Sleep Paralysis


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Have you ever been asleep and suddenly woken only to be paralyzed, seen a dark evil shadow looming over your bed, felt somone sitting on your chest or body holding you down trying to choke you, or perhaps heard strange noises and felt an eerie feeling of evil descending upon you? Chances are you are more than likely a suffered a Sleep Paralysis.


Paralysis whilst entering or exiting REM sleep (dreaming).

Total body paralysis, with sparing of respiration and eye movements. It lasts from seconds to minutes and can be a bizarre and usually terribly frightening experience.

With the paralysis you can experience some of these common things:

  • A feeling of being choked or suffocated
  • A feeling of someone pinning you down or sitting on you (your chest in particular)
  • Being able to hear noises including footsteps and voices close by
  • Being able to see beings or dark shadows surrounding or standing near the bed
  • A frightening feeling of evil descending upon you
  • Shaking of the body or rumbling sensation (ringing) in the ears
  • A feeling of untold evil surrounding you or trying to suffocate you
  • Noises such as knocking or banging on the walls
  • The feeling of being in a dream like state but yet thinking you are awake

I'm sorry to say that all these symptoms mean that you are most probably not being abducted by aliens or experiencing a spirit visitation or a paranormal event. They are all symptoms of the sleep disorder known as Sleep Paralysis (SP).

When you sleep your brain shuts off the signals from your brain to your muscles therefore you don't get up and act out your dreams. For people with sleep paralysis, you come into consciousness before your brain returns control of your muscles which in turn makes your feel paralyzed and gives you the symptoms that sometimes are very frightening and realistic.

If you suffer from this disorder you are not alone, it's actually quite common and it's estimated that quarter of the population of America suffers from it. It's a hereditary disorder so if you are suffering from it chances are that someone else in your family is also suffering from sleep paralysis and not owning up to it.

I can't find any logical reason as to why most cases report a feeling of being choked, suffocated or someone sitting on their chest - but it seems that being in this state brings out your very worst fears. Some sufferers have reported such things as loud banging on the walls, spinning objects in front of their face, dark evil figures standing over the bed, calling out of their name, and the most common is a feeling of evil descending upon them.

It is generally thought that some people who believe that they have been abducted by aliens whilst sleeping at night such as in the story "Communion" could actually only be sufferers of this phenomenon. Some people use Sleep Paralysis to induce Lucid Dreaming or Astral Projection, although most people have no idea how to induce an episode of Sleep Paralysis.

Sleep Paralysis can be a symptom of another sleep disorder called Narcolepsy. This is a more severe sleeping disorder and would need treatment by a Physician.

The visions you see and the things you hear whilst in this particular state are just sensory hallucinations that are very difficult to distinguish from reality.....think of it as being awake but having a nightmare that is terribly realistic. In the eastern U.S. & Canada in the 19th Century people would say that the Old Hag came last night and sat on their chest during their sleep. But however no matter how much danger that you think you are in you cannot be harmed whilst in this state, even though you feel as if you are being chocked or suffocated - no harm will be done!

Being involved with the paranormal myself I find that Sleep Paralysis is one of the most common ghost stories I hear - people always start telling me how an evil spirit was sitting on their chest at night trying to choke them - I always stop them and to their great dissappoinment tell them about Sleep Paralysis. It's sad to see someones face fall when you know that they've been telling all their friends and relatives for years how they had an experience with an evil spirit. People quite often refuse to believe it's Sleep Paralysis - but I'm afraid to say it's a scientifically proven thing - there is untold evidence available on the net regarding this condition - People don't want to believe because it all seems to real. I have suffered Sleep Paralysis myself on various occasions and I can say that YES it is realistic and YES it is difficult to believe that you are not going to suffocate and die, but belive me if you let yourself go and fall back asleep, you'll wake up later thinking it was all a dream - with no harm done to yourself.

A Few Suggestions on How to Escape Sleep Paralysis

  • Willing yourself to make a sound or at times just moving your finger will help you to get out of this state
  • Travel at least 350 miles away
  • Scream out loud and carry on after you wake up for a while
  • Sleep in a hammock that automatically swings all night
  • Seek professional help - there are actually many drugs and treatments used for this condition such as antidepressants or monoamine oxidase inhibitors
  • Strategic napping
  • Regulation of sleep/wake scheduling
  • Scheduled vigorous exercise and avoidance of sleep deprivation
  • Vigorously move the eyes, then flutter the eyelids, and then move the facial muscles
  • I find that shaking my head does it every time - I get scared and feel as though I'm not awake properly so I start dreaming of shaking my head from side to side
  • Many will tell you that you need to cry out the Lord's name and that will save you - but to be honest you could call out Mel Gibson's name and you'd still come out of the paralysis and not be eaten by an irate demon. SP usually only ever lasts a few minutes and rarely has any negative effect - it's virtually a harmless state to be in - just very frightening