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 >>


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

  1. Whitney says:

    I have had a few paralysis and I’m only 21. The first one was when I was about 9. I got and made it all the way to the back door before I noticed I couldn’t speak, after standing there for a few minutes I wasn’t able to move after. The second time I was lying in my bed when I heard my bedroom door open, I couldn’t move for a while, then I opened my eyes and realized I was sleeping. The most recent one I had was this morning, there was this tall shadow in my room trying to uncover me, I simple turned to the other side and said to myself it isn’t real and started breathing calmly. I have lucid dreams often and most times I can control whatever it is that’s going on. I don’t lack sleep or anything like that, so I’m just a little confuse to why I expressing these things so often.

    • Ethan Green says:

      Hi Whitney
      Thanks for your comment. As with many readers, it’s a little difficult to work out whether it’s actually sleep paralysis that you”re describing. For example if you walked to the door, then it’s clearly not paralysis. Neither is it if you managed to turn your body to the other side. So I’m wondering whether you’re describing either false awakenings or just very vivid or lucid dreams.

      For it to be sleep paralysis, you need to either be falling asleep or waking up, but definitely still consciously awake, but feel your body paralyzed. And then often there are hallucinations which come along, though not necessarily. If you can get up and walk, or turn over in bed, then it’s not sleep paralysis. Having heard that, do you think perhaps you were dreaming during these episodes?


  2. Raychel S. says:

    I have the same “dream/experience” every single time just recently it changed slightly and was a bit scarier… I have never had this problem till age 27-28. It always happens when I’m first falling asleep and I feel like I’m awake because I’m thinking to myself and trying to wake myself up but most times this “thing” won’t let me. I’m always laying on my back and feel like I am being lifted up by something but can never see what it is. I try to sway side to side and wriggle away from it but the harder I try the harder it holds on to me. I try to scream and yell and I have even tried to yell out prayers to “save” myself but it makes it angry and my voice gets taken away. Just last night it got worse it was the same dream but this time it started spinning me around it circles and I swore I could feel my feet tingle (like when your foot falls asleep) from it holding onto me with a squeezing grip! I would think to myself OK I’m going to sit up in bed now to stop this and wake up but each time I thought I was sitting myself up it would push my chest down and lift me up and spin me again. So I usually just lay there and let it *&%$ with me (pardon my language) till its done and eventually I wake up, feeling wide awake and scared as %$&£. I did start to research and realize I had a terrible day yesterday and last night had an episode. So I am starting to understand that this maybe my demons. I struggle terribly with depression and anxiety so I am well aware I don’t have a strong state of mind but I’m still scared and sick and tired of this. I believe in science and psychology and want to learn more and hear a strong opinion from someone other than Google articles that just get me worked up and scared. I really look forward to your reply! Thank you in advance!

    • Ethan Green says:

      Hi Raychel
      Thank you for your comment. Sorry to hear you’re having difficulty with this at the moment. I can understand why it’s scary and you want it to stop. Hopefully you will have found some useful tips in the article, especially in the reader’s tips section which contains some very useful and effective techniques for dealing with sleep paralysis.
      I’m not sure whether it is sleep paralysis or nightmares from what you describe. You do say you’re dreaming a lot, so I’m wondering if you’re like many people having dreams of being held down. Or are you definitely awake in bed, and then having those feelings? They are two very different experiences to have, and understanding whether it is sleep paralysis or a nightmare of being held down will help you to further understand what it is.

  3. Angel Khan says:

    I’ve had about 5-7 episodes of this ‘sleep paralysis’. The 1st as a 19 yr old which was more than 20 years ago. Nothing really jumps out about things going on in my life at the particular time. I can’t move and feel as though there is something sitting on my chest. I have real sensations of hearing and feeling presences in the room. Some have felt malevolent, others have not. The room goes cold and there may be lights, things buzzing or whirring, the presence may lie on me. At first my response was sheer terror. Now I get mad, order them out and away from me and pray. Always happens on my back so I make a point of not going to sleep on my back. I’ve also clawed my way out of it when I feel it coming on. I believe the explanation is both scientific and spiritual.

    • Ethan Green says:

      Hi Angel

      Thanks for your comment. It’s interesting that your response has evolved over time; I think this is something which many people experience. It’s understandable that the first few times you experience sleep paralysis, the most likely reaction is fear. But with repeat experience, the knowledge that nothing bad actually ever happens other than annoyance and sleep disturbance, the less scary it becomes.

  4. Kasjan says:

    Hi, my names Kasjan and im 12. I had weird dreams recently. This was most common. I was running but something behind me was catching up. I try to cross the road but i trip in the middle of it and cant move. I feel like something is pushing me down. 2 cars pass by and narrowly miss me. When the third car passes i wake up only being able to move my head
    Today it happened in the morning and i could briefly see,
    I do not know what this means and i’d be very thankful if you helped me.
    Regards Kasjan

    • Ethan Green says:

      Hi Kasjan
      Thanks for your comment. I think there are two things going on here for you:

      1) Not being able to move your body when waking up sounds like it might be sleep paralysis. Although frightening at times, there’s nothing to really worry about. If it happens again, try to use the advice in this article.

      2) The bad dream of being in the road. Some say dreams help us practice scary things, such as falling over in the middle of a busy road. Again it’s probably nothing you need to worry about. For more about why we dream and that theory of rehearsing things, have a look at this article.


  5. Jennifer Carter says:

    I am now 67 and have had maybe 25 or so episodes of sleep paralysis over the years. The first few in my 20s and 30s, I guess, I woke to find I couldn’t move. I didn’t have a feeling of being weighed down and not being able to breathe. I learned about sleep paralysis and was happy to accept the explanation.
    Nowadays, I get occasionally night terrors – what today I have learned are hypnagogic hallucinations – maybe every couple of months.In these, I dream I am in a situation where I am being attacked or am in danger and I try to shout for help. Because of the sleep paralysis, I can’t shout properly and a moaning noise comes out. I then wake up and realise what has happened.
    This happened just last night and I remember thinking in the middle of the dream that I couldn’t shout because because of the paralysis but still carrying on trying. I could hear the moaning and eventually woke up to find my worried cat trying to comfort me! My husband was away
    The night terrors, as I call them, only happen as I am falling asleep and I think are short-lived. They always have a similar theme where I feel threatened and shout ‘Help. Help’ though none is forthcoming. My husband has just told me that he has heard me moaning on other occasions. I believe that the terrors always wake me but perhaps not.
    Either the brief sleep or the distress sometimes keeps me awake and I take a while to get back to sleep. Last night I just went straight back to sleep.
    It is my opinion that people who believe they have been abducted by aliens or some such have, in fact, had hypnagogic hallucinations and sleep paralysis.

    • Ethan Green says:

      Hi Jennifer

      Thanks for your comment. I remember a while back reading a research article which suggested that sleep paralysis was a probable explanation for many alien abduction and demonic visitation stories. I can’t remember where exactly, though I suspect it would be easy to find.
      It’s interesting what you say about those dreams about being attacked or in danger. You might find it interesting to read my most recent article which looks at theories for why we dream. One explanation is that we rehearse scary situations such as being chased.
      It also sounds like you have some awareness of the fact that you’re dreaming. Is that right? Have you ever managed to have a lucid dream and take control of your dreams?

  6. kay g says:

    I’ve experienced this a few times the strangest being when I was about 23, went to my boyfriends after having some family problems. We were watching TV in the early evening, (trying to explain this so you can understand) I laid on the bed beside him and drifted off to sleep, I don’t know how much time had passed . So I suddenly wake up, I can see my bf watching TV but he is unaware I am awake since the TV is the opposite direction & that’s where he is looking. I am aware I am awake but I cannot move, I don’t feel pressure on me but I am completely paralyzed, and I hear and feel someone walk to the edge of the bed and stay there, like a presence. I’m trying to scream to my bf to help me but my voice won’t come out. I try to move my fingers with every once or strength I have eventually after a few moments its gone and I can move again. I know it was a demon, trying to mess with me cuz of the negative things going on in my life at the time.

    • Ethan Green says:

      Hi Kay
      Thanks for your comment. Sorry to hear there are negative things going on in your life. Personally, I think it sounds like a very classic case of sleep paralysis. What you choose to believe is up to you of course, but my advice would be to not dwell on the possibility of yet another negative thing going on.
      I hope life picks up for you again soon and the negativity fades.

  7. Luis says:

    Hi.. I’m 14.. I haven’t had an experience like this buy I’m getting prepared if I do so thanks for the tips.. But I have an experience and I dont know what it was…
    I was outside my house in my neighborhood.. It was all dark.. I was with my cousin.. I was running towards my house but the darkness was following us.. I ran into my backyard and flew into my window.. and saw myself sleeping with my brother at my side.. so i jumped near my body… I saw a really bright flash then woke up.. I have no clue what happened.. I wasn’t scared just confused

    • Ethan Green says:

      Hi Luis
      Thanks for your comment. Hopefully you won’t need the tips! Not everyone experiences sleep paralysis.
      I think you’re describing a dream there. One of the most common dreams people have is that of being chased. Some scientists say it’s a way that we practice what we would do if we really chased, since it’s not something we can practice during the day – at least not without people thinking we’re being very weird! Even though we wouldn’t be chased by darkness, maybe it’s just your brain creating something to have some practice at being chased.
      That’s just one theory really – there are many ideas about why we dream – but it’s a theory I quite like.
      I don’t think you need to worry about it, which is the main thing. We all have strange dreams from time to time.
      Take care

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