Sleep Paralysis Stories: Demons Or Hallucinations?

image of a classical painting representing sleep paralysis

Sleep paralysis stories typically involve unusual and frightening experiences. Perhaps you have one or two of these disturbing tales of your own to tell.

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 or ghosts really exist. Or if science can provide a logical and comforting explanation.

My sleep paralysis experience

Imagine the following scenario: it’s been a long day, you go to bed later than usual and fall asleep quickly through sheer exhaustion.

But instead of waking up peacefully in the morning, you half wake in the middle of the night. And in the darkness of your bedroom, it slowly dawns on you that you can’t move your body…and that someone, or something, is watching you.

A weight pushing on your chest

You feel a weight on your chest, pressing you down and preventing you from sitting up. And not only is your whole body paralyzed, but you can’t so much as 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. You just know there’s a presence there. Something strange. Something frightening.

This happened to me last year and was a very unsettling experience. Fortunately, there was no demon, ghost or burglar in my bedroom.

After a minute’s panic, the feeling passed. And I was then 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.

What is sleep paralysis?

Recurrent isolated sleep paralysis is classified as a parasomnia, which is a group of sleep disorders involving unwanted behaviors that accompany sleep.

The main symptom is being awake and unable to move your body. It might also be accompanied by hallucinations or dreams/nightmares whilst still awake.

It typically lasts from a few seconds to a few minutes before movement is regained. And although it may feel like it at the time, it’s not believed by medical organizations to be harmful.

What causes it?

The exact reason for why it happens to some people and only on some nights isn’t known. However, scientists do have a theory about what goes on during sleep paralysis.

During the night, you cycle through different sleep stages. When you enter the REM stage of sleep, your brain stops your muscles from moving – known as REM atonia. One explanation for this atonia is that it prevents injury from acting out your dreams in bed.

During sleep paralysis, the atonia starts, or continues, while you’re awake. And during this time, you might also experience what’s known as sleep hallucinations, or dreams while you’re awake.

So your body and brain are temporarily out of sync while transitioning between sleep stages, potentially creating a frightening experience.

As Dr. Michael J. Breus neatly explains:

Sleep scientists believe that sleep paralysis may occur when the transitions in and out of REM sleep and other sleep stages don’t go smoothly.

How many people experience sleep paralysis?

Sleep paralysis stories like mine are surprisingly common. In 2011, researchers aggregated 35 sleep paralysis studies to find out how many people had experienced it at least once in the past year, finding:

  • 7.6% of the general population
  • 28.3% of students
  • 31.9% of psychiatric patients

Who is more at risk of having sleep paralysis?

Scientists might not know the precise reason only some people have sleep paralysis yet, but there are a growing number of risk factors becoming apparent.

For example, researchers who analyzed 42 studies found several risk factors and associated conditions:

  • Sleep problems, changing sleep patterns and shift work.
  • Sleep disorders such as narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea, insomnia and nocturnal leg cramps.
  • Stress.
  • Some psychiatric groups, particularly those with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, anxiety and panic disorders.
  • Substance and medication use.
  • Physical illness.
  • Personality and anomalous beliefs.

Is there a genetic component to sleep paralysis?

In 2015, British researchers published a study of 862 twins and siblings aged between 22 and 32. They did find some evidence of a genetic role, but only a small one:

In this sample of young adults, sleep paralysis was moderately heritable

Interestingly, they also found other independent risk factors, including:

  • Disrupted sleep cycles
  • General sleep quality
  • Anxiety symptoms
  • Exposure to threatening events

Polls – readers’ experience of sleep paralysis

I polled readers of this article for a year to find out what kind of sleep paralysis episodes they had.

Note that it’s likely that many people who search online about it will have had the more frightening episodes, skewing the results.

But they still provide a fascinating insight into what people experience and how they cope.

Poll 1

In poll 1, the most common episode was thinking there was a demon or other being in the room.

chart showing the results of my poll about the type of sleep paralysis experiences people have

Poll 2

Poll 2 shows that many readers find sleep paralysis terrifying. Again, those who search online for it are likely to have found it particularly disturbing.

chart of poll results for how scared people are during sleep paralysis

Poll 3

Poll 3 shows that many readers first experienced sleep paralysis during adolescence.

chart with poll results about the age people first have sleep paralysis

Poll 4

Poll 4 shows that most readers don’t experience sleep paralysis on a regular basis. 

chart showing poll results about how often people have sleep paralysis

Poll 5

Poll 5 shows some of the ways readers deal with episodes. You’ll find more coping mechanisms below.

chart showing the results of the poll about techniques for stopping sleep paralysis

The not so scientific explanations for sleep paralysis

image of a woman floating above the bed

Since first writing this article 7 years ago, there have been an extraordinary number of comments.

The comments show that not everyone accepts the scientific explanation. And interestingly, that some people struggle to accept it even though they want to – such is the realistic nature of their experience.

The possibility of demons, ghosts, spiritual beings and aliens all crop up from time to time. And while many people accept their experiences as hallucinations or dreams, some people choose to believe another explanation – that those beings are real.

Despite these beliefs, there’s one clear theme: nothing bad ever actually happens, other than being frightened and perhaps losing some sleep after an episode.

Around the world

In Fiji, the demon is sometimes seen as a deceased relative coming back to discuss an important or unfinished matter.

In Chinese folklore, it’s also seen as a ghost rather than a demon or intruder.

Some people in Iran and Pakistan interpret it as demons or spirits taking over your body. This could be due to black magic performed by an enemy.

The common theme is that the entity is usually something to be feared. I’m yet to find a culture which believes it’s a friendly creature!

Sleep paralysis treatment

When to see a doctor

Fortunately, most people don’t experience sleep paralysis very often, and no treatment is usually required.

However, if the following apply to you, it’s a good idea to speak to your doctor:

  • It happens regularly.
  • You’re anxious about sleep paralysis and going to sleep.
  • You don’t get enough sleep.
  • You feel very sleepy during the day, sometimes fall asleep suddenly or lose control of your muscles.

What medical treatment is available?

If you see a doctor, they might take the following action:

  • Refer you to a sleep specialist to assess if you have another sleep disorder, like narcolepsy.
  • Treat any underlying psychiatric condition.
  • Discuss any medication or substance use that might be a factor.
  • Explain the biological processes involved in sleep paralysis to reassure you.
  • Talk to you about developing good sleep habits. This is thought to help reduce the frequency of sleep paralysis.

Readers’ techniques for coping with sleep paralysis

Over the years, many readers have left comments explaining how they cope with sleep paralysis, and I’ve created a list of the most frequent ideas below.

The first five in the list below are also suggested by sleep experts. The rest are a mix of personal opinions. Please bear in mind that none are guaranteed to work:

  • Don’t let yourself become sleep deprived.
  • Stick to a regular sleep schedule.
  • Try to reduce stress and anxiety in your life.
  • Focus on wiggling just one finger or a toe.
  • Don’t take recreational drugs or drink alcohol in the evening.
  • Don’t sleep on your back.
  • Stay calm.
  • Tell yourself that you’re in control. You can order the experience to stop.
  • If you feel a weight on your chest, imagine there’s something friendly causing it.
  • Film yourself sleeping so you can see there was nothing in the room.
  • Don’t think about what it could be. Your imagination will probably make up something scary in the darkness.
  • Organize your bedroom in a way which makes you feel safe and secure.
  • Don’t hang dressing gowns, coats or hats in places which look like figures in the dark.
  • Sleep with a night light, music or radio on.
  • Remind yourself that nothing bad will happen.
  • Imagine your body rolling from side to side in your mind and count each roll. Focus on this and try to grow the capacity for movement from there.
  • Count numbers to focus your mind on something else.
  • Don’t sleep with a high pillow.
  • Keep your eyes shut and try to clear your mind.
  • Squeeze your eyes tightly shut if you can control the muscles.
  • Keep well hydrated – drink water before going to bed.
  • Talk about it to family or friends – they may have experienced it too.
  • If you have it once, get out of bed for a while to reset the brain.
  • Many people say prayer helps. Some also say that calling on their religious beliefs and commanding what they see to leave helps them.
  • Check if any sleeping pills or herbal remedies you’re taking are causing it.
  • Use sleep paralysis to lucid dream by relaxing and going with the experience instead of fighting it.
  • Once the episode has passed, tell yourself that you overcame it, are not afraid and will always overcome it.

How I recently stopped an episode of sleep paralysis

I successfully used two of the above techniques to stop a recent episode of sleep paralysis.

I woke to find myself in a strange position with my arms crossed on top of my body. And I could literally feel strong hands pinning my wrists to my chest.

I have to admit I was immediately petrified. The whole event was blurry, and I think I was having some dream overlap, but can’t remember exactly what now.

Stay calm and wiggle a finger

Two things sprung to mind after a moment of panic: stay calm and try to wiggle a finger.

The calmness I only managed with moderate success. But I did manage to focus my efforts on moving a finger. It felt quite odd – like my fingers were wiggling in different directions!

Eventually, I felt my arms loosen as well, and soon afterward I was able to shake the whole sensation away as I regained full control.

I then spent a few minutes doing some breathing exercises to ground myself and calm down, and then fell asleep again.

I think just knowing about the finger wiggling technique was enough for me to remember it when the sleep paralysis occurred.

Share your story of sleep paralysis

Have you had sleep paralysis? What happened, and do you have any suggestions to help others deal with it?

Please feel free to share your experience in the comments below.

3,066 thoughts on “Sleep Paralysis Stories: Demons Or Hallucinations?”

  1. This just happened to me last night. Never had it happen before. I woke up to something holding my upper body down to the bed, like being pinned in wrestling. I could move my legs, hands, and head but not my upper body. I resisted and tried turning over but I was definitely being held down. At first I thought it was my 120lb German Shepherd but I turned my head and saw him sleeping on the floor. I was more angry than scared and yelled “Get off me” and was almost immediately able to move. I got up and walked around the house for a while and went back to bed. Most likely a Scientific explanation but I know what I felt and I was totally awake while this was happening. Today, I’m a bit freaked out. The Lord is always present in my house which comforts me.

  2. This particular night, it was as though something crawled on to my bed, from the bottom. And stood over me and I could hear it breathing as if it was smelling me. Worst feeling ever!!

  3. I’ve had this problem since my twenties – probably about 40-50 times but only ever happens if I take a daytime nap, never at night. Up until today it’s always been simply thinking I’m awake, looking at my room, but being unable to move or speak. Today was completely different, something crawled into my bed and put its arms around me pinning me down. Eventually, I was able to free myself but found myself in a very lifelike dream where I was trying to find my Mum (who died 2 years ago) to tell her what had happened only to find myself back in bed with whatever was tormenting me. But now my sister was laying beside me and I was desperately trying to draw attention to the fact that my legs were being lifted up. I tried to look at its hands and perceived trotters. I wasn’t frightened, more annoyed than anything. My husband died 7 months ago so maybe this is stress.

  4. I have experienced these episodes for almost 20 years. They started in late teens! They are always the same… shadowy being, not being able to move or make a sound. Sometimes they even happen in multiple levels meaning that I think I get through it only for it to happen immediately after. I also can sense when they may happen as soon as I close my eyes! My head gets very noisy. I have lost a lot of sleep from these experiences.

  5. I have had strange experiences awake and asleep since I was 7. I’ve also had a few near death experiences. Technically, I should have died at least 5 times in my 46 years. The one I remember most vividly is when I had only hours left to live and my dad and his parents, who had been dead for more than 10 years, took me from my hospital bed to a place I can only refer to as the in between. My questions went unanswered until I asked if I would see god. No. If I would see Jesus. No. If I was going to die. They said it was time to go back now. I was 17 years old and had been hospitalized for more than a week with unexplained fever of 104-106. No treatment or meds worked. I did not even feel the cold from being packed in ice. But after the experience I had, my fever broke instantly and doctors had no answers. It did change my perspective on religion. I had been raised a strict catholic. My experiences after that were always very vivid. Mainly seeing spirits or things moving by themselves. It was concerning when my children started seeing the same or I would find them having conversations while alone, sometimes in a foreign language. Yet none of it was frightening until I was pinned to my bed, face down, with a woman screaming right in my ear. I hadn’t gone to sleep yet. I was just reaching over to turn my lamp off. I was so terrified when it ended, I ran out of the house and called a friend to come over. I was making no sense and was finally sedated with tea and whiskey. The incident is still just as vivid in my memory today. Things do seem to follow me no matter where I live. I’ve done a lot of research on sleep paralysis and fully believe that yes, I have experienced it. However, I also feel some of the incidents have been very real and I was very awake. One that I believe was paralysis was just moving to a new home and I was alone. Laid down to relax and watch tv and as I drifted off, I heard whispering, louder and louder. Then a presence getting closer. There was touching but not rough or scary yet I was scared. It took a long time but I believe it was partially lucid dreaming crossed with sleep paralysis. I kept saying “wake up, wake up”. Eventually actual sound came out and pulled me out of it. The other experiences have been increasing from once every few years to once every couple months. In these, I feel something rush at me and take over everything. I feel naked when I’m not. There have been very strong sexual feelings and only once have I been able to pull myself out. I’ve also been fully awake and was going to go to the bathroom only to find myself rolling backwards off my bed then pinned to the ceiling. I had to keep pushing off the ceiling until I was able to grab a blanket and plop onto my bed. That time there were two presences. One dark and one I believe to be a guardian. It had been almost two years since anything had happened until 3 weeks ago. I felt that rushing sensation and was immediately flipped to my back. I’m not going to go into detail but it was extremely sexual and seemed to last hours. My husband was gone that night. I didn’t feel threatened or hurt and it’s creepy to say that I didn’t want it to stop but I’m being honest. Ever since that night, my dreams are beyond vivid. In one of those dreams, I felt that presence. I’d never seen a figure or face until that dream. He drew me in quite easily to his group. I sat on his lap and his eyes were mesmerizing. He wanted me to leave with him. And I wanted to go. As I looked to his eyes once more, I saw my best friends eyes instead and I jumped up, grabbed a box that I somehow knew my best friend had made and gave it to this man. He opened it, thanked me for the gift but said he wanted to see me again soon. I was very freaked out waking up because I feel if I had stayed, I would have died. In speaking with my best friend after the fact, he said he had a dream of being chased by something huge. He made a circle of sea salt with candles and rose quartz and asked for protection. He said a wolf 4 times his size kept trying to break the circle. Just as he felt it was coming through, loud banging woke him up. He could still hear it somewhere in the house but never found the source. We both have extremely high levels of stress and have for a few years. We have both lost a lot of family members in the last couple years. We have been best friends more than 15 years and have had strange experiences together that aren’t explainable. He and his sister and I have all had the same dream same night. I’ve had 3 sleep studies done in the last 5 years. I was diagnosed with primary and secondary insomnia as well as idiopathic hypersomnia. I’m borderline narcoleptic. His revealed nothing. I also have a rare genetic disorder with a ton of other conditions associated. I hypermetabolize medication so nothing works to help me sleep properly regardless. My pulmonologist dismisses my questions on sleep paralysis and tried to push me to a psychiatrist. I have zero interest. Been there done that too many times. I’ve recently learned that all 3 of my children have had similar experiences. One is a US Marine and scared of nothing. Except this. He’s 27. My other two are 22 and 16. We generally don’t talk about it because nobody believes us. I was told by a stranger a few years ago, a man who came up to me and placed his hand on my forehead, that I should have been dead many times over but I have a purpose. It won’t stop them from attempting to take me but I I do have guardians. He muttered a prayer and was gone. Am I crazy? I never share this much information with anyone but the last few weeks has freaked me out a bit. And I figure I’m anonymous on here so it doesn’t hurt to share. Anyone else have anything like this that’s been lifelong? Passed to your children? Or have parents that have experienced the same? If you made it this far, thank you. If you don’t think I’m a raving lunatic, I do appreciate it.

  6. I am a long-time sufferer of sleep paralysis. My first occurrence was when I was about 12 years old. My religiously zealous mother told me it was demons and instructed me to pray. In my childish blind faith it helped. Every time it happened I would pray the demon away, however it constantly made me think that I was a bad person, why else would this damn demon be targeting me and no one else I knew.

    Anyway I got older and strayed from those beliefs and accepted more scientific explanations. What can’t be explained with science (although I strongly disagree that it’s demons) is the shadow man figure that is often hallucinated among those like myself that suffer from this disorder.

    He has haunted me and frightened me my entire life. I would open my eyes during an episode to find this faceless person standing at the foot of my bed, my rational brain would assume it was my boyfriend now husband but I would look to the side to see him sleeping soundly. Over time I learned to breathe heavily when this happened, not because it’s the calm thing to do, but my heavy obviously panicked breathing would instantly wake my husband and he would in turn wake me. This is how I coped for a long time and still do at times.

    Unfortunately, my husband can’t always be resting by my side waiting to rouse me. The most terrifying episodes happen when I am alone. I have had visual, and other sensory hallucinations. Smelling my sister’s perfume only to open my eyes to the shadow man laughing at me. Hearing my brother in laws voice, calling to him (or thinking I am) again only to open my eyes to the shadow man. Hearing my husbands footsteps coming home late from work, hearing him take off his heavy boots, getting a glass of water and with all that I am so sure it’s him, sure enough that when my bedroom door opens I open my eyes just as the shadow man jumps on top of me and holds me down.

    Those moments I mentioned above all happened within a two week period when I was at home alone not working and my husband was at work.

    When we got a dog he was a great comfort, when my husband got up in the morning to go to work our dog would take his place on the bed. Having a living hyperaware creature like a canine by my side lessened my episodes tremendously. I figured if he wasn’t freaking out at some ‘presence’ in the room, when he barks if he hears the slightest noise outside, I could relax.

    When our dog got sick and passed away it came back with force. My husband decided on blackout curtains. When the room is pitch black you can’t make out a shadow. The logic of that helped me.

    I also practise lucid dreaming. It helps me to take control of the situation. I started having false awakenings to the point where I walked into the kitchen to get my coffee and get ready for the day only to have my brother in law walk up to me and tell me I was still asleep. I turned around went back to my room and saw myself asleep in bed. I crawled back on top of myself and then actually woke up.

    My father being more spiritual than religious and a lover of astral projection and Reiki was extremely proud and he was the one that urged me to practise lucid dreaming. I have been a rockstar in my dreams, driven off road in a Jeep I don’t own nor do I even drive or have a license to!

    My sleep paralysis no longer happens very often maybe 2 to 3 times a month now and sometimes weeks without but it’s been a hard 20 years trying to figure this out. Maybe some of my methods will help someone. I wish this on no one. Good luck out there.

  7. I’m on vacation in texas. I’ve never experienced sleep paralysis before but I was having a bad series of dreams and I’m not sure what happened but I was lying on my chest with my head facing right and I opened my eyes and heard shuffling of feet and felt something pushing my down into the bed. I could hear the noise it was making in my ear and it sent shivers down my entire spine. I couldn’t move. It was a terrifying experience looking back at it but as soon as I revoked it in Jesus’ name the paralysis and sensation went away.

  8. Sorry, I’m not a native in English. This happened to me about 3 times in different houses. As I saw in the different comments for me it was the same thing – a big pressure on my back and. It was impossible to move or talk, like if someone was there. I thought that there was a scientific explication for that, and I had read some articles, talking about that, but I cannot explain the last time, too real. Maybe you will not believe it but before that happen, about 30 or 40 seconds, I saw me inside someone else, like an animal or a beast, with very rapid mouvements, and like a different vision, in my another bedroom, It started to running (me inside seeing everything in my corridor in a big speed) and the ‘thing’ juped over my body (I saw my body). Then I wake up, without breading, without moving, about 30 seconds, with a sensation that this thing was over me breathing! I was very scared and I talked with my wife about that.

  9. This experience happened to me once and it left me unnerved for up to two weeks afterward.
    On this particular day, I was sick with a fever. Now my room had a deteriorating spot in the corner of my room from water damage. We all knew it was going to cave in at some point. My boyfriend at the time and I were in bed and I felt I was sleeping pretty hard at the time. About 3am in the morning, that corner finally gave way and came crashing down. My boyfriend sat up quickly but then laid back down. I couldn’t move. My mind jolted awake in a panic from the sound. I tried to move – but nothing, then tried to speak and again nothing. My eyes were open and in the dark, I saw a much darker cloud surrounding me slowly getting closer. I was terrified. I felt my heart racing and kept trying to speak to get my boyfriend’s attention as the darkness crept closer and closer. I literally felt that if it got to me, I would die. I was crying and somehow managed to make some type of squeaking noise that alerted my boyfriend. He reached over just touching my arm and suddenly I could move again. I just rolled over in sheer panic towards him.
    I tried to settle myself as I sat up and turned on the lamp to see the damage and forced myself to get up to start the cleanup. But it took about two weeks before I was able to get back to normal.

  10. This happened to me last week. I was lying on my side and felt someone crawl in bed next to me and felt his arms around me. I could actually feel his hands! At this point, I wasn’t afraid of being hurt but I woke myself up because the whole experience was just too real and I knew no one was in bed with me. Next, it felt and sounded as if something very large was clawing at the side of my bed. I yelled out “Who’s doing that?” When that stopped I perceived a figure sitting at the end of my bed and I thrashed my legs hoping it would go away. Needless to say, the next night I slept with my light on.

  11. I went to bed, and as I was drifting off, the quilt was been pulled up to cover me. I woke up and jumped out of bed. I got back into bed and again drifting off to sleep, I felt a weight next to me on the bed. I couldn’t move and was trying to call out my partners name. I eventually got out of bed terrified and went and slept the rest of the night on the settee

  12. I’ve had this happen to me for over 30 years and I do not fear it anymore. Last night’s dream was pretty wild. I was tired and went to bed earlier than normal. It seemed like I fell straight into this dream. For me I know I’m dreaming and I feel the evil presence as always. This night was different and I felt myself floating away, I thought it’s on now. I tell it I’m not afraid and I will fight you. They were wearing armor like a knight wears and I hacked away with a sword through 1, 2, 3 of them. I could hear laughing like evil clowns and it was so loud. Then one said, he’s here you know… the beast. It’s hand wrapped around my body and picked me up. I said to myself please god give me the strength to defeat it. Then boom I plunged my sword through the armor into its heart. I heard more laughing and laughing. They said you’re ours, we can make you do evil and they made me stab a person to death and made me laugh with them. I could feel my hand banging against the bed frame as I was stabbing. I felt myself revel with them and I did not like it.
    Suddenly I was aware I was in my own room and I saw a light come on outside my bedroom window. I heard menacing voices outside. I thought I forced myself to wake up by shouting myself awake, “what are you doing” I said. It’s one of the hardest things to do in a dream. I got up from my bed and went to the front door, everything about my house was the same except the door seemed kind of tore up. Despite locking the door it wouldn’t stay shut, it would still open. I’m trying to hold the door shut and I could still hear the voices outside, panicking and confused I finally woke up. Safe and sound in my bed. I got up and checked the door. All good in the hood. Another spiritual battle fought and I lived to tell about it.

    1. Chelsea Wilkinson

      For a while I’ve been going to bed at 3-4 am because it was Christmas break and tonight was terrifying. I went to bed and slept for about 10 minutes and then ‘woke up’ but I couldn’t move… I was worried as it’s never happened to me but instead of feeling a weight on my chest I had a small dream. I was in the darkness and I felt my head starting to spin and I started to get goosebumps then an evil echoing laugh was in the background! I started to see black and while swirls fade in then I was screaming in my mind ‘what do you want!’ And then I woke up… I couldn’t sleep so I decided to google it, I’m only 12 years old and I don’t think I can sleep!

  13. Everyday is hard for me to fall asleep! I can’t sleep and when I do I’m scared too because I find myself being choked, grabbed and today of all days was the scariest day ever. I was holding hands with something but I couldn’t wake up to see what it was. I couldn’t move I was just so scared in the moment I can’t sleep can anyone suggest some words please in all honesty it would be nice

    1. You have to overcome it – know it isn’t real and take control. I sometimes feel something dragging me off the bed but I ignore it though it may feel weird if it gets too real force your eyes open.

  14. I have had a few episodes. They are always accompanied by Apnia. Can’t move can’t breath can’t talk. Very scary

    1. Exactly the same for me. Can’t breathe, move or talk) I also have EHS, but that is nothing compared to my sleep paralysis. I can have up to five a night (I had a serious head injury which resulted in these alongside PTSD) but amitriptyline helps a lot, plus not sleeping on my back.

  15. I had a dream/paralysis where I thought I woke up but I couldn’t get up. And when I tried to get up, I was held down. I even managed to get a foot or so out of the been but was quickly swooped back into the bed, on my back. Never had a dream like that. The last dream that was similar was not being awake and trying to pull the light switch repeatedly and I couldn’t reach it. Then I woke up and was scared to get up. In the dream I kept falling before I reached the switch. But the one I just had topped the falling one. Those are the only 2 sleep paralysis dreams I’ve experienced being 24. Hope I don’t have them anymore! I didn’t see anything but was very terrified. The dream had me trying and fighting hard to call out my mother! Like I couldn’t move and I but I didn’t think I was awake…well I’m not really sure what I thought. Good luck. Best power is prayer!

  16. December 12,2019 6:00 a.m

    I was held down in my sleep, I was kinda scared to the point I felt myself squeezing someone or something hand my eyes were closed but somehow I still saw the light. And as I moved through a light a question was asked, my answer was (Grandmother I was very close to), the light was so bright I remember saying forgive me for my sins for I have sinned and I awaken.

  17. This has happened to me before. Someone tried sitting on my chest or holding my hand and I couldn’t move or speak. However, last night it happened again, but this time someone was sleeping very close to me and trying to dig his face in my neck and kept on doing the same, it felt very real.

  18. I was sleeping with hands crossed above my head. Was having very messed up sleep with a variety of 3 to 4 dreams. But I felt I was continually looking for time so that I could get up on time in the morning.
    But once, when a dream ended, I felt someone is holding one of hand, I was able to feel someone standing there, thinking if it is my mom, but wasn’t.
    I tried shouting calling my mom, but was able to make the slightest scream.
    Unfortunately, not being able to get out of that after my efforts, I gently moved my head from the right side to left, I got out of it!.
    When I woke up, I thought something evil like happened to me but was saying myself I am strong enough!.
    Then I went through here after searching it on google and found it as a sleep attack.
    Thank god its normal :-P

  19. I came on line because I had 4 episode lately, Dec (2019) one on the first night, 3 on the other night all in a row, hopefully my experience will help people see a lighter side of it, first let me say I dream a lot so I did learn to control my dream to where I want to go, second I read a long time ago about a goddess coming down and making love to a man while he was sleeping, and thought I wouldn’t mind that LOL. So when these experiences first happen I was a little alarmed but also realize I had a feeling of euphoria of goodness come over me so I was thinking of the goddess of love luckily LOL and it morphed into feeling like something was laying on me and actually felt like somebody was kissing me. But then again I have an active imagination and was always good at making the best out of bad situations. And I’m actually looking forward to more visits LOL. I hope this lightens up some of the people that are here being tortured by this! Peace-Love-Prayers

  20. I had an experience last night 7.11.19 after traveling overseas to see my mum in NZ. My body clock was out of wack and I fell asleep and woke up paralysed. Opening my eyes, saw a lady with long black hair and a dark face like the excorcist movie right next to my bed and I was yelling who the f#%k are you f#%k off really loud and for a while and my family came in freaking out and woke me up. luckily turned the light on and I haven’t felt fear like this ever! It’s the next day and I’ve felt the shivers all day like I’m scared and I’m in my 30s.
    I get this when I’m over tired but haven’t hallucinated before with this much fear.

  21. I have had these experiences, for many years. It is disheartening, as it something, one cannot control. The feeling of suffocation and heaviness on my body is terrifying. Unable to move or call out for help is something one cannot forget.
    Recently, I awoke in the early dark hours of a morning and felt some being holding me tightly. I could not move, no matter what I did. As a christian, I have called out to Jesus in my silent words, this releases this unknown being. I believe we do live in a spiritual world and these encounters are real. Some say, terror dreams, sleep disorders, etc.
    All, I know is what I felt and it was real. These days, my faith in God has encouraged me, not to fear the unknown.

  22. Last night 19/11/19 I had a very vivid dream then suddenly I felt myself being violently dragged across my bed and I then had the sensation that I was being flung around by my leg above my bed.

    After a minute I was lying on my belly and felt something push me down into the bed and cover me with my duvet trying to smother me.

    I composed myself and wiggled my toes and by this point was very angry. Something in me said don’t look but I wanted to…I saw a small black figure on my bed and lunged at it swinging my arms and shouting at it.

    I went back to sleep and today iv been thinking about it more than usual sleep paralysis episodes as it was the most vivid.
    I have been saying all day I want that little black figure to come back so I can swing at it again and show I’m not scared. I feel really defiant now.

  23. I experienced sleep paralysis last night. Soon after falling asleep I was woken up and terrified because I couldn’t move, I tried to scream out for help but nothing would come out of my mouth. My chest felt really tight and I could barely breathe. My head was turned to the right but I could tell something was to my left and I slowly tried to turn my head to see what was happening, but I could only move like a cm at a time and while I moved my head I could feel the object coming closer to me and I started to hear a deep laugh. This was so terrifying but after about 3 min I was finally able to move my body again and I sat up straight in bed screaming. After this episode, I got absolutely no sleep the rest of the night because every time I closed my eyes I saw and heard the demon again. This is the first time I had sleep paralysis in the night, normally I only have it if I try to nap in the middle of the day, so its light outside and the demon is more amusing than scary, but when its dark and I’m alone this is a terrifying experience and I just hope I will be able to sleep tonight after all of this.

    1. Chelsea Wilkinson

      I had the same thing kind of tonight! First I got goosebumps It was a woman laughing and I felt myself spinning in a black world.. I was screaming ‘go away’ and ‘what do you want’ in my head and my throat became dry. Your not alone and I’m glad to see I’m not. I was having a fear yesterday morning bc my sister told me she saw a white figure that looked like her and was saying she thinks she saw her guardian angel in our house. This scared me so I dreamt of all of that.

  24. I was sleeping on my left side and I felt someone or something lifting the covers and sliding in beside me. I froze and could not speak. I tried so hard to call out for help but couldn’t. I was hollering to myself, wake up. I then woke up hearing my voice faintly gasping. It was a horrible experience. I was so afraid to fall back asleep but eventually did.

    1. This happened to me last night.
      I felt as though someone had entered my body and the bed felt heavy beside me, there was a smell of breath. I actually thought it was my husband that had got in bed beside me.
      I slept with the light on all night.
      I have only had something like this once before many years ago when I felt like someone was dragging me out of bed and pulling me through a window.

  25. I have been dealing with this for years. Usually, I just see a black figure moving towards me or on my chest… I managed it for years… BUT last night was way too real. I am very disturbed. I felt my bed move like someone was getting into it. Then I saw like a werewolf creature with red eyes (I have never seen a face before). I felt the whiskers on my face…I said in my mind ” I am not scared of you.” It replied ” You should be”.
    I am terrified.

  26. I have hypnagogic wHere I hear or see things before I fall asleep, sometimes its random pictures or chatter, voices I don’t know in conversation. It doesn’t happen every night it can come and go. Last night 11/11/19 as I was falling asleep this voice started talking saying sentences but I couldn’t quite hear them but the voice was really horrible sounded evil and nasty and whatever it was saying I didn’t want to hear then I fell asleep. When I fell asleep I was cuddling a hoodie as I recently broke up with my ex I woke suddenly in the middle of the night and felt like I was being strangled and the arm of his hoodie was resting across my throat.
    I can’t remember anything that I was dreaming about but that has really spooked me.

    1. I’ve suffered from sleep paralysis. I’ve had some really dark things that happened to me. But I’ve become stronger as a person and Pray. I still suffer from it but not in the same way. I feel myself drifting off and not really having control. I feel things right next to me in the bed and hear things walking around in the room. But I don’t fear and I don’t care. I know I will get out of it. This usually happens to me on my days off. When I nap. I dream too And they’re not scary dreams, but they’re very vivid dreams. I can still hear everything that’s going on in the room at the same time. Pray and read the book of Ephesians! DO NOT drink alcohol, smoke, take meds etc… they weaken our spirt.

  27. I had one earlier this morning prior to waking up. I felt like a presence was holding me down by my hair in the bed. I couldn’t move and that’s when I starting shouting ” JESUS”. At 1st no sound came from my mouth. Until I could hear myself the grip on my head loosen. I woke yelling Jesus repeatedly!! It freaked me out so bad.

      1. I get them very frequently. About twice a night a few days a week. I’ve learned to control the moving process and snap out of it in seconds. But it’s still an unsettling occurrence, even tho I know it’s not harming me physically.

  28. I have had this from a very young age, maybe as young as 5 and it has always been teamed with bad dreams and hallucinations. Until I was about 22 (6 years ago) , since then I for a while had gotten it much more often and really stopped going to sleep I was so terrified, sometimes being sleeping for as little as a few minutes after being up for hours and getting quite bad episodes. I noticed after meeting my new partner and I became much happier in my life they calmed so much that I almost lost them completely. My best advice is to make sure to manage stress and mental illness, go to sleep with meditation music, or whatever you find calming and go to sleep not on your back with something like a stress ball in your hand that you can use to move your fingers and eventually your whole body. The reason I chose to write this today is I have had a stressful week and feeling anxious teamed with alcohol. It meant this morning after a few mins of going back to sleep, after 30 mins of being awake, I had quite an experience of being wrapped up and dragged out my bed and through the hallway and woke out it shouting, however learning to cope better the feeling of fear left very quickly.

  29. Im 42 today and never knew what sleep paralysis was until recently. I’ve had this terror in my teens at its worst at 17-19 years of age. After some research it probably has a lot to do with all the stress I’ve gone through due to my parents’ divorce, mom always yelling, family drama, etc. Sleep apnea if it is was extremely frightening. Where most people looked forward to going to bed it was the opposite. The scariest part of my episodes were when I was asleep my conscious mind would awaken me to let me know I’m going to get attacked soon so I would lay on my bed curled up just waiting and praying to God. I literally feel its presence slowly taking over my body attacking for a good minute. Then as it slowly came through it slowly exits. I during my episode I cannot move a single muscle; hear; talk; murmur a single sound. I was always paralyzed until it was ready to leave. I don’t know what the hell that was really but it’s comforting to know that I wasn’t the only one that went through this terror attack. And I thank God that I no longer have to deal with them. If you are going through this embrace God, say a prayer and I promise you will be okay.

    1. Yep!! The only thing we can do is work to master the fear and start to control the experience. Easier said than done but I believe fear IS our worst enemy here. Meditation and working with ayahuasca has completely altered these experiences for me though they still happen I am now an active participant rather than a passive victim and still working on it!

      1. Prayer has been my only relief during the feeling of terror and that something evil is holding me down. I’ve noticed I only have these paralysis moments after a night of binge drinking.
        Hope this helps.

  30. I am just facing this situation right now, and since I’m a bit scared to go back to sleep I just start using my mobile to research this.

    Around 2 am I had a dream like somebody is holding my hands close to my chest very tightly where I could not even move, I normally believe it’s a ghost so I’m trying to call out my parents, my lips are moving but there is no sound coming out. Finally after a minute I was back to normal and everything seems to be fine.

    I am experiencing this for the 3rd time, normally I used to go to bed before 11 pm but last night I slept by 12:30am, so such kind of experience is only because of sleep timing????

    1. To Vicram on Nov 4th
      Hey, I would say that sorting a more regular sleep pattern will help you, but try avoid lying on your back for the reason of the ‘pinning’ feeling. I noticed that even now the automatic response is to try try and shout out however I have felt that just concentrating on moving a finger or toe will help move a limb and then the body becomes loose again much quicker. Like in the movie Kill Bill “wiggle your big toe”

      1. I’m so glad to be reading all your comments, my first time Googling this & surprised me I’m not alone with this.
        I’ve just woke up from one this morning, probably my most scariest one yet, it always happens on a morning when I’ve been awake then go back to sleep afterwards, I firstly feel like someone has sat at the end of the bed then I feel them more up the bed next to me, I feel the pressure of them moving on the bed alongside me it’s terrifying, my body freezes & I feel like I’m shouting but no sound coming out, but this one I felt the Thing pass through my body which I’ve not experienced until this morning, I could feel my body was so tight & tensed & heart racing, then I slowly woke up with actually hearing my voice groan with fear. I couldn’t go back to sleep after that. I’ve never told anyone these, as it does sound weird, & I then I think omg was it a ghost. I do hate getting these dreams, you can never tell which morning it will come.

        1. I just had an experience more similar to yours than anyone else’s I’ve read so far. I woke up bc I felt something crawl into my bed and basically hold my left shoulder down, and while this happened I opened my right eye slowly and I saw a figure sitting at the end of my bed looking at me as I’m almost entirely immovable. I was able to kick my right foot around and I realized my kicks were going through the figure. This was my first sleep paralysis experience and it seems to be way more intense than the majority of the ones I’ve read.

          1. Lately, i have these weird dreams but they are so real like if i am awake, i feel something is on the bed cause of the pressure on the mattress, followed by being grabbed violently and sometimes strangled with my own arms that are wrapped around my neck by force. I got out of it by biting “it” and scream like a little baby, i am a 55 year old male but after reading all these comments here i don’t feel ashamed anymore.

  31. I haven’t had a full terror/paralysis episode in a few years.
    Had them on and off since I was a child.
    Since then, I have practiced lucid dreaming and managed to direct my dreams or fight the menace.
    In my dreams, I protect my house with magic spells and conjuring.
    I also sometimes fight what is threatening with weapons or magic.
    It varies. It is my dream so I can use whatever tools will work.
    The other night, I dreamed I had driven away, something that was attacking me and was checking the house afterward.
    I reached out to check to make sure the lock on the bedroom door was
    secure and as I grabbed the knob, it shook violently and I knew that something evil had hold of the doorknob from the other side.
    I half-woke in my dark bedroom and couldn’t move and I could still hear the knob on the door shaking.
    It took what seemed like hours before I could open my eyes fully and though I couldn’t hear the doorknob shaking any longer, I could still feel an evil presence.
    I finally was able to move and sat up in bed with my heart pounding and sweating profusely.
    I quickly turned on the light and tried to snap out of the fear.
    I then thought, what if someone has broken into the house and that caused me to wake up and hear the knob rattling?
    So I grabbed my Glock (I was a Law Enforcement Officer for years) and proceeded to clear the house and yard at 3:00AM to make sure I hadn’t really heard an actual burglary attempt.
    Everything was fine, but I was not able to sleep again until dawn as I could not shake the fear.
    As a former cop, I have never felt fear like that in my life.
    And I was in some real life-threatening situations.
    I have also been in 4 hurricanes…
    Nothing is close to the kind of terror that this generates.
    To the people posting here, don’t be ashamed to admit to the fear.
    It is quite real.

  32. I have had sleep paralysis on many occasions since the age of 12 and I’m 18 now. I remember not being able to move or make noises. Sometimes I would feel something in my room but I couldn’t see it. It would pull me very slowly and I would try so hard to open my eyes or make a noise. Somehow I managed to move my fingers or toes and I would wake up.
    On other occasions, I would float out of my body. Like I could feel my spirit leaving my body and I could see my body while I was up on the ceiling.
    The night before I turned 14 I had terrifying sleep paralysis. I couldn’t move as usual. However there was a clock in my room and I heard a voice say something like “today is the day” or “it’s gonna happen today” I can’t remember the exact words, but the point is the voice made it clear something was gonna happen on December 19. While the voice said this, the clock came into view. Except I didn’t have a clock in my room. That whole day I kept thinking about what the dream meant. As the day went by nothing happened. Then I started to think what if the voice mean a day like this, but not this year. The more I try to remember what the voice said, the more I forget. That night still scares me to this day. As I was writing my next experience I suddenly remembered what the voice said. It said “it’s gonna be okay”. But then I have second thoughts. I’m so sorry, I can’t remember.
    There was this other time when I was so tired that I decide to take a nap on the couch in the living room. It was around 12 pm and I was alone in the house. I fell asleep and I remember feeling a man standing right by the couch looking down at me. I wanted to open my eyes and look, but I was so tired I decided to let it go or I simply could look. Somehow I managed to wake up and decided to go sleep in my room. So I go to my room and lock the door( I think) and sleep. Then I felt the same presence. A figure standing by my bed. It was looking down on me. I couldn’t open my eyes but I was 99% sure it was a black figure. I could move no matter how hard I fought to open my eyes.
    There was this night where I had a “dream”. The dream was short and to the point. I was laying on this table being pushed by 2 or 4 figures. I remember feeling drowsy and I had a quick view. The setting looked like a white mini hall, which is weird because the house i lived in was a white mini hall. The light was dim( also like the one in my house). The figures had suits on like the ones that pass on movies where the people wear orange suits when dealing with unknown substances and stuff. It was very quick like a 5 second or less thing. This wasn’t like sleep paralysis because I didn’t wake up right after this but I sometimes think it’s more than a dream. Nowadays I don’t get sleep paralysis often because I have these 2 crosses in my room. And my Virgen de Guadalupe protects me( I’m Catholic)

    1. I have very similar experiences with my spirit leaving my body and floating. I never really come across people with that happening to them along with the paralysis. I’ve been experiencing this for over 15 yrs now, I’m 34. I also feel a presence is around and have seen it a time or two myself. It’s very scary, and often wonder why me?! But I guess it’s just something we have to deal with. Just a quick tip that helps me (along with prayer) clenching my teeth and moving my lips usually helps me snap out of it pretty fast. I hope it helps.

      1. I have had these experiences first back about 8 years ago in a house that I feel was haunted as other unexplained things happened. Then the feeling after I fell asleep was that someone was lying on top of me pressing me down. I was half awake half asleep and trying to call out to my partner in the other room but no words would come out.
        Two days ago I had the experience again. This time the entity was lifting me up and there was a mist around the floor like a ghost.
        I trying to scream but I couldn’t then eventually I must have moaned because my partner asked what was wrong.

        Next time I will try the tips and prayer.

      2. This happened to me a while ago. I was taking an afternoon nap. I was lying on the right side of my body. I tried to wake up. couldn’t move. I felt my spirit leaving my body and it was floating in the air. It was so strange.

      3. Same here. My spirit can see myself laying there, not able to move or communicate. I feel heavy, have never seen anything or anything holding me down. Thank goodness or I would probably freak. This website is really a blessing. Thanks for advice.

    2. Chelsea Wilkinson

      I’m scared and having it now. Tonight was my first experience. My sister, mother and myself were eating dinner and I saw my sister kept looking to her left so I asked her and she said she’d tell me after dinner. She told me she saw a person in a white flowy dress and saw the end of their hair was brown and curly like hers. I freaked out even though she thought it was her guardian angel I am still scared of the fact of an unknown person watching us. So tonight they went shopping and I was alone for a bit, I slept because I was scared for about 3 hours. When I went to bed at about 2 (because I was too scared and awake to sleep) I drifted off and as I started to sleep I got goosebumps and everything around me started to feel like it was spinning while a scary evil ‘women’ voice started to appear. I got a dry throat and I was laying on my side so felt no weight – even though it lasted like 4 – 6 seconds I’m terrified… please reply. I need advice

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