Sleep Paralysis Stories – The Scariest Sleep Disorder Of All

Sleep paralysis stories typically involve unusual and often extremely 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 really exist, or if science can provide a logical, and hopefully comforting explanation.

sleeping man seeing a sleep paralysis demon

A typical sleep paralysis experience

Imagine the following scenario: you’ve fallen asleep as usual after a long day. You hope you’ll have pleasant dreams and wake up the next morning feeling refreshed.

But instead of waking up peacefully in the morning, ready to groggily hit the snooze button, you awaken at an unknown time in the middle of the night.

Two things immediately spring to mind: you can’t move at all, and you’re not alone.

You feel a weight on your chest, pressing you down and preventing you from sitting up. But it’s worse than that – you can’t move your arms or legs. You can’t even move your lips to call out for help.

You’re not sure who or what is pushing on your chest. It’s too dark to see. But you just know there’s a presence there. Something strange. Something 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 able to stumble to the bathroom to make sure my face wasn’t decorated with demonic symbols.

It seems I’d had a classic case of sleep paralysis.

A common experience

Sleep paralysis stories like this one are in fact surprisingly common. A review of 35 previous sleep paralysis studies in 2011 found that 7.6% of the general population had experienced sleep paralysis in their lifetime, with an even higher figure of 28.3% of students. And the prevalence rises again for people who have narcolepsy (around 40%).

You may have experienced it yourself, but until now not known what it was you were going through. So now we have a name for it, it might be helpful to know what causes it, and what you can do about it.

Accepting the cause is something which I now know many readers struggle with. Although sleep paralysis has a solid scientific explanation (as you’ll see below), the feeling can be so real that you may find it difficult to accept the scientific explanation.

Cultural, religious, esoteric and personal beliefs can all play a role in how you view sleep paralysis. And with that, how you decide to cope with any future episodes.

Polls – what’s your experience of sleep paralysis?

I ran several polls to find out more about readers’ experience of sleep paralysis. With thousands of people voting, they provide a fascinating insight into the variety of experiences people have.

Poll 1

In poll 1, you can see that many have had the experience of thinking there was a demon or other being in the room.

I imagine that many people who search online for information about sleep paralysis will have had the more intense experiences, perhaps skewing the results. But it’s still interesting to see how common that particularly scary feature is.

chart showing the results of a poll into sleep paralysis the kind of experience they 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. Having said that, there are still plenty of people who don’t find it so scary.

chart showing the results of poll 2 into sleep paralysis and how scared people are during episodes

Poll 3

Poll 3 shows that most people first experience sleep paralysis before they reach 20.

graph showing the results of a poll about the age readers first get sleep paralysis

Poll 4

Fortunately, poll 4 shows that most readers don’t experience sleep paralysis on a regular basis. If you’re one of those who do experience it regularly though, it’s a good idea to discuss it with your doctor.
graph showing sleep paralysis 4 results - how often people experience it

Poll 5

Poll 5 shows some of the things that have helped people stop sleep paralysis. You can also find more coping mechanism further on in this article.
chart showing the different ways people deal with sleep paralysis according to a poll

What causes sleep paralysis? The scientific explanation

The causes of the physical aspect of sleep paralysis are slightly different depending on the stage of sleep in which you experience it:

When falling asleep

Some people experience sleep paralysis during sleep onset – sometimes known as hypnagogic sleep paralysis. While falling asleep, your body naturally relaxes and you become less aware as you drift off to sleep.

However, if you do remain aware, you might realize you can’t move or speak if your brain stops your muscles from moving to help keep you safe while you dream.

When waking up

Alternatively, it can happen after you’ve already been asleep, known as hypnopompic sleep paralysis.

During the night you cycle through several different stages of sleep. During what’s called the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage you tend to dream more vividly. And so the brain ‘switches off’ your muscles to prevent you from acting out your dreams and potentially hurting yourself.

If you become aware again before the REM sleep cycle finishes, you might become conscious of the fact that you’re still paralyzed. So you could look at sleep paralysis as your body and brain being temporarily out of sync.

Why do you see, hear or feel strange things?

The explanation for why you feel physically paralyzed but awake is one thing, but how does science explain 3 of the main sleep paralysis stories that people report?

  1. That there’s an intruder or other presence in the room.
  2. That there’s some kind of sleep paralysis demon pushing down on your chest, strangling or doing other unpleasant things to you.
  3. Having an out-of-body experience.

The first two are usually explained by a combination of three occurrences:

  • During the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage of sleep, and the muscle paralysis that comes with it, your breathing can be shallower. And when you try to breathe deeply, you may feel that you can’t. Your brain might then misinterpret this as a feeling of being strangled, or a presence pushing down on your chest.
  • When you feel threatened, your body naturally reacts with its fight or flight defense mechanism. So if you wake up, are unable to move and it’s dark, you may react to the sensation of paralysis and breathing difficulty by thinking that something bad is happening.
  • In addition to the above two processes, several brain structures might interact to create a hypnagogic hallucination. During the common experience of an intruder or demonic entity, the hallucination may not initially take on any particular form. But when the threat system comes into play, you might misinterpret the feeling that you’re not alone as being that the additional presence is something bad – thus creating a hallucination which is demonic or malevolent in some way.

The out-of-body experience isn’t explained by the activation of the threat system. Instead, it’s explained by the parts of the brain involved in coordinating movement and also working out where the body physically is in space.

Researchers generally agree that an out-of-body experience is another form of hallucination caused by a neurological mechanism.

Dreams and nightmares overlapping with reality

In addition to the above, there’s also the confusion which can occur as your dreams or nightmares overlap with reality. If you wake up from a dream, but remain paralyzed, sometimes your dream imagery can appear to ‘map’ onto the real world.

So you may have your eyes open, but still see, hear or feel some of the strange or frightening things which you were just dreaming about, even if you can’t remember that you were just dreaming.

Then you add the physiological elements that come with suddenly finding yourself paralyzed, and you have all the ingredients for being very scared.

But why does it happen?

So now we know what happens, and what causes the feeling of paralysis and the hallucinations. But why does it happen in the first place, and only to some people?

Scientists aren’t completely sure, but in most cases it’s thought to be associated with one or more of the following:

  • Sleep deprivation.
  • Irregular sleep patterns – particularly with shift work or jet lag.
  • Narcolepsy.
  • A family history of sleep paralysis.
  • Poor sleep hygiene.
  • Sleeping on your back rather than your side or front.

Sleep paralysis causes – the not so scientific explanation

astral projection - one of the rarer sleep paralysis storiesIf you don’t believe that the scientific explanation is sufficient, then what else remains? Let’s look at each of the 3 main types of sleep paralysis stories in turn:

1. The Intruder

If you wake up in the middle of the night and you have a sudden feeling that there’s a human intruder in the room, then the possible explanation is simple. There really is someone else in the room.

If you weren’t paralyzed, then there would be an obvious way to find way out if this were the case: turn on the light and have a look, or prod your partner and tell them to do something about it. But you’re paralyzed though, so that doesn’t work.

Thankfully, it’s extremely unlikely that you’ll wake up to find a real intruder in your bedroom. And it’s even less likely that they will have a way to paralyze you while they help themselves to your valuables.

So if you wake up paralyzed and struggling to breathe, and then notice a presence on the other side of the room, it’s probably safe to assume there’s no intruder.

2. The demon

If you firmly believe in supernatural entities, there may not be a great deal of science that could convince you otherwise. It’s a personal choice to believe in such things.

What I would like to suggest though is this: if you experience sleep paralysis, wouldn’t it be more comforting not to believe that you’re being tormented by demons?

The scientific explanation would make sleep paralysis demon encounters so much easier to not dwell on and go back to sleep. And not dwelling too much on the experience is what many people do manage to successfully do.

Around the world

Interestingly, around the world there are many cultural interpretations of the forces at work in this particular kind of sleep paralysis event.

For example, in Fiji the demon is sometimes seen as a deceased relative coming back for some unfinished business or to tell the person something important. In Chinese folklore it’s also seen as a ghost rather than a demon or intruder.

Some countries, such as Iran and Pakistan, interpret it as being demons or spirits who have taken over a person’s body, often due to black magic performed by an enemy. In Turkish culture the entity is literally seen as sitting on your chest and stealing away your breath.

Many countries and cultures appear to have their own explanations for the sleep paralysis demon – some very similar, and others quite different.

The common theme being though that the entity is up to no good and something to be feared. I’m yet to find a culture which believes it’s a kind angel or fairy spending some quality time with you in the night.

I know from readers’ comments that some people do believe that demons or other evil entities exist. Some talk about them within a religious framework, others simply feel that there’s a lot which science can’t explain yet.

Among all of the comments from people who do believe these things there’s one common, and important, theme: nothing bad actually happened to them.

This then raises another question: if there are so many terribly evil beings out there, why is it that they do no more than scare people?

3. The out-of-body experience

When I was a teenager, I picked up a book in a library which claimed to be a training manual for astral projection. The idea being that there’s a separate part of you that’s able to leave the body and venture into other planes of existence.

The manual mostly involved visualization practice, which I spent a couple of days failing to do, before deciding it wasn’t for me.

There seems to be some overlap between the concepts of out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences, lucid dreaming and astral projection.

Many people report having experienced one or more of these, and the internet and bookstores abound with writers who claim to have techniques to consciously leave the body and have amazing adventures in the astral realm.

There’s no dispute that people do experience the sensation of an out-of-body experience during sleep paralysis. But is it best explained in biological terms, or are there really other realms, just waiting to be explored?

Again it’s a question of belief and I’m not here to tell you either way what you should think; you may even feel that both explanations can coexist.

Using sleep paralysis as a springboard…

There are many websites claiming that sleep paralysis has a biological cause, but can then be used as a springboard for lucid dreaming or astral projection.

I also recently came across what’s actually quite a sensible book explaining how to do this. It’s called ‘Sleep Paralysis: A Guide to Hypnagogic Visions and Visitors of the Night’.

It provides a detailed background to sleep paralysis, but also aims to help you find a way to convert sleep paralysis into a lucid dream. The point being that you can then take control of the experience and turn it into something positive.

And if you think that’s a ridiculous or impossible idea (especially if your personal experience has been terrifying!), you’ll find several detailed comments below from readers who say they’ve been able to do just that.

They have some inspiring stories of viewing sleep paralysis as a positive thing, which they enjoy because of the unique and fascinating experiences it brings them.

Choosing to believe in astral worlds that you can access and fly around in doing whatever you please sounds harmless and fun. If I’m honest I’d like to believe it’s possible – even though I’m not convinced.

On the other hand, choosing to believe you’re having the life sucked out of you by a sleep paralysis demon doesn’t sound so good to me.

How to stop sleep paralysis

When to see a doctor

Fortunately, most people don’t experience sleep paralysis very often, and so no treatment is required. However, if the following apply to you, it’s a good idea to speak to your doctor:

  • It happens regularly.
  • You feel anxious about going to sleep.
  • You don’t get enough sleep.
  • You feel very sleepy during the day or 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:

  • They may refer you to a sleep specialist to rule out the possibility of narcolepsy.
  • They may prescribe an anti-depressant medication, such as clomipramine, for a short period.
  • They might consider whether there’s an underlying mental illness if you’re experiencing hallucinations outside of the sleeping environment.
  • They would explain the biological processes involved in sleep paralysis, as outlined above, in the hope that educating you about sleep will help you accept it as a normal occurrence.
  • They might talk to you about developing good sleep hygiene techniques, which is thought to help reduce the frequency of sleep paralysis. The most important ones being to keep a regular sleep schedule, and not allow yourself to become sleep deprived.

Readers’ techniques for coping with sleep paralysis

In the comments below, many readers have explained how they either deal with or stop sleep paralysis. Firstly, I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone for contributing.

Please bear in mind that there’s no evidence that some of these work, other than the fact that people have said they help them personally. Remember that what works for one person may not for you.

  • Don’t let yourself become sleep deprived as it often happens more then.
  • Try to keep a regular routine of going to sleep and waking up.
  • Try to reduce stress and anxiety in your life.
  • Stay calm and try not to panic.
  • Try to wiggle just one finger or a toe. Some say this is more achievable than trying to move your whole body. Then you can try to move the hand or foot and slowly wake up the whole body.
  • Tell yourself that you’re actually in control. You can ‘order’ the experience to stop, or whatever you’re seeing to go away.
  • If you feel a weight on your chest, try to imagine there’s something friendly causing it, such as a big happy dog.
  • If it’s happening repeatedly, why not film yourself sleeping? This may be especially useful for people who have experiences where they feel that they have been physically ‘moved’ in their bed by some being, or their furniture has been moved. You would be able to reassure yourself that you weren’t actually dragged out of bed.
  • Try wearing a sleep tracker and see if it records you as being awake or asleep at the time. It can also help check your heart rate and breathing during the night.
  • Try not to think about what it ‘could’ be. Your imagination will probably make up something scary in the darkness.
  • Try to relax and ‘go with it’. Some readers actually enjoy sleep paralysis, and they welcome the opportunity to have out-of-body experiences or see what strange experiences they can have.
  • Don’t sleep on your back. Many people say they only have it in this position.
  • Try to organize your bedroom in a way which makes you feel safe and secure. Look into Feng-Sui to make your bedroom feel peaceful.
  • Don’t hang dressing gowns, coats or hats in places which look like figures in the dark.
  • Don’t read in bed as this can encourage you to fall asleep on your back.
  • Sleep with a night light on, or with music or the radio so that if you do wake up you aren’t in silent darkness.
  • Remind yourself that nothing bad will happen.
  • Imagine your body rolling from side to side in your mind and count each roll. Eventually you might notice you regain control of a body part. Focus on this part and try to grow the capacity for movement from there.
  • Count numbers to focus your mind on something other than the hallucinations.
  • Don’t sleep with a high pillow.
  • Keep your eyes shut and try to clear your mind instead of focusing on the things you can see.
  • Try squeezing your eyes tightly shut if you’re able to control the muscles around your eyes.
  • Keep well hydrated – drink water before going to bed.
  • Talk about it to family or friends – they may have experienced it too.
  • Write about it here. Some people find it helpful to describe their experience in the comments below.
  • If you have it once, get out of bed for a while to reset the brain. Perhaps also keep a light or music on when you go back to bed.
  • Many people who have a faith say they find prayer can be helpful. Some also say that calling on their religious beliefs and ‘commanding’ what they see to leave helps them.
  • Don’t take recreational drugs.
  • Check if any sleeping pills or herbal remedies you’re taking are causing it – either by discussing it with your doctor, or stopping taking them for a while.
  • Once the episode has passed, it’s good to take a moment to remind yourself that you overcame it again. Tell yourself that you overcame it, are not afraid and will always overcome it.

 How I recently stopped an episode of sleep paralysis

Since writing this article, I hadn’t had a single episode of sleep paralysis until recently. And I’m happy to report that I used two of the techniques in the above list to successfully stop it.

I woke up in the middle of the night to find myself in a strange position with my arms crossed on top of my body, almost like you see with medieval carvings of knights on tombs! And I could literally feel strong hands pinning my wrists to my chest.

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

Two things sprung to mind after a brief moment of panic: ‘stay calm’, I said to myself, and ‘wiggle a finger’.

The calmness I only managed with moderate success, perhaps because this was the first episode in a long time, so I was caught off guard. But I did manage to focus my efforts on wiggling a finger.

In the haze of the night and the moment it felt quite odd, like my fingers were wiggling in different directions. But I think that’s possibly due to the disconnect between by body and brain with the paralysis.

Eventually I felt my arms loosen as well, and then soon afterwards 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.

It seems that just knowing about the finger wiggling technique was enough for my brain to remember to do it when the sleep paralysis occurred.

So my recommendation, from personal experience, is to plant that thought in your mind too!

Further reading

The British National Health Service website has a section on sleep paralysis that you might find useful.

You can find some useful ideas in my article discussing how to stop nightmares and night terrors. Some of the ideas there about changing the content of your dreams might be helpful.

For any readers wondering if there’s a genetic factor involved in sleep paralysis, it seems that there could be. A study by researchers at Sheffield University in 2015 showed this in their research into twins who experience sleep paralysis.

Finally, in 2016 another UK study looked into the fascinating connection between sleep paralysis and lucid dreaming. They all examined the relationship between sleep paralysis and well-being, poor sleep and stress.

Please read before leaving a comment

After 3 years of personally replying to comments, I’ve decided to leave this fascinating and helpful discussion to the readers. I’ll still read them all before publishing to make sure the content is suitable for younger readers. But time constraints mean I have to focus my attention on other parts of the site.

It’s always very interesting to hear your sleep paralysis stories, and I know that many people find it helpful to have a place to describe what happened to them.

Moreover, other readers find it comforting to know they’re not alone and perhaps find someone who has had similar experiences.

So feel free to talk about your experience of sleep paralysis, and if you have any more tips or techniques for dealing with it, I’ll add them to the growing list of readers’ suggestions.

Leave a comment >>

2,730 CommentsLeave a comment

  • A good scientific explanation for different sleep disorders, however is the belief in actual entities so far fetched? Maybe the consciousness level at that precise moment in time is the level needed for outside influences to interact with humans

  • What’s crazy about mine is it only lasted like 10 sec when usually it last for a couple minutes but there was an exorcist and my mom was sitting on the couch next to me and I suddenly yelled it out of no where “I don’t want to go to sleep” at this moment I knew I was in sleep paralysis and I was just praying I could just wake up this time but then my mom looked at me with the most evil look and asked me “u don’t want to go to sleep? Okay say leave me alone” do I said it once but the second and third time I said it I could hear anything but felt my lips moving then, I looked at the got in the room and as soon as that happens I woke right up, but when all this was going on I couldn’t move my body or breathe very well at all so i think that sense I knew I was I was in sleep paralysis it kinda made me stay calm and thats what woke me right up

  • I have had sleep paralysis for awhile now and it started off as innocent. My first time was when I was about 11 or 12 and I woke to a sound of tapping on my wall. I look up and there is a huge hair spider crawling up it and I could see each one of the hairs very clearly. I freaked out of course. My biggest and scariest one was last year when I woke to hear a lady humming. I was in fetal position and my sheets over my whole body,I couldn’t move or speak but my eyes were open. I felt the lady get on top of me and here hair touched my face. I felt here breath on me as she said very clearly,”Do you want to die,still?”. I was absolutely terrified. She began to shake my bed back and forth and I tried to scream. In my brain I kept saying this isn’t real but it really felt like it was. So I tried talking and planned to scream GET OUT! But when I mustered the strength instead I just scream GAAAAHHH!!! Everything went away but I laughed to myself for just saying one letter.

  • Just woke up from sleep
    paralysis and it was terrifying. I woke on my back and and to the right of me I could feel a face right next time talking in my ear. I cant recall what it was saying but it was in English. It felt like an alien presence. I heard buzzing and sparks from the right side of my room, almost like a light flashing. I couldn’t speak but I was able to mubble, like a very quite scream. The more I tried to make noise, the less I could hear the voice and buzzing so I was desperately trying to make any sound that would come out of me. I’ve had sleep paralysis before but I’ve never experience a presence until tonight. I’m scared to go back to sleep but I know it wasn’t real, it just feels like it does and that’s the worst part.

  • ever since I was little I have experienced a lot of paranormal stuff that I cannot explain neither would love to explore just wish it would stop from the demonic dreams to the sleep paralysis to the things I sometimes see or feel I’ve been told am sensitive to those things but choose to not believe maybe be am naïve or just plainly delusional. I have experienced sleep paralysis enough to understand that each episode I get gets worse and more real like if whatever is after me keeps getting closer to me like its breaking my wall ( metaphorically speaking ) down till it finally gets a hold of me I sound crazy I know. let me tell you about my recent episode that happened a few hours ago while its still fresh though I doubt Il forget I was deeply asleep when suddenly I wake up to a blurry but clear image of something not human like hovering over me I laid there in terror frozen unable to move I tried to scream for help that wasn’t happening the only thing I was able to do was reach out my hand towards whatever was beside me and the only word I was able to shout was GOD over and over again till it stopped well at least that’s what I thought to my surprise it happened tree times in arrow the exact same way it was like if I was stuck in a loop from hell

  • Last night at around 3:00 am I was sleeping and had a little conversation in my dream of me saying that im scared then I heard somebody else say don’t worry the lord will protect you then the fan in my room started blowing a ton of air and I woke up and couldn’t move it was probably the scariest 10 seconds of my life I felt pressure on my stomach and after it was over i called my girlfriend who had experienced this and she helped me through my fears

  • Last night on Aug 31st, I believe I experienced another sleep paralysis. I remember falling asleep stomach faced down the way I always do. It was approximately 11pm and I needed to sleep to wake up at 4am to start my new job and well I woke up 1 hour after I fell asleep. I remember slightly waking up in my normal position and I started to drift off to sleep again in the darkened room when I suddenly felt that something was now on the bed with me and as soon as I realized it, It mustve realized that I was aware and It layed itself on me in the same position I was in. I tried to move but I couldnt and the fear got to me so badly that I tried so hard to shake it off of me. At this point my muscles ached from me forcing them and I tried to yell out at my roomate for help when nothing happened not even able to open my mouth as if it were melting into a combined surface. At this point my muscles felt heavy but I managed to reach and grab my phone laying not to far from me. My plan was to emit some light but the phone wouldnt work, as if it was dead but I had just pulled it out the charger. My next move was to concentrate my now heavy and tired body to force myself to bang my head towards the wall and make noise but with the momentum I had it was not possible just a tap. I now lost hope of escaping and told myself to relax, I felt myself relaxing and the presence began to fade, just before was completely gone it whispered in my ear. A female voice so soft had whispered “why” and I was now awake phone working.

  • A Couple months back I remember waking up on my back stretched out, which was wierd since I have never fell asleep on my back nor woken up that way before. When I say stretched out I mean like in a star shape. Anyways that night I fell asleep on my stomach like I always do and well as far as my room goes, the window is a few feet away from the foot of my bed and when I awoke faced up stretched out I realized that I could not move at all except my head which could only manage a slight angle nothing else. I closed my eyes and tried to reopen them to wake up but nothing same position same situation. I tried to close my eyes and reopen them 5 more times and on the last time the sun through the window brightened and there was now a silhouette of a dark tall figure standing in my room at the foot of my bed. I quickly closed my eyes and opened them to see nothing and I was now able to move. This was the first experience from the many that have now occurred.

  • I frequently have sleep paralysis episodes starting when i was in my teens. I’m now 34 and they never get easier. At least twice a month i have one and often slip in and out of paralysis back to back multiple times in a row. I’ve run the gambit from intruders, to out of body, exploding head syndrome, to unfortunate demon-like entities. Its always scary and unsettling.
    Generally there are two visitors that frequent my nights. There’s a small one that often teases me. He usually either breathes heavily or makes rustling or scratching noises near my bed and giggles when it notices my terror. Other times it will be in bed with me tickling my back or neck. Or it will sit in the window and giggle and mock me.
    The other i call raw meat cause that’s what it smells like. This one screams and thrashes me. Only shows up when I’m facing the wall so I can’t ever see it. But it is the worst part of my entire existence. Its only been there a handful of times but it is a constant source of anxiety.
    The little one has only been there at the same time once and didn’t like raw meat at all. Almost protective of me.
    Other times I’ve had three men standing over me talking in a very clinical sort of way. As though they were discussing me. Once i had something bulge through the window and crush me. Something even tried to drag me off of my friends couch and into the refrigerator.
    I’d hate sleeping if I didn’t also have amazing dreams. I just never know what I’m in for

  • I experienced what I believe was sleep paralysis for the first time last night. I had trouble falling asleep. When I finally did fall asleep, I had dreams that I was involuntarily floating around in circles on the ceiling of my bedroom. Usually, dreams of floating in the air are pleasant. Mine was the opposite. It was something that felt menacing and I had little to no control over it. I felt very vulnerable. I believe the frightening dream caused me to wake up. But when I woke up, I couldn’t move or open my eyes. I don’t know if I was completely paralyzed. My body felt so heavy. Maybe I could muster all of my strength to slightly move. But it was not easy. I couldn’t speak either. I could hear myself moaning, trying to call for help. I don’t know if this was actually sleep paralysis, but it was terrifying.

  • I don’t remember much but about 5 months ago I had woken up on my back completely paralyzed and it felt like I was dreaming and conscious at the same time. I had full control of moving my neck but everything else was paralyzed. To make this story short I had look to the left where my bedroom door was and I saw 2 tall black shadow stick figures opening my door and flailing their arms and they had felt an evil presence from “them”. That’s all I remember, I don’t remember how I woke up…

  • I had my first episode one night last week. Felt surrounded by a heavy evil force which was pressing the life out of me. Couldn’t speak…couldn’t talk. Tried to pray “Please God help me.” The word please was not audible but the word “God” was audible, and I could then move. The release was like a miracle.

  • I don’t know why some nights I get sleep paralysis. I first had it when I was a kid. I heard voices and the voices we’re speaking super fast and loud. I experienced it a lot of times growing up. I am 24 now and still experience it every now and then. I usually experience them when I can’t fall asleep immediately. Usually when I’m tossing and turning and slowly falling into sleep will I experience it. I am paralyzed and there are voices and shadows. I can’t breathe and I try waking myself up but I can’t. I try to move my arm or lift my head. Every time I think I’m going to die because I can’t breathe. After what feels like forever I finally wake up. Im so sleepy but I don’t want to fall back asleep for fear it happens again. There have been times when I’ve had episodes back to back. I’ve been trying to fall into a regular sleep pattern to hopefully decrease my sleep paralysis occurrences.

    • mines started as a kid too with all of the fast talking voices but they were also loud but i am now 18 and its really terrifying because it happens often and i am questioned on the real reason for it. I understand all of the scientists telling people about what it might be but this could be something serious even though anyone hasn’t got hurt yet but there’s something behind all of this.

  • I had a different kind of sleep paralysis last night right before going to sleep. The first one I had a month ago triggered by a horrible nightmare.. Can’t move or scream seemed liked forever. The latest one was last night around 12. It was more terrifying then the first one. I was lying on my back one arm out of the cover. Falling asleep all of a sudden I couldn’t move, if I did loud high pitch sound overcome my hearing then I would be “dragged” to the other side of the bed. I could open my eyes but it was pitch black so I think I was dreaming all this but felt awake. Then if I stop trying to move the sound went away. The longer I tried to move the louder the sound got. It got very cold too. I couldn’t scream either. While all this was happening I though my great aunt passed and came to me. She’s very sick.then I though it was a demon or alien trying to talk to me. Then it passed the room went back to where I can see the back porch light coming in the window. After wards I felt a relief it was done but felt sadden that it left and why it came to me.

  • I have had sleep paralysis basically fairly consistently since my late teens. I’m 26 now and the last few nights I have been getting it non stop. When I say non stop, I mean it happens multiple times during the night. Also, unlike before, these episodes are happening for multiple minutes at a time. It’s an extremely unsettling feeling. I just went through an episode where I was sleeping, woke up, couldn’t move, and I heard a full on conversation with two people. I don’t remember now what they were saying but they were speaking English and I could understand at the time what they were saying. When I snapped out of that, I fell back asleep to wake up paralyzed again to two of my friends fighting extremely loud at each other. After I snapped out of that, I was so tired I went back to sleep again. Minutes later, I woke up paralyzed again. This time, people were in my room. I don’t know if they were friends or not but they were writing on my wall in red marker. I don’t know exactly what they were writing but I layed there paralyzed for what felt like 10 mins but in reality was about 4 minutes which is still a ridiculous amount of time to be dealing with this. I kept trying to spit out words saying I’m going to kill you when I break out of this and at the same time begging for help from one of these “people” to wake me up. when I finally snapped out of it, I said screw this. I at least need to wake up for a little bit. I can’t deal with one more episode like this or I’m literally going to lose my mind. And every time it happened, I knew I was dealing with sleep paralysis which kept me at least somewhat calmer. Even so, every time I did break out of my paralysis, I was still shocked st the fact that these events actually were all in my mind…..

  • I’m 16 and I just had my first sleep paralysis experience half an hour ago and I was absolutely terrified.
    So tonight I fell asleep on the couch, and woke up and went upstairs to my bed, still groggy. I fell asleep half on my back, half on my side, with my head tilted weirdly.
    It started with a harmless dream, I was on a cartoony spacecraft with family guy-type characters. Then I start to hear a very loud, very repetitive strobe noise, that grew increasingly louder. It came to the point where a part of me realized that this noise I was hearing didn’t even feel like a dream anymore, but real life. Then I’m snapped back to my bed. And I realize I’m completely paralyzed. I tried to move my arm, but it didn’t work, so instead i was working on bending my little finger, which woke me up.

    I was a little freaked out but went back to sleep right away. And then what felt like a couple minutes later, maybe even seconds, it happened again but this time it was different. I was laying flat on my back and my head was tilted to the left. I snap back to being paralyzed but this time my sheets start to rustle, like there was a creature or something moving underneath it. At the same time I feel like my soul is sinking into my bed, and as if this isn’t enough, my string lights that are hung above my bed, start to look like they’re turning into scampering scorpions. The whole time I feel very threatened, like something is watching me and wants to hurt or kill me. I feared for my life. The sheets sounded so incredibly real, I still can’t get over it.

    So now it’s almost 5 am and I’m scared to go back to sleep because that was the scariest thing to ever happen to me. I felt like I was going to die. I got out of the second episode by willing myself to violently swing my head away from the rustling sheets.
    I read how common this is, but it felt so so real, I still can barely believe it wasn’t. I started browsing the internet and found people who were being touched or strangled and saw creepy figures or people. I didn’t actually see anyone last time but now I’m terrified I will and I’m terrified it’ll happen again tonight.
    I know how childish it sounds but im just so scared that I’ll see some sort of demon, reaper or monster this time.

  • I’ve had this happen to me several times sometimes on my back which feels like someone is sat on my chest or strangling me. This evening I was in feral position with both hands near my head it felt like someone was tying my hands down, and pressing over my mouth, I sleep with my partner and for what felt like 20 minutes I was desperately trying to call his name but nothing would come out, I use all my strength to try to use my hands to wake him but I feel like the more I try the more intense the sensation gets and the more terrified I feel. In all the times I’ve experienced sleep paralysis is scary on your own but more scary when your desperately trying to seek the help of your partner and you just can’t move or say anything. I don’t know what to do as it’s getting more frequent and lasting longer each time and more terrifying

  • I’ve just woken up from yet another terrifying sleep paralysis episode.

    I’ve had a couple of experiences in my early twenties. I am now approaching 30 and I’ve had my third episode in two weeks. I am genuinely convinced there is not a scientific explanation for this and that it is something to do with demons/spirits. Thank you for setting up this page as it really helps you try make sense of what is happening to you, and try pass some time whilst your too scared to go back to sleep. I would love to hear others experiences of this, I still feel a slight pressure on my throat even as I am writing this comment, I am honestly too scared to sleep tonight 😭

    • Hi Kelly here’s a tip for you the next time it happens try and turn the emotion completely around and enjoy it, the fact that you are completely aware of your situation puts you in control of that situation. Breathing is the key keep calm and composed,you are at a stage in your personal evolution to begin to understand and accept a higher understanding of consciousness

  • My sleep paralysis started just last year (I´m 36). I´ve had it a few times. The most scary ones were when I woke up and saw the light in the hall, behind my bedroom door and I felt like there were some people (I live alone) and the other one was when I could hear someone whispering next to me. I always have a severe case of goosebumps and a feeling of inner cold. I also shake a little although I can move after a while when I concentrate on a small part of my body. It´s always a very unsetttling experience though, I hope it stops.

  • Im 21 years old and have experienced sleep paralysis a few times in my life. As I type this, I am sitting on my couch awake from another sleep paralysis episode. This lead me to find this page and share one of my scariest sleep paralysis stories. That and now I am so scared that I can’t go back to sleep. One night, while I was pregnant with my daughter I woke up around 3 am or so to get up and go to the bathroom. I remember looking at myself before in the mirror before I went back to bed. I was tired but I wasn’t tired enough to the point where I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I got back in bed and fell back asleep. It didn’t take me long to fall asleep. I remember waking up, my eyes were open but I couldn’t move. I was on the left side of the bed facing the window, I could see my nightstand with the clock and remember clearly that it was 3:45 in the am. I tried hard to move, to wiggle a toe but I couldn’t. I could see a blinding light peek through the blondes. It was almost like one of those LED lights. The next thing I know I get this piercing screech of a sound in my ear. I can’t recal how long it went on for but by the time I was able to get out of my sleep paralysis episode. It was 5 in the am. It was almost as if I lost an hour. It was so strange. Everyone I’ve told has agreed that it was the strangest story of sleep paralysis they had heard.

  • I have had nightmares and sleep paralysis since a very young age. During my earlier years I had nightmares every single night, and i would have layerd nightmares that turned into what i thought was me being awake in the very room i had fallen asleep in only for it to turn out to be a lucid dream (those still happen today). In my adult years I have far less nightmares, but I experience sleep paralysis more. Throught all my years of nightmares and sleep paralysis I have taught myself to wake up by closing my eyes in the dream state causing me to wake up.

    The most common sleep paralysis that i have is where i am laying absolutely still on my bed and i feel really heavy, then I notice my bedroom door is cracked open and i can see daylight coming through the door (i never sleep with my bedroom door or closet door open), and then I hear a small human about the size of a toddler scurry over to my bed then abruptly stop next to the side of my bed and they begin to breath heavily in my face to where I can actually feel it. I never see anyone during this, and sometimes when i wake up I discover that my bedroom door is cracked open like in my sleep paralysis state.

    I know that my sleep paralysis usually becomes more frequent when I am really stressed out or when im over worked and not sleeping enough at night.

  • It keeps happening. I had them as a kid. Bad bad bad dreams. And I would b paralized. I’m 33 and having again. Bad bad dreams and I can’t move. I know im awake in my dream and I’m trying to move and can’t. I just had one. I woke myself up finally. Now I’m crying and scared to death. I’m so tired but now I’m affraid to sleep. All week long this has been happening. I’m scared to sleep. Why? What is going on. Am I loosing it??

    • Don’t worry you’re not going crazy, your nightmares and sleep paralysis seem to be crossing over. You have to stay calm and remember that what is happening in your dream cannot harm you, you are imagining it. I don’t know what advice to give you besides telling someone about your experiences or seeking help from a doctor or physicshiatrist.

    • I feel exactly the same Jessica this is my their
      Episode in two weeks now, I’ve experienced it before but never so much in a short space of time I’m so scared ! I daren’t sleep xx

  • I have had many many of these in my life time. When I was only 6 I saw peoples heads on my walls, and one time I managed to walk out of my room and see this creepy almost Santa Claus, yes I know, he was sitting at our table and had long razor like teeth. I jumped back into bed and never really talked about it again. I also sleep walked a lot when I was little. I would see giant saws, huge animals, and my mother would be either pounding on the wall or trying to get outside. More recently in the past two years, I have been seeing and hearing evil things. Only last night my hand was laying in front of my face. It started transforming into this monster like hand covered in blood. I heard a loud voice echo over my walls, ‘your a monster’. Other times I have seen a very tall man that looked just like a shadow like I saw of the heads when I was child with no face standing in the corner of my room. Another night the same man was crouched beside my bed. He was screaming at me, ‘your not Hood enough, you must die now!’ Over and over again. He once slapped me, and the very odd part is, when it was over and I looked in the mirror, my face was slightly red and stinging. When I told my mother about it, she brushed it off and assumed I was just kidding. I believe that it was my conscious just forming it self into some demon.

  • About 4 weeks ago, I watched the new documentary about sleep paralysis. I’ve never had it in my life. About 30 min ago, I experienced it for the first time while waking up from my nap. I’m 26. I’m prone to lucid dreaming, and what I know now was a dream, I was doing the whole out of body experience, third eye new age b.s.. I really thought I was awake, 100%. I reached out to touch something in the dream and my eyes shot open. Like, I can’t even accurately describe how quickly my eyes opened. I was really confused because I thought I was already awake. It took a couple seconds for me to realize I couldn’t move. I was lying on my side in fetal position. It didn’t feel like anything was sitting on me, but the weight of my body….i just felt heavy. Couldn’t move. I wiggled my toes, and as quickly as I realized I was paralyzed, I could move again. Maybe 5 seconds total. I got up, totally dazed and messed up feeling. I looked at the clock and realized I was asleep for 15-20 tops, even though I felt like I had been asleep for hours. It was so emotionally impactful, I called my husband and cried. Ridiculous, I know.

    I’m terrified to sleep again and I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around having never had this before, but now that I know about it (via the doc) I had an experience. I don’t want to sleep again.

  • I’m thankful I found this article. Here was my first experience just last night.

    It was about 2:00 in the morning last night, I couldn’t sleep and my husband was snoring so I went down to sleep in my son’s bed who passed last January. I have been mediating several times daily for about 3 months and those mediations most always include the bringing and acknowledgment of the white light around me. I tried several of my guided mediations and also some soft rain sounds to try to get to sleep. I know I was half asleep, but I also know I was half awake. About 3 am. I heard or felt a soft “click” and looked and my phone screen was blank (meditation had been on) and the digital clock next to the bed was out, it was dark and quiet. I know the power did not go out though, as none of those clocks are blinking in the house this morning. I closed my eyes again then opened them and everything was back how it was. The next time I opened my eyes there was something on the tv, this was I guess a vision as the tv was not on, and maybe I was “half asleep” at this point. There were credits rolling and then it said “Being Bubba” This was the nickname of a family friend who lost their son 25 years ago on August 15. Then I saw an image of his face that I recognized from a photo and then I smiled. Then, I saw two other faces I did not recognize but could still describe. Right after that, I had an EXTREME, and I really mean extreme, surge of something, like goosebumps from the inside of my body, filling my body, only 100 times stronger and feeling like pressure too. I started to welcome it and it got stronger, when I started to feel like I was lifting up off the bed, I opened my eyes. I could not move, it felt like my arms were being held down. I tried to call for my husband and no sound could be made from my throat, I got up enough strength and tried to pound on the wall with my left hand. Then, it stopped. It scared me to death. Nothing like that has ever happened to me. I went back upstairs to sleep in my bed with my husband. I don’t know what to think about this, it seemed too real to be a dream.

  • Hi well i had a bad experience last night.. And about 2 weeks ago as well. The one two wks ago i actually woke up was frozen still couldnt speak felt a presense in or by me. I have always been in tune with spirits or that world. I have also had dreams many times that were pretty close to happening. But never this the weird thing was i was freezing cold . im always hot. When i finally snapped out of it i did not feel it as a good presense not a demon though matbe someone trying to warn or protect me weirdly… It was the first time in yrs . ive slept alone my boyfriend moved out two days before this happening. My house is old and when i was little had active spirits… They have been calm so long and also know me ive never been scared of them. I have times where i may have a date over or i was dating someone and they would start to act up… Must not have liked them. AnywAys last nught was bad it was like a dream but i couldnt wake up someone was by me in my dream i could see myself sleeping and trying to get up and get away from it i tried to go upstairs in my dream than something picked me up and floated me back to the other side of the basement by my closet door. It was like it was really happening i could feel it. Than i woke up couldn’t talk again yet forced myself to say go away your not welcome.. I got a rosemary and slept with it. Than i had another bad dream about my boyfreind cheating with neighbors .. This has nothing to do with the others but i had such a long good day yesterday i was ready to sleep and all this happened.. I did get a book this week on cleaning your house or space of negitive energies.. I wonder if it brought something awake or had an energy its self.. Weird… Well thankyou thought i would share please respond .

  • I’ve been experiencing this for a few days and I thought It stopped when I didn’t get it anymore. I tries going to church,reading the bible, and praying but It came back. One of my experiences is where I fell asleep comfortable, suddenly my whole mind is black and I see nothing but I feel a presence my grandma whose older than me told me about it and so did other people. They said that it means or may mean a demon or spirit is sitting on you,one time I read some information on a site or movie it said that It would steal your energy or strength sometimes maybe your soul. I felt uncomfortable when knowing this, that when it would happen I would already know. I would fight my way back to move, and I wouldn’t be able to move till a few seconds after. I don’t know if what I did was wrong, or If I should have waited. I don’t know what to do when it happens.

  • I suffer from sleep paralysis when I’m particularly stressed and have bad anxiety. It is the most frightening experience that I have ever had. I am normally having a bad dream where I am in a car that is travelling very fast or I am running away from something that is scary and chasing me – I feel myself trying to wake up but I feel I am being dragged back into my dream and for a moment (I don’t know how long this moment is) I feel that my entire body is a dead weight and whilst I am being pulled back into my dream I am aware of myself being in my bed but with something (from my dream being there in the corner of the room) – I don’t want to go back to my dream and I am scared to wake. I have found myself trying to call out but unable to move my lips – it is very frightening and I often have slight pins and needles and feel extremely sick when I do fully wake. I don’t have a partner I have a 9 year old son so I usually sleep alone which I find again very frightening. I have now got myself a dog who I allow to sleep on the bed with me – I’ve had this twice now whilst he has been with me (2 episodes in about 6 months) and he helps to wake me up – I presume he detects my restlessness because he will lick my face or paw at me… I really hate this feeling and wish that when I woke the bad feeling would leave but I find that for the morning and some of the afternoon I feel very heavy / weighed down and a little jumpy and the thought of going back to sleep that night frightens me… I’m 42 and I live quite a healthy lifestyle until this happens and then my sleep is disrupted and it adds to the stress/ anxiety which only makes things worse. I write this today because I had a particular bad episode last night and I had to research why my dreams are so bad and why I feel in danger when I’m walking up from my dream – it makes me think of nightmare on elm street where they bring their dreams back into reality – it really does feel that real for a moment…

    • Wow i wish id see something at least . im 35 beleive in supernateral and ect. My house used to be haunted.. But they were never mean to me and didnt bother me while asleep i just want to know so now im walking around talking to them .. Crazy

  • I went through my first episode of sleep paralysis when I was 16 and I never had another experience until this morning 5 years later. Both times I was laying on my back and I woke up to see daylight outside. They never happened at night. The first time I didn’t know what it was, so I panicked and it happened for what seemed like forever but eventually passed. This morning, I woke up and couldn’t move my body. I went to grab my partner’s arm to wake him up but I couldn’t move so I tried to scream for help but I couldn’t do that either. HERE IS MY TIP (how I got it to stop): I am a religious person, and I read about people praying and quoting the Bible during the experience after it happened to me the first time, and I remembered it this morning so I started praying and asked God to please make this feeling go away and I immediately felt at ease and the feeling went away. I hope this helps someone.

  • I’ve experienced it about four times through-out my thirties. Three times it was while going to sleep, I must of dozed off then re-awoke paralyzed. There was a incredible kicking sensation in the mattress from under neath my bed, it was terrifying.
    The only way I got through it was to focus on my body and fight for it to wake.
    The only other time was in waking, I awoke to see a woman’s face about two feet in front of me, strangely I wasn’t scared but more interested.

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