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 have 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 demon

 

Imagine, if you will, the following scenario: you’ve fallen asleep as usual after a long day. You hoped to 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 amongst people who have narcolepsy (around 40%).

You may well then 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.

And accepting the cause is where I now know that many readers encounter a problem: although sleep paralysis has a solid scientific explanation (as you’ll see in a minute), the feeling of those weird events 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 they 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?

Poll 1 – open for votes

What is your experience of sleep paralysis?

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 Poll 2 results

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being not scared and 10 being terrified, how does sleep paralysis make you feel?

  • 10 (absolutely terrified) (53%, 2,806 Votes)
  • 8 (13%, 710 Votes)
  • 9 (11%, 559 Votes)
  • 7 (8%, 438 Votes)
  • 5 (4%, 211 Votes)
  • 6 (4%, 197 Votes)
  • 1 (not scared at all) (2%, 113 Votes)
  • 4 (2%, 98 Votes)
  • 3 (1%, 76 Votes)
  • 2 (1%, 69 Votes)

Total Voters: 5,277

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Poll 3 results

How often do you experience sleep paralysis?

  • 2-10 times in my life (24%, 1,229 Votes)
  • A small number of times in a short period, then a long gap before it happens again (16%, 833 Votes)
  • Once in my life (15%, 756 Votes)
  • A few times a year (11%, 563 Votes)
  • A few times a month on a regular basis for years (11%, 552 Votes)
  • Never (6%, 282 Votes)
  • Never before until recently when I've experienced it a few times (5%, 267 Votes)
  • A few times a week on a regular basis for years (5%, 251 Votes)
  • I'm not sure how often it happens (5%, 237 Votes)
  • Every night on a regular basis (2%, 114 Votes)

Total Voters: 5,084

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Poll 4 – open for votes

How old were you when you first experienced sleep paralysis?

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Poll 5 – open for votes

What helps you stop an episode of sleep paralysis?

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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 you experience it:

  • Some people experience sleep paralysis at the start of the night. While falling asleep, the body naturally relaxes and you would normally lose consciousness. But if you remain aware that you are falling asleep, your mind can remain alert while the body shuts down.
  • Alternatively, it can happen after you have already been asleep. 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 the brain ‘switches off’ your muscles to prevent you from acting out your dreams, which could of course be dangerous. Sometimes you might wake up mentally in the middle of this stage, but the body may take a while to catch up and remain ‘frozen’, leading to the awake experience of sleep paralysis.

 

How does science explain the weird things you see, hear or feel?

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 is an intruder or other ‘presence’ in the room.
  2. That there is 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 REM stage of sleep, and the muscle paralysis that comes with it, your breathing is affected. It becomes shallower, you might feel a blockage in the airway, and when you try to breathe deeply you may feel that you can’t. This can then lead to either the feeling of being strangled, or a presence pushing down on the chest. This then feeds into your ‘threat vigilance system':
  • 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 when waking up but feeling paralyzed, and 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 a 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 are not alone as being that the additional presence is something bad – thus creating a hallucination which is demonic or malevolent in some way.

The third kind of happening – 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. When you’re not actually moving, there is a confusion in understanding where your body is, with the result that you feel like you are floating.

 

Dreams and nightmares overlapping with reality

In addition to the above, there is 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 over-map into your physical senses.

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-scape 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 stories

 

If 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 a human intruder 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 are 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 believe in supernatural entities, then there’s probably not a great deal of science that could convince you otherwise. It’s a personal choice to believe in such things, and I respect your choice even if I don’t personally 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 for you to stop believing 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 come 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 the 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.

Amongst all of the comments from people who do believe these things there is 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 bother 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 is a separate part of you that is 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 spirit, dream or astral realm.

There is 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 am 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 downright 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 this is possible – even though I’m not convinced. But choosing to believe you are 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 is 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 am simply going to list the ideas which might help; for many of these there is 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.

  • Stay calm and try not to panic. Panic and fighting it often makes it worse.
  • 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 are actually in control. You can ‘order’ the experience to stop, or whatever you are seeing to go away.
  • If you feel a weight on your chest, try to imagine there is something friendly causing it, such as a big happy dog (or cat if you don’t like dogs).
  • If it is 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 not to think about what it ‘could’ be that you are 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.
  • 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 are not 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 let yourself become sleep deprived or too tired as it often happens more then.
  • Try to deal with stress in your life, as periods of stress and change can make it worse.
  • 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 are 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, change sleeping position before trying to sleep again. Perhaps also keep a light or music on.
  • 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 be able 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 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 physcially held me down, I decided not to turn a light on to reassure myself.

I spend so much of my time reading and replying to comments on this article, that I believe the scientific explanation is so firmly engrained in my mind, that I didn’t feel the need to ‘double-check’ that were wasn’t somebody 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 exciting project exploring sleep paralysis. They produced an interesting, if 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.

 

Poll 6  – open to votes

What do you think about the scientific explanation for sleep paralysis?

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Your views

It’s always fascinating to hear reader’s 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.

If you look below you’ll see that there are a lot of comments, and it can take several hours to read through them. Feel free to read through, but to help you find the right place to leave your own comment rather than replying to others, you can click below:
Leave A Comment >>

 


859 Responses to “Sleep Paralysis Stories – Intruder, Demon Or Delusion?”

  1. ebru oz says:

    I have experienced it several times. today during the daytime i was sleeping on my front and i had sleep paralysis. after one of my friends annoyed me by using insulting words, i was so furious, put a radical end to my relationship with him. I isolated myself in my room as an introvert and went to bed. when my brain woke up, my body was paralyzed. my body -of course including my eyes – was totally closed. but i was aware what was going on. i tried to move my body but i couldn’t. then my cat came onto my bed, which was a hallucination because my cat was in my mothers house in reality. so i was astonished how the cat could come to my bed from mums house. i didn’t have the vision of the cat just its voice purring and a feeling that it was near me. maybe its frequency, aura or whatever called. i was not afraid during the paralysis. even i said to myself that i was not afraid. i tried to move my finger and then slowly the rest. i succeeded in my finger but the rest was impossible. i stayed calm and waited. i started to repeat the prayers and say the sentence meaning : i start by the name of merciful Allah which is an Islamic one. after some seconds i was fully awake.

    • Ethan Green says:

      Hi Ebru
      Thanks for your comment. It does sounds very much like sleep paralysis, and I guess in some ways you’re lucky that your mind was thinking up your cat rather than some of the scary things people often experience.
      It also sounds like you did a couple of the key things to deal with it – try to wiggle a body part and stay calm. And many people say that prayer helps them. I think anything which can help you take your attention away from the potentially scary experience of sleep paralysis is worth trying.
      Regards
      Ethan

  2. Sophia says:

    I am 13, I have sleep paralysis almost every week and it started when I moved into my new house 2 years ago, every time it happened i would always wake up unable to move and talk and I would see a tall dark shadow beside me / at the end of my bed, with exception of one time I felt as if I was floating. I just recently had one about an hour ago and I can’t get back to sleep, I woke up unable to move and talk but I could move my eyes, there where 3 tall dark figures in a circle around me and I felt as if they where trying to suffocate me/ drill into my head after I was able to move again I had a panic attack because of how terrifying the experience was.

    • Ethan Green says:

      Hi Sophia
      Thanks for your comment, and I can totally understand why you couldn’t get back to sleep, and why you had a panic attack. Have you spoken to your family about it? I know sometimes people are worried others will think they’re crazy, but it can be really helpful to have someone to talk to about it, or just to get a hug when you’re feeling scared. And if they don’t quite understand what’s going on, then you can show them this article, and hopefully they will look into it with you, help you to understand it, and find ways to cope with it better if it happens so regularly. They could maybe get you a little night-light for example. But also just knowing you can go to them if it happens will be a big help.
      And of course you can yourself try to remember some of the tips other readers have given. For example, try to put all your focus on wiggling a toe or finger, then your leg or arm and the rest of your body. Try to stay calm, and tell yourself that nothing bad will happen. You’ve been through it before, so you can get through it again:-)
      Take care
      Ethan

  3. Michele says:

    I am 60 and have had recurring episodes of this, but not many in the last 5 years or so. I would feel like I was being pulled off the bed by my ankles or that my legs were being spread open. And I was unable to move for what seemed like a long time but was actually only a few seconds. I felt an “evil” presence and even my eyelids felt paralyzed. When I finally opened my eyes I would be surprised I was still in a normal position on the bed and still under the covers. Always felt terrified while it was happening and confused and relieved when it ended.

    • Ethan Green says:

      Hi Michele
      Thanks for your comment. I sometimes think that those kind of experiences must be amongst the most terrifying. To see and hear things is bad enough, but to actually physically feel like some unknown force is dragging you off the bed by your feet sounds like the stuff of horror films…
      I hope you’ve found some useful tips in the article which you can use if it happens again.. I especially recommend the moving a finger or toe, and trying to remain as calm as possible.
      Regards
      Ethan

  4. rachelle says:

    I have only had this happen to me once, when i was 17, and when i asked my dr about it he just looked at me like i was crazy. I woke up feeling like there was 1000lbs on my chest, crushing me. I couldnt move at all and while i didnt see anything, the feeling of a “bad” or evil presence was definitely there- i instantly thought the devil was sitting on my chest, trying to smother me. I struggled to move or wake up but only was able to eventually fall back to sleep instead. I woke up the next day still completely terrified, but i am 28 now and it hasnt happened since.

    • Ethan Green says:

      Hi Rachelle
      Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately there are more than 80 different sleep disorders, and not all doctors are experts in them! So sometimes until they’ve had exposure to it for one reason or another, it can happen that they don’t know much about it. But it also partly depends on how you describe the experience etc to how they will perceive you.
      It’s good that it only happened once though. Hopefully it will stay that way.
      Regards
      Ethan

  5. Car says:

    For me I’ve been getting sleep paralysis for about a year now. At first I would only get it like every 2 months or so but now I get it almost every single night. Last night I got it twice in a night. My first one I just hallucinated a dark figure by my closet. Another early one I knew to think of happy thoughts so I thought of babies and a baby popped up in front of my face. Soon my sleep paralysis became way more scary. I would hallucinate my mom screaming angrily in my face. Or my little brother standing at my door watching me sleep. Another I hallucinated that I “woke up” from sleep paralysis and ran to my parents room and my dad says “everything’s gunna be okay” and then pins me down onto the bed, that moment I realize I was still in sleep paralysis so I “wake up” again and the same exact thing happened so I couldn’t finally wake up until a third time after hearing a voice say “you wanna wake up?” My most recent ones have been more scary in sleep paralysis flying came to my mind so I started raising out from my body and I was almost fully out with only my foot still in my body but I got scared that I wouldn’t be able to get back in so I went right back in but then a strong force tries to pull me out of my body so I fought it back to stay down and it starts almost choking me and then it angrily whispers in my ear in an demonic electronic voice gibberish that I understand was saying something like why don’t you come out of your body!! And then last night my second sleep paralysis was the scariest a force was pulling my hands and instead of staying calm and waking up like usual I fought back the force and all of a sudden the huge demonic voice screamed at me “GIVE ME THIS. I WANT MORE OF YOU” this was terrifying I knew if I wanted to get out of it I would have to stay calm so I stayed calm and woke myself up. I always wake myself up by staying calm and moving my fingers until I’m awake. I’m scared to go back to sleep though the experience is truly utterly terrifying. It’s hard to discuss this considering a lot of people don’t understand what sleep paralysis and don’t believe it. My parents don’t believe that sleep paralysis is a thing they think it’s just nightmares so it’s frustrating. This is the first post I ever wrote about it

    • Ethan Green says:

      Hi Car
      Thank your for your comment and for sharing your experiences. It sounds like you have quite a lot of different and scary experiences going on. When you talk about staying calm and trying to wiggle your finger, it definitely makes me think of sleep paralysis. Equally the out-of-body experience you describe also sounds a lot like sleep paralysis.
      However, I did get a little confused about the one about waking up and running to another room. That does sound more like a bad dream rather than sleep paralysis to me. I’m wondering if perhaps you have both sleep paralysis and nightmares? And on top of that probably hallucinations when falling asleep or waking, making it even more confusing.
      It’s a shame your parents don’t believe that sleep paralysis exists. Perhaps show them this article, or even an article on a website they may already know like Wikipedia or webmd.
      I think that you’re doing the two most important things though: staying calm and trying to wiggle a finger. These are good techniques to use, so keep doing that. Perhaps also try out some of the other tips in the article.
      All the best
      Ethan

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