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.

2,892 thoughts on “Sleep Paralysis Stories: Demons Or Hallucinations?”

  1. Although I’m not actively dabbling at the moment, I have in the past tended to describe my SP experiences into a recording device as soon as I wake up, and then I’ve transcribed it into Word. I’ll post one of my most powerful experiences for now. There does seem to be a lot of misery associated with SP, but for me it has become a source of excitement and adventure, even though much of the time I have to deal with the usual obstructions from ‘beings’. Still, even the ‘negative’ experiences aren’t all that bad. Here goes. I have edited some of this but it is essentially an exact rendition of my recording. You can tell where I got excited (I hope I’m not breaking a word count limit): Sunday 14th March 2004
    “I read for about 2 hours (“The Elegant Universe” by Brian Greene). It was the case that towards the end of my reading time, I began to detect the very faint sign of the hissing sensation and once or maybe twice, the sudden dizziness which is often associated with sleep paralysis. I was reading about string theory and super symmetry. At the end of the two hours, although I wasn’t really tired (it was now 6am), I was squirming restlessly as my body did want to sleep. Perhaps I could have gone on reading because mentally I was up for it. I put the book down, and leaving the lamp on, I lay on my back and let the sleep process begin. I allowed the hissing sensations to take their course. I’d been playing or toying with this for the last 15 or 20 minutes. It was quite amazing. It was not what I was expecting, and didn’t lead to any of the usual out of body type experience phenomena. However, it was extremely persistent and wouldn’t let up. Of course, this suited me quite well this morning. I wanted to probe this state to the best of my ability. I could compare it to a swarm of midges in some damp country lane. No matter how much or determinedly you brush them aside, after a decent retreat, they return to swarm around your head, and this goes on and on. Succumbing to this sensation is like descending into a small, restrictive room of strange whirring and bleepy sounds, whose walls and furniture were made of these sounds. Restricting in the sense that I felt somewhat pressurised and there was a hint of pressure centred around my nose (as usual). This wasn’t painful, but slightly uncomfortable. At some stage I tried to move one of my phantom hands, but this only seemed to increase (slightly, but more completely) the overall pressure and restrictiveness of the sensation. This also confused me, and I wondered in fact whether this was the same state in which I am usually able to experiment with the phantom. Maybe this was some different, if related state. Maybe this hissing sensation is something different from what I used to term ‘electrical interference’. There was a point during the proceedings when I seemed to be almost dreaming and in which two girls who wanted B. or wanted us to remove the fence between 12 G. Close (my childhood home) and 10 G. Close, i.e. the house in which the E’s used to live. And I was saying something like, “Well, no, because the fence certainly up to the inner garden has always been there. The rest of the fence may have been built more recently and, yes, we will take that away.” [This is surely some form of symbolism pertinent to the experimentation].Yes, okay, but that is a very crude rendition of what was a pretty abstract dream scenario. And as I kept going into this funny hissing sensation or whatever it is, I get the impression that these two girls in some very, very abstract form insisting that I…I don’t know, I don’t know…I just feel that I…I also had this paranoid feeling that they were trying to get me into this state, but when I was in this state it was nothing but mechanical sounding noise. Nothing there! It was quite awful in fact, desolate. But you are dragged in there and it is quite forcing, it’s not paralysis, not in the usual sense that is, and there was the pressure (gentle) on my nose. Trying to do the phantom movement of my arm was hard and it seemed to ‘fix’ me in some way. The hissing was there, in the periphery, waiting to claim me as I closed my eyes. It was frustrating, because I was willing to really go with it and not run scared, but all I was being offered was this dead-end experience. Interestingly, some of the ‘mechanical noise’ seemed to be voices spoken at high speed, like a tape going fast. But this may have just been my mind or imagination reading something into one of the many whirring, oscillatory noises I seemed to be immersed in. Probably that in fact.
    Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Now then, I tried again to get back into….well I succeeded this time to get back into that hissing sound, and … what did I do? I can’t remember the transition but…I found this girl called Melba. We were on this bed. The light, the light was not like this (i.e. the lamp is on as I tape this), the light was different, but I could see myself on the bed…It was strange, I was looking at this girl, I was talking to her. There were all these written details about her. I could read. I could read the writing and the writing didn’t change as I looked at it again. What was it, what was it now? I was looking below her or behind her and there was this screen, this computer-like screen and I thought to myself “Wow, this is odd. It’s amazing,” I thought to myself. The thing is, while I was in that state…Initially, it was uncomfortable…initially it was uncomfortable. But then…it was like going under water…you seemed to just adapt, it still remained uncomfortable, but it was fine. It was that feeling of swimming into the middle of the water, knowing that the floor is too far down to put your feet down onto, but it’s okay because you are a reasonable swimmer and because of that, you don’t need the floor for support. You nevertheless need to keep working to prevent yourself from sinking. And there was this girl! I left my body and…just on the bed though, and…this girl, she was only about three, she had long, straggly black hair, and I thought she was Nigerian, but…and her name was something like Melba or Elba or something and I looked down at this information about her and it had…and at some point she said something like, “If you look down below you will see something about my sympathetic nervous system (?) Right!? And it said something like 18.6 or something, which is a bit odd.. But there was a word, “lbe…” something something…which I saw written down twice and I looked away and I looked …I was talking to her about something…and I looked back again and there it was again, this word, nothing had changed, and the details were there, all this writing, I don’t know where it came from or where it was attached to her. And then…and I was there for a while, I mean, and I didn’t time myself, so I can’t say when this happened, but I would say a good five minutes I was there with her. And I was talking with her and I can’t remember what we were talking about now but…I mean, I was talking to her! I was sitting on the bed and I hadn’t looked at myself at this point, but…Melba was her name…and she said something about her father, but I can’t remember what she said. I don’t know …The thing is, I started…I tried to leave my body, didn’t I because the thing is I got into that state…previously it was hard, I don’t know what happened earlier in the night, I just couldn’t get into it. But now, in the morning, what time is it now? 7.51am…that’s quite late for a start and I just spoke to her about herself…and, she’s only a little girl, Melba, or Elba, or something like that. I thought she was Nigerian but she wasn’t…well, I don’t think she was, she had long, straggly hair, she was certainly dark, she was certainly from Africa or Asia, possibly even a Berber child, I don’t know, a Tuareg child possibly, who knows. She was female as far as I could see. I spoke to her a lot. And then I said to her, eventually, I said “I think I had better get back into my body now.” She seemed disappointed at first and then she said, “Okay.” I said “I’d better get back in because, you know…” Then I think that she tried to warn me about something but I don’t know what she tried to warn me about. But anyway, I thought, “Okay…” First of all, when she asked me to look for the detail about her sympathetic nervous system, I said “Can I look at my body before I do this?” I did so, and I looked pretty dead, actually, a little bit scary. I looked very handsome and serene, and completely still (thank God my eyes weren’t open because that would have given me a heart attack!). But I SAW MYSELF LAYING DOWN! For the first time ever. And then I continued speaking to her and then I decided that I had better go back to my body now and she looked disappointed. Melba? Are you still there?…I mean, I’m quite convinced this happened. And the, okay, I tried to, then I lay back on my body, I didn’t know how to do it. I lay on my face first, and it just seemed to not go in and I thought, “Chuff! What’s happened? Am I dead?” And I lay on my face and it felt like, just chuffing hell. Then I moved down a little bit, to the lower part of my body to between my legs, it was between my legs anyway and then pushed further in and that didn’t work either and then I just…I could feel this sort of squashy, melting sort of feeling as if I was trying to get into plastic or a plastic balloon or something, squashy, trying to get in, I couldn’t get in. And then I just sort of opened my eyes, pulled myself out of it, in the way that I pull myself out of paralysis, and there I am. Amazing! First time to have been astral, intelligently interactive, TO HAVE SEEN MYSELF IN BED, and to have had reasonable detail to have memory of – although see the Mark experience). Because yesterday, I did say quite explicitly that I didn’t want to do any fighting or wrestling or any of that nonsense, and that I wanted to have some form of intelligent discourse, to speak to whoever I was fighting with during these episodes. And there she was, this girl! Melba…Melba…wow!

    I feel, considering that I lay on my head for quite a while, banging my head into my face, I don’t feel any ill effects. The only ill effect, I mean, the only thing which doesn’t feel quite right is that my throat feels a bit tickly. But that is only very slight and most likely just incidental. I know that before the Melba episode, I had a dream because…I don’t know…I mean, did this start off from a dream…I don’t know…I remember laying down and having that hissing feeling and going into it and then I don’t know how it transferred itself into myself speaking to this Melba girl. I don’t know.

    Re. The interference/noise: the high-pitched speeded up voice effect is probably the same noise that I have often identified with lots of voices in the distance and there was that time where I heard what seemed to be Japanese/Chinese voices; there was that other time when I thought I heard the words “Somalia! Somalia!” – see appropriate dream notes. Whatever it is, it does seem to be a consistent element in the auditory effects. Sometimes the auditory effect is prominent and at other times it is far away in the background (see the OBE when everything was black and I was poised on the bed listening for the presence of ‘entities’).

    With the Melba situation I heard no background noise or interference. The initial hissing had either faded away, or it had just become like all-pervading bird-song.

    Melba or Elba or Elva. Long untidy hair, unkempt hair, thick hair. She seemed disappointed when I said I had to get back to my body, but I had to get back because when I looked at it, it actually looked dead. It’s funny, because the previous day I had idly wondered what I would look like if I had died at the age I am now, what I would look like in the coffin. Well, I answered that question! Quite attractive, actually, quite stern-faced, though. I thought that I had better make sure that that body was still alive. And when I eventually pulled myself out of that state…The lighting was sort of like twilight, it was dark, but I could still see my body…semi-daylight. On waking up, the lamp was on, and this contradicted strongly with the coolness, the shrouded light of the Melba scene. There was no sign that the lamp was on in the Melba scene. In fact waking up with the lamp on was almost shock (“Oh, I forgot that I had left that on!”). The twilight quality of light in these OBE/FA type scenes is quite common and I’ve seen it before – see appropriate accounts. It was perfectly quiet, apart from me and her. There was no radio on either, so it is no surprise.”

    1. Hi TO

      What an interesting, and detailed, description of what you describe as an out of body experience. Thank you for sharing this, and it adds an interesting perspective of someone really trying to enjoy and use that aspect of sleep paralysis rather than purely being at the mercy of it.

      You definitely broke the word count by the way, but I’ve kind of given up editing comments due to length – I’ve been beaten into submission by the extraordinarily long sleep paralysis stories people feel compelled to share! And even when I’m not entirely convinced they are all really sleep paralysis, I’m happy to see people interacting and adding to the discussion.

      I can also track basic stats like how long on average people spend reading this page, and it’s increasing as the comments increase, so I take that to mean that enough people are also enjoying reading the long comments.

      You’re a true explorer of the unknown and of the subconscious mind it seems. I imagine you to have great reeems of notes and recordings of your experiences. And I think recording all of these kind of experiences is a good way to gain some control over them. It seems like a good example of what some describe as a way to use sleep paralysis positively – as a stepping stone to out of body experiences or lucid dreaming.

      Did you always manage to have this level of control or ability to influence what is happening? Or did you practice some technique or other to be able to have an OBE? I’d be interested to know some background. I’d also be interested to know if you ever saw the same girl in a later experience, or if it was just the once.

      Thanks again

  2. I am 33 and have dealt with sleep paralysis since I was a child. More often than not, my episodes eventually morph into an “out-of-body-like experience.”

    I’m not saying that it is without question an out of body experience. But … it sure feels like one.

    I am usually overcome by a feeling of weightless. Next, I almost always remember looking down and seeing my sleeping body in my bed as I float out of my bedroom, through the wall. Finally, as I accelerate through the air, I feel what is akin to wind blowing in my face.

    I operate under the assumption that this is some form of hallucination… however, the experiences are hard to ignore sometimes.

    1. Hi Michael

      Thanks for adding your story to the growing collection here. What you describe definitely sounds like the classic description of an out-of-body experience. I know what you mean about thinking it’s a hallucination but feeling something a bit more than that. I think as many other people have said here, it can be hard to marry a scientific belief with the strange experiences that can happen during sleep paralysis.

      Thanks again for commenting

  3. Sorry to come back just to chime in on someone else’s theory, but there is something that I feel compelled to mention.

    String-field theory suggests that there are multiple dimensions that are intertwined with our own 3rd dimension.

    the 4th dimension is the dimension of time, in which our individual lives can be described as elongated embryonic snake-type shapes/beings that encompass our entire existence, from birth to death.

    i believe that beings exist in this dimension (maybe us?) who cannot experience emotions as singular experiences, and i think our 3rd dimensional existences compels these beings to live vicariously through us, be them our 4th dimensional selves or something else.

    i think that many paranormal episodes can be attributed to these beings, as their interaction in our dimension is anomalous in nature, and when we are aware of them, we only interpret their presence through cross-section type wave-lengths.

    because SP is of a subconscious nature (being conscious while our subconscious is at the wheel) these beings have ‘portals’ into our own experiences though altered states of mind, such as dreams, sp, etc..

    they are most likely with us all the time, yet we only are aware of them through altered states of mind, be them natural states or those induced by chemicals.

    there was no room for that in my original comment, but strange’s comment made me decide to mention it. (I’ve been returning to read new comments as they come in. there has been some interesting reads to say the least. keep them coming! I’m fascinated by this stuff, to the point of obsession)

    1. Hi Nathan

      No need to apologize. As I keep saying, it’s interesting to hear different perspectives on topics like this. And in the absence of a forum, I’m happy for people to bounce ideas off of one another in these comments.

      Personally though I’m not going to comment any further on the theories that yourself and ‘Strange’ have put forwards. You are both definitely pushing the boundaries of the theories that exist for sleep paralysis, which is interesting, but I’ll leave that to you to explore as it’s now pretty far from what I personally believe, or have any knowledge about. I never could finish those books on quantum physics.

      I think that within these comments just about every possible explanation has been covered now. I only hope anyone reading through doesn’t end up even more mystified about Sleep paralysis than they were before…

      You’re right that there have been some interesting reads. I’ve thought various times about creating a forum here as I don’t think I’ve ever seen such long comments on any article on the internet. People are clearly fascinated by the topic and feel compelled to share their sleep paralysis stories and theories. If I ever find the time to undertake such a task I’ll let you know:-)


  4. I have been fascinated with the overlapping subjects of sleep paralysis, the pineal gland, closed-eye hallucinations, lucid dreaming and Old Hag syndrome for the last five years, and have been experimenting with it on and off since my first sleep paralysis experience at age 20.

    I encountered my first closed-eye hallucination around eight years ago, a vision of a sharp-boned, intensely green-eyed man residing in a backdrop that is best described as the same green/black colour of radar screens. I had absolutely no clue what it was, and subsequently ignored it.

    I didn’t pay much attention to any minor occurrences until one night I had a dream about being chased by the local heroin addicts, who then injected me with heroin. This was during a period of a lengthy abstinence from alcohol or drugs, and no depression, so none could be attributed to this experience. At that point, I woke up in a state I have come to recognise as sleep paralysis; my full body was obviously paralysed, I was riddled with fear, and I felt the ‘heroin’ coursing through my veins (I now attribute this feeling to it being a novel sensation, and the muscular resistance to the paralysis gave off a strange ‘pleasure’ sensation, one that I can now half-control and manipulate). I did not have the feeling someone was in the room, or have any hallucinations at all.

    Again, I had no idea what this was, and thought about it for a few days, then shrugged it off as a strange nightmare occurrence. I had no idea what sleep paralysis was at this time. Keep in mind I am a rational man who’s immensely interested in science, who holds an atheistic outlook and is undoubtedly more likely to deduce a vastly studied, scientific explanation for an occurrence than a religious or paranormal one.

    I then, around 18 months later, travelled to America, and lived with Native Americans in Tennessee. One night there, I had the most profound and bizarre experience I have ever encountered.

    I was sharing an attic space with my friend, in an ‘open-plan’ house where the attic overlooked the kitchen and the living room. We were both sleeping on separate air-beds several feet apart, and I feel asleep after talking to my friend for a short while.

    I woke up perhaps an hour later (I can’t be absolutely sure of the time) and heard something subtle moving in the kitchen, and with it, a rising feeling of dread that it was going to travel up the spiral staircase and come for me. It did not ‘feel’ like a human presence. I gauge this as when a human is travelling upstairs towards my room, I do not get an overwhelming feeling that they can sense, almost ‘hear’, my fear. It felt as if I could feel it just as much as it could feel me, as if I knew where its ultimate destination was: me.

    I could not see it. Only feel it. Yet it appeared as an invisible spherical mass of immense weight floating through the air towards me. I was absolutely awake at this time.(I’ve since had 100s of sleep paralysis experiences and have studied and experimented with lucid dreams to the point of being able to instantly induce them upon sleep – this was unequivocally different)

    It moved towards my feet and I watched this invisible sphere travel onto my sleeping bag, with its shape impress on the covers in between my legs. As the pressure was placed on my feet, the air bed rose so my head was elevated by about 20 degrees, and now looking downwards. I watched it travel up my legs and its absolutely immeasurable density was felt on my chest. The pressure – which I know is a common report of sleep paralysis – was unbelievable.

    This thing communicated telepathically with me that it was going to seize me throat, strangle me and enter my body. At that point, panic set in and I turned my head towards my friend (my head I could still move) and repeatedly screamed his name. No words could escape.

    I succumbed to this assault and stopped panicking, and just let it happen, and the ‘thing’ disappeared down my throat and I fell back to sleep after about an hour of lying in silence, questioning what had just happened.

    The next morning, I woke up and immediately told my friend about it, but framed it as a ‘dream’ that I had had, as I was embarrassed and confused about it and that he would think I had gone insane.

    Hours later, at around 8pm, he was washing the dishes with the woman who owned the house and casually dropped my dream into the conversation. She immediately summoned me to the kitchen, had me explain the experience, and screamed at me to immediately leave the house; to stand in the garden barefoot.

    After five minutes, she came out with one half of a sea shell with a ball of sage inside it, and lit it while speaking some incantation. She blew the smoke from the ball of sage down my throat three times, with no response, not even the faintest of coughs. Upon the fourth time, my stomach stabbed, my throat welled and thick black smoke poured out of my throat with the most awful bellowing, jarring groan. The colour was a deep black, quite unlike the wispy white colour that was blown in. And with that, she said one final incantation, and allowed me back in.

    Her explanation – that a demon had entered my body the previous night – was not taken seriously, as it did not (and still does not) fit in with my scientific grasp of physics and the universe.

    Over the next few years, I encountered a lot of strange, paranormal activity… Waking up with deep scratches despite biting my nails down to their absolute bluntness. Friends encountering sleep paralysis in the beds I slept in. Friends reciting Latin in their sleep (when they couldn’t speak it awake). Things clearly moving on their own. Light, ripped cloth-like black masses floating around the room. Psychics saying to me some creature lies on me at night (without me informing them of absolutely anything).

    You need to keep in mind that I am in no way religious.
    The idea that a deity has selected (or even communicates with) a single ‘special’ species is preposterous, especially one who resides on a minuscule dust speck in a vast solar system, that itself is located galaxy of immense proportions which is only a tiny organism in an almost immeasurable web of gigantic structures. So these occurrences have, if anything, directly conflicted with my beliefs and understanding, and I discredited much of them as me being hyper-sensitive or perhaps trying to sub-consciously find things that aren’t there (I’m aware an element of that does occur, but I’ve been able to separate the aforementioned things from the tenuous links with retrospection)

    I’ve also went through periods of both abstinence and drug experimentation, and have noticed the obvious spike in some of these occurrences after psilocybin, morphine-based drugs or LSD. That said, there have been lengthy periods where I have consumed drugs and nothing has happened, but there is unquestionably a correlation, of which up until recently a scientific explanation has been ‘satisfactory’ (for want of a better word)

    I began reading about lucid dreams and quickly realised – for whatever reason – that I could induce them rapidly. Inducing them happened through inadvertently self-taught meditative techniques that can only be described as the following; first, a clearing of the mind, then the relaxation of the two eyes and their muscles, then finally the activation of the ‘third eye’, so as to give it a name. This feels like placing a mirror across the bridge of your nose and staring into the reflection of the mind. This initially induces closed-eye hallucinations of a level 4 magnitude almost all of the time, and precedes a lucid dream, in a speed that defies my understanding of how REM sleep works.

    It wasn’t until I had experienced a large batch of both strong, vivid lucid dreams (where I was not only conscious while dreaming but entirely manipulating my surroundings, as to control the dream, its narrative and its content) and sleep paralysis that I started to understand what happened to me on the air bed in Tennessee happened when I was UNQUESTIONABLY awake. I can acutely differentiate between that experience and the countless miscellany of other experiences, and this both worries and perplexes me.

    I began reading into Old Hag Syndrome, and found that lot of similar experiences as to mines on the air bed had been banded in with sleep paralysis with the Western way of thinking, but there is – in my mind – no doubt that they are in fact different.

    I’m not claiming to have an answer; I can only speculate as to what this experience actually is, and don’t think it can be a ‘demon’ of the religious kind, because of the reasons I previously mentioned. to suggest demons of a religious kind is to affirm that Mohammed, Jesus or whatever other human being is a direct link to the universe’s creator, something I find implausible given the size of our universe and the insignificance of us within it. 

    However, it is interesting to ponder dark energy, neutrinos, and multi-dimensional beings when approaching this. It seems more rational and plausible than a sentient, malevolent creature silently acting out the will of one of the fallen angels of the universe’s supreme creator anyway. 

    It does seem there’s a strong correlation between negativity and the intensity and regularity of such experiences, and perhaps negative or dark energy resides on vibrations that we are yet unable to fully detect, but ones that still overlap into our four-dimensional understanding of things.

    The only conclusion I could possibly deduce from my own personal experience is that what happened to me while I was on the air bed (and what has happened to many others) can not yet be explained scientifically, and is not the same as sleep paralysis.

    That ‘bad spirits’ don’t have to be in any way human form, or descend from our dead, or even from our dimension, but could be complex collections of energy that use negativity (fear, depression etc) as some sort of fuel. It’s as if you can deliberately attract this type of creature (I use the term creature loosely) with a specific outlook or perspective.

    Like I said, even with all my experiences, this hypothesis seems laughable in my own head because it goes against what I’d like to believe in, but there is definitely some form of energy out there that is more intelligent, more advanced and incomprehensibly more powerful than we are, and one I have no desire to ever encounter again.


    1. Hi

      Thank you so much for this amazing story, and really interesting analysis of what you think happened. To be perfectly honest I don’t know where to begin in responding to your final questions of ‘thoughts?’ – A few lines wouldn’t really do it justice…

      Your struggle with accepting the simple scientific explanation when faced with such an intense and powerful experience is one of the themes which is developing in the comments people leave here. You very eloquently describe that difficulty and I’m grateful that you took the time to do so.

      But I do think you’re the first person here to talk about multi-dimensional beings and other possible explanations which go even beyond the non-scientific explanations I mentioned in the original article.

      Interestingly I was watching a documentary on the discovery channel recently about what aliens might be like once you look beyond carbon-based lifeforms. It reminded me of the possibility of one day discovering things that expand or shatter our current understanding of the Universe.

      I’m not saying I believe that everything we can imagine actually might exist, but your sleep paralysis story and analysis did make me think beyond the explanations I’d originally discussed. I’m a bit of a closet Sci-Fi fan, so I enjoy pondering over things like this from time to time.

      But at the end of the day it does still come down to personal belief for now. If you choose to believe in beings which feed of negative energy etc as you say, could you end up experiencing sleep paralysis, or other strange and unpleasant events which are not SP, every time you recognize that you’re not in the best frame of mind?

      I could write at length in response to the questions you raise, and would enjoy it, but I don’t want to flood the comments with my thoughts, as this is really a space for readers to share their views. Perhaps someone else will read your story and have something to say about it.

      Thanks once again for the time you must have taken to write this comment, and I hope that you manage to reconcile your scientific mind with the disconcerting experiences you’ve had.

      And please know that I’ll be mulling over your ideas for the rest of the day now, even if I don’t respond to them in detail!


  5. I have had 3 SP experiences in the last 25 years. The most recent one being last night. Thus, the reason I found this page. My perspective on this is that they are spiritual attacks. I firmly believe that. I am a Christian and I do believe that spiritual battles between good and evil happen. My episodes are not as frightening as those I have read here though and they have been very few. I awake and cannot move anything at all, including my mouth. Each time I have tried to speak and nothing moves. The only difference in my episode last night was that there was noise that accompanied it and that is what woke me up. You know how when a clock radio goes off, but the radio station is not coming in clearly, and you hear music and static at the same time? That is what the noise was last night. I could also feel vibrations. I honestly thought my husband was messing with the radio or something. Of course, I was the only one that heard it. Each time I had an episode though, I would call out in my mind, “Jesus, help me!” That is just a natural thing for me though because I am a believer, and every single time, it immediately stops and I can move. Not a few minutes or even seconds later, but immediately. From the experiences I have read about here, it sounds an awful lot like torment and that is what demons do. In my opinion, my episodes never progress too far and have been so few because I know what is causing them and I know Who to call on before they escalate. Just felt like I needed to share my perspective on this topic. I pray you all find peace and some good sleep. :)

    1. Hi Lori

      Thanks for sharing your perspective and personal understanding of sleep paralysis. I’m personally very grateful, and interested, that so many people have offered so many different opinions and thoughts on the topic. There haven’t been too many people who believe the spiritual explanation so strongly though, so for the sake of open discussion it’s helpful to hear different views.

      What is becoming apparent from the many people who’ve joined the discussion is that some people feel they have the ability to ‘snap out’ of SP through willpower.

      My opinion is that it doesn’t really matter what drives that will power. Whether it is religious strength helping or just strength of will, I think the outcome can be the same.

      Perhaps you see it differently and that calling on your religious belief is what helps? Would you think that calling for it to stop but without the religious aspect would be as effective?

      I’d be interested to know what you think.

      Thanks again for stopping by, and thanks also for inadvertently letting me know that at least someone reads through the other comments. I was wondering the other day how many people other than me take the time to read them, as it’s a lot to get through!


  6. also my husband was able to come out from it through willpower because he doesn’t believe in prayers. He also told me he was able to heard me the whole time I was yelling out and that he was looking at me the whole time but not being able to move only make mumbling sound because he was trying to talk.

    1. Hi Stefania

      First of all thank you for describing your sleep paralysis in such detail. I’ve read some pretty scary sounding stories in these comments over the months, but yours sounds particularly frightening.

      The wooden box with names in it? A wet ear when you woke up after feeling like a witch was talking to you? Your husband also experiencing it on the same night?

      That all sounds like something straight out of a horror film, and must have been very disturbing for you. I’m not surprised you’ve been a little worried about sleeping again.

      I do understand what you’re saying about how the fact that you both experienced it at the same time makes it hard to accept the scientific side. But what I’d also like to suggest is that it doesn’t absolutely negate it. Just that if you did indeed both experience SP at the same time, it’s a horrible coincidence. Whether you choose to believe that or not is up to you both of course. It’s also possible that one of you wasn’t experiencing SP, but a bad dream as a result of the other, or at the same time.

      Our brains are able to create what seems like a long dream in a split second, which can then be very confusing. For example have you ever had a long dream of a fire and fire engines, then woke up to hear an alarm somewhere and thought it was strange? Actually it is sometimes the alarm which then triggers you to have a dream just before the alarm wakes you up. So when you wake up you feel that you had a very long dream, then were amazed to wake and hear an alarm which sounded just like the one you were dreaming of.

      Just a suggestion for you to mull over, not that it’s a definite explanation, more just a thought that our strange night-time experiences are more complex and can have more possible explanations than you might think:-)

      I do hope that both of you find some peace and go back to sleeping properly again.

      Thanks again for sharing your story

  7. Sorry but forgot to include that my 1st experience i was sleeping on my stomach and felt like an entity was trying to get into my body. My 2nd one I remember I woke up randomly on the middle of the night, I was laying on my right side and I saw an old lady floating on the room going back and forward staring at me like she was really upset. The 3rd one me and my husband were sleeping on our left sides when this happened.

  8. I have read countless books, articles, blogs etc… on the subject of Sleep Paralysis. The scientific explanation is the one I tend to lean most towards, however in experiencing SP myself numerous times…It’s hard not to dig deeper into the spiritual or paranormal reasoning. It first started when I was very young, 8 or 9 years old. I would always have the same dream… that I was riding my bike down a small hill in front of my house and when I reached the bottom I would feel this horrible presence. And I knew it wanted to hurt me. I would look to the right and there would be this dark, dense , shadowy mass moving towards me at a steady slow pace. That is when I would wake up and I would be screaming. My parents would come in and try to comfort me but their voices were slow and deep and I couldn’t understand what they were saying however their lips were moving incredibly fast. This would last for about 5 minutes and then I would snap out of it.

    As I got older it changed into your normal sleep paralysis. I would wake up and be instantly afraid. And not just sort of scared…it felt as though I was going to die in that moment. I couldn’t move and there would be a very tall (8 ft) male presence in the room. He would begin to walk towards me along the side of my bed until he was right next to me looking down directly at me. I would try to scream out or speak and it felt like a hand was shoving my jaw upward closing my mouth. This lasted about 3 minutes usually. The second I could move my fingers, the figure would disappear and I could speak and move. I was usually sweating horribly and cant really go back to sleep at that point.

    The last time I experienced SP it was a bit different. I fell asleep on my couch at mid day. I woke up and it was completely bright in the room as I have large windows. I felt the familiar inability to move but knew I was awake. I heard my bathroom door creak and looked over and It was opening. I couldn’t see a presence but I felt that fear. Then I heard laughing… It was mechanical cackling. And I didn’t realize until after I could move my fingers that I was the one laughing.

    I cant explain that last one….very strange indeed.

    1. Hi Amanda

      Thank you for leaving this comment and sharing your story. Yes, that last incident does sound very odd. I can imagine it was very strange to realize it was you doing the laughing! Did the bathroom door actually open though, or did you imagine that part? You also mention that you looked over, so presumably your body was paralyzed, but your head still able to turn?

  9. Hi!
    This is my third time in my whole life experiencing SP. My 1st time was when I was 17, the 2nd when I was 25 and my last one a few days ago, I’m 27 now. Well my last one was kind of different because involves my husband. Everything started in the middle of the night, when I was sleeping and out of nothing I woke up. I was awake, thinking and randomly out of nothing came this voice screaming in my ear, it sounded like a witch. I closed my eyes because I freaked out and when I closed them I saw a really old wooden box and inside was a paper with my name, my husband’s, my mother’s and my father’s name. While I was reading that paper I kept hearing the witch screaming things in my ear in a different language. I opened my eyes and I tried to wake my husband up but I couldn’t move or speak and felt like someone was holding me. I was so scared because the witch’s voice was still in my ear. Then since I couldn’t move I remember that my passed experiences of SP I used to pray to get out from that paralysis. So that’s what I did. I prayed and prayed until the witch’s voice went away and also the paralysis. So I sat up right away and I felt my ear like wet, like when someone talks to you on your ear for too long. After that I started to wake my husband up. He woke up and I told him about it, he said that maybe I was dreaming. So since he saw me freaking out he told me he will stay awake until I will fall asleep again. So that’s what we did. He stayed playing x-box until I fell asleep. And out of nothing I woke up again and I heard my husband mumbling. So I freaked out again and I started to scream “Baby, baby!!!” and he kept mumbling. He had his eyes open so that meant he was awake but he wouldn’t move. He would just mumble and stared at me without even opening his mouth. So I kept yelling until he finally came out of it. I asked him what happened and he told me that what happened to me a few hrs ago had just happened to him. He was mumbling because he couldn’t move anything. He felt like someone was holding him and not letting him move. So we were so scared that we went to my mom’s room and she made us pray. Because she says that since I played the Ouija board when I was little maybe that’s why they bothered me. And since she believes on spirits and stuff like that and me too so I decided to pray. Since then I haven’t been able to sleep because I don’t know what to believe. If I believe the scientific side of SP then I don’t understand why it happened to my husband the same thing on the same day as me. Because of that I’m leaning more towards the paranormal side because I don’t see other way.

  10. I just experienced this for the first time in my life (north side of 50) last night, and as a result went looking about for information. Happy to have discovered this site.

    Upon waking, I had the distinct impression of the presence of an entity prone atop my chest, pinning both arms to the bed. I would describe it as a coalescence of fluttering shadows without a distinct physical shape. I was unable to turn my head far enough to check the time. I was able to struggle/move my arms somewhat, but not nearly enough to free myself. It was speaking, after a fashion; more like unintelligible whispers. This went on for what seemed like 5-10 minutes, at which point I began directing it to leave. Not sure if I actually spoke aloud or merely focused mental energy; this is the last thing that I recall. By the time I had awoken again some hours later, everything seemed normal. I did not sense terror or even danger, but was somewhat alarmed at the occurrence.

    First thoughts ranged from crazy/bad dream, which is entirely possible and perhaps most likely, to something more sinister. I suppose it’s also possible that my partner merely flung some portion of her body across mine at some point during the night, or that the bedspread was the one doing the “pinning”. I normally sleep alone. I also normally wake several times during the night. I had been drinking, but not heavily. Lately, I have been aware of more dreams than is normal for me, but the impression I had upon waking fully was that something had indeed “happened”. Of course, there was no physical evidence present to support such a notion.

    Full disclosure; I do believe in paranormal occurrences and a spiritual realm, but have no personal experience with them. Not willing yet to classify this as such. Maybe if it happens again. Most of what is portrayed in various media seems highly dubious to me, however, and can be rather easily de-mystified. I’m willing to accept the rational, scientific explanation, but at the same time know that science does not fully comprehend every matter, and many times simply raises more questions. Then too is the lingering feeling that something weird may have just happened.

    Anyway, thanks for providing a forum.

    1. Hi Jason

      Thank you very much for taking the time to share your experience of sleep paralysis, if indeed it was since you question it yourself.

      As a side note, I really appreciate it when someone leaves a comment which is so nicely written; “coalescence of fluttering shadows” is possibly the best combination of 3 words on this website now!

      Anyway, back to the point. It does sound to me like quite a classic case of sleep paralysis, even though you rightly question other possibilities. But the fact that you were pinned to the bed and unable to move, and then somehow able to direct it to finish is something other people have also mentioned.

      I doubt anyone has read every single comment on this page now as it would take several hours I think, but I know a common theme is some people being able to end the episode through willpower. Others sadly don’t seem to be able to do that.

      To me this seems to be developing as a core part of sleep paralysis. Knowing something is happening, as you mention, and then either being able or not to stop it happening.

      I think you also very rationally point out that the scientific explanation seems reasonable, but the Universe is a mysterious place with so much still unexplained. I still stand by my original line that in this case it’s probably easier to believe there aren’t demons…

      Thanks again for your thoughts

  11. My first sleep paralysis took place nearly 26 years ago and for nearly 20 years it remained just that, with no demons or Out of body experiences. Then a number of years ago while suffering SP I suddenly found myself hovering above my back garden and house on a freezing winter night. All I can say is that it was the most profound experience I have ever felt. I remember wondering how on this earth I was looking down at my house and garden when only a second ago I had been falling into SP in my bed. Although I wasn’t exactly aware of my body within the OBE I could actually feel the cold from the thick snow lying below me. I remember the whole event with great clarity and it has had a huge impact on me mentally to this day. From the day I had my first OBE I have been plagued by demonic voices, violent bed shaking, voices of laughing children and visits from a demon who regularly molests me. While falling into SP I can sometimes go straight into an OBE and avoid any visitors but at other times I have to endure being violated up to five time a night. I never really believed in near death experience until I had my first OBE, but now I’m a convert. I am terrified every single night that I go to bed and I have to sleep with the bedroom and landing lights on, as well as other lights in the house. I feel absolutely tormented at times. It’s very much a lottery when I go to bed, I really don’t know what I’m going to get from one night to the next.
    Finally, I’d just like to mention that at the point of the onset of the SP I get a sort of buzzing electrical sound in my ears along with vibrations throughout my body. For many years I have not been able to use a bedside fan even on the warmest of nights, due to the fact that it always sets off my SP and then inevitably results in a nasty visit. It seems to make it easier for these entities to manifest themselves.
    I am of the opinion that what I am experiencing is very real and not simply in my mind like I am continually being told. I believe science has a long way to go before it is ready to accept what is the true nature of our reality. People don’t like to think demons are real, it’s not really a nice thought. Most people would rather label them as complainant mad than face the the fact that over thousands of years people have forgotten what their true reality is along with the demons that come with it. Sadly nothing is what we have been told it really is, and to be honest I believe that is how the masses will always want it to be. They seem completely blissful in their ignorance.

    1. Hi Angela

      Thank you for sharing this very personal, and I imagine painful, story of sleep paralysis. I can understand your description of it being a lottery at night-time, either going into a less disturbing OBE, or having to endure something quite horrible. I’m sorry to hear you have to face this every night, and I can only hope for your sake it calms down at some point.

      I’m glad you mention your strong belief that demons etc do exist. It’s good for the on-going debate to have one or two people argue the other side of the possible explanation. Even though I personally think the scientific explanation is enough, I don’t doubt that the experiences people like yourself go through make it very difficult to do the same.

      I’m also glad you mention sleeping with the lights on helps, as this is something I’ve suggested to people previously.

      Thanks again for sharing this, and I do hope you get some relief from sleep paralysis in the near future.


  12. I’m glad to have found this forum! I have been getting Sleep parlysis for a long time now (not 100% sure when they started exactly, I just know for a while). They happen every couple months or so. I always experience the same exact scenario. My husband and I’s bedroom is upstairs and he leaves at 4:30 in the morning, so I have another 2.5 hours before having to get up myself. Since we are upstairs, one of my biggest fears is a break in. So naturally, I experience the “intruder”. The dream is so vivid that I can hear the “intruder” pounding up the stairs, the squeaks of the steps, the footsteps across the other room (our upstairs is just a very large room divided into two, so there is a loft first, then bedroom), the squeak of the old doorknob into my room, and right before the “intruder” enters, I wake up. That was my last event. Other times are less intense and I can simply sense the “intruder” on the other side of the door. Some do not seem to be terrifying at all, and are just my two cats playing in my room, which always confuses me more then anything because kitties are not allowed in the bedroom, and then I wake up, alone of course.

    I’ve been suffering from anxiety and depression since I was a kid, but do not take any type of medication. I learned to self medicate with hobbies and exercise. I took meds while in middle school/highschool and made the decision I was not going to take meds anymore! I take 3mg of melatonin (Vitafusion sleep gummies actually) to sleep and have not experienced SPs since I’ve started taking these. Before, I was taking Midnight (meltaway sleep tabs), and not only did these eventually cause an onset of frequent migraines but more frequent SPs.

    I thought I was the only one for a long time, turns out everyone in my family experiences them occasionally. They are more common then I thought! Thanks for reading.

    1. Hi Brittney

      Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your own stories of sleep paralysis. I think it’s a great example of the classic sleep paralysis intruder theme, though obviously not so great for you and sometimes quite frightening.

      It’s interesting that you’ve noticed how different medication can affect the occurrence of SP or not, if it was indeed that and not something else that you didn’t realise. It can be tricky to isolate things sometimes.

      And you’re definitely not alone, as you’ll also now know if you’ve seen other comments here as well as talking to your family.

      I hope you’ve seen the last of it now anyway, and can enjoy peaceful sleep.

      Thanks again

  13. Yes, I agree that at times it is hard to tell the difference between SP and vivid nightmares, but I have found that if I don’t snap myself out of SP,(which I learned how to do at a young age by simply jerking a shoulder/head or even twitching my finger)that the SP can develop into other ‘states of mind’ such as OBE’s, lucid dreaming, or even just bizarre nightmares. It is when my curiosity tries to ‘ride out the wave’ when things go utterly insane.

    what I find odd about all the one’s I mentioned above is that they begin with SP, go in some other direction, and lead back to SP before waking. also, worth mentioning is that my intense experiences are hypnagogic more than hypnopompic, though I am very familiar with both.

    again, thanks for reading and double thanks for inciting such an interesting subject without all the ‘mumbo jumbo’ popular in other articles of the same topics. no one wants to be told that they are ‘possessed’ no matter their spiritual views.

    1. Hello again Nathan:-)

      That’s really interesting that you essentially are in a position where you have a choice. You can either snap out of it or decide to go with it and see what happens. That’s a remarkable position to feel confident about being in, considering many people experience sleep paralysis and just want the terror they experience to end.

      It’s making me wonder how less frightening sleep paralysis would seem to me if I felt that I had a choice. But I think the feeling that you don’t have a choice is one of the key factors that makes it sleep paralysis.

      I’m glad you appreciated the article. I’m not a big fan of mumbo jumbo as you call it, though do like to cover all perspectives. And I enjoy reading stories comments like yours. I should really create a forum for this topic!


  14. Where to start…

    I have had SP happen since a small child. i am now 32. i smoked pot since i was 14 regularly, and now that i have quit smoking, my Sp is back.

    additionally, it happened to me every night around age 8 when I was instructed by a doctor to take antibiotics 3 times a day, one of the times at night (due to returning strep throat)

    in these particular situations, i would have no body, only consciousness, and be in a void seeing flashing lasers, flaming skulls flying , spirits and such, accompanied by screaming and a slew of other freaky sounds. i told my mother about it and she told me to stop taking the antibiotics before sleeping. those particular experiences stopped after that, but I still had normal episodes of sleep SP as the years went on.

    at age 16, i had one terrible night where SP returned after a long break. this was the first time i had ever had the convulsing, electrical shakes that can come with SP. this occasion, it felt like an ice cold hand gripped around my heart. it shook me so badly that that night is forever burned into my mind. i kept shaking it away and having the exact same sensation return (the hand on my heart, squeezing). sometime later it stopped happening for a while (a few years).

    i used to write lyrics a lot and at age 21 i began incorporating many dark, macabre topics, some of which inspired by my SP as a child. soon after, i began having SP again and even out of body experiences (next level stuff). they tended to be dark experiences. the convulsing returned, the tingling electrical feelings and the hand as well (all at the same time of course). at times, these led to lucid dreams where i could ride out the SP for a while and then use it to walk around my room in an altered reality.

    once in that time period, i was snapped back from my lucidity to being trapped on the bed, floating in a void, with the sensation of a young child running circles around my bed repeating “don’t play with needles’. i had a 3 year old nephew at the time and interpreted it as a warning to relay to my sister and parents in regards to my nephew. thankfully, nothing even occurred with my nephew and needles. ( i can’t say or not if i feel it was really a warning or not, but i had to be sure)

    i began experimenting with SP in those days. I have had experiences that i will not delve too deep into, but i have even been spoken to by voices that seemed god-like, telling me that i was ‘chosen’. weird huh? (possibly I’m just seriously delusional). for instance, i have been bodiless in a void witnessing an immense shade in the form of a horned and tailed shadow with its arms shackled to a wheel looked to be made of yellow and red stained glass, with a non-malevolent, non-benevolent but intense voice tell me that i will be responsible for releasing the shade on existence, releasing it from its cage. (seriously, I’m not making this up)
    the experience occurred as a SP, led to a strange lucid dream, then the void with the shackled shadow, then back to SP in my bed with the voice still speaking to me. (well, i guess i DID delve deep into that one)

    i have had light from different windows in the room shape shift until they become bulbous bright eyes staring at me.

    at age 22 , while sleeping over at my girlfriend’s house (at the time a new relationship, now 10 years and counting) I had a very odd experience with SP. while she was cuddling next to me the SP triggered. while she was being sweet and kind in reality, on the ‘astral’ side of things i had a shadow in my face shaking me and cackling like a witch inside my head (very loud and maniacal). it was very scary as the witch’s projection of torment coincided with perfect polarity to how my girlfriend was cuddling with me (such opposite occurrences at the same time. odd stuff)

    i started taking massive amounts of sleeping pills in those days, and they triggered many lucid dreams, some that were more like music videos than SP experiences.

    (like seeing a film crew in the desert make a fake news cast of occurrences detailed in revelations in an attempt to fool mankind, while heavy metal music is playing all around me. like literally making stop go clay motion with red dragons and such. seriously? )

    i have seen demon fairy looking bugs float into my room during SP, go inside my ear and trigger the actual shaking convulsing sensations. one in particular felt like my head was an empty space with the bug bouncing around like a ping-pong ball, and my head shaking in reaction)

    I’ve seen shadows and vivid people stand over me, heard screaming and even babies crying (yikes!). the latest freaky sounds were a malicious swarm of chirping incests in my right ear.

    during one occasion (age 22), i was staying with my parents and sleeping in my old room that at the time was my my dad’s computer room. he was on the computer while i napped and went into SP, then an OBE. while in the SP, i heard about 5 different family members talking about their problems all at the same time. my mom was talking to my cousin’s wife about drama my cousin was presently facing, my sister was crying and so on. i was later (same episode) floating around my room in an OBE and looking at my dad at different angles from the corner of the room. my dad’s voice spoke in my head “have you found the lost fool?” or something close to that, and i woke up after hearing it. my dad of course, was just on the computer like normal and when i got up he just apologized for waking me, with no idea of course about what i just experienced.

    OK. i will stop here with the detailed experiences and just say that i was never raised religious, but developed a deep interest in religious matters in my youth due to these experiences (among other dreams, not SP related), though i never considered myself part of any religion.

    despite everything i just wrote, as an adult, i prefer to believe that all of this is just chemical and psychological. as stated , I am now 32 and would rather believe that I am just severely imbalanced than think that these experiences are the result of paranormal forces (though i have many equally strange experiences not related to SP, that i choose not to speak of here as i feel it is out of context)

    that said. i am still looking for answers, but don’t expect to find any.

    i just snapped out of a SP before finding this website. i literally thought i would die of a heart attack or brain hemorrhage due to the feelings in my heart and brain.

    i would not have even bothered posting this, but i noticed that the dates are recent and I could not resist.
    i could literally write a book on this stuff, as I barely skimmed the iceberg of my experiences, though i DID detail above some of those that stuck with me the hardest.

    in closing, i would just like to state that i take this all very serious and would never make any of this up. many people that i used to randomly talk to about these things either thought i was crazy or a liar, and since my mid-twenties, i only tell the people that know me well enough to not look at me in that fashion.

    I thank anyone for taking the time to read through this madness. and I’ll be checking back here , as this is one of the better webpages i have found with SP discussions.

    ty again.

    1. Hi Nathan

      Wow, what a story! Thank you for taking the time to share such personal events. You’re now the third person to leave such a huge comment, and I think I’ve just cracked in terms of feeling bad about editing down people’s comments. If it carries on like this I’m going to have to pay for extra server space just to accommodate the comments on this one article;-)

      Back to your story though, and I do believe that you have experienced what you say you have. As you can see from other people’s sleep paralysis stories, the variety and intensity of the experiences that different people have is amazing.

      What you describe does seem to touch on other things as well, and I’m not sure if all of it can be put down purely to sleep paralysis. But I think you recognize and point that out yourself also. To be honest though I think it’s sometimes really hard to tell the difference, even between something like SP or a plain bad dream for example. Your story is certainly complex – for example the one with your girlfriend at 22, and then the OBE with your 5 family members.

      On the other hand it’s not the first comment that describes a complex case of SP. The 7000 word one which I had to edit out was also very different and went beyond the usual demon on the chest or spirit in the room story.

      I like that you managed to tap into the possibility of using lucid dreaming as a tool to deal with things like sleep paralysis. That’s great, and really interesting.

      You’re also not the first person to say you’re still looking for answers. I hope you find them, or at least settle on an answer which you can accept the most.

      Thanks again for the comment, and the compliment about the webpage.


  15. Wow a guy at work mentioned SP to me the other day when I described my episodes from 2004 to 2006. I won’t get into it other than for about 2 or 3 years can describe an uncanny resemblance to what other people who left a comment on the site describe as a dark hooded figure and terrifying noises. It scared me so bad I did not like to sleep in the dark. Hell I even slept with my gun after the first couple episodes but soon realized it would do me no good. I lived in my condo and anywhere I fell asleep inside it could happen. When I met a girl I would fall asleep at her place and have no problems at all. I loved sleeping over there with my guard down. We both decided to move into my condo together. I actually was nervous as hell to go back. I would have nightmares (real ones not SP versions) at her place regarding the thing I thought resided in mine. I am not a religious person either. When we moved back in the condo nothing ever happened again and believe me I was nervous. I just kept waiting for stuff to hit the fan but it never did. I did feel more at ease when I moved back. Maybe one reason is we had gotten a Labrador pup and he was already big by the time we moved back. During the first week of moving back the dog alerted to something where the wall and ceiling meet. He barked and growled as he followed what seemed like an invisible insect down the wall. He followed something to a point as if he pushed it to the edge of the building and that was that.

    Well I do not live there anymore but when I sleep that dog is still close by. I obviously felt like a crackpot telling anyone about it. I was just glad it stopped. I wish I could tell your readers what to do to stop this but cannot. I was 28 to 30 years old at the time and not afraid of a whole lot. But the stories shared on this website are all too familiar to me. It makes me nervous thinking about it. I have a strong bond with my dog. I always kind of thought he took care of it. I would not discount prayer though but I never participated in it.

    1. Hi Lucas

      Thanks for taking the time to share your sleep paralysis stories with us. It’s interesting that you mention your dog as a previous commentator was wondering if there were trained dogs to help with sleep paralysis. Even though I’m pretty sure there aren’t and that such a thing would not be possible, it’s funny that your story involves feeling like your dog was somehow helping.

      Perhaps it’s just the extra feeling of security and comfort that a loyal guardian like a dog can bring to people when they sleep. I know when I was a kid I always slept better when our family dog decided to sneak into my room.

      It would certainly work well with the common theory that being relaxed and less stressed can help with sleep paralysis.

      Anyway I’m pleased to hear that your sleep paralysis is in the past now, and I hope it stays that way for you:-)


  16. I’m 19 and my first experience of SP occurred when I was 18. It was after a night out drinking and I thought that maybe my drink had been spiked. It was a terrifying ordeal. I went to bed after sobering up and I felt myself lose control of my body. It went all fuzzy and my chest got heavy. I saw a hooded figure in the corner of my room and this caused me to panic. I heard loud footsteps and then a car revving over and over. I then blinked but the figure seemed to get closer and closer. I’m unsure of how long it lasted because at the time it felt like a lifetime. I was so scared I made my sister sleep in my bed for a week.
    I researched and discovered its a common thing so this eased my worries a little. It happened again a few weeks later and this time it was when I was falling back asleep for a sleep in one morning. This time I saw a figure on my chest and could not breathe properly. I heard it breathing it then screamed and left. It’s happened a few times since then but not as severe. If I feel myself going into SP I sometimes can force myself to wake up properly.
    I am sceptical about paranormal stuff but it’s hard not to believe it when there’s something sitting on your chest.

    1. Hi Emily

      Thanks for sharing your sleep paralysis stories, and like so many other people you’ve commented here, it sounds very frightening. It’s good that you can sometimes snap yourself out of it if you feel SP coming on, if only it was possible all the time!

      And I think you’re not alone in struggling with the conflict of not really believing in the supernatural, but then having what feels like solid evidence for something inexplicable existing. That’s where I think it comes down to personal choice in what to believe, and then the mental strength to keep remininding yourself that you don’t believe anything terrible is, or is going, to happen.

      Take care and I hope you manage to develop an ability to break out of any sleep paralysis every time:-)

  17. Hi, I’m a 15 year old girl, I’m not a Christian, and I don’t believe in ghosts or demons, ect. I first experienced sleep paralysis when I was 14 nearly 15, I had this sudden sensation all over my body when I was trying to go to sleep. The next thing that happened was that I felt that I couldn’t move and I also couldn’t speak, then the silhoutte of a man came into my room, and I had the sensation I was being dragged out of bed. When this experienced stopped I was still in bed, yet the whole thing seemed to real. That was the first episode I had. At this point I did not know what sleep paralysis was, and I presumed it was a bad dream. The same thing happened to me again every couple of months, however sometimes the episode would end before he started to drag me across my floor. Although every time there was an intruder. However at this point I still thought it was a reaccuring nightmare. Recently I have had these episodes every single night for 5 nights in a row. I can feel when they’re going to happen as I regonise the feeling before I am asleep, yet there is nothing I can do about it. It really terrifies me and makes me unable to sleep as I am so scared. Not only till today did I find out what sleep paralysis was, and all of my symptoms seem to match up. I was just wondering if anyone had any help or advice as it is making me really tired the next day due to lack of sleep.

    1. Hi Lydia

      Wow, yet another very scary sounding sleep paralysis story. I’m sure they are sounding more and more frightening as people share their experiences in these comments!

      I’m not surprised you are feeling tired. Presumably you’re not sleeping much because of worrying that you’ll have another ‘episode’. There is no evidence for what I’m about to suggest helping, but you could always try it.

      If you’ve developed a worry that the same thing will happen, perhaps make some external changes to the environment. Make a few small changes to your sleeping environment and see if that helps break the cycle of everything being the same. You might also find it helpful to do some relaxation exercises just before you go to bed, or even once you are in bed.

      If they continue and you can’t stop it, perhaps talk to someone about it – even if it’s just friends or family, or your doctor. They may be able to give you some reassurance and help stop the feeling of dread that you might have before going to bed.

      Good luck with it and I hope it calms down for you soon.


    And last but not least, hypnic jerks (or however it’s spelled) have joined in which feel like epileptic seizures! And i don’t even have to be falling asleep, it seems that they appear at the slightest onset of mere resting with my eyes closed! It’s ridiculous!
    The jerking turns into violent shakes, it feels just like i’m having a seizure. I am not sure what all this stuff is but it is VERY disheartening and causes major panic and fear. It is SO disturbing, it ALL is. I don’t know what triggers it and the inconsistent sporadic cycle patterns are so arbitrary I can’t even prepare myself.

    Since nobody seems to have any answers or cures, I am looking into getting a trained service dog that is trained to sense when i’m having an episode and either alert me to one coming on or to gently nudge me to bring me out of one. I figure if they can train dogs to do this kind of thing for seizures, why not SP? Its the only thing i can think of that would be affective in nipping them in the bud. It may not be a cure or a preventative measure, but it’s better than the alternative, which is battling the thing several times a night to the point of exhaustion. At least i would feel safe knowing i have a “body guard” while i sleep and that is very reassuring to me. Now i just need to find out how to go about getting one. If you happen to know, please share that information with me, if you will. Thank you

    1. Gina

      As I said before, I had to edit this second comment also. Sorry about that.

      I left this part in because it’s an interesting idea. I have not heard of a dog being trained for this particular purpose, so maybe someone else who reads these comments, if anyone does, might have an idea.

      But you would need to explain why you require such a dog as service dogs are not given to people lightly, and that would mean explaining your story in full. Which, to be honest, is something I think might be a good idea for you to do anyway. Hypnic jerks are not really violent seizures which happen when you just rest your eyes. So it might be a good idea to get yourself checked out by a medical professional.

      Thanks again for the time and effort you put into writing these comments. Despite editing them ruthlessly, I can assure you that they were read in full.

      One suggestions is that you are welcome to write another comment which is maybe two or three hundred words maximum summarizing everything you personally feel is important. I would then delete these two and put that one in instead. At least then you would have a permanent comment of what you thought was most important rather than me.



    My sleep paralysis episodes just seem to grow increasingly worse the older I get. Here is my story:

    I am a life long suffer of SP but have never sought treatment for it because for one, I thought nobody would understand what was going on and I didn’t even know how to begin explaining what was happening. I found it difficult to describe and didn’t want it to be misinterpreted as being all “in my head”…

    …I know people wouldn’t share my same views and I don’t expect them to. But those of us who go to bed at night and experience this type of thing are desperate for help. Not something that might help, or could possibly help, but something that DOES help.

    I certainly appreciate you advice. I am hoping to find something a little more reliable or at least consistent. I have PTSD as a result of some of the more severe episodes and I am prescribed ativan for that, but it’s for my PTSD symptoms and has no affect on the the severity of my SP episodes or the number of occurrences.

    There are no triggers that I can pinpoint directly to when I have SP. I don’t drink alcohol or do any drugs, so that’s not a contributing factor. It just comes and goes. The only thing consistent about it, is that it seems to come in age cycles (17-20, mid-to-late 20’s, 31-35, late 30’s to early 40’s) there are huge gaps spanning between the age cycles where they are virtually absent. I feel that either my body/brain lacks this certain chemical or not. Why would it arbitrarily stop producing it at certain times, and then just arbitrarily start again? If I lack the chemical that “un-paralyzes” my body out of REM sleep, then shouldn’t I be lacking it all the time? If not, can’t doctors find out what is causing my body to stop producing it and pinpoint when this occurs, and then find something that can produce the same chemical or a substitute of some kind that I can take during the cycles that my body lacks it?

    I don’t even know how or where to start, but when have many scientists and doctors in this country to where I feel they should at least figure this out. It does merit at least some kind of solution.

    I hope you don’t think I am being unreasonable or harsh in any way. If I seem upset at all, it is not directed at you or anybody else, other than those who are qualified individuals in this area who possess the credentials to look into it further, but have not. I don’t even know how to go about contacting a place who could do clinical trials. I know a ton of sleep studies have been conducted, but that’s as far as it goes. What good is a study if they provide no solutions.

    I wish I would have started this crusade a long time ago!

    Any tips or suggestions you may have for me are greatly appreciate your time, I know it’s valuable, and I apologize

    1. Hi Gina

      I’m very sorry but I had to do a massive edit on your comment. I feel terrible after you obviously spent a long, long time writing it. But that comment, along with your next comment comes to 6700 words in total (I was so amazed, I had to do a word count). This is nearly 3 times longer than the original article so there is just no way I can keep it in.

      I did, however, read both of your comments in full and they were very interesting. I deleted the story and kept 2 main points to reply to.

      Firstly I personally think you could probably try talking to a professional about it. If it has troubled you your whole life, then you could always talk to your doctor. You could maybe tell them you know it’s sleep paralysis, but just want some support from them. Hopefully they won’t judge you or make you feel silly for bringing it up.

      Secondly you are not the only one who wishes that someone, somewhere, would try to find a solution for it. So I wanted to let you know that there is nothing particularly wrong with wishing that researchers had put more time or energy into finding a solution for people. Whether they do or not one day obviously remains to be seen. But in the meantime, I think many people who experience this regularly would wish more was done to investigate it.

      I will now go and edit your next comment as well.

      Thanks so much for taking the time to leave this story, and I’m sorry for the edit, and that I also don’t have any great answers for you…


  20. I had SP three times around 2 years ago. I wanted to let you guys know what I did the last time I experienced SP. I woke up in bed with the bed covers moving as if someone was crawling up to me inside my bed, then I felt a presence next to me like someone was breathing on my face on the left side (all 3 times the presence was on the left side of me, don’t know if this happens to everyone) anyway I said in my head i’m in control and i’m not frightened of you so —- off, and it did, never had it again after that time. Everyone has their own opinions of what this is, I was going through a bad time with depression, and a lot of people who have this say the same, their also anxious and stressed. They say Meditation and diet, have also been very helpful. good luck

    1. Hi Linda

      Thanks for adding your version of sleep paralysis. That sounds straight out of a horror film and very frightening. But it also sounds like you took it in your stride and had some impressive mental strength to deal with it that way. Good on you!

      Yes, the stress factor does crop up time and time again. That’s why something like meditation could be helpful, for some people, as you rightly point out.


  21. I have been experiencing this since I was 11. It gets worse every year and now I’m 23. when it first happened it was something slight like I just couldn’t move my body and then I start hearing noises like kids playing, loud buzzing noises,and also demonic noises. now I also feel pressure and also hear it walking around my room getting in my face laughing. It’s very scary to me. I want to believe the scientific way, but the things that are happening to me while I’m sleeping just can’t be fine to say it’s scientific. Something is trying to get me while I’m sleep. this morning around 4 AM I fell asleep on my stomach and I feel something open the door with fast force and pressure come to my face and make weird demon noise, and demonic laughing. then I felt the force leave. I started to pray and tried to move, eventually I woke up… Some tips that have helped eliminate this a little is to sleep with a blanket over your face and on sleep your stomach.

    1. Hi Porsha

      Thanks for sharing your experience of sleep paralysis. The demonic aspect to your experiences sounds scary indeed, and I hope you manage to reduce it even further. I’m not sure about sleeping with a blanket on your face as being advice I would want to give everyone though!


  22. Thank you, yea I thought that was weird too (the being able to turn my head part) but I don’t know, perhaps it was part of the “dream” or whatever or maybe I wasn’t fully paralyzed since I remember struggling to move my arms and legs and kind of being able to shake em a little bit at first, but when I finally did it it didn’t seem like I was waking up, it all seemed so vivid somehow. Anyways, thank you for your time, and I will follow your advice about doing something relaxing next time I can’t sleep right away! Good thing this is the first time it happens to me and I hope it’s my last.

  23. Hi, I came here looking for an explanation about what happened to me last night, and it seems like it fits. Anyways, I couldn’t fall asleep cuz I was having this really weird anxiety, which I almost never have, the kind of anxiety where you actually feel some kind of pressure on your chest. After hours of rolling around on the bed, I ended up face up, and I closed my eyes. After a few seconds I had that feeling people sometimes get when you feel like you’re falling out of bed, but this felt stranger somehow, like I was being dragged out of bed by no one, so I opened my eyes and stared at the ceiling for a moment. After a few seconds I started hearing some children laughing and at first I thought nothing of it, but then I realized the sound was coming from my headboard, and I turned to see what was making that sound and it was really dark so I couldn’t make out the figure very well but it looked like a gargoyle, and it was moving its mouth. I tried to scream but all I could manage was some sort of slurred speech and I couldn’t move my arms and legs, so I started struggling with the paralysis while turning my head to look from the thing to look at my arms to concentrate and try to move them. After a few seconds I managed to do this. And then I was just lying on my bed thinking about what happened, and I had read something about this experiences so I thought that that was what it was.

    1. Hi George

      That sound like a very unpleasantly intense experience indeed! Whether it was sleep paralysis or not isn’t exactly clear, but it certainly has some of the key features. What is strange is that you were able to turn your head but not move your arms or legs.

      I can’t help but wonder whether there’s an element of anxiety, panic and general tiredness involved in your particular circumstances. Whatever the case I think you might benefit from finding a way to relax if it happens again instead of torturing yourself by lying in bed awake for hours!

      It’s always a good idea to get out of bed and do something relaxing and calming for a while if you can’t fall asleep after 20-30 minutes. If you find yourself in that situation of tossing and turning for hours, give that a go:-)

      Thanks taking the time to share your story and I hope it was a one off!

      1. I’ve read a lot that the figures people see were about 3 ft tall gargoyle looking things. So I looked more into it and in ancient times they believed that this was a sleep demon and there are hundreds of old paintings of this demon and surprise, every single figure in the painting looks exactly like how people on this discussion page describe it to look like. I don’t think this has anything to do with science. I’m not saying I believe in ancient gods, goddesses, or demons. But if I did, this would be my window into believing that.

        1. Hi again Ri,

          Try not to get too caught up in the demon side of things would be my advice. Having read every comment here in detail, and many more across the internet, I’m pretty convinced that people describe very different things, even if there are sometimes some similarities. Of course it’s your choice what to believe, but my advice would be that the scientific explanation will help you sleep easier at night:-)

  24. Hi again,

    I just reread and realized I didn’t answer your question. In any dark place I feel slight paranoia. But, if I am confined in a dark place at night, whether in bed or not, it is like experiencing my own private horror movie. The phobia and sleep paralysis seem to feed each other. Being already panicky lends to more episodes. An episode increases the phobia.

    1. Jennie
      Yes I can well imagine your phobia and sleep paralysis being interconnected. If the phobia is that strong, perhaps at some point you might find it helpful to talk to someone about it to see if anything can be done to reduce it:-)

  25. Ethan,
    Thank you for your reply. You are correct that just knowing there are others, many others, does help. I feel bad for those who suffer, but I no longer feel as if I’m abnormal.
    That article about fear of the dark phobia was interesting and true to life almost as if they had a camera in my house. I’ve found in my case that the worst and best times of phobia and the number of sleep paralysis episodes coincide.
    I’ve found the light helps in that being able to see clearly and no shadows prevents the fear from becoming intense and leaves a slightly panicky extreme alertness but no terror. Really intense times I turn on the main light, but other times a night light or fish tank light work great.
    Again, I thank you for posting this. I thank everyone who has replied. I sincerely hope that as time goes on we all will experience this less and less!!!!!

    1. Hi Jake

      If you read through all the other comments here, you should get a pretty good idea of what sleep paralysis is like! And lucid dreaming is not really something I can talk about with much authority. If you do a search online you can find lots of interesting websites which deal specifically with lucid dreaming.

  26. I’m a sufferer of this since I was a kid and just had the latest episode yesterday. It has always almost been accompanied with terror, normally the presence of shadow somewhere in the room, sometime on top of me or behind my back. Sometime the terror was more intense than usual.

    For me, it so far happened when my body was too tired but I had a lot of stress / a lot of things in my mind. So my own theory is, that it happens when my body comes to the states when it shuts down, but my mind has not. And for me, the only way to get rid of the episodes is by forcing myself to wake up from the episode then changing my sleeping position. Simply breaking the episode and going back to sleep in the exact same position will almost always to make the SP reoccurs straight away.

    Hope this can add a good insight on your study on SP! :)

    1. Hi Nick

      Thanks for sharing your sleep paralysis story, and you do raise a couple of interesting points. I agree that changing position might help to reduce the possibility of a back-to-back episode. I have that with hypnic jerks for example as well for some reason; if I change position, they tend to stop.

      And yes, I think you’re right that if the body has shut down but the mind is still active, SP is more likely to happen, especially as you mention if you are feeling stressed at the time.

      It’s good that you have the ability to force yourself to break out of it, so to speak. Perhaps just knowing that changing position will help adds to your ability to fight it. You’re maybe not left as helpless and confused as some people are who have no idea what can help them!

      Thanks again for sharing:-)

    2. Hello, I was just wondering what this SP was. My friend had it a couple of days ago at our sleepover, she woke me up shaking me and saying: there is a robber! There is a robber! That scared my to death, I am crying right now while I’m typing this. I am really scared now, I may not go to sleep at all tonight!

      1. Hiyah,

        I can imagine that that must have been very scary for you. Assuming there wasn’t a robber, it could have been sleep paralysis, or even just waking up from a dream and being very confused and still thinking the dream is real. My advice is not to worry about it too much if you can, talk to your friend about it openly, try to see the funny side of it (if that’s possible!), and if it happens again perhaps ask your friend to talk to a doctor about it.
        But you should probably try and forget about it for now and get some sleep yourself. There’s no point losing sleep over it, especially if it was only a one-off. And now at least you know that probably if it happens again, there isn’t a robber!
        All the best

  27. Thank you for your advice. I’ve decided to accept the scientific explanation for this but I still can’t sleep. Every time I wake up or try to fall asleep I start experiencing this paralysis. Thanks for the advice I guess I’ll do some yoga or something.

  28. Thanks for your reply. :) I forgot to mention that, in addition to sleep position, Sleep paralysis seems to happen to me exclusively during naps (never during regular sleeping times). It doesn’t matter if it is during the day or night, if I am only lying down to sleep for a few hours my nap will likely end in either SP or what I call “false awakenings”. For the last several years, in fact, I have only experienced the false awakenings. This actually happened to me just now, hence my return to your article. I still feel uneasy, unsure whether I am truly awake.

    The false awakenings seem to be related to sleep paralysis, sometimes even leading to it. It always begins with a dream that becomes very disturbing.

    (EDIT – sorry Jodie I had to cut out the dream example as it was a little too long to include in a comment)

    Now that I know what’s happening, I get a little frantic. I repeatedly push the covers off of me. For brief moments, they appear to have moved and I think I’ve broken free only to, seconds later, find the quilt untouched once more. I don’t really go back into a full dream state and don’t really go into sleep paralysis. It feels like being perpetually caught in the exact moment of waking. It’s not that I can’t move, it’s that I think I’m moving but am not. I don’t want to allow myself to fall back to sleep because I know I’ll end up having a continuation of the same creepy dream (and I’ll probably truly think I’ve woken up and am doing normal, everyday tasks for half of it).

    Eventually, by making sudden, exaggerated arm movements, I snap myself out of it and really wake up. In the past, I’ve had dreams that I have falsely awoken from several times before actually waking up. It can be pretty terrifying! It bears a lot of similarities to sleep paralysis. Has this ever happened to you?

    1. Hello again Jodie

      First of all I apologize for editing out the dream example. It was very interesting, and definitely a creepy dream! But it made the comment a little too long. And now you’ve have single-handedly made me wonder if I should start a forum section of this website for sleep paralysis!

      Anyway the main point you are making is about the confusion between semi-awakenings and sleep paralysis. I have had that happen to me once or twice. Thinking I am awake when in fact I’m still within the dream. Sounds a little like the film ‘Inception’ doesn’t it?!

      But I have never had the experience of several false awakenings within the one dream. That sounds quite disturbing indeed. I don’t really have an answer for you on that one. Some people just have more vivid and non-linear dreams than others, and it may be something you just have to deal with as best you can.

      I’m sure people who are really into dreams would have some thoughts on the matter. You may even find it helpful to head over to a dream forum, of which there are many, and see what people think about your Groundhog day awakenings…

      Once again thanks for sharing your story, and sorry for the cruel edit;-)

    2. Your ‘false awakenings’ resonate SO strongly with me. During certain naps where I am repeatedly trying to nod back off to sleep and I keep having SP episodes, I am often anticipating another one and I want to wake myself up. Because I am thinking in this way, my mind creates ‘false awakenings’ where I think I am awake and it is only when I actually DO wake up that I realise that I was dreaming. Is this anticipation of an oncoming SP episode ever a trigger for your false awakenings?

  29. I’m barely 18 and I’m already having this problem. I sleep in the supine position. I first experienced this attack several years ago. I felt like I was being suffocated. I couldn’t breath or move. I tried to scream but I couldn’t.

    I didn’t have any hallucinations. I was just really scared since one moment I had been sleeping then the next I felt that terrible great weight on me. I started praying and in moments I felt it lifted off me. I had forgotten about that till now. The attacks returned. I was alone in my house sitting up against my beds headboard I was sleeping but then something told me to wake up I felt that weight on and suddenly I began to pray and it was gone before I prayed.

    After the attacks became more frequent but when I was laying down. I tried sleeping on my side but I still felt the weight near my chest. It’s a truly horrible feeling. I haven’t had any hallucinations but still being awake and feeling totally paralyzed is horrible.

    I have this great insomnia now since every time I try to fall asleep I feel it. I’m tired of not sleeping and I don’t know what to do. I’ve tried praying and I prayed and I slept like a baby but now I’m just uneasy and can’t sleep at all.

    1. Hi Vick

      It sounds like you are being hit quite hard by sleep paralysis, sorry to hear that. You kind of hint that you experience it every time you try to sleep. That’s quite unusual, so I’m not surprised it’s causing you insomnia now.

      It seems like you may have gotten yourself into a vicious cycle now as well. You started experiencing sleep paralysis more regularly, which then understandably led to you not sleeping well. But now the fear of experiencing sleep paralysis is in itself the reason you can’t sleep.

      I can only offer two suggestions really. One is to visit your doctor if you are able to. If you do have it every night and it’s causing you to lose a lot of sleep, they may offer a way to look into your sleep more closely. Maybe even offer to send you to a sleep clinic if they exist where you are.

      Otherwise I can only suggest finding some ways to relax before going to sleep. Doing relaxation exercises can help take your mind off the worry about it happening. If you’re lucky it may even help ease the frequency of sleep paralysis.

  30. Sleep paralysis has been a topic of intense interest for me since my first experience with it. I was 16 years old and visiting a friend in Canada after enduring a traumatic break-up of the dramatized teenage variety. My friend, who is a few years older than me, left her apartment to go to work. I fell asleep on her sofa to the sound of a strange French cartoon on TV, lying on my right side and facing the back of the couch. I am unsure whether I went into the SP state AS I was falling asleep or during REM sleep, but when I awoke the French cartoon was still playing. The characters’ voices took on a strange, dark quality and suddenly seemed menacing and malevolent. I realized that I couldn’t move and subsequently began to panic, violently trying to move my arms and legs. Had I not been paralyzed, I would have been madly flailing. My eyes were the only mobile part of my body. I tried to look behind me, towards the TV, by cutting my eyes to the left. I could see hints of shadowy figures moving about behind me, which instantly translated as the cartoon characters having broken free from the TV. I finally regained my body sometime later, after continuing to struggle, and basically threw myself off of the couch with a shriek. I immediately used her computer to search for my symptoms and became acquainted with the concept of SP for the first time.

    It’s happened several times since then, usually involving shadowy figures, strange voices and a sense of impending doom. Although I was sleeping on my side during my first experience, every event since then has occurred while sleeping on my back. I absolutely believe that there is a connection there. In fact, if I fall asleep on my back I am guaranteed to have sleep paralysis.

    I am not a religious person, although I do believe in a spiritual realm. As far as SP goes, the REM interruption theory makes perfect sense to me. I think the hallucinations and eerie atmosphere surrounding SP simply comes from having one foot in the waking world and one in reality. These two opposite states of consciousness, which are not meant to mesh, converge, creating an otherworldly feel.

    1. Hi Jodie

      Thank you so much for so eloquently sharing your sleep paralysis stories. I have never heard of an experience quite like yours, so it makes an interesting addition to the ongoing discussion.

      It makes sense that experiencing sleep paralysis in an unfamiliar setting could then ‘borrow’ from the surrounding, such as the cartoon characters coming to life. And it sounds like a Japanese horror film with characters emerging from the television! Except that in your case they were French…

      Your theory of it happening when on your back struck a chord with me. This is because I’ve personally noticed that when I sleep on my back I more often experience hypnic jerks. I’m not aware of any research into the connection between sleeping positions and experiences like yours, but will have to do some digging around.

      And your description of sleep paralysis coming from having one foot in each world is a great description – couldn’t have put it better myself:-)

      Thanks again.

  31. haha! No I wouldn’t say I perform any rituals! I just help them to pray. They pray for themselves for the deliverance.

    Sleep paralysis IS like something out of a horror movie!

    1. I understand. It wouldn’t be my preferred way of dealing with sleep paralysis. But I can imagine it would provide comfort for some religiously minded people. Though I’m still not entirely convinced prayer can stop it altogether…

  32. Well most people that contact me recognise this as a spiritual demonic attack so this makes it easier to help people. We identify what demon is attacking the person then if the person chooses to stop whatever opened the door for this demon(s) we then can perform deliverance through prayer.
    Not always as simple as that but its always that process. But obviously most people reject the belief of demons and Christ etc. I have had people tell me to take my site down before!
    I dont push my belief on people. People contact me not me contact them. I always tell people to tell others the truth about SP after they have been delivered from it.

    1. So you basically you perform some kind of religious ritual for people who believe that they are actually attacked by demons during episodes of sleep paralysis? That sounds straight out of a horror film to me!

  33. I’m 19 and when I was 12 I would have these episodes happen randomly until I was 15. I haven’t had an episode of sleep paralysis since then until the other night. First off I will say there is no middle ground on this “argument” on what really is going on. From a scientific standpoint, for the most part religion and faith is kind of a silly thing. Not saying you can believe in the science view of it all and not be religious, just that the science world needs facts, it needs proof. Then the religious side is totally different. It all starts with the definition of faith, which is complete confidence and trust in something or someone. Meaning you don’t need proof to believe in what it is you believe in. In every sort of culture there are different religions and all the people in those religions have faith in their specific religion. That is where something like sleep paralysis gets very interesting because it is kinda hard to find a middle ground in this debate. I honestly don’t know which side I am on. Every episode I have had, has been a horrifying experience and I have found myself saying the Our Father, the Hail Mary and asking God for help and protection during each episode. I understand the scientific explanation of it all but for some odd reason I think it is more than that. Why? I honestly can’t give you an exact answer. Something about the experience just makes it feel as if it is more than just being awake consciously while your body is still in sleep mode. I have never seen any object or person during the episodes, I only hear voices in my head and some times even screaming. When I start to pray, usually these voices intensify more and more and then all of a sudden it stops. I actually did have one positive experience from this, which I don’t think is ever often. I was 14 and instead of hearing the usual scary voices and the feeling of an evil presence, I heard a woman. I couldn’t really understand what she was saying but her voice calmed me, her voice was beautiful and I didn’t want it to stop and I felt an overwhelming feeling of joy. I don’t tell anyone about that because I am sure they’d think I am nuts but I honestly thought it was the Blessed Mother. Do I know for fact it was? No. Would I like to think it was her, yes, but honestly I don’t know what that really was.

    1. Hi Marshall

      Thank you for sharing your sleep paralysis stories. I think you raise 2 interesting points. Firstly of there being no middle ground, which I agree with. My personal view is that sleep paralysis can be ‘adequately’ explained by science. Though I can understand why some people will find that hard to accept considering how vivid and real the experiences can feel.

      Secondly that you had what you describe as a positive sleep paralysis experience. This to my knowledge is indeed quite rare, so I’m grateful that you shared it here. It did make me wonder how many people many have had positive experiences but don’t do the same kind of research into it because it doesn’t upset them. Who knows – maybe many more people have had positive sleep paralysis episodes and just don’t feel the need to look into it for a comforting explanation!

      As for not talking about your sleep paralysis stories for fear of being branded ‘nuts’. I think that would probably depend on whether you are hearing voices outside of sleep paralysis episodes. During the normal waking hours of the day for example. But if you discuss your sleep paralysis experience with friends or family, you might be surprised to discover many people will know what you are talking about. At least on a experiential level anyway.

      Once again, thanks for sharing your interesting and thought-provoking ideas.

  34. I’ve had many episodes of SP as well though they have never been accompanied by any hallucinations. Its always an inability to move – as though you’ve lost your connection with your body and you feel compelled to try very hard to restore that connection by force of will. All this is very frightening when it happens and the terror doesn’t lessen even when you are somewhat aware (sort of in the periphery of consciousness) of what is happening. I’ve noticed that this occurs almost always only when I fall asleep in a state of deep sadness or depression. There appears to be some kind of inverse relationship between how upbeat you’re feeling at the time of falling asleep and the probability of an incidence of SP that night. Usually, I manage to slip out of the paralysis after a few moments of intense struggle. Another key characteristic appears to be this overwhelming seemingly unnatural sleepiness that appears to accompany SP along with a sense of foreboding that succumbing to the sleepiness will somehow be extremely detrimental.

    On the whole its a very unsettling experience and falling back asleep after you’ve had an episode is something you approach with dread.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to share your sleep paralysis story Raj. That’s an interesting concept about SP being connected somehow to your mood. In general terms I could imagine that being in a low mood could somehow contribute to the negative manifestations that the mind comes up with. But I’ve yet to hear of any research connecting mood with likelihood of a sleep paralysis occurrence. However, if that’s what you’ve found happens in your circumstances then I hope you find a way to reduce how often you feel that level of sadness at night.

      You’re also right in it being very unsettling and difficult to sleep again afterwards. But it’s interesting that you feel you are able to shake it off, even if it does mean an intense struggle.

      Thanks again for adding this interesting insight into your personal sleep paralysis experiences.

  35. I believe it is not scientific. I could have believed otherwise but years ago this phenomenon happened to a group of us at one time. I also know others whom it happened to at the same time.

    1. Thanks for the comment ‘A’. It’s good to have someone speak up for the other side. And you mention a concept I’ve never heard of before – a group sleep paralysis story. I will have to do some digging around and see if that is something anyone else has ever experienced.

      1. This happened to me a good while ago,
        Although I felt more like my thoughts and mind were what was actually with me. Anyways after it happened to me the second ( final time ) I figured out that if I focus really hard on trying to cough that the motion actually moves your upper body slightly which shot my muscles and body alive once more, it is a scary experience nonetheless although I did find this a solution as I used to panic and try to scream which never worked.

        I don’t really believe in the demon theory as I never felt anything strange in the room, unless the thing gets their laughs seeing you unable to move I couldn’t see how this could be interpreted as evil as I am yet to see a story where physical marks or pain have been reported.


        1. Hi Stefan

          Thanks for your comment, and also for suggesting a practical way to deal with sleep paralysis. Ideas like that are Gold dust as I know other readers do look through these comments and will appreciate techniques to try that have worked for other people. And it does make sense trying to focus on one small action in the hope it can then trigger re-gaining control of your body.

          I do agree with you about the demon theory. But if they did exist, they would presumably be getting their kicks not just from seeing you unable to move, but also from knowing you were terrified in many people’s cases. But yes, the fact that nobody ever reports any physical effects is a fairly good indicator that other than being scared, no harm can come to you.

          Thanks again for the practical tip

        2. I’ve had two main hallucinations, with one small variance, since I was at least 15. They used to come almost nightly, unless I was sleeping at a friend or family members house. I feel, beforehand, it is important to say I am not a religious person.

          The first one is the original one, I started having this episode when I was around 15-16 and it continued on alternating with the second afterwards. I would wake at the same time in the early morning every time. I would be held spread eagle (I slept nude, so this was even more so alarming) by a small, grey demon at each wrist and ankle. I would then feel something I couldn’t see start pressing down on my chest making my breathing shallow, but not cutting off all air. I would eventually feel my eyes roll back and everything would black out. I would wake up with my alarm normally not sure of what had happened. I knew it was real because there was nothing dream-like about it, but I knew it couldn’t be because of what happened. The paranormal didn’t exist. This continued happening…

          The second SP episode started occurring at around 17. I was still waking up at the same time every morning, but I was starting to wake up on my stomach, with both hands behind my back and my legs spread with the same little demons at my ankles. The same thing would happen with my breathing too, and my eyes would eventually roll back and everything would black out. This hallucination became the predominant one at this point, very occasionally alternating with first.

          The first variance of this second EP, I would see my bedroom door open, and though I couldn’t see anything come in. I could feel something come in, it brought a heaviness to the room, then my door would close. This is when I would start blacking out. The second started happening about a month after that, the thing would now get on my bed (without moving me or the mattress) and I would feel it penetrate, then I would black. These three variances would alternate regularly, and the first EP would still come occasionally. My thighs were almost constantly bruised, the doctors thought it was anemia, but blood tests ruled it out. He told my mom I was probably self-harming (I wasn’t) and referred me to a psychologist, who, after evaluating me, told my mom there was no problems.

          These, of course prevented me from getting good rest, so I would end up sleeping through many classes and my grades were falling. I find it hard to fully believe either the paranormal or the scientific side. I feel like it has to be real, but I want to rationalize it at the same time. I can’t prove anything regarding the bruises, but if you start looking at different blogging websites (ex: tumbler, xanga, livejournal) you will see more people talking about physical effects.

          Sorry it’s so long winded, lol.

          1. Hi Olivia

            Thank you for sharing such personal and clearly quite disturbing experiences. I’m sorry to hear you’ve had to endure such unpleasant events, and at such a young age too.

            I know you suggest that stories of physical effects are common, and indeed they are. However, in my view they exist mainly on websites which attract true, and sometimes fanatical, believers in the paranormal. And these are not sites which I personally spend much time on.

            Did you ever get a sleep study done to rule out other sleep disorders? There are one or two, such as REM behavior disorder, where people are known to cause injury to themselves because they literally act out their dreams or nightmares because the brain fails to properly lock down the body. It’s not impossible for someone to have a nightmare about demons, thrash about in their bed and injure themselves, then wake up very confused about what actually happened.
            Whatever the case, your experiences sound very unpleasant, and I do hope for your sake that you can go on in life without having to endure any more.
            Best wishes

          2. hello Oliva, I was looking through many stories and i would love to use your story in a project for my High school English class. Of course i would need your permission before i could post this in my paper. Do you mind if i site this and show your article.

  36. Hi Ethan,

    Thanks for posting and responding to my comment. Unfortunately, I have extreme difficulty in controlling the onset of Sleep Paralysis. Rarely, I can avoid it if I really fight it, but most times I cannot. It’s hard to say if it’s just tiredness that causes it or stress because I’ve experienced Sleep Paralysis so often. The only time that it really happens is on weekends when I nap during the day. Most of the time it occurs while in supine position; however, a couple of weeks ago it happened while I was sleeping upright (yes, sitting bolt UPRIGHT and sleeping). That was also the first time I experienced Exploding Head Syndrome. In that case, after the electrical noise stopped I had a hallucination of my husband and a hyena. My husband was more like a shadow and he was feeding dirty rags to it. He came into the house while I was still looking out of an upstairs window (I live in a one-story house) and the hyena was looking up at me with all of his teeth showing. Doesn’t sound like much, but the atmosphere of the “waking dream” (for lack of a better term) was terrifying. I knew my husband was coming to get me next to feed to the hyena. It’s so strange knowing that it isn’t real but at the same time feeling the terror. That starts the suffocating feeling again (the initial suffocating feeling is when the SP begins) and I try to scream for my husband to do something to wake me. It always comes out as a hoarse sound, never loud enough for him to hear which just makes it even scarier.

    Anyway, when I get a few minutes I’ll head over to your Exploding Head Syndrome article and tell about my experience with that also. Hopefully it helps someone else to know they haven’t cracked. :^)


    1. Hi M

      Thanks once again for the detailed insight into your experiences of Sleep paralysis. It really does sound very intense, and I hope that some day you manage to find a way to manage the condition. Have you spoken to a medical professional about it yet? It might be a good idea if you have easy access to healthcare where you are – they might be able to suggest something that helps:-)


    2. Hello,
      It’s a very frightful feeling (Sleep Paralysis). I am too a sufferer ever since I was young. I was always so scared. In our country (Philippines), we would always assume meanings of it. Dreams of falling teeth would mean you grieving over someone soon, etc. As for the SP dreams, the scariest I ever dreamed was when I was laying down. I couldn’t move and I had dark faceless souls carry me all the way down an alley. I couldn’t talk, move, even as much as I did. I am a religious catholic. I was told if ever you have dreams like these, always say, “In the name of the LORD” or “In the name of Jesus Christ!”.

      I haven’t had a scary SP in a while, but just this morning. It was a short nap. I was about to sleep, then all of a sudden a woman’s voice was saying to me. “I need you, (my name)”. The voice was right next to me. It was a loud voice, take note I was home alone with 2 babies that can’t talk and they were sleeping. I tried to move and wake my self up when she said that. I just couldn’t. I could however talk in my dreams. Saw my sleeping body that couldn’t budge and I shouted as loud as I could, “In the name of the Lord”. It was so awkward, when I shouted that phrase…. I could wake myself up again. I do believe, there are souls that are trying to replace our body. Just like in the insidious movie (lol). I’m just saying, believe in faith and fight it. Everything will be fine.


      1. Hi Nianne

        Thanks for your comment, and it’s very interesting to hear some different cultural thoughts about sleep paralysis and dreaming. I think that if you are a person of faith, then it’s great if you find that drawing on that faith helps in your moment of fear and need. It’s interesting that you make a comparison to the film Insidious – I hope you’re wrong though, as that is one very unpleasant film!


      2. 32yearoldmomma

        I have had numerous SP experiences where I was awake but couldn’t move and felt something dark and awful beside me. Each time I used the Lord’s name and commanded it to depart because that was what I was taught coming from a very religious background. Each time it worked. This last time was different. I felt it happening and didn’t panic because I told myself that spirits don’t have bodies and therefore don’t have control over you. When I started to say the Lord’s name my teeth clamped down. I didn’t do it and it scared me! I heard a loud flapping noise by my ears and the room started to shake. What was crazy was I was aware of everything, even hearing my 2 year old daughter sleeping next to me. Then I felt like something was trying to make my hand and leg move but I just laid still and didn’t worry because I knew that I was safe if I called on the Lord’s name. So I did. Right after the feeling left and I felt fine…safe??? I could move and it was over. Of all the SP experiences I have had this one was different in that my teeth clamping shut and the noise and shaking. Before it was just not being able to talk or move. Crazy stuff! It is really interesting to see some science behind it as well as read other people’s stories.

        1. Hi there,

          Thanks for sharing your story, and another scary one it is at that! I can imagine that it was disturbing feeling that there were those additional physical things going on. The main thing is that you have a way to deal with it, and that you seem to be able to stay relatively calm during an episode. So well done to you for that, and I hope you don’t have any more!

  37. I think this is an intriguing subject, especially since I am narcoleptic and a regular Sleep Paralysis sufferer. Though I am a Christian, I’ve never attributed any part of any occurrence of sleep paralysis to demons or otherwise. I fully understand what is going when it happens and am very much aware of my environment and that it is not spiritual influence. Mine usually happens in either the sinking in or waking stage and always involve some type of hallucination. I have the feeling of suffocation, the total body paralysis, the inability to speak or even to whisper, the agitation and fear. In fact, when it happened a couple of days ago, as I felt my body losing its strength I actually whispered “no”, trying to make it stop. My command failed of course. Recently, I’ve started experiencing the Exploding Head Syndrome. Though what I’ve read on it states that it’s harmless and painless, I have to disagree with the painless part. My EHS is like a deafening electrical arcing and I do actually feel pain in my ears, though it does stop when the noise stops. It scared me the first time I had it. I had a hallucination of being at an old drive-in theatre that had been abandoned and sat completely empty. The electrical arcing sound was actually coming from the wooden structure that the movie screen was built on and there were bright blue flashes of electricity coming out of it. I was relieved to find out that I wasn’t the only one suffering from SP and that the terrible noise happens to others also.

    1. Hi there M Wood

      Thanks so much for leaving this detailed personal story about sleep paralysis. You are right in that it is a very intriguing subject! I have experienced a similar sensation to you, though luckily for me, rarely. And certainly nothing as intense as you describe. It’s interesting how even when we know what is causing it, we can still feel fear when it occurs. The power of the body and mind to defy logical sense is sometimes staggering!

      I’d be interested to know if you have found anything that helps with sleep paralysis at all. Or if there is anything that you feel triggers it, such as tiredness or stress?

      I also wrote an article about exploding head syndrome not so long ago. If you haven’t read it, then I would very much appreciate your thoughts about that topic as well. It is a rare sleep disorder, so I would be interested to hear more about your experiences, and I think it would be helpful for other readers also since I was not able to give a personal story on that one.

      Thanks again

      1. Hi I had a SP event happen recently all I remember was falling asleep after a lack of sleep and boom I can’t move, I even found it hard to keep my eyes open at first, but I have found a way to make it last shorter here’s my methods which I’ve used previously: when the event begins don’t panic as it only gets worse, keep your eyes shut and try to clear your mind, I also kept my eyes closed while counting to thirty sometimes higher, but whatever you do don’t fight it as it tends to be a lot harder to get out of it!

        1. Hi

          Thanks so much for sharing these techniques for dealing with sleep paralysis. It makes a lot of sense what you suggest about not panicking and keeping your eyes shut. And I especially like the idea of counting. I know that distraction techniques like that can help in other situations also, so it sounds like a good trick to try.

          It’s great that you have a few practical ideas that people could try out, so it’s good of you to share them:-)

          1. Last time I had sleep paralysis was last night , how to forget is my 4th time and something that everybody should know .This is normal and let me explain why, and why you should go to sleep again feeling safe .it’s a horrible feeling yeah scary, almost impossible to forget, that weird sensation on your body , can’t scream , can’t even whisper , cant move trying to reach for something to get rid of that bad energy holding you down or that black shadow,or even that sensation of having ur eyes open knowing you are awake but can’t do nothing about it! FYI the more you try to fight it the more you are going to freak out ! Why do I say it’s normal? Everytime it happened to me , stress, crazy day at the gym , surf , lack of sleep! I was always extremely tired, although I can’t explain exactly the reason because im not a doctor or a science dude ! One thing I know for sure , when your body says enough it is enough ! Your mind and soul control your body but at the end it’s your body who makes the last call!
            Drink water! It will help

          2. Hi Felipe

            Thanks for the comment, and I think you are right about not fighting it being good advice, at least for many people. And I also think that you’re right about stress and tiredness potentially contributing to it. And of course, listening to your body is always a good idea!


        2. Just last night, I was laying down then I started feeling soo much pressure on me. I couldn’t move at all, I was screaming for my sister but I couldn’t talk. I felt a hand sliding on the left side of my ribs, then I kept screaming and trying to move. That’s when I felt these two hands pick me up and take me to my room door. It was so scary I woke up crying! I’ve had this before but never to the point where I can feel my soul going away from my body. Was it because I fought it?

          1. Hiyah

            Thanks for sharing your story with us, and it sounds pretty scary! It’s hard to tell from what you describe whether it was actually sleep paralysis or something else – like a nightmare. At first it sounds like it could be sleep paralysis, but then you said you woke up which suggests you were dreaming. Unless you meant that you just snapped out of the sleep paralysis.

            If it was sleep paralysis, it’s impossible to say whether fighting or trying to relax would help. For some people it seems to help to remind themselves to relax and that it will pass. But not everyone has that control, and the fear of the moment is too strong. If it happens again, and you’re able to have the thought of remaining calm, it may help. But let’s hope it doesn’t happen again at all:-)

          2. I had an sp event about 2 years ago. I was trying to go to sleep when all of a sudden I can’t move or talk at all I was really scared then on the bunk bed over me (no one was sleeping there) I hear a noise I can’t explain it best I can describe it is 2 spoons hitting each other repeatedly but to this day I haven’t heard anything that can imitate the sound. After about 2 minutes of hearing this sound only able to move my eyes I finally manage to get up and leave to my living room. I stay there for 15 min and then to scared to go back to sleep I start playing Xbox till the morning

          3. Hi aj

            Thank you for your comment. I’m not surprised you ended up playing the xbox – I imagine many people have found comfort in their video games following experiences like that!

          4. I didn’t know I have had sleep paralysis before until I read these. I had just had a dream that I was being dragged across the floor with a blanket over my head but I just thought I was to scared to move. Then I woke up and I was laying completely straight on my back with the covers over my whole body including my head. I was really relaxed though and I was really comfy my whole body was tingly and numb and there was pressure coming from all sides. I did hear a lot of things and I did think there was something in the room with me but it wasn’t scary it was actually, in a weird way, kind of comforting. But I still did think that the thing in the room was gonna hurt me or possibly kill me but I was still really relaxed and calm I don’t really know how to explain it but I laid there for what seemed like half an hour and I finally turned over on my side. Like nothing happened. Then I thought….. That was weird.

          5. Hi there,

            Thank for sharing your experience. When you woke up and lay there for half an hour, was it because you couldn’t physically move, or were you just lying there in a relaxed state? The first would probably make it sleep paralysis; the second wouldn’t be. Whichever though, it’s always good to hear from people who have what would often be considered scary experiences but not being completely overwhelmed by fear. It’s encouraging for other people who struggle with these kind of experiences.
            And I think your final thought is quite accurate – these experiences are generally weird!

          6. I’ve heard that melatonin can do this to some people, but not all. I think it could be a combination of stress, sleep deprivation, and then melatonin taken too late, like after 11. Melatonin should be taken around 9 or 10.

          7. I had the strangest experience of my life, i was 16, i would like to believe my Sleep paralysis was caused by lack of sleep but i still have a huge part of me that thinks i experienced something out of this world. It happened more than once, but the first time it happened, i was lay on the sofa at my friends house and she was on the opposite sofa. I could hear a strange noise like it was right next to my ear, but it was so loud i remember thinking “you need to wake up” but it was like something was sat on top of me sucking the air out of my body, i couldn’t open my eyes! i couldn’t catch my breath nor could i shout my friend but throughout the whole time it actually happened, i seriously thought i was shouting her but it was like it wouldn’t come out!I have never been so terrified in my life. I was trying so so hard to get up but there was no possible way, finally when i jumped up! I screamed my friends name and she woke up and i told her what happened and i just tried to forget about it. Until it started happening regularly but i partly think this was my fault as i didn’t really get much sleep on the weekends. My brother also experienced it, but he said he saw his own body asleep from the opposite side of his room! This is why i think its more than just lack of sleep.

          8. Hi Dee,

            Thank your for your comment. What you describe does sound very much like sleep paralysis to me. And your brother’s experience could have been an out-of-body type of experience, which also happens to some people during sleep paralysis. So I wouldn’t worry too much about whether it was other-worldly or not. The symptoms you describe are almost text-book typical sleep paralysis!
            Have a look through the tips section and pick a couple which you can try and do if it happens again. At least you then might have some tools for dealing with it mentally.
            All the best

          9. Okay so last night was the 3rd time I had this experience – I feel as if someone touched my lower back or had their hand on my waist or something. And then I scream. High pitched constant screaming. Like I actually scream in real life and am aware that I am screaming – I can’t ever stop myself, it’s like the screaming just automatically happens without me even trying to do anything. I’m not sure whether this is counted as SP coz I do end up making noise – the scream. My mum hears and rushes into my room and that’s when I am able to stop screaming. Yeah that’s it – a feeling of being touched by someone and then screaming until it stops. Weird and creepy. I’m not usually afraid to sleep but tonight I have a weird feeling in my stomach and am scared to.

          10. Hi there,

            Thanks for your comment. And I’m sorry to hear you’ve had an experience which has scared you to the point of not wanting to go to sleep. To be honest, I’m not sure if it is sleep paralysis you describe. It could be a tactile hypnagogic hallucination. It’s possible to have those kind of sensations without it being sleep paralysis. If you were never actually paralyses, then it’s not sleep paralysis.
            But whatever it may be, I think it’s important to find a way to stay calm and do to sleep. Perhaps try doing some relaxation techniques whilst you are in bed. That might help you to fall asleep and not worry about it happening again.
            All the best

        3. Thank you for the tip… I’m actually getting worried now that it happened to me more often than before… I get panic and fight coz I’m afraid I might not be able to wake anymore….

          1. Hi Lenette

            Sorry for the delayed reply – I’ve been studying and had no time.
            I can understand the panic you describe, and it can be hard to tackle it. Hopefully over time you’ll be able to reduce the sense of panic if you keep telling yourself that you can and always do wake up. Hopefully some of the advice here will help put you at ease and give you ideas of new ways to deal with sleep paralysis.

      2. Hi,
        I’ve had these experiences off and on for a very long time now. About a year ago I read something that made some sense to me. It stems from reduced blood flow to the brain. If you sleep with more than two pillows..which I did, reduce it to two pillows.

        It went away. Until last night. Last nights was a little different though. Someone spoke to me. Just before I came out of it I heard someone say very clearly and right in my ear.. “Look motherfxxxxx”

        I also have heard the electricity and felt the electrical current going thru my body.

        1. Hi Robert

          Thanks for the comment – did you have just the one pillow that time? It’s an interesting theory, I wonder if anyone else has anything to say about it.

        2. I also had this experience with the presence in my room speaking to me. I was 13 or 14 years old when this experience happened to me. The voice was angry and was saying “I hate you, I hate you.” I believed every word, still do. My grandma and I were close,she is the only one I told. She instructed me to say the lords prayer or just think it if I couldnt speak, I did. It worked everytime. I said, you are not welcome here, I rebuke you.” Its been almost 30 years since the last visit.

          1. Hi Vanessa,

            Thanks for your comment. Many readers have also reported that turning to their faith helped them. If it works, then great!

          2. Hi, Vanessa. I too have heard angry voices, at times from one entity or from several simultaneously. I’ve also heard growling. I’ve felt arms come up from under my mattress and hold me down That particular episode left me sleepless for two weeks because it scared me to death. I’ve also rolled over on my side and came face-to-face with some thing that disguised it’s face with a wooden mask so it would seem harmless. My most recent episode was in this past June. It was a hot out, so my bedroom window was left a bit open. As I was getting into bed, I felt something in the air and sensed something. I brushed it off and laid down to sleep. Within ten minutes, I could hear several voices – one main one in my left ear and three minor ones in my right ear – each one rambling something different. The only thing that has ever worked for me is saying prayers in my head because, of course, I am unable to speak, and rebuking whatever is there in the name of the Lord. I’ve had these “visits” since I was a child. It’s something that one never gets used to.

          3. I too experienced around 13 and heard those voices but instead it said I love you I love you over again it was creepy but kind of calming haha. But the sp happened so many times for about a month. Now I’m 23 and its happening again without the voices tho now waking then trying to fall asleep then my head feels like I’m spinning and cant move so I try to force myself out of it before the unknown happens scared if I don’t try to stop it I’ll die. One time it happened I think I didn’t stop it and room was spinning I was over my body still spinning it was so evil but I was awake and it was so real orI think. I was 14 then too. But after I got saved they stopped. I found Jesus one day when my dad left and ever since I’ve been saved and Jesus has been with me. Now its back

          4. Hi Eliza,

            Thank you for your comment and sorry to hear you’ve had a return of the sleep paralysis which had disappeared before. Hopefully if it went away once, it’ll go away again. It could be that you are one of those people who experiences it in cycles, even if it’s a long time between episodes.
            Try not to worry about it too much – and you definitely won’t die from sleep paralysis, assuming that’s what you’ve had. Maybe you can try one or two of the techniques described by other readers to snap out of it, if there’s something there you haven’t thought of before.
            All the best

        3. Robert, I have had a similar experience. I awake in SP to a black shrouded figure bending over me to my left, it speaks my name directly into my ear…..I am not really afraid but I can feel my heart racing, and the racing effect both starts and stops instantly. The 3rd time this happened I got ticked off and I made a mean laugh, and stuck my tongue out and blew (like a child would do to another child) to the entity. Immediately after, a very deep male voice laughed in my ear like, Ha HA HA HA HA HA. It has not happened again since….really weird….glad it hasn’t happened again!

      3. I’m 15 and for the past month I’ve been suffering from sp. Ever since I was little I’ve had night terrors that got so bad I would try not to go to sleep. Last night I fell asleep as usual and I woke up having extreme breathing troubles, there was so much weight on my chest and I couldn’t move or Talk. I see my door open and close, a massive dark figure moved around and I panicked. I heard terrible screaming and crying noses coming from outside my window and laughing from the end of my bed. I could feel someone crawling from the bottom of my bed and I felt massive amounts of pressure on my face. I am religious so I prayed but things only get worse, I felt like I was being dragged across my room and it felt like my bones were cracking. Right when I was near the door I passed out. I have never actually woken up from my sp but it just all kinda ended like I fell back asleep. But this morning when I woke up I had a black eye… I’m really scared that I’m hurting myself during these experiences and whenever I pray everything gets more aggressive.. all of my other experiences weren’t this bad but I will wake up with bruises and scratches.

        1. Hi Makayla,

          Thanks for the comment, and sorry you’ve been having such a horrible time sleeping. I think it’s probably a good idea to ask your parents to see if you can get a referral to a sleep specialist if you’re waking up with injuries like that. It’s worth seeing if you have a sleep disorder called REM behavior disorder where you’re brain is not paralyzing your body properly during your sleep as it normally does, which is then resulting in you acting out your dreams. People are known to hurt themselves if they have this, so it’s definitely a good idea to get checked out for it.

          I hope you find a way to bring it under control as it can’t be nice waking up in pain, especially with the confusion you must have from the sleep paralysis style events you describe.

          All the best

          1. Hi. I’m 14. I’m so sorry you’ve been going through that horrible sleeping experience. Fortunately mine haven’t gotten that bad. I think it has started this past month or maybe the end of September. Before I begin it may have begun because I started a new school year that’s been really stressful and I already am scared of the dark/have trouble sleeping. Anyway so its happened maybe around 4 or 5 times now and most times I’m sleeping and my mind becomes alert while I’m paralyzed then I feel a presence come towards me but I regain control of my body and run before they reach me. But literally an hour ago (this experience prompted me to research it) I was dreaming about my friends and I taking a selfie and one of my friends walked away and turned and looked like a very scary figure. Then I I become alert yet the same figure has been transferred into my bedroom in the same position. I am paralyzed and eventually regain control. Every instance I have either seen or felt a bad demon/presence. I am moderately religious so the first few times I automatically assumed it was a demon and began calling on Jesus to help me. I believe it was helping regain control faster but now it seems to have no effect. I now avoid sleeping in any position or any room in the house because of it. My mother assumes I’m just scared because I recently saw Oujia but it has no relation to my sleep paralysis. Also a tidbit that may or may not be relevant as a child of 6 (this experience caused my fear of darkness and bathrooms) I was a family party and had to use the bathroom so I ran in without turning on the lights and as I was finished I saw something behind the shower curtain and I pulls it aside. I saw a hybrid of my younger cousin and Stitch from Lilo & Stitch. Surprisingly I was more fascinated then afraid. I reached out to touch it as we were both silent. It bit my finger and I ran out to my mother. Everyone thought I was lying but my finger was bleeding when I returned to the party.

            Any advice is helpful, thanks

          2. Hi Nicole

            Thanks for your comment, and I’m sorry to hear you’ve had some scary experiences. It does sound like your dreams are being ‘mapped’ onto reality when you wake up. This is something which lots of people have, so it’s not unusual.
            I think with the bathroom incident, it’s possible that you were dreaming that whole time, and bit your own finger. Then when you woke up you remembered the dream, but not your own actions.
            But the main thing is helping you with the current sleep paralysis. I would recommend not watching scary films to start with. Even I sometimes get bad dreams or see things in the dark if I’ve been watching horror films. Even if you don’t see the exact thing that was in the film, I think scary films can trigger your imagination to think up scary stuff in the dark.
            Maybe you could ask your mum for a soft nightlight to put in the bedroom. That way if you did wake up paralysed, at least your brain would be able to see the familiar things in your bedroom. If it’s very dark though, your brain tries to imagine what might be in the darkness.
            I’d also talk to your mum about it again. It’s better to talk about things like this, so maybe you can ask her to read this website as well so she has an idea about what you might be experiencing. Then even if you are ‘just scared’ it’s still a real feeling which you can try and make better. And talking about it is a good way to help that happen.
            Hope that helps a bit!

        2. I just had sp for the first time last night and I haven’t been able to stop crying. My experience was not nearly as bad as yours and I feel so deeply for you. This would cause me to never be able to sleep again. What happened to me was that I was dreaming I was on a raft on a lake trying not to fall in because there were creatures in the water. I woke up and was just simply thinking about my dream like it was no big deal. Then out of nowhere this slimy black snake-like hand came out from under my bed and grabbed my leg – it hurt – and tried to pull me down. I didn’t realize it was sp until I realized I was completely unable to kick it off or scream or even move at all. It eventually went away a few minutes later and I was able to get out of bed. My best friend has severe sp like yours and he tells me terrifying stories all the time. I have been crying all day out of fear that this is going to keep happening to me and getting worse. :'(

          1. Hi Ri

            Thanks for your comment, and sorry to hear you’ve been so shaken by your experience. I think the first time it happens can be pretty terrifying, so I’m not surprised you’ve been tearful.
            The main thing is to remind yourself that nothing bad will actually happen, even if it does happen again. And the majority of people don’t find they have it night after night. You may even find it never happen again.
            You can always try doing some things to create a more comfortable setting if you remain scared, such as having a soft nightlight, or some music playing quietly.
            And have a good read of all the advice in the article. If it does happen again, try to pick one or two things to try and snap out of it.
            All the best and hopefully it will be a one off!

        3. Definitely film yourself, it will take a huge burden off you when you realize what you are doing to yourself, and maybe put some safety measure around you.

      4. I have actually only had SP twice. The first time I had SP was about 7 months ago. I was laying down in bed asleep when I thought I had woke-up but I wasn’t truly awake. I heard what sounded like and seemed to be my aunt Jo laughing and carrying on in the kitchen but in my heart I knew it wasn’t here because I was staying with my in laws and haven’t seen my aunt Jo in years. So I got up and tried to see but I was paralysed and couldn’t move like something was forcing me to stay laying down. I truer screaming my fiancé’s name but I couldn’t call for help nothing was coming out. Two seconds later I woke and realized I was just dreaming but something about it felt so real. The second time was this morning I had just fallin back to sleep after my fiancé left for work when I reached for the covers but there was something pulling the covers down under the bed. I tried pulling the covers back towards be but something pulled me up in the air and I became paralysed. I tried screaming for help but just like the time before nothing came out. That’s when I decided research these horrible night mares and found this article on SP. It really explains a lot but I still have some questions like how am I being pulled up in to the air when I’m paralysed what’s the explain action for that?

      5. I have actually only had SP twice. The first time I had SP was about 7 months ago. I was laying down in bed asleep when I thought I had woke-up but I wasn’t truly awake. I heard what sounded like and seemed to be my aunt Jo laughing and carrying on in the kitchen but in my heart I knew it wasn’t here because I was staying with my in laws and haven’t seen my aunt Jo in years. So I got up and tried to see but I was paralysed and couldn’t move like something was forcing me to stay laying down. I truer screaming my fiancé’s name but I couldn’t call for help nothing was coming out. Two seconds later I woke and realized I was just dreaming but something about it felt so real. The second time was this morning I had just fallin back to sleep after my fiancé left for work when I reached for the covers but there was something pulling the covers down under the bed. I tried pulling the covers back towards be but something pulled me up in the air and I became paralysed. I tried screaming for help but just like the time before nothing came out. That’s when I decided research these horrible night mares and found this article on SP. It really explains a lot but I still have some questions like how am I being pulled up in to the air when I’m paralysed what’s the explain action for that?

        1. Hi there,

          Thanks for your comment, and sorry to hear you’ve been having these unpleasant experiences. It sounds like it could be a combination of sleep paralysis and still being half-asleep / dreaming / having a nightmare. This would explain why you feel that you are awake but being lifted in the air. It could be though that actually you’re still asleep, but when you wake up it feels like your dream was real because the dream took place in your bedroom.
          If this continues to happen and starts worrying you, you could film yourself while sleeping to provide some reassurance that you’re not actually being lifted into the air.
          But hopefully like many people, you won’t have more than just the on or two episodes.
          All the best

      6. Last night I had my fourth experience, in my hallucination I imagined I was screaming at the intruder who was sitting next to my bed to leave and why was they there, but in actuality I couldn’t make a sound and eventually woke up When I was able to half shout for my mum. In other experiences I have imagined that I have fallen off my bed due to being paralysed, now I know what it is It isn’t as bad as the first time but I still get extremely frightened. Before I have had a demon-like creature at the end of my bed, an old women in the corner of my room and a shadowman

        1. Hi C,

          Thanks for your comment and sharing your sleep paralysis story. I can imagine that it would still be frightening if you have those kind of experiences. Hopefully it will get easier in time, and perhaps you can try one or two of the tricks in the article to help stop it in the future.
          All the best

          1. Hi thought I would get In contact again as I had another experience last night I was up all night feeling ill with a cold and by 6am when I tried to go back to sleep I started hearing voices and panicked thinking my tv was on and then realised it was SP as I was paralysed. I was able to control It a lot more and was not as frightened. A voldemort looking creature came to attack me but I was repeatedly saying prayers throughout and it really helped, I also tried to move my fingers and toes which was also helpful. When I tell people about my stories it’s as if I’m coming across crazy and have problems lol!

          2. Hi C,

            Nice to hear from you again, though I’m sorry it’s because you’ve had more experiences of sleep paralysis. It’s good that you’ve found something else to help you though. I imagine that if it continues to happen, each time you should get better at focusing on breaking out of it.
            If people haven’t had sleep paralysis themselves and don’t know about it, I can imagine they would think it’s very strange. Many people associate hallucinations with mental illness. So it’s not a surprised that you might come across as crazy depending on how you tell it!
            All the best

          3. I don’t know if i have sleep paralysis or not when I fall asleep I usually feel like I’ve fallen. I don’t really remember when I was awake before then but after hearing what everybody has been going though I don’t wan’t to take a chance not knowing. xD

      7. Hello, my name is Shannon, I just woke up from this, and I do have to say reading everything helped, it happened before when I was smaller and again when I was 16 and now again at 19.

        My experience;

        I was having a nightmare at first, I was a father (not understanding why considering I am a woman) and I had kids and a wife, we were in a house that made me feel highly uncomfortable. My wife and I in this nightmare had just lasted down in bed, that is when I guess I was half awake and half asleep because I knew I was in bed next to my sleeping boyfriend but also a man next to my wife. The AC was blowing air so it had gotten really cold, and my sheet went up in the air as the wind blew beneath it, and as it slowly came down a terrifying voice said “what the *&%! did you do with… (and the rest was mumbled) I could not move, I was trying to rock back and forth, and literally scream my heart out for my boyfriend. After what seemed like forever I felt myself pass out and my body just slid to an angle and my head touched my boyfriends back although I was still half asleep so also my wife’s back, and it took a minute until I could finally move. I literally wanted to cry in fear, and am still awake, afraid of going to sleep for as my body had tried to go back to sleep, the ruling nightmares kept playing. It is terrifying, and it sucks that sleep paralysis even exists. But I thank everyone for their input, because without reading this, I would not be as calm as I am at this very moment. I shall try to go back to sleep.

        Ps. I do have to say the only time this happens is when I am on my back and in my REM sleep. I know neurologically my REM sleep is bad because I can’t wake up at all during it, and was supposed to stay overnight at a hospital for a sleep study but moved a day before my appointment… hoping this does not happen again for a while. Thanks everyone (:

        1. Hi Shannon,

          Thank your for your comment, and it’s understandable that this kind of incident freaks you out. I am glad though that you found the article and comments helpful. Sometimes knowing you’re not alone, that there is an explanation and having a space to express yourself can be a big help.

          I think your story is a good example of what happens to many people, in that they are half-awake and half-dreaming, and with some paralysis thrown into the mix, it can be very confusing and disturbing.

          Hopefully you found some useful tips in the article, so if it happens again you’ll have an idea or two of things you can try to wake yourself up fully instead of being stuck between the two worlds, so to speak!

          All the best

          1. So about a year or two ago, I had this experience where I was awake, I knew I was awake, and at the foot of my bed I could see this dark shadow, except it wasn’t a shadow. It looked like solid flesh. And suddenly a pair of red eyes appeared, and I knew it was the demon. The second I realized what it was, the demon grabbed my legs and started yanking me out of bed. I was terrified and tried screaming and flailing my arms to hold onto something. That’s when I realized that I couldn’t move. And the demon began screaming loudly(I still remember the voice) “Scream all you want! No one can save you!!” And that terrified me so much more and suddenly I was sitting up on my bed and looking around blinking. Confused I couldn’t go back to sleep.
            The next day I told my mother about it and she asked me if it was a dream. I had no idea what to tell her because it felt way too real to be a dream. But I told her it was, maybe because it was a consolation to me too.

            A couple of days ago one of my friends was telling me of his SP experience and I realized it sounded so much similar to mine. And he suggested to me that what I had sounded a lot like SP. I did extensive research on it the next day and sure enough, what I had was SP. Settled the fear my parents had too! I’m glad I know now, so if it does happen again I’ll know :)

          2. Hi Karen

            Thank you for your comment, and yes it does sound like you have experienced sleep paralysis. I don’t know if you read many other comments, but buried in amongst them are several accounts from people who felt like they were being pulled off their beds. And many more who describe seeing ‘demonic’ figures, either hazy or very realistic as you describe. And of course, many also hear things along with the experience.
            Hopefully knowing what it is will help you next time, as you say. But also remember to think about one or two of the tips in the article. Particularly wiggling your finger or toe, something which seems to have been very effective for many people, myself included.
            All the best

    2. Just woke up from SP after a hungover nap. I had a dream that my room just had a pipe break and had nearly two feet of water and the room was empty with wooden floors, the door in the back (wasn’t actually my room) just had closed , for some reason was open to the outside. The door in front of me then closed , a shadow silouhette appeared on the wall and I started seizing on my bed while It was forming words that sounded like a different language except I picked up the word soul , in my dream I couldn’t move or yell and I tried to say @*$! you and flick it off , I woke up still kinda shaking and crying just now . Not fun

      1. Hiyah

        Thanks for your comment. This does seem to be another case though where you call it sleep paralysis, but talk about dreaming. If you’re following this comment thread, would be great if you can clarify whether you were asleep and dreaming the silhouette, or awake and paralyzed but still sensing/seeing these images.

      2. Ive had a few doozies to..I want to just say something to you, that in all honesty worked for me..DON’T GIVE INTO THE FEAR..these things cannot hurt you..only scare you..I’m not a religious person or nor do I read the bible..I stay away from religions but I do have a good lifeline to the other side..STRENGTHEN your connection with the Light..ask God for help..tell these things you are not afraid (out loud or in your head if u have to) BUT DON’T BE AFRAID..Tell them you walk with the light and God protects you..AND U HAVE TO FEEL IT!! After I started doing Sleep Paralysis diminished greatly…yeah I feel the odd cat jump on me but that’s harmless and fun..sometimes the odd one will try and crawl into bed with me and spoon me, but I haven’t been yanked outta my body and thrown against a wall in sometime..they want to make u afraid, so fearful that u wont ask God for help,

        1. Hi there,

          You’re absolutely right in that the fear is one of the key things to overcome. It’s easier said than done for many people, but it is important. Thanks for the comment.

    3. The intruder thing has happened to me several times in my life . I can hear them breathing and walking around me and I can’t wake up and then I feel my feet being lifted and I am getting dragged by my feet . I feel my arms dragging over my head and can feel friction on my back. I can never see who is dragging me . One day at work , I did cable tv I was a lineman and had to splice a run on a street out of my town and I got an eerie feeling like I knew that place and my dream came to mind for some reason . My hair stood up on end I was panicking and don’t know what made me connect that place with my reoccurring dream but to me in my mind that place is where I would be murdered . I told my boss to get someone else to finish that run or I was going to quit . He saw the fear in my eyes and said no problem . It even gave him the chills . I never went back to that town again . I had that dream over 50 times easily .

    4. My experience happened when I was twelve. I fell asleep one night in the house we were renting and woke up at 2:30 in the morning. I could not move and there was a three foot demon sitting on my chest. My mouth was open and it was sucking the air out of my mouth. All I could do was close my eyes so I did, while praying to God of course. When I opened them it was gone. I only had my eyes closed like three seconds. I ran to my parents room crying like a baby. And slept in there for the rest of the night. Refusing to sleep in there again I slept in the living room for a few weeks and had no problems. I finally went back in the room and slept in the bed and at 2:30 in the morning I woke up to the bottom left corner of bed being pulled on three times. For the next three days it happened again at the same time of the morning. After that I stopped sleeping in that room or that bed. I never had it happen to me again. I’m 32 now. So does that sound like sleep paralysis to you?

      1. Hi Jeff

        Thanks for the comment and sharing your story. If you ask me, it does sound very much like sleep paralysis. You are not the first person to comment about it only happening in one room, and I don’t know whether that to you means it is more likely to be something other than sleep paralysis, which is the conclusion which I think some come to.
        My theory would be that you perhaps associated that room with the first experience, and so when you went back there, it happened again. Or it could also just be the physical sleeping conditions which weren’t the same anywhere else you slept, for example the bed, the position you slept in, the lighting or any number of other things.
        Whatever the case, the main thing is that it hasn’t happened again, and hopefully won’t either.

    5. I just experienced some sort of this and am scared out of my mind. My mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia before I was born. What I experienced was out of this world. I heard voices , a million voices at once all laughing, all talking. I couldn’t move at that point in time. I saw two people (sounded both male) and tried to call out for help and I couldn’t move my mouth. When I did finally get to scream it wasn’t loud at all. I yelled be quiet to all of the voices in my head repeatedly. Then , I awoke. Went and got myself a drink. Fell back asleep, and started hearing pounding on my door along with screams to let them in, the dope was here. I tried my hardest to get up but couldn’t. I was almost glued to the bed. Finally, I am awake and checked my door, no one is here. I am terrified. What does this mean.

      1. Hi Courtney

        I can understand your distress, especially considering your family history. I think there is a higher chance that it is just sleep paralysis / nightmares or a combination rather than you developing a mental illness. If you start hearing voices or experiencing other unusual occurrences during the waking hours, not just when falling asleep or waking up, then you can always talk to your family doctor to get yourself checked out.
        Try not to worry about it, which I know is easier said than done. Hopefully it’s just a passing bad experience, as happens to many people and doesn’t mean anything more serious is behind it.


    6. A girl who just saw something and is curious what it is

      Yes, i am a christian as well, and i am 12 years old as a matter of fact, and what in the world am i doing on a site like this? I dont know and im not here to help anyone or give advice because im the one seeking for it. So look, mine did NOT happen in the night, and mine is really strange…

      I woke up from a thing we call “siesta” and i went back to sleep because there wasnt anything productive to do. So here it started. I went back to sleep and then i saw a black iphone 5s (and its really weird) and then i was using it… After a while everything went black and someTHING asked me a question. The voice said “two black things… What does it remind you?” I didnt even have the chance to answer the question, and suddenly i was back in our room, and I KNOW that im awake. I cant move my limbs or anything, and i cant shout for help (although the door was wide open which would be a good loophole for shouting) and then my eyes were blinking wildly and i saw a black kind of thing beside me. I didnt see it because like i said, i cant move. And then i dont have a choice anymore. I prayed for forgiveness and said “in Jesus’ name” again and again, because i believe in the power of His name. (And mind you, i cant breathe and it feels like my mouth is slowly being closed by the black thing because its where i can only breathe, because i cant through my nose) and then i woke up. Mind and soul, fresh from what just happened. I quickly came to my mother and told her everything, and she said that the black figure MIGHT actually be me, aka my old, sinful nature trying to get back at me.

      End of story, was just really curious about what happened, although i dont believe that science can explain all these. Okay please reply if you have anymore advice and precautions.

      1. Hi there,

        Thanks for the comment and sharing your story. And don’t worry, there is no expectation for you to give advice or help. I am also sure many people ask themselves what they are doing here. But looking for answers is the main reason I think.
        So your experience is strange, but I don’t think there is a sleep paralysis experience which is ‘normal’. They are all strange, and most of them very scary or unpleasant. So you are not alone.
        I think you have experienced something which seems to happen a lot. You have a weird dream or a nightmare, and then when you wake up you enter into sleep paralysis. Then parts of the dream continue in the sleep paralyis, along with some new experiences.
        Personally I think science explains it, but if you do not believe that, then I guess you have to continue to use whatever you can to deal with it. If prayer helps you, then that is a good thing.
        But I think your mum’s possible explanation is a bit negative. I am sure at the age of 12 you don’t have such a sinful old nature!
        My advice would be to try not to worry about it, and stay calm if it happens again. If you think prayer can help, then try to remind yourself that nothing bad happened last time, and that you can make it stop. And if you need to, you can always sleep with some light in the room next time you have a siesta, or allow some sunlight into the room, assuming your siesta is in the middle of the day.
        Hope that helps

        1. That might make more sense for my recent experience too.

          First day visiting a city in a foreign country, Moldova, new hotel room and the prior day fairly tired from being on a train.

          Well the next morning I wake to hear a dog growling and the sound of loud footsteps in the hallway. The footsteps stop, the growling stops. I am awake on the bed and can’t move. Then a dark grey silhouette of a man leans over from my left side of the bed and grabs my feet to pull me away? He quickly moves out of the room through another door, and my feet jerk backwards bending at the knee and twisting towards that side. Then the dog starts barking loudly and I can move, and my knees really bent.

          It sure would be simpler to explain if that shadow was part of an earlier dream.
          The dog lives next door, and the other door the shadow moved out of goes to a boiler room with an open window.
          Been spending the morning looking for any similar accounts online.

          1. Hi Nick,

            Thanks for your comment, and it sounds like a pretty scary experience there! I recently added a tip to the article about filming yourself if you have the kind of experience where you feel you’re being moved about by another force. If this happens to you again, I recommend doing that to give you some peace of mind. And as you say, the previous explanation might well explain your events to.
            Try not to get too stressed about it, and if you do research that kind of thing online, you’re going to turn up a lot of pretty wacky paranormal explanations which tend to have a way of making people even more freaked out!
            Hopefully it’s a one off though and you won’t need to worry about it again.

    7. Thankyou. You’re the first person I’ve heard who has experienced the head thing. Never been able to find info on it. I’ve always tried to explain it as a very loud screeching/screaming sound that fills my head to the point of almost unbearableness. But sometimes it feels kind of pleasurable too. It is often accompanied by a sense of falling backwards into the bed. I bet you’ve also had the heightened awareness thing where everything seems magnified and loud. I had one once where I thought I could hear every sound from out in the street. People talking as they walked by as loud as if they were in my bedroom. Strange.

    8. I’ve experienced SP several times in my life, but never discussed them with anyone because I had never heard of anyone else I knew having such an experience so I assumed people would dismiss it as a dream, not believe me, and/or think I was crazy. I am so glad to have found this site and see that others have experienced this.

      For context, I think it’s relevant to state that I have had 9 years of higher education and hold 3 degrees including a law degree, so I am not a simple-minded person who just accepts things as true. Critical thinking is one of my areas of expertise.

      I believe the first time I experienced SP was during my last year of law school (the easiest year – so I cannot attribute it to stress). I experienced it a few times while living in my apartment in San Francisco. I would be woken up in the middle of the night by spirits hovering above me touching me and wanting to do me harm, and always took place in the middle of the night.

      I then had no episodes in the next 2 places I lived. Then I purchased a place in the Northeast, and experienced several episodes there. These always occurred in the early morning – within a couple hours of my scheduled time to wake up. It would happen while sleeping on my side, back, or stomach, and always involved the overwhelming feeling that something was pushing down on my body with such force that I could not move. It would wake me up but I was paralyzed and so surprised/terrified that I would just pray for it to end. I never saw anything during these episodes, but I “knew” immediately that “something” was there and doing it to me. Quite different from times I have woken up with physical issues – headaches, muscle cramps, etc. – without any feeling that there was a presence and the presence had caused the physical sensation.

      I also experienced a couple other odd things while living there – for example one of which involved a little girl that I did not know standing at my bedside tugging on my arm and telling me over and over that I must wake up. It woke me up and was so vivid that I truly believed she was in my home and turned to respond to her, my heart racing, only to be shocked that she was not really there. I have had thousands of dreams. This was not a dream. (No SP there, and no terror or malevolence) (And no, there was no alarm going off or tv on to generate this)

      I moved out of that home several years ago, and did not experience any SP for 7 years. Last night, my husband and kids and I visited my parents at the home my mother grew up in. I shared a room with my 18-month old and fell asleep easily. I was suddenly awoken during the night by a noise and a presence. I looked down and saw “something” sit down on the bed next to the lower part of my legs. I thought “I must still be dreaming” and went to kick at the depressed spot of the bed to prove to myself I was imagining it. Suddenly something grabbed my lower legs and pushed down on them with amazing force. Realizing I couldn’t move my legs and this was all really happening, I started to yell out for my mother, who was asleep in the bedroom across the hall with my daughter. Some noise came out of my mouth, but it was muffled and felt like something had its hand over my mouth such that although I was screaming as loudly as I could, my voice sounded weak and muffled. It was loud enough to wake my baby sleeping next to me, causing him to start crying loudly. At that moment the pressure and paralysis of my legs stopped and the presence immediately receded. My arms had not been paralyzed during this episode, but I did not have control over them, much like my speech. I continued to feel a general presence throughout the night, so I could not sleep. Some old church camp songs from my youth spontaneously sprang into my head and continued throughout the night. This was the first time I was unable to go back to sleep after an episode. I believed it would be dangerous to do so.

      First, a question: do people notice that their SP experiences are location specific? I note that I only experienced SP episodes in 2 of the 25-odd places I have lived in my life, and one place I visited. I had multiple experiences at those residences, and none at any other residences (even ones I lived at immediately before or after one of these “hot spots”).

      Second, an observation/opinion: while I believe science/biology explain most things in life, I firmly believe that my experiences cannot be explained by science. I never have nightmares or night terrors so these are not some variation of that. I cannot speak for others, nor would I say that one broad explanation applies to everyone’s experiences. I didn’t read EVERYONE’s comments here, but did read enough to conclude that while there are a couple of common threads, there are also wide variations in personal background, state of mind, level of lucidity, etc.

      For me, in spite of my practical view of the world, these experiences were paranormal. And no unprovable scientific guess/hypothesis of what might be happening in the brain – regardless of how logical it may sound – can convince me otherwise. If I never had these experiences, and someone else was saying these things to me, I would never believe it to be true.

      (Sorry for the long comment!)

      1. Hi SouthsideMum,

        Thanks for the comment and sharing your interesting stories and analysis of what you’ve been through. And don’t worry about the long comment – I gave up long ago trying to keep them down and I enjoy taking the time to read and respond to everyone. And with all the interactions between readers, I kind of see this as some kind of forum and comment thread hybrid now anyway, so it’s all good. Besides, you’re about to get a long reply!

        To answer your question, if my memory serves me correctly, a few readers have mentioned that they had location specific sleep paralysis. And a couple stopped sleeping in the place where they experienced it altogether, saying that they didn’t have it in other places.

        My own opinion is that it’s not surprising that people find it happens in some places but not others. The reason being that I have pretty much controlled my life-long insomnia, but there are a couple of places where I just can’t sleep still – one being my parents’ place, even though I’ve visited and slept in the same bed there many times. So I think if that happens with insomnia, then why not with parasomnias also?

        I think we can be very sensitive to certain conditions, so it could be something as simple as a slight temperature difference, or the bedding which is triggering the same sleep disruption. And if you’re prone to a certain type of sleep disorder, then if the particular conditions are met in one place for that disorder to manifest, then it probably will do.

        If you believe your experiences were paranormal, then I guess it’s up to you to make conclusions about whether they are location specific. I’m no paranormal expert, even though I find it very interesting so I can’t comment much on that angle other than what I’ve read, or seen in films or TV series for example, which isn’t very useful.

        You’re of course right about there being some common themes, but also a lot of variety in people’s experiences. And also a natural variety in people’s ability to express themselves lucidly. I think this topic naturally attracts a wide range of views and experiences, and I unfortunately have to withhold quite a lot of comments from being published. I’m aware that many children and teenagers read this article, so although I try to allow as many views to be expressed as possible, some are just too violently or sexually graphic to publish. Many of which I believe are descriptions of dreams and nightmares anyway rather than sleep paralysis.

        However, those comments – and some that have been published – do highlight what I feel is a key point: that there is a very confusing possible overlap and range of possible combinations of people’s current state of mind, views and beliefs, medication or substances they may be taking, along with various sleep events and disorders such as sleep paralysis, dreams, nightmares, night terrors, hypnic jerks, sleep walking, sleep talking, hypnagogic and hynpopompic hallucinations, consciousness and unconsciousness and a range of other possible sleep disorders (of which there are officially more than 80) or illnesses which I haven’t mentioned in the article.

        My point is that even for people who would consider themselves totally well, both physically and mentally, and lead a clean and healthy lifestyle, the range of things which can happen in your sleep is staggering. So when you add differences within the individual as well you can see many possible combinations of experiences. Hence the impossible task of tying together all of the experiences people have into ways which can be explained easily.

        I’ve gone off on a tangent here, but your comment raised some interesting concepts. Hopefully nobody will accuse me now of accusing them of being unwell or under the influence! That’s not my intention at all. But having worked in the mental health field for so many years, I both recognize and accept the wonderful differences that exist between people, and also take a pragmatic view that it makes understanding human behavior and experiences very tricky!

        Going back to your comment finally, I do hope that you find a way to come to terms with your experiences, whether that involves more critical thinking and assessment of the scientific approach, or opening Pandora’s box and seeing what the paranormal world has to say.

        Feel free to come back at any time to add more thoughts!


    9. I had a very interesting experience a couple weeks ago and I wanted to know if anybody else experienced this. I was falling asleep one night when I started dreaming my bed was going up like a roller-coaster, however I projected it as riding in the truck while at work. In simple terms, I was caught in-between consciousness and the dream state. I knew I was dreaming and I couldn’t get out. Suddenly, I started falling off the edge of my bed, in my dream, which I thought I had just woken up from. I had an immense feeling of terror because I couldn’t breathe and started hearing demonic voices laughing at me. I thought it was time for my death and I was panicking. Finally I woke up. I know this was confusing but it was a total mind @#&!.

      1. Hi Caleb,

        Thanks for your comment – your experience is a good example of how you can be in-between states, so to speak. It’s not uncommon to be falling asleep, or waking up, and aware of both your dream and your actual environment. It can be very confusing indeed. The demonic voices and breathing problem may have been sleep paralysis, but again it’s hard to tell.
        Hopefully it was an unsettling experience which won’t happen again.

    10. I’m a 16 year old girl, and not very religious. My mother was raised Christian and my dad Jehovah’s witness, we have belief in god but we tend to look at things in a logical or scientific manner, as my family and I love scientific explanation. We also are not bible bearing nor attend church unless on special occasion.

      Last night I fell asleep at 9, and woke up at 1 for a drink. I didn’t fall back asleep until 3 almost 4 in the morning. I don’t remember if it was in the dream or before hand that I was wondering about sin. I was having a pleasant dream about being with my friends. I was lucid dreaming, controlling everything, aware I was dreaming. (Ties into the scientific explanation)

      All of a sudden I couldn’t control my dream anymore. I don’t know where this peculiar thought came from, but I thought to myself ‘I can’t control it anymore because someone is watching me. Someone is staring at me.’ I became very tense, this being my first encounter with SP. I was laying on my right side facing the open part of my room, quickly aware I couldn’t move or breathe right. I opened my eyes to a dark figure in front of my face, almost like it was peaking out from under my bed. It looked like a lump of clothing left out. I even thought that then, but I quickly thought something worse. As my eyes adjusted, I saw what looked like an after image from staring for too long at something. It looked like a typical depiction of a demons face. Almost generic.
      Nevertheless, it scared the *&%! out of me. I tried to scream, but of course, I couldn’t open my mouth. I then tried to call out for my mom (what was I thinking? That my mouth should magically open after trying a second time?)

      It sounded like the image was speaking in tongues. A deep gross voice, speaking every language at once. I thought in my head ‘God save me!’. The ‘demon’ was still speaking, and my brain picked out from the other languages him saying in English ‘God can’t save you now. ‘ or ‘You can’t be saved’. I was able to reach out for my tablet (left it on the bed next to me), and as soon as I turned on the screen, I could move. I guess the light relaxed me. Anyways, I was out of my room in a leap, skip, and a bound. My feet barely touched that floor, for fear a hand should grab me. I’ve always had that childhood fear. I ran through the darkness to my living room where we pulled the mattress out in between the couches for our movie night. I woke my mom with the light by accident, and laid next to her in the bed whispering thank god, thank god. I was very shaken up. She put her arm around me and I was comforted to sleep.

      Still feeling watched I looked over to the hall to see what looked like a shadow man silhouette standing out. My mind tried to rationalize to me that- a: I was not wearing my glasses and I’m nearsighted. And b: the water heater metal slide door thing always stayed open, which was what I was most likely seeing. Just the water heater and the way light was being cast.

      I told my dad everything when I woke up, and he let me read this whole article to him. The scientific explanation is what we are leaning to. I then reminded myself I’ve been binge watching American Horror Story and am currently on season 2: Asylum, the last episode I saw was a boy having an exorcism while speaking in tongues. It very likely played into my dream. I have always loved everything scary, scary stories, horror, (even through I’m a haemophobe and can’t stand the sight of blood.) I’ve always had a caution about the dark and am quick to believe I’m being watched. So I can understand these things very much took part in what happened. I just don’t understand why I heard the voice. It sounded nothing like the exorcism episode I watched, or anything heard before. I’m skeptical it’s the work of demons or entities, but I’m not entirely throwing it off as a possibility. I really hope this is my only encounter with SP, but the scare fanatic in me almost wants to experience it again, to think deeper this time and find out what I’m feeling and seeing.

      I cried the first time I recanted this to my dad, but I almost find my experience/reaction humorous in how silly I must sound. I’m fully aware this may be a serious topic to many, but I was terrified at the time. Now that the terror has subsided I am feeling better. Especially after reading this.

      A big thank you for those that took the time to read my messy rambling!

      1. Hi there,

        Thanks for your comment – it’s not a messy rambling at all, but well written, insightful and interesting!

        You’re the second person today I’ve replied to who both talks about religious beliefs and the scientific explanation being able to co-exist which is interesting as well. And your description of the logical trying to work out what is happening is quite useful I think. It made me remember when I was a kid and used to have a dressing gown hanging on the corner of my bedroom door which would sometimes swing open in the draft, then in the semi-darkness it would look like a tall dark figure which used to scare the daylight out of me, no matter how many times it happened!

        I think that the sound is probably very much part of the kind of hallucinations which can occur either at the brain tries too fill the silence and darkness with something, or as a dream overlaps with reality. I wouldn’t worry about that too much, as it’s well known that the brain can conjure up very realistic noises.

        You’re probably right in that the horror series marathon has influenced your dreams. I did the same with breaking bad recently, and ended up with characters from the series in my dreams from time to time! But the influence doesn’t necessarily always follow a logical progression, in that just watching scary programs can trigger your brain to create its own version of ‘scary’.

        If it does happen again, then being able to lucid dream may work in your favor, as in you may be able to relax and control what is happening and either explore it or change it to something more pleasant. Some people have done that quite successfully.
        And you could always try sleeping with a night light on if you find that comforting.

        All the best

    11. Hi M Wood, i feel you, i had experienced that awhile ago when i was asleep, or i was awake, well, the thing is i felt like my ears were going to explode , literally. i haven’t heard any noise but i just feel like there were liquids flowing down my ears. and it felt like my tongue was strangled . i cannot speak nor move and the fact that i could hear my friend’s and sister’s voices and i cannot see anyone but feels someone’s presence creeps me out ! . please help me.

      1. Hi DM

        Sounds like you might have had some kind of sleep paralysis experience, or perhaps a bad dream which was still half there when you woke up. If you look at the tips in the article you’ll hopefully find something which helps you stay calm if you experience anything like this again.


    12. I stumbled across this article last night doing a search on “waking up from demonic presences” while reverting my experiences when I was 13 and 14.

      The first time happened when I stayed at a friend’s house. The upstairs was split and shared two bedrooms. I woke up to the sound of a loud constant door slamming and could make out some details from the street lights shining in the window. The door slamming was cause by my friends little brother opening and slamming his bedroom door. In between door slams I could see a small figure with a bald head and long fingers in from of him during across the room and then back to his door to open and slam it again. This happened about 5 or 6 times before my friend in the twin bed next to me said “What are you doing?! Go back to bed!!” This led to one final slam and it was quiet. I laid there trying to get my friends attention for about 5 minutes, since now I was wide awake. I then wrapped a pillow around my head and feel back asleep.

      The second time, I was at another friends house and woke up wide awake to the sound of two barking and screaming loud voices having what seemed like an argument in a different language in the other room. Again, I was awake for about 5 minutes after that trying to wrap my head around it.

      This happened several other times and even 20 years later, I have been trying to figure it out…

      1. Hi there,

        Thanks for your comment, and I can understand that like many people you are trying to work out experiences you had when younger. It may be though that you never quite work it out! I think many times there is a lot of confusion between sleep paralysis, bad dreams, normal dreams, hallucinations which can occur with or without any of the above and who knows what other things the human brain can conjure up in the night! You may have had one of those, or a combination of more than one.
        You may just have to accept the fact that weird things can happen in the night, and especially with children who’s minds tend to be more active and likely to create weird things to fill the darkness.
        But if you do come to any other conclusion, feel free to come back and share it:-)

    13. well when i was a child i had sleep paralysis and the pillow was over my head i was suffocating i dont know how the pillow got on my head its was the scariest experience of my life

      1. Hi Tony,

        I can only imagine how scary that must have been! I imagine that the explanation is quite simple in that you put it there yourself in your sleep! I’ve woken up many times with the pillow on top of my head, and don’t think anything of it. But of course if I woke up with sleep paralysis and the pillow on my face, I can imagine how my brain would create a terrifying explanation. Hopefully it will never happen to you again though.

    14. I had terrifying episode this morning approx 6am as I drifted off to sleep. I couldn’t move my head, arms, or legs. The harder I fought the harder it was for me to move. When I finally could there was an intruder in my house who is actually a coworker of mine, who had an accomplice with a gun. As more panic started to set in I suddenly woke up. It took a bit to realize I was dreaming because the surroundings were so real, it was actually my bedroom the way I left it before dozing off. Please help.

      1. Hi Torri

        Thanks for your comment, and sorry to hear you had such a scary experience. I’m not sure whether you had just sleep paralysis, or sleep paralysis followed by a nightmare. But in either case, it sounds very unpleasant.
        I think the main thing is to try not to panic or worry about it too much. Hopefully like most people, it won’t be a regular thing. If you read through the article there are lots of tips that you can try to put into action if it does happen again. You can tell yourself before you go to bed what you will do if it happens, to help yourself remember, and then try to relax and sleep.

    15. Hello I’m Deja and my wife has been doing this for years! The part that people don’t understand is maybe there’s a place they go?? Because my wife tells me things about where she goes and I don’t mean when she wakes up nether. So maybe someone should take the time out to figure that out.just my thoughts on it…

      1. Hi Deja,

        Thanks for your comment. Do you mean she has out-of-body experiences, or where she goes when dreaming? I think there are people who have thought on this, but you would find those on websites about lucid dreaming and astral projection, if it’s something which interests you.

    16. I experience this four days ago, in my dream I was sleeping on my stomach, and I could feel a 12″ sq of steel crushing me, and a hand on the back of my neck; even though I was sleeping on my right side. I started yelling and cursing, and then I said the word, “God…”, and the weight just disappeared. But the voice that was yelling that I could hear, that woke me up was that of a man, which I believe to be my my grandfather. But, I will say this, my pillows were higher than usual, I had eaten a small meal before going to bed, I was sleeping on my right side instead of my left (no one should asleep on their right after eating/drinking), and I had flu like symptoms that I had been fighting for 2 days. Was I frightened? No, but I took the experience as a warning for my sister, because in the dream I did see her, and I was blessing every corner of her new home with blessed oil. I did call her that day and I asked her if she had blessed her new home, because she is in a wheelchair, and she said that she hadn’t done so, but will.
      The other time, there was a black figure, with no face, and a long black robe, with a hood over guys head, standing over my hospital bed in the recovery room. I had just come out of a colectomy, and I had intense pain, and I could see the black figure, like the grim reaper, and I remember saying, “Oh hell no, you’ve got the wrong person, so move along.” and he did. Then I heard the nurse complaining about my extra pain meds, that I acted as if I had been in a car crash. At that time, I did wake up and scream at her in a moan so loud that she had no choice, but to administer the meds, then I went back to sleep, on my back.

      1. Hi there,

        Thanks for your comment, and as with many people it’s difficult to tell whether this was really sleep paralysis because you don’t specifically state that you were unable to move at any point, but definitely awake. So it could be that you were dreaming both of these episodes, or that you woke up and had a hallucination which contained content similar to your dream. If you’re following this comment, it would be great if you could give some more details, i.e. were you paralyzes upon waking?

    17. I have had this for 45 years. It started in college every once in a while and then progressed over the years to happening nearly every time I slept. I experience the paralysis along with one or more threatening figures in the room. I often hear a multitude of voices and/or a cacophonous music. In the past I tried rolling side to side or getting a foot or hand moving that ultimately leads to getting a whole limb then my entire body moving up and out of the experience.

      More recently I call out to my wife to wake me. She tells me my voice is deep and distorted but understandable. Initially she would gently shake my arm which did no good at all. In this state I would tell her to shake me harder, harder, HARDER. This always works.

      While falling asleep I can actually feel the hypnagogic state state begin to overtake me and I force myself to move and fully wake. This can happen repeatedly until I actually fall into it completely. I eventually learned to sit up in bed or get out of bed to shake the feeling off.

      This has all been worsened by waking up one time with an actual home invader in my bedroom. Ten years later I awoke at 4 am with a burglar downstairs in my house.

      I have also suffered from a sleep disorder for about the same period of time and will sometimes go for 2 or 3 nights without sleep. I’m now going to have a sleep study done as I’m sick of the whole thing. I can say, now in my 60s I’ve been having few paralysis events. Maybe it will all just disappear.

      1. Hi there,

        Thanks for your comment and for sharing your experiences, which sound extremely scary indeed! I’m not surprised you’ve had worse sleep problems after those actual experiences of burglars. I can’t even begin to imagine how that must have felt.

        Hopefully the sleep study will provide some answers for you. Perhaps as well you could try doing some relaxation techniques once you go to bed? It might help distract and clear your mind, and hopefully stop you from worrying about having hallucinations.

        All the best

    18. Hi,

      I have been experiencing sleep paralysis since I was about 14 myself. The experiences have been classic “demon attack” experiences. However as I have got older more things have accompanied these experiences. My oldest would wake up in the middle of my paralysis from the other room. After she got to be about 3 she stopped waking in the night. Now my younger child will wake when this happens. Last night I had one of these experiences but I was in a very deep sleep. I remember in my dream trying to listen for my husbands breathing to move toward that sound out of the dream. I was trying to wake myself up. It wasn’t until I heard my son yelling as he walked to my room that I was finally able to wake up. It is uncommon for my child to wake at night and it does only seem to happen when I myself “sense” a presence in the house. Last night after I laid him down with me he opened his eyes all of a sudden and pointed above him and said “someone else”. I largely believe that our brains try to rationalize our experiences in our sleep and similar situations of unconsciousness. However I started experiencing other actual phenomenon especially during the same hour I or we experience this sleep paralysis/wakefulness. The garage door opening in the middle of the night and toys suddenly coming on in the children’s play room. Even the living room light fluttering until out of irritation I said Quit and it stopped. I’m not sure if anyone else has any other unexplained experiences that accompany their sleep paralysis or not but it sure does seem strange. I have thought about leaving a camera on in our bedroom at night but since we have moved 3 times and our garage door has opened on its own in each of these houses as well as other explained events, Im half afraid to.

      1. Hi Lyn,

        Thanks for your comment. I can understand why you are worried and frightened if you are experiencing such a range of things you can’t explain. I think leaving a camera on is an excellent idea, as it would, in my opinion and best guess, show you that you don’t have anything to be worried about:-) but of course, that’s a step you need to be willing to take yourself.
        I hope you find the strength to face the reality of whatever might be behind these mysterious events.
        All the best

    19. This happens to me alot. I am 46 now. Started in the military barracks on fire watch. Felt like I was sinking in bed with a “wah wah sound and six figures watching me as I could not move. Other times I would be lying next to my wife and screaming for help. I could make out detailed items on the dresser so I thought for sure I was awake. After waking she never heard a peep out of me. I am pretty sure my eyes opened and I just incorporated that into the stage of sleep. Other times I would twitch with an electrical ping inside my head that seems loud enough to pierce ear drums. But since there was never any actual sound it would just wake me up quickly. Quick enough that there was that sleep drug the brain produces and makes you feel paralized. I have never had this happen while being alone so its safe to assume no demons ghost just an over tired body IMO. I used to think it was aliens. and the time in the barracks with the 6 people…someone said that tehy were my pawbearers that freaked me out a bit.

      1. Hi Steve

        Thanks for your comment and for sharing your experience of sleep paralysis. It’s interesting that it never happens to you when you’re alone. I wonder if there’s some element of a partner partially waking you up through movement or noise. Does your partner snore or move about in bed a lot?
        I think you’re right about it being an over-tired body. Many people report that they have more episodes when they’re tired.
        Anyway, I hope you found something useful in the article which you can take away and use the next time it happens.
        All the best

    20. Hi, I have the same experience since last 1 month…. In my opinion to avoid such situations…

      1. To use more comfortable Bed
      2. Try to avoid watch Horror Movies
      3. Avoid Direct Fan Flows …. (Fan cooling) it helps to sleep more comfortably …

      1. Hi Sddharth
        Thanks for your comment and your suggestions. I agree with the horror films idea, though I’m not sure about the comfortable bed and fan flow ideas. But I would say that of course it’s always good to sleep in the most comfortable bed possible.

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