. I can’t explain it no matter how many times I have this nightmare I can never fully remember her face. Nothing else is a blur.
    I always run away to hid and any time I would get caught I would wake up to feel a pain for a split second from where the women grabbed me from then it would go away.
    I just turned 19 yesterday so it’s been going on for two years now.
    Another one is I always feel like there’s a presence in my room. Well not always. But normally when the nightmare is frequent.
    I lay in bed and I feel like it’s just somewhere in my room watching me. No matter how many times I say nothing is there there is nothing I can do to make me feel so frightened. I even cry sometimes because of how bad my imagination is. I haven’t really told anyone but I really in desperate need for help. I haven’t slept right in years and I’m trying to put all this behind me. Please help, anyone.

    • Hi Banesa
      Thank you for your comment. I have a feeling from your descriptions that it’s not sleep paralysis that you have, but nightmares. For it to be sleep paralysis, you need to be definitely consciously awake in bed, but unable to move and imagining these things in your bedroom. But that doesn’t seem the case from what you say. So my advice would be to read my article about stopping nightmares. And then I also think it’s important to talk about this to someone. Can you talk to someone in your family? Or perhaps a close friend who you trust? Most people get nightmares from time to time, and probably everyone in your family has had at least one or two so should understand. I also think it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor. They can give you some reassurance and also perhaps make some suggestions for dealing with the nightmares.

  • These started for me about 6 years ago,it happened pretty frequently for 3 years but then I didn’t have another single episode for 3 years until last night. I woke up in the middle of the night and I could feel a bad presence coming toward me, when it got closer I could hear it breathing hard and heavy and it sounded like it was wearing a gas mask. When it got to me I felt a force of wind flatten my blanket around me, it held me down by my arms and I became paralyzed and couldn’t scream or breath.I have been searching for a scientific explanation for these episodes especially because of the feeling of an evil presence I couldn’t make a scientific connection to it. So thank you for posting this article it really helped me out a lot and hopefully I can get some sleep now.

    • Hi Dana

      Thank you for your comment. I’m glad you found the article helpful and that it provided you with the scientific explanation you were hoping for. With a little luck it will be at least 6 years before you have another episode, or perhaps you’ll never have another one.

  • Thank you for this informative article. I am a woman in my 40s who has experienced sleep paralysis for over 20 years. I experience it a few times a year. I also experience, much more frequently and since I was a young child, lucid dreaming. I think these must be related. Some kind of abnormal mix up of waking and sleeping.

    My lucid dreaming varies. It can be wonderful, where I realize I’m dreaming and I have full control and can “turn the dream into” whatever I want. But other times it is nightmarish, where I realize I’m dreaming but that fact scares me and I want to wake up very badly. In those dreams, the bad ones, I am trying to scream at the top of my lungs but I can’t. If I try to scream too much it feels like I am suffocating or I can’t catch my breath. Sometimes this technique works, and my husband wakes me up, saying I was making very small whimpering noises, which he has leaned means that I want to wake up.

    My sleep paralysis used to be almost entirely about spiders. Which is odd because in real life I don’t have a spider phobia. I would think that There was one large spider or a whole lot of spiders, like a recently hatched spider egg or an infestation of spiders coming through the ceiling, and dropping toward me. When I would “wake up” and be able to move again I would turn on the light and look frantically for the spiders, slowly realizing they weren’t real.

    After the spider hallucinations happened a lot it’s like my brain learned “oh, spiders, must not be real” and then, slowly, I stopped having the spider hallucinations. Now my sleep paralysis is more about being afraid that I can’t breathe and just trying to wait it out. (If I “panic” it makes it more scary and painful). I also try to keep my eyes closed during these events. I know that in this state I can have visual hallucinations, so if I keep my eyes closed it is easier to stay calm.

    Thank you for this article. I will try some of these ideas next time, like wiggling one finger etc.

    • Hi Donna
      Thank you for your comment, and it’s great that you found the article helpful. It’s always interesting to hear from people who have lucid dreams. It’s a topic I find fascinating, and sometimes think would be a great solution for sleep paralysis, if only we could harness it somehow more effectively than we usually do.

      I don’t know why your spider theme would be so prominent. But considering how many people have hallucinations of spiders, I do sometimes wonder whether it’s just one of the brain’s stock responses to darkness – making out the outline and shape of spider forms.

      Hopefully the finger wiggling response will keep the sleep paralysis at bay next time.

  • Mr. Green thank you so very much for replying it means a lot!! I will try it and get back to you..It has been scary thinking I’m the only one going through this, I’ve read your whole theseus I have found it to be helpful also seems everyone is going through this. I would enjoy a peaceful sleep as it seems my day never ends!! It’s gone so far as my legs jerking with that falling feeling. Would love to see more research done on this and maybe more of a solution to make it go away…mind over matter right! Anyways thank you so much for your time as I know it is precious!

    • Hi Marty
      You’re very welcome, and I’m glad that you have found the site helpful. Perhaps one day there will be more of a general solution, but I suspect that for a long time to come people will be left to find their own solutions through trial and error!

  • My experience happened just a little while ago. I was somewhat asleep next to my boyfriend facing down & I feel two hands rubbing on my head massaging it then searching for something in my hair. I try to say “babe” but I can’t. That’s when I had an idea that I was going through the this again. It’s my second time. My first was when I was 13 or 14. Anyway I try to wake up & get up but obviously can’t so I wiggle my finger scratching the wall & slowly I wake up. In my head I’m thinking I just couldn’t wake up but then when I turn to WAKE UP my boyfriend I only realize he’s asleep! So who was rubbing on my head ?!?!

    • Hi Leslie

      Thanks for your comment. It’s not uncommon for people to experience tactile hallucinations during sleep paralysis. I know it can be very scary and unsettling because it feels so real. But don’t doubt the capacity of the brain to create imaginary experiences which are so life-like.

  • I was “sleeping” having lucid nightmares about cats and my baby. The dream was starting to fade and I felt like I was awake but laying in bed. Then I heard behind me a very giant wolf growling towards me. I was sleeping next to my 10 month old son, David. I could also feel vibrations on my chest SO INTENSE and the vibrations would grow more intense every second until I felt like my body was going to break apart. And the growling would get louder and louder. I could even feel the wolf’s breath on my ear and neck. I tried to look behind me to see it but I couldn’t move. I sprang up when the vibrations became too much and also when I felt that it was going to attack my baby. Then the growling disappeared. Everything stopped. I was panicked, heavy, fast breaths. I looked over at David and he was okay obviously. I thought about what I had just experienced and felt very odd and frightened. However, during the moment, I admit I was scared, but I also felt curiosity which I found to be strange. I hope to not experience that again. Do the vibrations in your chest happen as much as the feeling of something sitting on your chest? Or is that not so common?

    • Hi Sage
      Thanks for your comment. I’m not sure about the vibrations specifically. I haven’t experienced it myself, but I think one or two readers in the past have commented that they have had something similar. It doesn’t surprise me though, considering the huge range of physical sensations that people describe feeling when in sleep paralysis. I guess this is probably just your particular variation of it.

  • This happens at least 2-3 nights a week for me, I have in several incidents encounters with spirits of relatives of my husband and even friends loved ones passed on. I’ve never been able to explain any of it, I can say I’m very into Jesus and Angels. But since we have moved into this home, I feel something negative just in our bedroom. Last night has been one of many scary and upsetting incidences. As my eyes closed I just fell asleep, I heard this voice couldn’t say woman or man that said, I’ve got you now it wasn’t this dark crypt keeper looking thing that came out of the wall and put his feet on my shoulders this was white no face just blurred white light. inside my mind I’m screaming at the top of my lungs, and moving my arms so my husbands could try to wake me because I could move anything!!! But none of that was happening…my husband heard a slight moan so he knew to shake me…this has been happening for years now and I’m not quite sure I can say it’s sleep related, because I felt my eyes open under the lid of my eyes, I felt wide awake…its just really really scared to me. Complete paralysis as u said, I’m unable to move yell or even wiggle me toes to wake myself up..god bless my husband because he is the one to shake me…please help any info would be useful…thank you so much for listening.

    Marty Craft

    • Hi Marty
      Thanks for your comment. It sounds like sleep paralysis to me, and understandably upsetting. I think that the best thing is to have a rad again of the readers’ tips section and choose some ideas which make sense to you to try out. I especially recommend trying to wiggle a toe or finger. Even if you’ve tried before unsuccessfully, it’s a good one to try to remember because it can work well. It might take a bit of practice, but hopefully in time it will work for you.
      Try not to allow it to ruin your sleep by worrying about it. I know that’s perhaps easier said than done, but it’s important to go to sleep each night in a calm way without worrying it will happen. Try to develop the positive mindset that every night is a fresh start and that it won’t happen tonight.

  • Hi,
    I stumbled across this site and just wanted to share my experiences with you. I have been experiencing what I called “stuck in the bed”, since I was a kid. I am now 52, I never knew it had a name, and when I told and occasionally do mention it to anyone else, no-one else seems to experience it. So I really thought it was just me. My experiences can be irregular or very frequent. They vary in intensity and horror. I am always in the bed I went to sleep in when they happen. The first was around 10 years of age, I was unable to move, awake and had the most intense, searing pain in my head. There was then the brightest, fluorescent light outside my room and house, and I was able to move again. Everyone else was asleep. I remember feeling as if something weird had happened, but being young I did not know what it was. And I never told anyone, because as 10 you know that you don’t know that much.
    All my life they have continued in varying forms. At times I am aware of someone coming into my bedroom, I feel and hear every movement as it approaches my room. I cannot move, it feels as if I am awake, sometimes with great effort it seems as if I can move, sometimes I think I have made it to the door and closed it, other times I have reached for things so I can get up, these things get knocked over, or I stumble into furniture, I can feel the discomfort, the feeling or the wood or carpet, hear the noises. Always, the awareness that whatever it is is getting closer. I have been somehow lying back flat against the ceiling looking down on my empty bed. I have tried to call out for help. I must make some noises, because I have on occasion been woken up by relatives and friends. I just apologize, and say I have had a nightmare! But despite all the things I think I have done during these experiences, the room is exactly how it was when I went to bed.
    On occasions, I feel someone getting into bed with me, I feel the bed move and I can do nothing, it lies right up beside me, behind me or on top of me. I can only describe it as if I pass out, and then I wake up normally and it is gone, and everything is as it was when I went to bed.
    In the past few year, the events have become more sinister, There have been horrible scorpion-like creatures, half-animal, half scorpion, I can hear them and they are as big as a medium sized dog with long tails, there are many of them and they rampage around my bed and try and grab at me. They come with something else, a more human-shaped black thing-but I don’t know what it is. I can’t breathe, and I try to scream out. This was probably the worst I ever had. It seemed as if I had replayed in my mind the exact details of me going to bed, falling asleep and then all these horrible things came. This time, I remember I was trying my hardest to call for my son , and somehow my noises woke him and he came, shook me and I awoke. I experienced the “horrors”, and felt physically affected by it for days.
    I have been visited by old haggy ugly “evil” types of women. Big whirls of smelly smoke have whirled through my door and around my bed. Things have been knocking, under the floor boards, wanting to come in. I have been what I thought was asleep, and felt someone yanking my big toe so that I jolt, and I feel as if something is crouching at the end of the bed. Occasionally something is trying to have its way with me, I find that quite difficult to write or think about.
    The truth is, up until the last couple of years, I thought it was just something that happened to me, I felt it had something to do with dreaming, and I wondered if it was my subconscious playing out something to try and help me sort something out. It is just that they have taken such and ugly turn in the past couple of years, that I now am quite fearful of them happening now. As a child, my family was religious, I do not practice any faith now, but obviously many of these beliefs would stay with me, and I wondered if that could be why these events have taken a more “demonic” turn.

    • Hi Jenny
      Thank you for your comment, and I’m sorry to hear you’ve had such unpleasant experiences over many years. They sounds very scary and distressing, especially the more recent episodes. Why they would have gotten worse recently is hard to say. But you’re most definitely not alone, as you now know. Neither in experiencing sleep paralysis, nor in having very unpleasant versions of it.
      Hopefully you’ll find some useful ideas in the article which might help you in the future. I don’t know if you’ve managed to develop any coping strategies over the years, but do try some of the ones which you haven’t thought of before.

  • Back on Nov. 18th I wrote

    “I have recently started taking B12. My Sleep Paralysis has declined from 2-3 time per week to 1 in the last 2 weeks. I’m not sure if it’s the B12 or not. I’ll wait and see”.

    Well it’s been another 3 weeks without an additional episode! I’m going to continue to take B12. I’m hoping that after years of Sleep Paralysis that it may be gone.

    • Hi Mike
      Thanks for coming back and giving an update. It’s always great to hear from readers who are trying out new things to help their sleep, and to find out how they are getting on.
      It’s fantastic that your sleep paralysis has disappeared for now. Hopefully it will stay that way!

  • Hi guys I just wanted to share a new experience with you. My first time I woke up couldn’t move but actually got stuck sitting up and started growling and then fell back asleep, but this time I felt as if something was dragging me off my bed onto the floor and could hear my hair dragging on the carpet so I couldn’t move and didn’t want to open my eyes so I tried to make a noise and ended up making a snoring type noise and I opened my eyes slowly still scared and was laying on my bed where I had fallen asleep..idk if it was a dream but it was amazingly real.

    • Hi Tiffani
      Thanks for your comment. You’re not the first person to describe this type of experience. It’s hard to say whether it’s a dream or sleep paralysis, but either way I can understand why it felt so real, and scary. Hopefully it won’t happen again, but if it does try to focus on moving a finger or toe. That often helps people, especially if it’s sleep paralysis.

  • I got a Puppy Shepperd who now sleeps, on, at the foot of my bed or beside me most nights and have not had sleep paralysis episodes since so far been 5 months, however when she is gone I do still have them randomly. I think maybe because she is a big and heavy presence it heightens my sense of security and comfort? Does the sense of being alone have some physiological effect that can cause sleep paralysis? Not sure Because I had these episodes with my husband sleeping right next me. Bit him once TOO.

    • I think lots of previous readers have said they find having someone else there, or a pet on the bed, helps. But equally, others have said it still happens. So I guess it depends on the individual.

  • I have had so many of them, That I can now hear them coming on, I hear a buzzing sound and it creeps up on me slowly paralyzing me.. Next Time I am going to try and Just Jump up out of bed before it gets totally ahold of me and see what that does.

    • Hi again Sammy
      That’s an interesting idea – let me know if you do it and it works! Alternatively you could just try to focus on the moving a body part idea, which might also work but be less dramatic than jumping out of bed.

  • I have had sleep paralyses. But do not know of one like this. I was dreaming I was at the beach with friends playing volley ball and In the dream I got tired and laid down on a Rock with my back to the kids playing in the dream. my friend sat behind me on the rock up against my back and I could feel the pressure in the dream. This woke me up! when I woke up the same pressure was still on my back but I was paralysed and could not look behind me as I lay on my side. I could hear my Adult children playing games downstairs ( in live time)I was conscience but could not move, I began to scream my sons name, but it came out as a screech because my mouth was frozen part way open… Has anyone had a good dream where someone touches you in the dream and you wake up and they are still touching you?? Scary.. Once I came out of it I ran downstairs and yelled at the kids. Didn’t you hear me screaming.. THey said yes they heard me but thought it was a Television…I have no televion in my room..

    • Hi Sammy
      Thanks for your comment. I think that many readers have also described experiences where they wake up into sleep paralysis with something happening which is connected to the dream or nightmare they were just having, so you’re not alone in that. Try not to allow it to worry you too much about sleeping, and see if you can remember one or two of the tips here if it happens again.

  • I am 63 and have had several of these experiences. They are very frightening. They occur randomly, not regularly. I don’t remember when the first time was, but I was well into adulthood. It occurs the following way for me. I am a side-sleeper. I feel a presence moving into the bed to my back. The presence begins to hug me from behind, eventually exerting a heavy pressure that won’t allow me to move in any way. Eventually, the presence just dissipates. I had an episode last night, but it was different from the others. I had read previously to try to wiggle a finger to help end the episode. As soon as I felt the presence entering the bed, I moved my right arm and turned and grabbed the presence’s arm as it was about to hug me. The forearm was extremely small, like a child’s. I pulled it to my mouth and bit it, but for some reason not hard. The episode was over very shortly. I think in this particular case I must have been dreaming, maybe along with a little sleep paralysis? I don’t know if it is of any significance, but as a child I occasionally sleep walked and talked. In my 20’s I began feeling a presence in my bedroom and would start screaming in my sleep, waking myself and everyone else up!! Also, I would swear I was awake and I saw an intruder at the foot of the bed other times. I would wake my husband, scaring him half to death, only for him to discover/confirm that there was no one there. I guess I will accept the scientific causes for the experience, but they are still disconcerting, though not as frightening as in the beginning.

    • Hi Nancy
      Thanks for your comment. Yes, it could be that at times you do experience sleep paralysis, but at other times dreams, and perhaps with some overlap too. Many readers have described having physical contact with a figure which they feel appears in their bedroom. It’s not always easy to work out whether it was part-dream or all a hallucination though. I think in either case, accepting it as part of your brain’s sleep events is a far better idea than believing in the alternatives!

  • I’m 17 I just experienced this just about an hour ago! It was horrible! I believe I fell asleep around 10:25 or 10:30, I was in a deep sleep when I began to feel my legs feel as if they were shaking. Afterwards I began to feel as if something or someone was choking me, I also felt a lot of pressure on my chest. I tried waking up but it was hard for me I was only able to open my eyes I tried yelling but nothing came out, my body was paralyzed I then snapped out of it but I woke up very very scared!

    • Hi Jay
      Thanks for your comment. It’s a very scary experience for most people, so I can understand why you feel this way. It sounds very much like sleep paralysis – hopefully if it happens again you’ll have some ideas for ways to snap out of it quicker, and to manage the feelings afterwards to stay calm and be able to sleep again without fear.

  • And another thing is I could see a heavy like fog above me…but I can hear my kids snoring and breathing and moving yet I couldn’t move to the life of me only when I then moved my head. To focus and get help…and yes when it lifted I was screaming out loud at least trying in the end I did speak out loud…I’m just scared

    • Hi Mandi
      Thanks for your comment, and sorry to hear you had such a scary experience. It’s not clear whether you experienced sleep paralysis, or just an unpleasant nightmare which has stayed with you upon waking up. Do you think you were asleep and dreaming? Or were you awake consciously, but then having hallucinations of the things you describe? Sleep paralysis and nightmares are very different things, so it’s good to be clear about which it was so you can find out more about it and what to do it if happens again.

  • All that in my previous comments just happened around 3:30..I’m just collecting my thoughts on this…. It was like I was awake yet not…. It was really crazy scary

  • I just woke up from a horrible dream or something…I had my eyes open. And there was a heaviness feel around me with loud buzzing like millions of flies or bees…I tried to speak out for God to help me. I tried telling it to go away and I could choke all the words out like someone was trying to stop me from praying…and I’m looking down at my kids around me sleeping tears run down my face I completely scared and I try one more time to scream for God as I turn my head to look at my phone on my nightstand I call out and the buzzing stops I feel lifted like the heaviness go with tears running down my face and now I feel so sick to my stomach with fear…

  • I have had these terrifying episodes since I was very young. I wake with my entire body being physically held down, I hear breathing in my ear and feel a very evil presence. I just had an episode a few nights ago, and it was as terrifying as ever. I am now 55 years old, and I wish these would stop!

    • Hi Kitty
      Thanks for your comment, and I can very much sympathize with the desire for the sleep paralysis to stop. It’s draining when it happens sometimes. Hopefully you’ll have found some very practical techniques in the article which you can put into practice. Try and keep a few ideas in your mind and see if they help then next time.

  • I have experienced this “sleep paralysis” like many of you people, but from the stories I read seem to be different from what happened to me. The first time I had experienced this or if I’ve had it before this was the first time I remembered it… I remember falling asleep in my lil sisters room, and how I went to sleep everything was the same way. I was asleep in my dream, then something came onto the bed with me, but I thought it was my sister but felt too small to be her since at that time she was much bigger, 7 to be exact. So I guessed it was my step sister who was way smaller. In the dream I thought i were being hugged but the hug got tight and moved to my neck… So I was still able to talk and said “ok enough you’re choking me.” Then rolled over… Was when I was actually being choked and was terrified. I couldn’t get whatever it was off of me… I was yelling for my mom whose room is down the hall. And every time I yelled it would be mute. I got the strength to get up. (Still in my dream) and I’m stumbling with this THING latched onto me, still trying to yell for my mom. And I collapsed by her door passing out. I could barely make out the words this time and my head falls back against her door. Boom… I wake up. Gasping for air, crying holding my neck… still in my sisters room were I was in the first place. And that was the first time I experienced this. And I’ve only had two other cases where this has happened only much simpler, and I wasn’t scared to how I was when this happened.

    • Hi Ariana
      Thanks for your comment. I’m wondering whether you had sleep paralysis, or in fact a nightmare along with sleep walking. You mention a couple of times that things were happening in your dream. That makes me think you were dreaming of being in your bed with the figure there too, then perhaps sleep-walked out of your room where you eventually woke yourself up hitting the door.

      If it was sleep paralysis, it would not be a dream. You would in fact be awake and conscious, but unable to move and then hallucinating the figure.

      Which do you think it was thinking about it that way?

  • The most terrifying thing is when it feels someone is calling me. The voice gets louder and louder, it appears as if someone is close to me and speaking directly into my ears.And when I try to shout and call my mother for help I’m unable to do that. That’s when I get super tensed and I panic. I even sweat at times. I’m only 15 now and I’ve been experiencing these things for so many days . It’s scary . I hope it doesn’t happen to me again.

    • Hi Riya
      Thanks for your comment – I can completely understand why it scares you so much. That’s a very normal reaction to sleep paralysis. Have you spoken to your mum about it? I think it’s helpful to talk about these experiences so they don’t stay in your head, worrying you even more. Try and remember some of the tips in the article – especially about wiggling a finger, and trying your best to stay calm. You can also do some breathing and relaxation exercises after it happens, if it happens again. That might help settle you down if you’re panicking. And of course, if it happens and shakes you up badly, turn a light on for a while and do something you find happy, funny or relaxing. Then try to sleep again.
      All the best

  • This is a scary experience for me I wake up and can’t move but I can see my surroundings. I also see a dark figure in the room that gives me bad vibes. My most recent experience was terrifying I woke up unable to move but I could see the TV and the program that was on. I saw I light figure came toward me and changed to black and told me “I’m going to drain the light from you”. Then the walls opened up and blood ran down them, it went away and then I could move my body again.

    • Hi Sara
      Thank you for your comment. It sounds like sleep paralysis indeed, and a particularly unpleasant experience you had there. If it happens again, try out a couple of the tips from the article – in particular the technique of trying to focus all of your attention on one body part until you’re able to move again. Hopefully this will help you break out of it sooner, and the action of focusing your mind make the experience less scary.

  • I’ve literally just woken up from one of these dreams (nightmare). Mine are quite reoccurring and really quite frighten me. I feel like I experience mine in layers. Like a dream within a dream. I was dreaming I was washing up and then something was behind me pushing my head into the water, something did this twice. I managed to look around but as soon as I did, I was back in bed(thinking I was awake but not). Then always try to sit up or try very hard to open my eyes but don’t get anywhere. Then in this particular episode, I heard knocking at the door and then really felt like there were people in the room even though I couldnt turn around to try and see them. At one point I even felt them flick water on to me.and whisper my name. It’s absolutely terrifyimg and I don’t ever want to go back to sleep once I eventually wake up. Also during these episodes I can tell my breathing is off because my heart starts to beat faster, and my ears ring a lot and very loudly. I can hear and feel all of this even though I’m asleep. I had only been asleep for about 20 minutes. :(

    • Hi Sophie
      Thanks for your comment. I think that in fact what you’re describing is more likely to be what’s know as false awakenings. Have a look at the article linked there and you’ll probably find it makes more sense in relation to your experiences.

  • Quite some time ago, I used to have both sleep paralysis and out of body experiences on a nightly basis. Both were horrific for me. It seems as though they’re brought on (at least for me) by extreme stress from college (I must admit, I used to become so stressed out I would sometimes blackout or faint). But I have found ways to cope with it, such as sleeping with headphones in, the lights on, and/or sleeping on my side or stomach rather than on my back. I never have learned how to get out of one once it starts. Although i’ve tried a lot of those suggested tactics, nothing seems to work for me, so I tend to stray away from doing things which I believe will cause it for myself (i.e., I try to find ways to relax throughout the day and if I wake up in the middle of the night I usually won’t go back to sleep again, because that seems to set it off too) anyways, I hope that you all find some way to deal with this sorta thing because it is very disturbing and unnerving.

    • Hi Brock
      Thanks for your comment, and I’m sorry to hear you find sleep paralysis so difficult to deal with. I think that you’re right in trying to keep stress to a low – we could all do with doing that! And doing relaxation exercises is a good way to ensure you sleep well with less chance of disruption due to sleep disorders. I think it’s a shame you don’t allow yourself to try and go back to sleep again if it happens. I would perhaps try going into another room, doing something calming or light-hearted for 15-30 mins then try and sleep again. I think if you kind of ‘reset’ your mind by doing nice things and being in a normal, familiar environment instead of the dark, it might help to prevent a repeat experience that night.

  • So I woke up from this happening and I looked over and my 2 year old son was doing the same thing. Fighting to wake up, so I tried to wake him and couldn’t so not trying to hurt him I left him alone and let it take its course. knowing nothing would physically hurt him because its happened to me a few times. Any explanation on how it happened to both of us at the same time???

    • Hi Ray
      Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately I don’t know why it happened to both of you at the same time. The only thing I’d suggest is that perhaps it wasn’t sleep paralysis he was having, but something else. But maybe it seemed more like it to you since you had just had an experience of it yourself. Do you think that’s possible?

  • One time my stepfather brought home a book about the head of the church of Satan. My mother is religious and immediately got pissed at him for it. I was curious about it so I spent the night reading it. By that time, I’d had a scratched cornea for about a week but it wasn’t bothering me at all. When morning came, my eye all of a sudden started bothering me and I ended up having to go to the doctor. He told me he couldn’t believe I’d managed to last a week with this before coming to him and I didn’t know how to tell him that it didn’t start bothering me until I read that book. A bit later my mother woke up with an experience that I’m pretty sure was a case of sleep paralysis but might be a bit different. She woke up during the “witching hour” and was blinded. I’m pretty sure she told me she couldn’t move, but she was able to move her lips (something I’ve been told you can’t do during a bout of sleep paralysis). She said the sound was having a hard time coming out and she had a very powerful urge to kill her son. She couldn’t go back to sleep in the beginning because she saw blood every time she closed her eyes. She tried once again to call out to her fiance but when she was finally able to speak, her voice sounded demonic. I can’t remember if she said she was actually able to move her head to call out to him or not. She smelled sulfur (of course) and panicked but I think she said she was able to will herself through God (or something to that effect) to make it go away. I wanted to ask a question about the urge she had to kill my little brother. Normally during sleep paralysis, all I hear are stories of people who feel like there’s a presence who wants to do them harm. I’ve never once heard a story about someone wanting to harm another person and was wondering if that was possible.

    On a side note, though I’m more logical than the rest of my family, growing up in a religious household has left me open to the possibility of something more. You know that quote ‘the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist?’ I believe that, if this devil really does exist, he works within the bounds of science so that his influence can easily be explained by rational means. That way, nobody would ever suspect him of any wrongdoing because there would be a logical explanation for all of it. With my story, you could argue that there was something attached to that book that decided to harm a couple of us in different ways. My mother is weak in a sense and susceptible (she’s had many “supernatural” experiences that have nothing to do with sleep paralysis) which is why this presence attacked her the way it did. On the other hand, you could argue that my sudden sensitivity to the scratched cornea was due to me reading for a period of time and that my mother’s little bedroom problem was the result of sleep paralysis made all the more terrifying by her personal beliefs. Interesting that there could be two explanations, but that the first one could be seen as the devil trying to cause malevolent mischief but in such a way that you’d have no choice but to doubt that it was ever really him. I’m not saying I believe, per se. It’s hard not to be skeptical of EVERYTHING when you’re someone like me. I’m just saying I’m personally open to both possibilities. Thanks for your time. :)

    • Hi Ana
      Thanks for your comment and for sharing your interesting story and way of thinking. It’s very interesting to hear from someone who has clearly thought about what happened within two different frameworks. I suspect many people do similar things when trying to make sense of their experience, but you have very eloquently given a good example of the type of thinking that people might have.
      Personally, I would believe your second line of thinking – which probably doesn’t come as a surprise to you or anyone else who has read my many comments in the past!

  • I would like to add something. I can remember in detail two different dreams I had, pleasant ones they were. and those occurred 8 1/2 years ago. I can still remember them in detail today. I don’t think these were the average dreams. I can draw them on paper still.

    • Hi Mary
      Thanks for your comment. I’m not sure I can explain the first experience you describe! It’s not clear if it was sleep paralysis, or if it was a tactile hallucination. Other readers have said they have had episodes where the hallucination was comforting rather than scary. So these things do happen!

  • hum, I had this happen once at age 61. woke up, it was dark but I knew where I was. I was frozen and couldn’t move, not even my eyeballs and my eyes were open. I sleep on my right side which I pretty much was. suddenly I feel the mattress move downward very gently behind the small of my back, then again near the middle of my back, and again near my neck and top of shoulders. when the movement started I was not afraid. and by the time the movement was at the middle of my back I felt very at ease and peaceful. at the point of it being near my neck, I felt peace and comfortably went to sleep again. this is truth and if anyone can explain that I would love to hear it.

  • OK, I am so relieved. I have had sleep paralysis since I was four (that I remember) and continue to have it once or twice a month. I’m also a sleepwalker. My experience usually happens if I wake early in the morning and then try to go back to sleep. I am usually on my back when it happens. I feel a sense of dread, as though I am being sucked into a vortex of some sort, and hear a buzzing noise. Sometimes I try to go with it, but usually just wiggle out of it and start moaning, which scared my husband to death the first time – now he is used to it. I don’t see anything, but what is the origin of the buzzing noise?

    • Hi Regina
      Thanks for your comment. The buzzing noise could just be an auditory hallucination. Many people hear things during sleep paralysis, ranging from full-on demonic screaming, to conversations to animal noises or just random sounds like buzzing. I’ve also read that some people feel that buzzing often comes before having an out-of-body experience or a lucid dream. So perhaps if you did manage to go with it, as you say you sometimes try to do, then you might find something interesting happens. Or not. It’s impossible to predict!

  • Hello. A few minutes ago, it felt like someone was feeling on me on top of my covers….(I sleep with my face covered). Then, I felt something around my neck, trying to choke me. All I saw was black. But, I felt like as if I was not alone. I tried to scream, but it wouldn’t come out. Over and over, I tried to make a noise, but nothing came out. My husband was in another room and said he heard “muffled screams”, but ruled it out as a nightmare. When I got to get out of bed, he was in the living room and I asked him, “did you hear me”? His reply was yes, but he said he thought it was a bad dream, because if anyone was in the house, he’d know about it. I told him that something was choking me. We examined my body, checked the doors and the windows which were already locked. Next, he says for me to sleep with a bible. I’ve never had anything happened to me like this, and this have me really freaked out!!

    • Hi Lisa
      Thanks for your comment. It sounds exactly like a classic case of sleep paralysis to me. It’s understandable that it has scared you so much, as happens to pretty much everyone, especially the first time round. With a little luck though, it will be a one-off. Have a look at the tips again for dealing with it, and try to put one or two in your mind before you go to bed, so if it happens again you’ll have some ideas for dealing with it, or preferably preventing it in the first place.

  • Hi Ethan!

    Sorry, for some reason the site is not allowing me to reply to your comments, but here it goes:
    The windows opened only in my hallucination, when i came to my senses again they were closed but my eyes where fixed in the same spot.
    I think it’s quite right, we provide this shapes and forms to the hallucinations…
    It’s very common for SP suffers to have at least one good experience with a dead relative or such, I had one, but deep inside I knew that it was me, I create the image of my father and I could even know what he would say before he said it, so if we can overcome the fear I think we can control the hallucination, I was never able to, I’ve tried many times, but I’m sure some people can.

    • Hi there

      Thanks for pointing that out – I’ll have to look into the comment replying problem.
      I wasn’t sure about the window thing – sometimes people are sure things actually happened rather than thinking it was a hallucination, and it’s not always easy for me to tell what they mean!
      I think controlling the fear is definitely a good goal to work towards, but it’s not easy. Part of the problem is that when you wake up into sleep paralysis, it can be very confusing and you might not have your full conscious and rational mind at your disposal. That’s why I think for people who are having regular sleep paralysis, it can be helpful to do some positive thinking before bed and remind themselves that it’s nothing to worry about, and that if it does happen, they’ll be fine. Sometimes a little auto-suggestion can go a long way.

  • As for dealing with it, i found out a few things in my experience, first, don’t get too sleep deprived, when the episodes starts people tend to avoid sleeping to avoid the episodes, it doesn’t work as the sleep deprivation can lead to hallucinations on itself, when I tried to avoid sleep it came to such an extreme situation that a few times I could hear thoughts in my head and I didn’t know if they were mine.
    When you are in an episode, try to move, I know it hurts and it’s exhausting, but try small, one finger, one arm, and try hard, it often works for me.
    As for the hallucinations… well I know one thing, our mind tends to lend known shapes to unknown things, so I believe it’s the same thing for everyone but dressed in the representation your mind saw fit to explain what it couldn’t understand, as for what it is per se, I believe its just fear, pure raw unconscious fear, your mind is awake your body is not, so that’s the most vulnerable situation imaginable, that leads to the worst possible fear^^

    • Hi again!

      Thanks for your comments – it was interesting to read about your experience with the Exorcist film. I’ve said to many readers in the past that I think we are very much influenced by the images we pick up in movies, books, TV etc, so it’s no wonder that a film like that then manifested in your sleep paralysis experience.
      I think your tips are very valid – the moving a body part is especially useful as it’s a practical step people can take in the moment of confusion. Having some focus is very helpful, and effective too.

  • I actually don’t remember my first episode, it’s about twenty years in the past now, and when it started it was so strong and so constant that I couldn’t remember any of the ones that happened at that time, but I can tell you the worst case:
    When I was seven I begged my father to let me watch The Exorcist, my father was a wise man, he argued with me, he tried to convince me, but he said he would not forbid me, I was free to make my choice, I know its just a movie, but my father knew it would impress to much of my 7 year old mind, but he was all about teaching about choices and consequences, so I won, and watched the movie, the results where well, expected, I got terrified, couldn’t sleep for days and it took a lot of my parents to ease my mind, but the fear, it never got away.
    This will help you understand why, when I developed sleep paralysis the demon automatically played its part, it was ingrained in my brain…
    So my worst episodes are related to Pazuzu (the demon that took Regan’s body in the movie) I’m not a religious person, but this, this I cannot erase, so one of the worst was when I was in my early twenties I lived with my brothers, at that night i already had one episode, it was uneventful but the TV was on, and during the episode, I could see the tv, and an image appeared, it was a piece of wood atop a lot of garbage, and in it I could read “God is nowhere”.
    So I was already frightened that night I went back to sleep after a few minutes and woke up paralyzed again, the fear took over really fast, and I heard a corner of my mind call to it call to Pazuzu, and it came, the body was Regan, but he was in and stood at the door, I tried to move, I tried so hard to scream to wake my brother up, God it was exhausting, then I started praying, I am not religious but I know Jesus name has tremendous power (it really does guys) so I screamed his name with my mind (remembering this brings tears to my eyes and I don’t know why) I screamed many, many times until I finally woke up.
    Later that day my brother told me he heard me moaning, but he was too scared to wake me up.

  • Last night i had an episode, I believe it was right after I fell asleep but I’m not sure, I hate to check the watch when this happens because it’s always around 3 am and there is a meaning to it that I don’t like, anyway, I woke up paralyzed I’ve been suffering from this for many years now so I know the drill, then I try to move unsuccessfully I have to be fast before the hallucinations begin, I know this, but then the window beside my bed open, and the wind starts, it’s so strong that its hurting my skin, the fear take over and I can’t tell it’s not real anymore, the wind gets stronger and stronger, then the sky outside my window turns white and the noise is deafening me, than I’m awake…

    • Hi LTBessa

      Thanks for your comment. That sounds like quite a disturbing experience. When you say the window opens and the wind blows, so you mean it actually opens and the wind actually blows in? Or is it part of your hallucination due to the sleep paralysis?

  • Hi. I’m 22 yrs old and I’ve been experiencing SP since i was 17. I am actually looking for an explanation about my sp because it’s not like the usual ones which are the OBE and being pinned down by an entity. It’s more like being grabbed in the arms (sometimes legs) and being pulled or dragged by someone i can’t see. I have even felt it’s hairy hands once or twice.
    Also, when i was not yet aware of this sp thing, i don’t see images whenever i had one but when i started to learn more about it, images of dancing shadows and other creepy things show up sometimes.
    There were also times when the sp can’t get me back to sleep because of noises i hear like the sound of elves or an unfamiliar and weird music or song playing. I don’t force myself to wake up because i want the sp to turn into a lucid dream. However, noises keep me awake during the sp, prolonging my agony.
    I’ve been researching about this type of sp but until now i can’t find any similar cases with mine. I am actually starting to doubt whether what i am experiencing is really sp or something else.

    • Hi there,

      Thanks for your comment. I think that what you’re describing could well be sleep paralysis. It would take a long time obviously, but if you were to look back through the hundreds of previous reader comments here, you’d see that many other people have said they’ve felt like someone or something is grabbing them and pulling their limbs. So you’re definitely not alone in that sense. Some people just have more tactile hallucinations than auditory or visual.
      I think that if you do like the idea of trying to turn the sleep paralysis into a lucid dream, then as many others have said, it is possible. Perhaps it will take some practice, but I several previous readers saying they manage to do it. Eventually maybe you’ll be able to block out the noises and go into the dream state.

  • I sometimes have these when I’m awake… It used to scare me. But recently I’ve been getting used to being scared.. and the tips on how to stop it don’t help… When I do love something the “thing” I imagine slaps it down… luckily I share a room with my little sister so if she hears me coming he will try to move me. please give me advice on what I should do thank you

    • Hi there,

      Thanks for your comment. I don’t think there’s much more advice I can give you other than the tips already in the article. I would suggest picking one or two in specific and keeping them in your head when you go to bed. For example, wiggling a little finger seems to work well for a lot of people. Try not to allow it to worry you too much, especially before going to bed. It’s important to stay calm, both when going to bed and also if an episode happens.
      Have another look at the readers’ tips section – there ae lots of good ideas in there1

  • Hey, thanks for the help! I had one just this morning where I was laying in bed unable to move and the ceiling light kept flickering on and off. Then a tall, lanky, dark figure strode in, seeming to not quite touch the ground with each step. He was at least seven feet tall and he moved so I could only see the ominous shadow from my peripheral vision. So instinctively, I panicked, but it was no good. Then I heard gurgling noises in my left ear and he grabbed my head and turned it towards him but his face was all black. I tried screaming but no sound came out. The gurgling stopped and then he let out an inhuman yell that was so deep and angry right into my face. I woke up after that, pretty freaked out. I’m pretty sure that was a demon or something because of the odd build and behavior but I’ll try some of these techniques. Thanks!

    • Hi Luke

      Thanks for your comment. That sounds like an understandably scary experience indeed. I’m not sure whether it was sleep paralysis, or perhaps a false awakenings in which you dreamed you had woken up and then this experience took place with the tall figure. It might be that you don’t really know unless it happens again, which hopefully it won’t! If it does though, then do try to remember some of the techniques in the article.

  • I had another episode last night, 21st november 2015, the last one being about 15 years ago, that episode etched into the mind, this one was certainly similar although not as severe or as long. This time I had only just gone to bed on my own, as my wife is away at the moment, I closed my eyes and just drifted off as normal, I don’t normally dream, but think of what I had done during the day and what I need to do in the following days, I was laying on my side as normal it was quite warm, so I had my arm outside the cover, I felt something, animal like walking on my bed and grabbing hold of me and shaking me, for about 30 seconds, then, suddenly I was violently thrown backwards, as if this thing had suddenly left my body, it was as if it had entered me and taken over for that short period of time and then left. I was able to then move and I woke up, I just lay there thinking about what just occurred and compared it to my previous episode, some 15 years before,( I have documented that episode on here a few years ago.) I felt that they were very similar, I must have gone back to sleep, but woke up much earlier than I would do normally. I am now scared to go back to bed tonight, so I will sleep on my lounge.

    • Hi Michael,

      Thanks for your comment and it’s always nice to hear from readers again! I can understand why your experience spooked you and you didn’t want to sleep in the bedroom again. I do think it’s important to try and not allow it to change your normal sleep habits though, unless those are bad sleep habits! If it happens again, I’d recommend going into another room for 10-20 minutes, doing something light-heated and familiar, then go back to sleep again in the bedroom.
      Let’s hope you don’t have another episode for at least 15 years though!

  • im 14 yrs old and had SP many of times. in some cases it would happen back to back to the point to where i keep falling asleep unable to wake up. it’s been happening as far as i can remember. all of these comments about how they saw a demon figure or someone above them i’m not really sure about. it was one time where i fell asleep in school after our end of grade exam and felt like the teacher was a witch and put a spell on me but i gotten so used to SP that when it happens i’m not scared at all i just push as hard as i can until i wake up.

    • Hi Nevin
      Thanks for your comment. As you might have noticed in the poll, it’s very common to develop sleep paralysis in your teens. It’s good that you’ve managed to get used to it and don’t allow it to scare you. Hopefully you’ll have founds some other tips to help you cope if it keeps happening.

    • Oh the eternal wake up! I had this once, i was in a cruise ship, went to sleep really late because, you know, party, anyway, I fell asleep, then immediate paralysis, I fight to wake up, and succeed, no hallucinations, but a few seconds later I’m paralyzed again, fought again, awake again, but then paralyzed again, it happened 5 or 6 times, until I decided to stand up and not go back to bed that night, it took days for me to separate this dream from reality…

  • Hello all,

    My first ever experience with sleep paralysis was when I was 18 (21 now).
    It was like any other night in my house and I’m not the type of person who stresses over a lot, so my stress levels were fine. I went to bed and fell asleep watching adult swim. Around 3-330am I woke up unable to move. Being it was my first time I was absolutely terrified because I had no idea what was going on. I was able to open my eyes and I wish I didn’t. I saw a black figure standing at the edge of my bed, inching its way closer to me. Now, not knowing it was sleep paralysis and being a strong believer in demons and negative spirits, I had thought something had entered my home. Eventually I woke up. It continued to happen more frequently with each hallucination being more horrifying than the last.

    It got to the point where I was being touched (or so I thought) by the figure. Eventually I took to the internet to find out what was going on. I then realized that it was sleep paralysis. I looked up a few ways to maybe make it stop. The one way that worked best for me was sleeping on my side instead of my back. Since then it has helped limit the number of times I go under it. The only time I ever sleep on my back is if I have someone else in bed with me because then it doesn’t happen.

    They still happen from time to time, however. I hope anyone reading this who tends to wake up during sleep paralysis on their backs will give sleeping on their sides a chance.

    • Hi Amanda
      Thank you for your comment. Many people have previously commented that sleeping on their side seems to help reduce the likelihood of sleep paralysis. We do of course tend to change positions a lot in our sleep, but perhaps there’s something to be said for at least falling asleep on your side, and putting the idea into your head that you should try and stay on your side. So perhaps if you wake up briefly, your brain remembers to stay on your side. Thanks for reinforcing the idea though – it’s always good to get fresh support for the tips in the article.

  • I don’t want to come off as an authority…I just want to share what has worked for me. This started when I was very young, and it hasn’t come back since I was in my twenties, and I’m 60 now. I think the thing that benefited me the most was reading Memories, Dreams, and Reflections by Carl Jung when I was about 17. I took the stance that I was doing this to myself,and therefore, I had the option to make it a pleasant experience. I maintained a calm attitude when it came on, and waited for the levitation, disregarding the ominous entities. Then I’d take control, usually flying out the window and taking flight around the town. As others have stated, I came to tell myself to “bring it on”, almost defiantly. I now use this to solve real problems when I go to sleep that otherwise would cause me stress. I select the problem consciously before I go to sleep, and I have awoken with it solved. On one occasion, I had a complete country song to write down in the morning. You may see this as silly, but that’s my point…you take the thing to whimsy if you want.

    • Hi Bob
      Thanks for your comment. I don’t think it’s silly at all – in fact, I recently wrote an article about why we dream in which I discuss the fact that many famous people have found that some of their ideas, including songs, have come to them in dreams. And furthermore, that some people are able to control their dreams through lucid dreaming, and perhaps use them to their benefit.
      So I think if you’re able to do that, especially converting potentially scary sleep paralysis into something productive and positive, then that’s fantastic!

  • Try to relax by thinking about something else… It helps when you try to shake your whole body … And just try taking deep breaths… After it happens, just go sit in a light room and praying will also make you feel better … I experienced it a couple of times and every time I experienced it I woke up on my back, so I would advice not sleeping on your back and before going to sleep think of happy thoughts…

    • Hi Mandy
      Thanks for your comment and for sharing your tips. I think that thinking positive thoughts before you go to bed is a good idea in particular, as is spending time in another room before going back to sleep again.

  • I have recently started taking B12. My Sleep Paralysis has declined from 2-3 time per week to 1 in the last 2 weeks. I’m not sure if it’s the B12 or not. I’ll wait and see.

    • Hi Mike
      Thanks for your comment. I don’t know of any evidence for B12 specifically helping with sleep paralysis. But you never know, and it could be that in your case an imbalance was contributing to sleep problems, or perhaps stress or another issue which in turn affected your sleep. Let me know how you get on in a few weeks!

  • This is the signal that your body is asleep, but you retain conscious awareness. It is the entry to a lucid dream. I welcome sleep paralysis . I have been a lucid dreamer most of my life. You don’t have any idea of what you are missing. It seems to me, as if most of the world is only half alive, and misses so much, because they lose conscious awareness during sleep.

    • Hi Mia
      Thanks for your comment. I know that there are people like yourself who welcome sleep paralysis as a lucid dream starting point. Unfortunately most people just don’t have that kind of positive experience. Out of interest, how much of your sleeping time do you think is taken up lucid dreaming, compared to not having and lucidity?

  • Last night there was an episode that had me so afraid that I forced myself to wake up completely before I tried to go back to sleep…the past few nights, I have been waking 2-3 times throughout the night to use the bathroom…last night was no different (frequent potty visits) but at 3:48 am I remember dreaming 2 dreams…they were super short and the first (different from the second and more a physical experience than a visual dream) kinda bled into the second (where I remember people, thoughts, and what actually happened)…anyway, this is how it went…I’m feeling like I can’t breathe. My nasal passages are blocked like I have a cold so I’m clearing my throat to get air and it feels like something is crushing my chest (imagine breathing thru a coffee stirrer with your nose plugged)…all of a sudden I’m in a hallway at a school and there are people picking a fight with a guy and when one attacker is about to stab the guy with scissors, we break it up (I’m either security or a teacher?) Everyone starts to leave except the guy with scissors…3 of us (all women) start walking away and break out in a full run with the scissors guy close behind…in a panic we split up 2 and 2 where me and another woman head out of the building…I remember thinking ‘run to the church’ which is where I’m not sure if I was awake or about to be…in full blown panic I feel extremely terrified, sweating with heavy breathing, and feel nauseous… That’s when I realize I need to use the bathroom and take the opportunity to wake up completely because I’ve been able to go right back to sleep in the past and continue a dream…I felt more frozen than pinned like I was having trouble deciding if it was real…i had trouble at first finding prayers and scriptures to call out…i had the urge to check my apartment doors and after doing so and visiting the bathroom i go back to bed…I’ve done this 3-5 times before…nauseous afterwards, once…I’m usually running from something or someone and after last night, I was convinced it was bc of a spiritual battle (I’m Christian and currently studying with other female church members about fervent prayer against the devil) and feel what I initially experienced (1st ‘dream’) was the enemy attacking and the second dream made me sense fear therefore waking me…that or I stopped breathing so my brain woke me by throwing me in a frightening dream…I’ve had dreams before where I was about to use the toilet and just as I was about to release, I woke up running to the bathroom bc I’ve learned the hard way that bathroom dreams mean WAKE UP and get yourself to a toilet! Lol