Sleep Paralysis

Sleep Paralysis

Have you ever woken up only to find yourself unable to move a muscle? This is not a case of having difficulty getting up in the morning. Sleep paralysis can happen when entering sleep (hypnagogic paralysis), or when waking (hypnopompic paralysis).

For the sake of clarity it is necessary to distinguish between two kinds of sleep paralysis. The one is normal and absolutely necessary and occurs during REM sleep in order to essentially disconnect the body from the dreaming mind so that it wont thrash about attempting to enact the rigors of dream-life and hurt itself doing so.

Dysfunctional sleep paralysis, sometimes known as "awareness during sleep paralysis", occurs when the mechanism that disconnects the brain from the body fails to reconnect upon awakening. The brain has left the REM state behind but the body paralysis persists.

Though this 'out of synch' stage may only last a very short time - normally no more than two minutes - it can seem much longer to the consciousness having the experience. Sleep paralysis, the inappropriate kind, is often associated with perceptual inaccuracies that can range from fleeting illusions to full blown hallucinations.

Studies show that hallucinations may range from the "full-blown", where the hallucinatory believes that the experience is 100% real and objective, to the pseudo which is still vivid but lacking the substantial quality of regular perceptual experience.

Most experiences of sleep paralysis fall into the pseudo-hallucinatory category where there is an almost ethereal quality that does little to detract from the powerful level of fear that typically accompanies the experience.

Statistics report that 20% to 40% of people report having had some or other version of sleep paralysis. For a third of them the experience is nothing more than a momentary fear of the possibility of paralysis followed by a swift return to normal. Because the experience may be barely noticeable, or simply ignored, it is considered entirely possible that everyone has experienced sleep paralysis in one form or another.

A substantial two thirds of those who report having experienced sleep paralysis describe episodes of hypnagogic and hypnopompic hallucinations of varying degrees. In simple language the hallucinations are similar in nature, distinguished only by their association with those experienced at sleep onset and those upon waking.

Features of the hallucinations have often been postulated as an explanation for the proliferation of reports of alien abduction and demon visitation. The reason for this is the characteristic nature of the hallucination. There tends to be certain uniformly experienced features that include the "sense of a presence" that is felt to be malevolent in nature.

People who suffer from sleep paralysis often report the sense of there being someone in the room with them. They speak of a pressure or weight felt on the body, often in the vicinity of the chest area.

Hearing and seeing things will often accompany these hallucinations. Less common is the sense of floating out of the body and the tactile experience of being touched or grabbed.

A rare number of sufferers speak of a falling sensation or vibrations. Whatever the particular configuration of symptoms all report a vivid level of fear. This is shared by all, even those who, on some level, recognize that the experience is not altogether real.

This vivid and horrific experience of sleep paralysis is not culture specific. It affects people across the world and literature and mythology are full of references to it. In Canada it is called "a visit from the old hag", in Japan it is being "bound and fastened in metal". The Mexicans use a phrase that means " the dead getting on top" and in the southern United States it is known as "the witch riding your back".

Often associated with the serious disorder, narcolepsy, the occurrence of sleep paralysis is thought to be associated and exacerbated by sleeping in a supine position coupled with increased stress levels, disturbed sleep schedules and/or sudden changes in environment or lifestyle.

Studies show that sleep paralysis tends to be reported from an early age, around ten years old, peaking at 17 and then reducing markedly thereafter. Although the experience is a disturbing one and may even trigger a search for meaning that may include suppositions of alien abductions or demon possession the actual disorder is considered to be terrifying but benign.

People who suffer the condition on a regular basis sometimes form support groups where ways of coping are discussed and exchanged. The basis of this informal treatment is principally centered on ways of coping with the high levels of fear. Learning to relax, breathe and let the situation resolve itself are suggested along with a step by step physical exercise beginning with the extremities and working towards the core.

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Witch riding your back              Reply to this Comment
I had an experience a couple of nights ago. I happen to suffer from insomnia and I pace the floor half the night before I try to lay down. I've noticed that strange things begin to happen around 5 in the morning. Well, I can't sleep without my laundry room light on but when my bro is getting ready for work he turns it off after he gets his clothes. I went to turn the light back on and it didn't come on until my third try, I went to close the door and it flung open, pinning me to the wall like someone was pushing it on me. the pressure was immense, I couldn't move, talk or scream. Many people said that was the "Witch" taking me for a ride...I wonder if this is an association with sleep paralysis. But I was fully awake(so I think).

old hag.              Reply to this Comment
Sounds like you had an sp episode that was quite vivid. Most times one does not lave ones bed. Where did you come to? In bed, or over by the switch?

Sleep Paralysis... Demonic possession?              Reply to this Comment
This sounds so stupid but whatever. So the other night I was asleep in my livingroom and its like I woke up but my body was still asleep, besides the fact that I couldn't move I was scared for another reason like there was someone else in the room... I had to jerk before I could move... this happend about 4 times that same night, the same thing, same feeling. Then I guess it was the 5th time that was different, I woke again but this time it was like my eyes were open and my vision was badly blured, I walked to the bathroom to turn on a light but it didn't come on right away, just flicker'd, I walked back to the livingroom turning on my bedroom light on the way which did the same as the bathroom, I layed on the loveseat looking at the door way to my bedroom and I could see a shadow moving towards me from the back of my bedroom where the light still hadn't come on yet, finally the light came on and the shadow ran, I could see things being thrown around in my room and I remember looking at the floor and seeing a stick, I tried to pick it up, I guess to protect myself or soemthing but I couldn't move... after that I didn't want to sleep anymore but I couldn't help it, I was woke up again with the same feelings only now I could see pictures flashing threw my head, there were 4 animals on a wall I can only remember 2 of them... one was a two headed eagle and the other was a three headed dog...next thing I know my eyes are open with the blured vision and I can see a shadow beside of my out of the corner of my eye... and it feels like whoever it is is shacking my head really hard... Is that Sleep Paralysis? or something else

demonic possession              Reply to this Comment
a couple of weeks ago i had this dream it was really vivid like i wasnt even asleep .... there was a figure in my room and they were at the end of my bed it was a woman and it felt like she was trying to get me to say something for her cream anything but i couldnt make a sound i couldnt speak move nothing i was paralysed to my bed unable to do anything i couldnt call for help or anything and when i woke up it was as if i had been awake the entire time

sleep paralysis               Reply to this Comment
Is there such thing as a severe case? I have experienced this sooo many times. There are cases where there are no hallucinations involved. But there are scary ones too. Once, I woke up and couldn't move. And i saw a shadow of a hairy man sitting on my window, watching me. Then there was a time many years ago, that i woke up very early in the morning, couln't move a muscle, and i saw that there's this scary lady near the window wearing my mom's night gown that she hung there that night. The lady was watching me while i was paralysed. I wanted to move and scream, but i couldn't. All i did was grind my teeth. There was also a case where i couldn't move and i felt that there was a malevolent entity under the bed. I can go on and on with my experiences. Is this still normal??? It's quite scary actually.

Sleep Paralysis/Demonic possession              Reply to this Comment
A couple of nights ago my cousin told about a time when the"witch rhode her back" on halloween night when she was young. Her sister told her not to sleep on her stomach, because the witch would ride her back. She said that she couldn't move, and it was like the witch had her eyes superglued so she couldn't open them. Now she has me scared because I've been having the same dream over, and over again. I wake up in my bed, but it was spinning around really fast, and I was scared. I tried to scream, but I couldn't, I couln't even wake up until my alrm came on. Now when i go to sleep, I make sure that i'm not on my stomach.

demon possession              Reply to this Comment
I remember I was sleepin in my room then i felt pressure on me if like someone is standing on me. I open my eyes to see wats was happening. I saw an arm that looked just like mine. It looked cut off I don't know this is happening to me. I wish it would.

Sleep Paralysis              Reply to this Comment
Glad to know that others have had similar experiences...although it's not fun for any of us to suffer! Even though I sleep next to my husband & I've placed a bible on my night stand(this helps alot), there are times when I feel a presence in my bed. Once I thought I was holding my husband's hand, but then I realized it wasn't his hand. This thing (or demon) seems to grab a hold of me (whereas I am paralyzed) & I have to wake myself up and shake my arms off to regain control of my body. I would love to believe that it is only a dream, but it seems so real. At times it has held onto my back, even through the bed and clung on while I prayed for it to let go. It was like a troll that threw a tantrum about having to let go & I could feel it telling me that it wanted to stay with me, but somehow, it finally let go and I realized I had been praying out loud for God to send it back to hell. One of the scariest times was when my husband wasn't home & even though it was almost morning, my body was again paralyzed and I heard footsteps (like jumping) coming towards my bed and it jumped onto the bed above my head. I knew it was there & that there was nothing I could do but pray. I wish this would stop as I do not look forward to going to sleep at night and fear having a baby eventually.

Possible demon aggression              Reply to this Comment
Over the past 3 months I have had at least 10 "episodes" of dreams like everyone else here. The last one was the worst one. It occured when I was taking a nap during the day. My cellphone kept ringing and I was ignoring it. I just wanted to sleep. Well, in the dream my girlfriend showed up and we started arguing. Then she disappeared and I was laying back on the bed. I felt something pounce on my bed and hold the blanket down so I couldn't move. All of a sudden I was able to get up and I ran to the other room for help from My roomate Jen. She was no help as she was laughing maniacally while rocking on her bed. I ran back into my room and laid on my bed. This time the phone rang again and I picked it up. There was a voice very quietly that saidin a whisper,"Aaron...Aaron.. it's time... this time you are going to die..." It was then that I felt something on top of me holding me down under my blanket. I screamed but nothing came came out. I couldn't breathe. I prayed to God and fought against the attack. I woke up screaming. This hasn't been the first time I've had dreams like this. My roomate, son and girlfriend have all had dreams like this within the last few months.

Demon aggression, not possession              Reply to this Comment
I advise most of you who are still having these experiances to go to a local church in which you feel you can trust and talk to a pastor and get prayer. Do not seek psychiatric help, most just pump you up with drugs untill you end up coming out, not remembering a thing for however long you stayed there. Whatever was haunting you before could always come back. You should not fear these things or research about them or try to find them because the deeper you go into it, the harder it is to get out. A couple of my friends have had these experiances and also have waken up with cuts/scratches on their arms and legs and have no idea where they came from. You are not hallucinating demonds are everywhere, they thrive on depression and will try their hardest to make your life a darker place when it does not need to be. God promises that no matter what you go through, with Him you can get through any struggle or pain. I hope most of you, all of you get through this I know what it is like to lay down on your bed and see darkness coming from the corner of your room towards you and you cant move or scream and feel as if you are unable to move. The best thing you can do is pray, get all the strength you can, turn on that light and leave that room for as long as it takes. My ex had these experiances while i was on the phone with her one night and she was fully awake, I ended up praying for her on the phone and told her to repeat it if she could, and when she did the demond left and has never come back.

#1 Tool to rid demon spirits              Reply to this Comment
I agree FULLY with Adam and would like to add to it. One night I awoke jerking around in bed feeling very strongly that there was a spirit attached to me and I was trying to shake it off. That night I learned THE MOST powerful tool to protect oneself from anything that is not God. All I said was, "Leave me now, in the name of Jesus Christ" The moment I said our saviors name, my head suddenly jerked backward and I felt normal again. JESUS CHRIST is our rescuer, our protector, our everything good. Turn to him in ALL things, give him all your internal garbage, and you will have PEACE. Amen.

Re: #1 Tool to rid demon spirits              Reply to this Comment
Religious hippies...

trying to help              Reply to this Comment
maybe an extreme case. have you felt different lately? possible weaker than usual mentally? are you sure you where awake? was your room messed up the next day when you where back to normal? Ask the shadow what he wants if it happens again. just make sure that you have a strong self presence, and are strong enough to come out of it. i've had the flashy pics in my mind too, but always right before i fall asleep. I also feel a presence, but haven't seen anything

Leave me now, in the name of...Reason.              Reply to this Comment
Way to turn something that's been proven to exist in the natural world into a remake of The Exorcist. "Leave me now, in the name of Jesus Christ!" Are you kidding me? Did you remember to ward off the evil eye? Did your cross smite the demon's terrible hide? People, this is a well documented natural phenomenon, and I would greatly suggest that if you truly think you are being visited by demons that you read the article once again. It specifically states that these bouts are often misconstrued as demon attacks. Praying to God or whatever else may indeed help prevent sleep paralysis, but only because it may help to set your mind at ease. I have no problem with a belief in God or the supernatural, but where there is already strong empirical evidence showing a natural cause for something do we really have to revert back to the primitive thoughts of the Middle Ages? Critical thinking! Use it!

Sleep Paralysis              Reply to this Comment
Hi! I also suffer from these "dreams". I've been having them for almost 7 years on and off. They were not so suffer until I became a senior in highschool. Once, I was taking a nap during the day and as I thought I was waking up, I looked into the light case around my light bulb and there was something black walking around my bed. I tried to scream but there was no sound. I tried to get up and run but I could not move. Within a few seconds, I woke up. At night, I would have dreams that I was flying around my room, but I could not talk and could not make any specific movements. Soon, I was discussing this with one of my family members and she said that when she has these similar "dreams" that she just began to pray and she woke up. The very next time I had this "dream", I began to pray and soon enough I woke up. However, after about 3 times, the prayer did not work anymore, I just sit in the dream. Then, I began to notice that when I sleep with the covers over my head, I don't have those dreams because I can't open my eyes and see my room. So, I have stopped having those dreams for 3 months now until TODAY! I took a nap after getting up early and doing some studying. I fell asleep on my back with the covers over my head (sleeping on my stomach makes me have other bad dreams). I had a dream as if I woke up and got up and went to my drawer to pick out clothes for today. My door was cracked and I heard ppl talking outside like my roommate had company. It sounded as though they were about to come in my room. Before I could shut the door a male figure flung the door open coming into my room and somehow I feel on the floor on my stomach and he hovered over me with a cover. Then it seemed as though he disappeared and I tried to say something but no words came out and I could not move. For some reason, I thought about trying to sing (I guess because singing is my passion) and I could sing. I sang for a few seconds then tried to get a scream out while I could use my voice. But as soon as I tried, I could not scream. I began to pray but I did not awaken. So I just sat there which seemed like forever until I woke up. Is there really an explanation for this?

My Experiences              Reply to this Comment
Hi everyone. I am a 19 year old guy and recently i have began to suffer from sleep paralysis. More oftem than not, my experiences tend to involve simply waking up unable to move, with barely controllable rolling of my eyes due to tiredness, and a desire to snap out of it by shaking my head or focusing my eyes. I have found that if i dont make the effort and just close my eyes, i suddenly feel a rushing sensation, similar to the falling sensation described by others. Although i have not hallucinated often, i remember only a few days back having an episode where i awoke to a figure with a featureless white face, sat on the side of my bed, staring at me. I cant really describe it as terrifying, but it made me feel quite uncomfortable that night. As a result, i leave lights on and really tuck myself into bed in order to avoid feeling too exposed to the visions!! Most importantly i accept that it is a possibility before i go to sleep, and as a result i only experience very mild attacks.

Need help too              Reply to this Comment
I am suffering from sleep paralysis and other "disorders" described by the greater amount of people here. I would like to have someone to talk to being that anyone else, including doctors, would laugh off what i truly believe my experiences to be. Please email me to migvilla@myway.com

Some experiences              Reply to this Comment
I have had them and it's not good.It can come quite different at times..They kind of come on right before you doze off.I have had images flash thru my mind as well as some sort of change in the room while being woke..My curtains would look weird and my walls would to.One time it happen there was a woman sitting next to my bed talking to me.She had on a white gown and seemed to be trying to tell me something.The strange thing is i felt no presence of danger in this episode.She had a facial expression as if not to be scared.The room had an erie look as if a green light was turned on,but dimmed very low in the dark with a fuzzy look.Kind of blurry.It was a constant buzzing sound and it felt like electricity running thru my mind and body holding me down.i actually recall talking to her or trying.She seemed to look at me as if it was funny trying to communicate back to her.I just knew i was awake.I mean everything was there,unlike a dream.From what i made out she was telling me that things were alright and not to worry.Not sure but this was just the feeling i got from her.I also had one where it's a guy repeatedly saying the same thing over and over with a meter like thing rising.He seem to be screaming at me in a way.I really can't make out to what he's saying.The more he talks the meter goes up and it gets louder as if it's the volume.It's this constant noise like times expiring as it rises.The terrible part is that it's a scene which is unexplainable and it never changes.it's constantly doing the same thing while getting louder.The noise is terrible.I can't even explain but i know im fully aware that im woke but just can't move or talk.This happened to me more in my younger years.It's also happen alot more then once.It's what i would call a severe case of it.It was more of and evil experience.Im actually not experiencing sp as violent as before or as much.Once you have them for so long you kind of get use to them.They are also easier to snap out of.Sometimes i get them and just go with the flow somewhat.

are u retarded?              Reply to this Comment
ok if the article says its sleep paralysis....then its Paralysis...for one, your brain is a powerful mind game...what you want to believe your brain help that come true. DUH. If you think they're demons..then go ahead. Your brain will help that happen, along with your fear. If you fear then of course demons are gonna "mess" with your heads. If you think its sleep paralysis then it is, and you will get over it and go on with life. and of course GOD is always part of life..even if you think your being possesed or not. So listen to mom..dont eat past seven, drink of glass of water before bed, and say your daily prayer. Your gonna be alright people. Nothing can satisfy you. Peace.

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