Sleep Paralysis: Awake But Still Asleep

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Biology 202
2000 First Web Report
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Sleep Paralysis: Awake But Still Asleep

Hiro Takahashi

A person may wake up and find himself unable to move or speak as if he is frozen. He also may hear footsteps, see a ghost-like creature, or feel someone sitting on his chest. Throughout the history, people considered this phenomenon as work done by evil spirits. However, the modern science can explain the terrifying event as a Sleep Paralysis.

A Sleep Paralysis is possibly a hereditary disorder in which one experiences very frightening seconds or minutes of total body paralysis with little respiration and eye movements (1). A victim in this state feels awake, but he cannot move or speak (2). In addition to the immobility, the common symptoms include feeling choked or suffocated, hearing strange noises like footsteps and voices, seeing beings or dark shadows, and feeling an existance of someone in the room (1). Although these symptoms often direct the victims to believe in ghosts, mistransmission of neural signals in the brain causes Sleep Paralysis. When a person sleeps, his brain sends signals to inhibit any muscle contraction (3). If he comes into consciousness before the brain sends signals to activate muscle contraction, he cannot move his body, and consequently, become "paralyzed"(2).

In order to understand how a body becomes paralyzed while the person is awake, it is necessary to understand sleep cycles. In a mammalian sleep, the brain activity undergoes two different states called non-REM (NREM) sleep and REM sleep, which differ very much from wakefulness (3). NREM and REM sleep alternate cyclically through the night; in human, about 80 minutes of NREM sleep starts a night of sleep, about 10 minutes of REM sleep follows, and this 90 minute cycle is repeated about 3 to 6 times during the night (3). During NREM sleep, a body produces few movement, but the body has capability of tossing about in bed and producing some other motor events, such as sleepwalking and sleeptalking (3). The cardiac-muscle contraction and breathing occur at a uniform rate, and the eyes move slowly (2). During REM sleep, on the other hand, heart rate, respiration rate, and blood pressure vary (3). The eyes move rapidly because most dreaming takes place in this period, and the sleeper probably "look" at the moving objects in a dream (2).

The brain's control over muscles during REM sleep points out that in this period, a body is normally in the state of total paralysis, called a "nonreciprocal flaccid paralysis" (3). Probably to prevent a person from "acting out" a dream, the brain sends signals to inhibit any muscle contractions (2). Although some peripheral muscles, such as the muscles of the fingers and face, still twitch, the large skeletal muscles become relaxed, or "paralyzed" as a result (3). Some evidence supports that the motor paralysis of REM sleep protect against the acting out of one's dreams. A patient who suffers from rare syndrome called REM Sleep Behavior Disorder lacks the normal nonreciprocal flaccid paralysis, and he acts out violent dreams during REM sleep, often with injurious consequences (4). For example, a 60-year-old surgeon dreamt that he was attacked "by criminals, terrorists, and monsters who always tried to kill [him]" and fighting against them in the nightmare, he was actually punching and kicking his wife who slept in the same bed (4).

A nonreciprocal flaccid paralysis during REM sleep is accomplished actively by postsynaptic inhibition of motorneurons (3). Although the exact process of motor inhibition is not clear, some neurotransmitters and hormones are known to generate the many components of REM sleep. Aministering physostigmine, an inhibitor of the catabolic enzyme, increases the concentration of acetylcholine within the neurons in the pons, making it possible to artificially generate and start REM sleep in the middle of NREM sleep (3). Carbachol, the cholinergic agonist, produces a period of REM sleep in cat when directly injected into the pontine tegmentum (3). The hormone melatonin, a "master hormone" (5) that mainly controls circadian rhythms, also seems to play an important role in enhancing the REM state; the level of melatonin secretion by the pineal gland reaches its lowest during REM sleep (5). Such neurotransmitters and hormones probably activate or inhibit the activity of second messengers, which then activate or inhibit the third messengers, and so on till the last messenger inhibit the synaptic transmission or cause hyperpolarization of the motorneurons. And if, for some reason, the nervous or endocrine system continues to release the neural inhibitors, a person may experience Sleep Paralysis as he enters awakefully into or awakens directly from REM period (2).

While the modern neuroscience can describe the state of Sleep Paralysis as some errors of the neural transmission in the brain during REM sleep, a person who has seen or heard ghost-like figures/voices may easily believe that eveil spirits fully controlled his entire body. However, the images or noises, which the victim believes that he has seen or heard, are most likely hallucinations; and hallucinations, too, can result from the brain activity. In the 1960's, the Canadian neurologist W. Penfield introduced that electrical stimulation of the temporal lobe can cause the auditory hallucinations in the wake state (5). The buzzing or ringing sounds in the ears and other auditory hallucinations are closely associated with the activity of the auditory cortex and involves the temporal lobe (5). During the early period of sleep paralysis, the activity of the temporal lobe increases significantly, sometimes inducing hallucinatory sense (5). Similarly, the visual cortex generates internal visual stimuli, causing the victim to "see" terrifying figures during the paralysis (5).

How an episode of Sleep Paralysis induces visual or auditory hallucinations is still not clear, but it seems to have a significant relationship with anxiety (5). For anxiety is a neurocognitive event closely related to both psychological and physical processes, the extreme anxiety or panic may cause the release of several different signal molecules that trigger all kinds of physical events (5). A person experiencing Sleep Paralysis feels mortal fear or extreme panic, and hence, the brain generates and releases internal visual or auditory stimuli, producing hallucinations.

Also, hallucinations during Sleep Paralysis may happen, for one keeps dreaming even after some parts of his brain wakes up directly from REM sleep. Since the nervous and endocrine systems continue to release the neural inhibitors which sustain the paralysis, it may be possible that those systems keep releasing the neural activators that stimulate dreaming. Thus, a person continues to "see" the images and "hear" the noises produced in the dream that he has just had in REM sleep from which he has awaken.

Understanding more neural concepts of Sleep Paralysis, some researchers now hypothesize that a very rare condition called Sudden Unexplained Nocturnal Death Syndrome (SUNDS) may closely relate to Sleep Paralysis (1). Upon the death, a SUNDS victim produces no body movement even though he experiences a myocardial infarction and strong breathing difficulties and should straggle in agony (5). The death may be caused by the extreme muscle atonia during Sleep Paralysis, which is so severe that even the cardiac muscles and the diaghragm paralyze (5).

Until I started researching on this subject, I have believed that the total paralysis of a body is due to an evil taking absolute control over the body. However, the interactions between neurons in the brain can explain this seemingly mysterious phenomenon in a scientific way. Although the explanation is not complete yet, for there are many unclear processes about Sleep Paralysis, the current hypothesis appears to reject the possibility of ghosts on this matter. Of course, it is impossible to completely disprove the existence of "spirits", "minds", or "God" affecting one's behavior. Nevertheless, like Sleep Paralysis and SUNDS, many or the mysterious conditions and behaviors which are only explained in supernatural terms probably result from brain.

WWW Sources

1)The Evil's of Sleep Paralysis

2)The Body During Sleep

3)Basics of Sleep Behavior

4)REM Sleep Behavior Disorder: A Neurologic Dissociative Sleep Disorder

5)Recurrent Isolated Sleep Paralysis

 

 

Comments made prior to 2007

I have been trying to figure out what was going on in my sleep untill i read this.Now i am happy to know what my body was expeiencing. It's quite scary your first couple experiences of sleep paralysis but now i'm gonna stay calm when it is happening to me and try to get my own understanding of the experience ... Jeremy, 21 March 2006

 


I have had sleep paralyisis at least once per month for the last 8 years. I am 29 as of this writing. I just had the experience about 1 hour ago and thus has caused me to do reasearch about it on the net. I noticed that many Dr.'s contribute this to anxiety, stress and other factors. My question is ... why is there always an evil presence in that concious yet body is still asleep phase? Today I heard a loud static sound, and opened my eyes to a spider crawling all over my arm. When I prayed to God, or said His name (Jehovah) the spider would start to disappear. I finally went thru my mental prayer when I awoke. This leads me to believe that it is more of a spiritual occurence, because I never have positive images while in this paralized state. I know there are many things in which our ancestors thought it was demonic rather than scientific, only to find there was a scientific explanation. However, I think this is different and cannot be simply written off as "scientific". There is not enough proof to show that it is scientific.

About a month ago I had another episode of sleep paralysis and I saw a small presence in the room with me. It was dark, and I could not see it's face (I am getting chills typing about it right now). My question is, why is there always an evil presence not only associated with my episodes, but so many others I have read about? ... Abel, 24 August 2006 

 

i was thinking it is evil who do that during night but now i find out why. I am suffering from sleep paralyze possibly every nigh spicily when i have dinar ... Salah Nasser, 28 January 2007

 

I used to have this sleeping disorder when I was a child.  It has come back once or twice with adulthood, but otherwise, it is in the past.  I used to, with great effort, move my hand to my face and pull an eye open, which would wake me up, but sometimes the struggle was too much and I would go on into a deeper sleep. 

Since the brain can do this to me, can it also cause me to get migraines just as I am about to wake up?

It seems, as I have discovered, if I get less than 4 hours sleep a night, I do not get migraines.  If I get 6 hours or more, it's about a 90% chance I will wake with a migraine.  Later in the day, I get an hour or two nap and that is the routine as it works.  Doctors just sort of treat the migraine and don't get into the sleep thing I have.  I take MaxAult for the migraines when they do get me.

I woke one time, and just as I woke, I felt this white-hot needle going into my head... bingo.  A migraine in 5 seconds.  That is how they can occur.  I wake with them otherwise.  I figure it my brain doing things it shouldn't.  I have a clean bill of health otherwise.

Thanks for your time.  Have a good day ... Jay, 11 February 2007

 

I have a question, and hope someone out there has an answer, it has been months and I have thus far failed to find one.  Has there ever been a record of anyone receiving the effects of sleep paralysis without having been asleep?  The reason I ask this, is a while ago, having not slept in a few hours, I was sitting at my computer, and it seemed to have happened to me. Within seconds I was too tired to hold up my own head, and my breathing got very difficult. Then I began to feel a sort of dizziness as my limbs lost feeling, and dropped to my side. after this, the dizziness turned to near blindness. I could see, but nothing would focus, and everything I tried to look at seemed to dart around like a mosquito. By this time I had no feeling in my entire body, could move nothing without quite a bit of concentration, and I could barely breath.  My mother heard me try and make out some kind of cry for help, and found me there spilled into my computer chair. She rolled me to my bed, and poured me into it. Within about 10-15 minutes I had regained everything I once had, but my sea legs did not ware off for another ten or so minutes.  I went to the emergency soon after. I had an E.K.G. and a C.A.T. scan, with no results, and I piss less in a week then the amount of blood they took that night. After basically telling me I was lying, the doctor told me that my symptoms did not fit anything at all.  What I do know, is I have been researching the issue ever since, and can only base my problem on Sleep Paralysis. All the symptoms match. And again, my question....Has there ever been a record of someone under the effects of sleep paralysis without ever having gone to sleep?  I hope you can shed some sort of light on this subject, as it,...well, it freaked me the hell out, and no one has been able to answer me!  Thank you for your time ... Mitchel Henderson, 7 December 2007

 

I used get this "evil paralysed me" feeling when i was paralysed and usually saw a ghost. i tried to shout or move but no sound escaped my mouth and couldn't move at all. it happened again yesterday and was almost convinced that ghosts/evil spirits were getting the better of me. But, me being a practical and logical guy, erjected this theory and started researching on this phenomenon. I came across this research paper on Sleep Paralysis. This greatly helped me in alleviating my fears. And next time i "see" a ghost during sleep paralyses, ill just laugh at it ;-)  Thanks for the research ... Siddarth, 10 December 2007 

Comments

simon's picture

I wake up feeling attacked

I wake up feeling attacked too but not for a very long time until recently. Felt like something trying to draw the life out of me. Same as before though the moment I resisted and fought back I could instantly sit up and overpower it. Felt relaxed then and went straight back to sleep. Was uncomfy that night and propped up, so might be something in sleep position.

Serendip Visitor Kristine Ali's picture

Creepy, I'm that same boat.

So I'm having these dreams that feels like, I wake up from a dream feeling paralyzed with a dark figure standing next to me, I can't move or scream... I can't even make out the face of this figure. I feel like its taking all of my energy as I sleep and manifest into this figure that just stands there and stares at me while I'm trying to scream to wake up. The last time this happen which was a few days ago, I started to pray in my head as this was starting to happen, and slowly it felt like it was disappearing and I woke up.
It feels evil and not welcoming at all. I feel like I'm awake trying to scream, but it turns out to be just a dream. Its a horrible feeling.

lucas's picture

fighting the evil

Wow just had that happen to me last night. Felt something trying to hold me down so I started fighting it. Kept calling out to my wife but she didnt respond. Finally woke up, with a terrible headache and my heart racing like crazy. Thought I was fighting a demon. I hope,no prey its just this sleep paralysis.

Serendip Visitor's picture

luis perea

why is this happen to me every single night

Surmeet's picture

scary exp.. bt thanks..

Well.. years back i experienced this..n yes i thot it was some evil spirit or smthn.. it was scary.. i told my mom n she also thot d same..

Ive bren sleepin with my sister for a long time.. some months back ive begun to sleep alone in my room.. which gave me a feeling of loneliness..
Just few mins back same thing happend..sleep paralysis.. trust me i was hell scared.. i wanted to wake up but cudnt. I tried to get up bud cudnt. Then i closed my eyes so dat i dnt see nythn evil. But strongly felt a presence of something.. :(

I even saw a scene in which i tried to get upn switch on d light n my hair r open. Damn scary yaar..

Bt jst after i saw dat scene with my closed eyes i forced my body to get up. N suddenly i got up n switched on d lyt.. i went to d washroom n heard smthn. Now i know its hallucination. Went back to my room. Picked my pillow n came to mum's room. I wanted to know whether its smthn evil or smthn wrong with my brain.

First tym wen i experienced this i told my bro n he said its jst bcoz u dnt get good sleep. That made me curious to know more abt it.

Ive got mild migraine attacks. N cervical.

Today i had dat strange sensations happening in my head n headache too..

I hope im not gonna die bcoz of sm brain disorder..
Scared n worried.. :'(

surmeet kaur/f/25

Margie 's picture

Need Some Help

Ever so often I have a situation that scares me to death. It usually happens when I take a nap, or have been sleeping for about 2 hours. Last evening, my husband was watching sports on tv and I had not interest in what he was watching. I went into the bedroom and began watching something on the tv in there. I fell asleep and when he tried to wake me up after the basketball game, I heard him calling me, but I could not move and could not talk. I thought I was having a stroke because I was trying to talk and trying to move, but just could not. The words were forming in my head, but nothing came out. Of course I was frightened and so was my husband. What was wrong?

Serendip Visitor's picture

That's when ur bodies in

That's when ur bodies in paralysis.
When u go asleep your body can be in light sleep for around 80mins then a deep sleep (paralysed state) for ten mins. That happens few times throughout the night.
What happened is you woke up when your body was in the paralysed state

jv's picture

Ok both sides

Its always depends how you see the world. Scientific or religiously choose what you believe from both opinions. This happened to me when I was young nobody was home; it was the worst experience ever in my life. Also I used to walk sleep and talk most of my activities during the day at sleep. Now day I 19 years old and I still speak or talk at night. Therefore is anything I can do to stop talking at night, im getting in a lot of trouble because of my mouth. Or I just need to tape my mouth. I need help anyone who can advice me pls email me. @t,

eric seay's picture

I remember one night i had my

I remember one night i had my fan on, and when i found myself in an "episode", the noise of the fan turned into a dog barking loudly at me. Another time something was right behind me, whispering in my ear that i was going to die....freaky stuff...lol but what ive learned over the years, is to just relax...i know i know..easier said then done...but when you begin to calm down, and realize its not real, you wake up SO MUCH FASTER. Fighting it only makes it worse...just think of something that makes you happy or relaxed. Now when it happens, i never see any "demons" or anything like that. I had an episode today, thought of my friends and family and after a few seconds, i was awake :-)

Serendip Visitor's picture

Sleep Paralysis

I experienced this last night, and it freaked the hell out of me. It happened once before, but back then I thought I was lucid dreaming.

Last night, I woke up and I could see the outlines of my window and desk under it, but when I tried to turn over, I found that I couldn't. I kept feeling very dizzy, as if my whole bed was spinning around. I also heard loud pounding and really loud music in my head, and I couldn't get it to stop. I kept trying to call out for my parents in the next room but I couldn't move anything, including my jaw (I thought I was calling loudly but I couldn't hear anything because of the music). I really felt true terror. I had no idea what was going on and I thought I had gone crazy.

Serendip Visitor's picture

My meaning of sleep paralysis

I've been getting sleep paralysis for 15 years. What I believe is that when your body is in that paralysed state it's the closest it can be to being dead so your spirit awakens as if it would when you die and your body is basically out of action.
The buzzing noise you hear is like tuning into another frequency. Another level.
I think when you hear footsteps/see other things it's because you are able to interact with other spirits that you wouldn't see or hear normally.
Also the outer body experiences are your spirit floating up out of your body.
I believe when you die this is what will happen just you will not go back to your body.
Just my thoughts anyway.
Scientists will say its a sleeping disorder but they also said at one stage the world was flat. They have to put a title to everything. What happens happens. It's real if you see it/do it and if you're in the moment. Don't believe it's your mind playing tricks.
Iv asked my partner who died two years ago to come to me and he has. Have seen good things/bad things but definitely after so many times been through it believe it's other spirits/entities :)

Serendip Visitor's picture

Sleep paralysis or Awake paralysis

I feel there are a lot of energies around us. Some people call them entities. Some times, we become vulnerable due to known or unknown circumstances in our lives. When we are vulnerable, these entities Attach themselves to us, and we the real alive person kind of freeze for a while. But, fortunately, we r alive, so the entity cannot cling to us for long. We are also vulnerable to entities when we Are asleep. Even during, illness, sadness, heart break times, we become vulnerable. At those times, it is easy for them to attach themselves to us. It has happened to me. Meditation and reiki can strengthen our aura, so then they cannot attach to us. So anyone who is frightened, can try meditation or yoga. As the aura streghthens, you will feel the difference. Our aura is our protective sheild. This is what I feel. Thank you all for sharing your experiences, i feel better knowing others too feel this. Love & light, rosy...

Serendip Visitor's picture

help me understand.

This is happens to me a lot I've just woken again to this an this time again I'm fighting heaven an hell I see bad faces an I'm awake but I can't move I see my husband and can't scream for him to help me it freaks me out I always wake saying haha haha u didn't get me an get out of my house u evil thing I don't know what to think I believe in spirts an I'm not one for god I believe there is a higher power but I'm not a god person but when this happens I always find my self fighting the bad and asking for God to help me I'm scared please help. If this is what u say as my spirt is leaving my body Dame that can't b happening. When I was a little girl I remember dreams of flying an waking up an feel my self falling I would scream for mum she would come in an my heart rate would b high but this is a new thing of my sleep. This would b the 5th time this year it's happened to me.

Jane's picture

HI

Dear, please seek your God, your maker. This problem can be spiritual. I posted a comment here last month as i had noted a trend: every Monday morning i would feel some presence in my bedroom just like you... that was so scaring. I would have a horrifying dream first... seeing myself in graveyards or in dirty places like toilets then i could see bad people all rising against me, then snakes and so on. Then all of a sudden I couldn't move a muscle on my face and the rest of my body. It felt as if i was losing my life... i couldn't breath properly. I started sleeping with my lights on as i felt scared. But the presence could disappear in a short while, but only when i called the name of Jesus with my heart, as i couldn't speak or shout for help. Now i have formed a pattern of prayer, reading my bible and worshiping God with songs and praises before i fall asleep. Any song that mention the blood of Jesus is very powerful and the devil/evil spirits cannot tolerate it. I have been sleeping like a little baby these days! I had to question why the sleep paralysis couldn't numb my body on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday morning. Only on Monday morning when i woke up to go to work. Bad and discouraging things were happening to me and those around me...deaths and sicknesses. But now we are all strengthened AND we thank God. I am not suggesting that what you have is not sleep paralysis. It could be it. But why does your spirit yearn for God's help in that numbed state and then the presence releases you when you call God? Maybe, just maybe, God wants you to reverence and fear him. Maybe he wants you to know that you are his child, that he loves you and that you need to fear him. For me it is prayer, consistent prayer, that has set me free from this terrifying thing. It is a crazy world we live in. You can never know who doesn't like you...who is jealous of what you have. And the bible is clear about who we are fighting with(Ephesians 6:12,13). Put up a good fight please, through prayer, repent,invite God in all you do and he will listen to you. And if the problem persists, then you probably have the paralysis they are describing here not a spiritual warfare. I hope to encourage you today, with my story. Thank you.

sgroclkc's picture

There are two main types of

There are two main types of scary phenomenons in sleep(nightmare and sleep paralysis) that are caused by two main scary symptoms of cardiovascular disease {palpitation and fainting (syncope)}.Physiological symptoms of sleep paralysis are the same with those of syncope. Thus, sleep paralysis is caused by syncope. For experts in cardiovascular diseases, sleep paralysis or syncope is a common symptoms of cardiovascular disease【1】.For a long time, due to the ignorance of physiological knowledge of syncope , ischemie cerebrale , slow beat, fast beat and so on, psychological illusion in people’s sleep generated by such physical symptoms i.e. the nightmare really has puzzled the psychologists, therefore they put forward a wide range of wrong even absurd views onthe nightmares, which both have no scientific basis, and could not be confirmed, even more were not self-consistent.For example, a medical expert Debacke drew the correct conclusion that the anxiety-dream resulted from ischemie cerebrale according to the physiological symptoms of the anxiety-dream of a boy of thirteen. Freud called such view was a ” medical mythology” in the book of Dream Psychology. Most important,the experiment confirmed the idea. For example, a place in country , there is a “haunted” bed which makes people have sleep paralysis or syncope every night, and it is this fact that the pillow in the bed is too high will reduce cerebral blood flow.【1】http://www.medhelp.org/posts/Sleep-Disorders/Nocturnal-fainting/show/11612

Simon's picture

again

Not had it in a while until last night. Sleeping on the sofa as we had guests over. Wasnt comfy hence restless sleep. Didnt see shape but thought I heard a rasping noise then felt like something sucking the air out of me without touching me. That woke me up lol. Unlike posters on here though I can always move, almost immediately. I pushed straight up and looked around. It even felt like it was gone. Went straight back to sleep comfortably.

charles's picture

sleep paralysis

I can't believe i just had an episode of sleep paralysis about 30 minutes ago. I hate going through this because my body doesnt respond when i need to move, and even when i try to look my eyes do not stay open, they close. What i was scared about was someone braking into my house so i kept trying to look but could not. My wife said that i was snoring super hard. This happens to me about once every 3-4 months. This is charlie, 03/28/2014.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Well I just had an episode of

Well I just had an episode of this 2 hours ago and I c ouldn't go to sleep so, thank god for answers.it is such a struggle to get up though But, the one thing that told me to write it off as a hallucinations is that in this dreamlike state I threw a drumstick at the wall but, there was no drumstick in my room so, my advice is look for something that is off(other than the evil prescence of course) and reg.ain your composure.

Serendip Visitor's picture

The first time, it happen to

The first time, it happen to be there were two blue figures, at the end of my bed. Since then it has happened quite more, and only twice. I have felt comfort. My parents are both past, so I like to believe, the blue figures were them. I was still not comfortable, more at ease after the matter. The next couple time is got really dark, and you feel trapped. It will not last, If its evil spirts. There will power is not matched to ours. Maybe 2 weeks ago, I had one right above my face, usually you are on your side. This was terrifying. Almost as if it was yelling at me. No expressions, or features, just black..and the shape. It had long black hair. that would flow, is how I picture the shape now. I often just get the feeling, now.. Just try to train yourself, to not fear. It is very hard, but achieveable.. for this situation. Remeber it will not last, and fear is was sometimes seems to fuel it, if your not already slightly realizing this. Take care, things that we cannot explain, get excuses, Most don't care or want to know. This is a mental challenge, and only yourself as an individual can make it stop. Good luck!

Thedreamer's picture

Finally I have an answer!!!

This is a godsend for me!!!! I experience this quite often. Sometimes a few times a week. It's extremely scary and almost feels like an outer body experience. The apparitions scare the crap out of me. Why do they always feel evil? How come never good? Also, has anyone figured out a way to avoid falling into this or how to get out of it quickly? I often struggle with trying to break out of it. And why do I have them so much? I had my first one in 2007. I am now 31 and they come much more often than not. I do not like it. I want it to go away!!!

HeatherFraughblucha's picture

Reply to the dreamer

I have suffered from this condition for the majority of my life. I do have some tips to avoid falling into the hypnogogic state: First off, and this is extremely important, you HAVE to get yourself on a regular sleeping schedule. That may solve some of it right there.... it helped me a lot. When you are overly tired, as I have heard it explained, your brain may rush the sleep cycle, not knowing how long you will have to sleep, and you are more likely to fall into the "in between" world of sleep or the hypnogogic. Another tip is sleeping on your side or your stomach, rather than your back. This has not always worked for me, but many sufferers swear by it. Next, get help for your anxiety in the rest of your life, whatever it is related to. This may involve self-help, or getting whatever kind of professional help you may need with that.
The number one, most important piece of the puzzle though, is what you just did: finding out what it really is. This seems to take away a lot of the power. The first time I had sleep paralysis after finding out exactly what caused it, the entity in my experience was Voldemort from Harry Potter. I always found him to be a surprisingly NOT scary character. I still had the feeling of dread while in the experience, but it was almost funny. I actually laughed when I woke up. Obviously I knew this character was fictional....my brain was telling me something. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART. If you believe they are demons, they will feel like demons.
Oh yeah, and as far as getting out of it when you find yourself in a sleep paralysis episode, what works best for me is shaking my head from side to side (or at least trying to), like I am saying "no". If I can get my head to fall to the side, I wake up instantly.

Serendip Visitor's picture

I have been experiencing this

I have been experiencing this since almost 10 years now. I wanted to tell some one for so long, I tried telling it to my spouse, but no one could better understand it. I feel so connected to you all guys. I want to believe it is sleep paralysis and some malfunction of my sleeping brain. I thought I had some epilepsy(temporal lobe epilepsy), kinda thing. Like that life becomes easier. Its strange if your mind can lower your bodily functions so low then why only the motor functions? why are the sensory functions kept so crisp and accurate. I could tell you the accurate time, whenever I manage to force open my lids half way. I am fully conscious of myself and the surroundings.

I have taken the names of GODS from all religions, but nothing seems to help any more. I always get a aura few seconds it begins. I have always felt a strong presence of a well built, muscular dark, hairless being with no human side to it. I gain complete conscious of my surroundings and myself. I feel like perfectly oriented to time, place and person.But one thing what I cant do it wake myself up, I try hard to open my eyes, which I succeed partially at times. Once the trauma, begins, I feel like spinning at high speed around the center of my axis, n my head has a throbbing pain, then post the experience I am pushed into deep sleep. Now I know for sure, I am not gona die in it, so I started to let it happen, until 2 days back when I resisted...N I resisted so much , that it stopped..it didnt happen any more!!!
I was happy, I tried telling it to a friend, I was ridiculed as trying to gain attention. But I am happy to know you all are out there sailing in the same boat with me. Even if its sleep paralysis, I don,t think so there is any FDA approved medications or randomised control trials for any cure.
We just gotta live with it. I try to keep better sleeping patterns. But these experiences are very random for me.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Heavy breather

this always happens to me when i want to wake up n my body is in its own hyperbolic state,here is my suggestions, firstly by controlled sleep deprivation, example i sleep fully for 5 hours a day, if the whole day i dont sleep and sleep at a specific time whether im tired or not and set an alarm to ring 5 hours later, it doesnt happen, especially when i plan an activity when i wake up, like exercising , but it happens when i take a nap during the day, 1 out of 4 times it happens, i might feel tiredness but sure enough i wake up every time normally....next if ur weak willed and cant sleep for 5 to 6 hours a day, when u find urself half dead in a state of sleep, dont try opening ur eyes or moving, its fruitless n often times exhausting, focus on ur breathing, to wake up, u have to jump start ur body period, focus on ur breathing, at the point when u hav to breathe in, focus on breathing in with full force, sucking in as much air as possible, it may take a few turns but it works every time i do it...hopefully it will work for u

Simon's picture

Yeah I have these

Yeah I have these too.

Halfway through I dreamt God said "fear not dude. Youre just having a bad dream. None of this is real or religious in any way"...

Ivan's picture

Disorder sleeping

Hello I have too been struggling to wake up every time its Diffrent like a week ago I dreamed that there was tiger in a bush and it was like steaking me out as soon as it saw me look at him he came after me and then I woke up . And earlier dis week i came home from work an layed down closed my eyes and within minutes I was asleep but awake in my mind I could not wake up I could hear someone open my bedroom door and say wake up wake thinking it was my sister but all of asudden a loud voice said "DESPIERTATE" meaning "wake up " but idk is it something to look into is it important ??i don't know it does bother me thou an since I could remember I think every time I have this problem like it takes longer for me to wake upp " I've had wired dreams one I remember is that I was floating in mid air like I Was going to the sky everything was like baby blue but I felt relaxed no panic at all well just thought I should share this image been looking at these other comments and I read some that we're a lil similar to mine ".

Sleeper's picture

That could mean you are

That could mean you are stressed out and you dont allow yourself enough time to wind down and relax? Look into your conscious/ awake life and see if there are any correlations between your dreams and your daily life. Take into consideration the MOST aware you are during the day. I find myself dreaming of flying when i am extremely aware of the sky. Or in another dream i feel the pressure to get rid of something and in my daily life i'll be working way too hard.

Good Luck!

Clever's picture

Sleep Paralysis: Feelings beyond scientific explanation

Hello reader,
I have with great curiosity read through all the scientific explanation of Sleep paralysis and the comments written by most sufferers. I must sincerely first state that there is a phenomenon regarded to as sleep paralysis but this in no way should be confused with what most of you feel such as; an immense pressure on you when sleeping, a presence unexplainable; the feeling right before the pressure, the noise in the ear, your inability to move, talk or do anything while under this pressure. These feelings do not occur nor are symptomatic of sleep paralysis (hope you truly understand what I mean). Sleep paralysis make you totally numb in your normal room environment. I have experienced both and can well tell the difference. Worst thing is that I suffered more from the other.
For a long time, I suffered from this and was made to believe it was sleep paralysis. I relaxed and enjoyed this torture until I was made to know the truth.

"And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free"
John 8:32
So, what is the truth?
Before you stop reading, thinking this is another gospel like before. Take a deep breath and ask yourself a true question and be sincere with your answer.
Do you really think what you go through is sleep paralysis?
If yes, how about an explanation for the evil presence, and the sometimes darkness?

The existence of evil and evil spirits is beyond scientific explanation, just as the existence of this world and all in it. However, the Bible shed enormous light to these phenomena. What you think and regard to as sleep paralysis is "an oppression from evil spirits". The good thing is that it can be stopped and most interestingly; it can be stopped for ever.

How?
It is simple. Recognise that all that is in this world both evil and good was made by God and are both subject to his will. He protects those who are His from all evil.

"Just as the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so is the Lord round about His people"
Psalm 125:2

All you have to do is to kneel down today and ask him to forgive you all your sins and watch you clean, ask him to receive you as His child and promise to turn from all your evil deeds. You know the good thing? He will not refuse you, because He longs for you to do this.

"A broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise"
Psalm 51:17

Finally, every night while in bed, right before sleeping say your prayers. Ask the Lord to protect you with His angels as you are dead asleep, thank Him for saving you through the day and ask him to protect all your loved ones in their sleep.

"The name of the LORD [is] a strong tower: the righteous runs into it, and is safe"
Proverbs 18:10

Have a wonderful sleep for the rest of your life!!!

Do not forget to tell your loved ones this everlasting solution.

Sleeper's picture

Overcoming paralysis

What I do is just relax and let it all go. As my grandfather told me growing up that fearing something only gives it power over you, so too does fearing something that you dont know, such as losing control of your own body. I have had many instances of sleep paralysis; the first few very very disturbing. I didn't want to sleep at night, and i would go to school too tired to function. Then my grandpa taught me how to meditate and relax my mind. It has worked wonders. Eight years later when i go into a sleep paralysis mode I just allow myself to relax and not let it bother me. It sounds impossible when you start hearing footsteps or you see things around you, but when i would wake up from my paralysis i always realized that it was just my mind trying to make sense of the fear i was inhibiting by looking at the world in a fear based perspective. Everyday i get closer to overcoming my fear of sleep paralysis by not being scared of it at all!

Some tips:
Just relax. It's nothing to be afraid of. Your body will be under lots of stress but attempt to let it go.

IF this doesnt work after a long period of time, you might want to reconsider if you're in sleep paralysis or being attacked by some other entity. Just as no entity EVER can have the control over you that will keep you absolutely still and unable to move even your eyes, so do not fear that which has no power over you.

Peace Love AND Happiness to all!

Serendip Visitor's picture

A few years ago my boyfriend

A few years ago my boyfriend got out of prison with a few interesting tattoos of evil skulls. I was interested to know the meaning behind them but when I began telling me the story I couldn't take anymore. It was something along the line of working under someone as a hit man. Im still not sure if I want to believe the part I did here. He left my house right after the story I was not sleep I asked him to close and lock the door behind him. I heard him walking away outside as I was laying on my side and I heard my door open no sooner than I could turn to look I was paralyzed completely I couldn't open my eyes or mouth.something was holding me from behind whispering in my ear what sounded like gibberish it was a very negative spirit I began to rebuke it in the name of Jesus and I was released I agree with Clever and I don't believe I was suffering from sleep paralysis

Serendip Visitor Kristine Ali's picture

whoa

This happen to me over a week ago. I was sleeping and I felt like something was holding me down and grabbed my arm, speaking very fast gibberish in my ear. I felt paralyzed, I couldn't move my head to see what this was, speaking to me. I was so scared that I said "I believe in God" over and over again. I slowly felt this "thing" release me. I then woke up. It felt very evil. 4 days later I had a worst experience. Seems like if you feed into it, you will continue to experience it. I'm trying to figure out what this is though.

Tina G's picture

2 minds alike

CLEVER you couldnt of said it any better. This is the exact same thing I've been trying to explain since I found this website so thank you. One of my recent experiences I dreamed I was at a house and there werepeople i didnt know that were the there doing some sort of ritual and chanting and thats when the enemy came in to attack me but I knew God was in control and always is but this experience was very scary because it left me gasping for air.

Serendip Visitor's picture

question

i olso have problem in slypin...
i know its a dream..but then when i want to wake up i cant open my eyes neither move my body... i see scary things when that happen.
am i too suffering from sleep paralysis

Jane's picture

There seems to be a pattern

There seems to be a pattern through which my SP happen. I can't explain why i am getting it every Sunday night since January 2014. It mostly happen in the morning, from 3AM. When it happens i am usually in a horrible and scaring dream. Before i read about SP i thought i was being attacked by demons. Still i believe there is demon activity in mine as the thing stops when i call the name of Jesus. There are witches in the family who hate my prayerful family. That's why i cannot rule out demons. Thanks 4 sharing information. I got an experience like this, this Sunday morning. I am now sleeping with my lights on even though i know i possibly have sleep paralysis. Thanks.

Simon's picture

There are "witches in the

There are "witches in the family that hate my prayerful family"?

huh? In the unlikely event you took any of that seriously, which would be kinda off topic, how exactly would you conclude someone was a "witch"? Bearing in mind this isn't the dark ages (at least for most of the world), having a "belief" someone is a "witch" simply isn't sufficient. So, perhaps they "claim" to be "witches". All very interesting, and also potentially delusional. Perhaps they do wacky or weird stuff and claim it's "witchcraft". Yet is there any real evidence of them having any "powers"? If there were, there are a number of unclaimed funds floating around in the US (and other countries) for anyone who can demonstrate any supernatural ability in lab conditions. To this date they remain unclaimed.

A large part of the issues that people experience here appear to be psychological - and anxiety related in many cases. Wrapping yourself in in unfounded beliefs that may subsequently increase your anxiety is likely to be far less than helpful.

Serendip Visitor's picture

If you do not believe there

If you do not believe there is witchcraft/sorcery in the world, please come to Africa.

Julie Bowes's picture

scared

Hi i just woke up from having this. I am 29 and this has been happening for a couple of years now. It feels harder and harder to wake up from it because i know its happening i have extreme anxiety and panic and get really scared when i know its happening and I am fighting to wake up yelling at myself to wake up my eyes always are open i can see and i try to move my hand and goes right threw something like i am a ghost and today my bedroom door opened and i thought i heard my moms voice i thought i heard her say oh shes sleeping and i was yelling at her ''mom! help me help me! wake me up! ''but my mouth wouldn't move and the i saw the door close! and then i thought to myself ''this is it, I am dead this time.'' I could feel my breathing getting worse harder to breathe i fought so hard and finally woke up! Heart beating a million miles per minute short of breathe and i ran out yelling for my mom asking her if she just opened my door and saw me sleeping and she said'' no''. I said "Are you sure? I saw the door open and heard your voice'' and she said'' no i never opened your door''. I am so freaked out i had sleep testing done months ago and it showed nothing because this happens only here and there and not every night and i knew it wasn't going to happen when i had all those plugs glued on my head at the sleep study center . I wonder if anyone has ever died from this... each time it feels like i am getting closer to dying and never going to wake up, because it takes forever to wake up now .......

joe's picture

reply

Hi. My name is joe. Yes the exact thing happend to me. I could not move and I could see my mom actually hugging me and talking to me. She said oh joes asleep. Then she left and close the door. After that I saw a dark shadow on top of the door. I prayed to god. After like a minute I finally was able to move it sucks. Since then it hapend 4 more times.

Serendip Visitor's picture

freaky

ive had quite a few experences like the ones described on this page over the years but one of my most recent was pretty much word for word what you just described i was asleep on the couch and i couldnt move and i seen my my mum walk out from the hallway and say the same thing oh hes asleep and i was trying to yell at her to wake me up but she just walked back down the hallway n same so i tried to roll off the couch in an attept to wake myself up but insted when i rolled off the couch my body was still on the couch and a few meters from the couch is the kitchen sink and i was splashing what was my face at the time while iz suffercating n just when i thought i was a goner i jerked out of my sleep. im not sure what it is that happened that night but it freaked me out. im not a man of faith but in these moments all my scepticism gos out the window i dont know what to believe but im sure its going to kill me one day.

Joyful's picture

I have had "being stuck in my

I have had "being stuck in my sleep" since I was 6. The first time it happened I was under my pillow...I used to always sleep with my head under my pillow. I nearly suffocated....I was in terror because I could not move. It finally relaxed and started praying...thanks to my mom..she always taught me to sing or pray when I was frightened. When I awoke...I was under my pillow and drenched with sweat. I NEVER slept with anything over my head again including my covers. Now I have learned to cope with it. It occurs to me more frequently when I am phsically OVER TIRED. I can actually gain control of myself.....tell myself to fall back asleep. It always works. Sometimes terror still overwhelms me but I usually get a grip and take myself out of the anixety it causes. I am always worried I am comatose... It is a fear and makes me wonder if that is how it is for Coma patients....stuck within yourself. I am now 42 and a mother of 3..... My youngest is a boy and he also suffers from it. I have been able to help him with my method. He says it works but it is hard to tell yourself that you WILL WAKE UP.....and also to try not to scream or force yourself to try to move just a finger. I also suffer from migraines....they SUCK!!!!! I guess I can consider myself blessed because I do not have "evil visions" or see ghost like images. I hope this may help someone who is suffering with this. Its best to just try to fall back asleep.

DAN W's picture

Finally an Answer

This information has really helped me. I keep sleeping with my eyes open. I have been a sleep, thinking I was awake and was fighting someone in the room. I didn't know the difference between being a sleep or awake. I believe in God, and He has been helpful in this matter

Jay's picture

Sleep Paralysis

I just recently had a case of Sleep Paralysis, these have been occurring a lot recently. I'm not sure why but i'm worried as it tends to bother me and keeping me from sleeping. I actually don't remember much when i'm actually experiencing one but what I can say is, i'm not able to move. That's all that really happens, I don't hear strange sounds nor do I see strange objects or beings. The only thing I can describe is that my vision blurs, I can open my eyes and move my hands slightly but I can't speak nor scream. After reading this and seeing the comments, i'm glad i'm the only one experiencing this as it puts my mind at ease. I finally know now what it is and somewhat what causes it to happen. I don't really know how to stop it as I have not tried any methods but after reading the comments, I find the best solution is staying calm and relaxed when it is occurring as stress and paranoia are possibly the cause of it. I'll try these techniques the next time it happens, thanks for taking your time to read.

silvia's picture

Hi I also just felt d same.

Hi
I also just felt d same. I was in sleep but felt tht i woke up bt in bed. I could feel or u can say see everything around me but could not get up or move. Am chanting Balaji's name to come out of that horror but it was tough to even move. I can feel my soul is awake but my body bring gripped by something. Its horrifying

Simon's picture

Nearly forgot. Also better

Nearly forgot. Also better than average night vision. Just based on family and people Ive been out at night with.

Simon's picture

Vegetarian. Generally

Vegetarian. Generally healthy. Slim. The white figure was before I moved. Was near a river. Smallish town. No power plant nearby. Non smoker. Teetotal.

The black figures different address. Edge of small town near countryside. Rural area. No river or power etc very close by. Was a meat eater around then. Not sure if I saw them before or after I went vegetarian.

Not color blind at all that I know of. Visions generally fine I guess. I do notice image burn a bit. Ie see a bright light and can still focus on it a while later. Think pretty normal though. Its kinda faint but I sometimes notice a thicker blue band under rainbows but only if they are bright ones. Royal blue really deep and vivid but nearly completely see through.

Nothing else I can think of that might trick my eyes or cause vision defects.

s10s's picture

What do we all have in

What do we all have in common? I'm a smoker I drink pop I have a fatty lipoma tumor on my back non cancer. My house has ghost a woman and a lil girl friendly not evil. I live in a valley about a mile away from a river. A power plant a few streets over. Anyone else?

Paco's picture

"Sleep Paralysis"

Hmmm i used to be real scared due to the experiences I HAVE seen figures, nothing new but this time i had been strangled (or i felt physical contact defiantly once incident i'm pretty sure i had a tremor but this ringing came to me and it was exactly like a vcr being rewinded , it was loud , this is when the tremor occured it lasted for about 10 seconds and once the ringing stopped, so did the tremor...i have no clue what this was, i dont really like the "sleep paralysis" concept just as a whole...but i do think it involves around some meaning,a definite meaning... much more definite than "Common sense" i would say....
it also has a lot to do with the individuals perspective and how they view the value of "life",and how they perceive... All perspectives are different for every individual...I honestly give in...they don't bother me , i would honestly prefer this to happen because i do want to experience more, cause there's more to it...
This is just my perspective but weather the comments are negative or positive your welcome to comment, i do like hering opposing views as well.

Andres Serendip Visitor's picture

hey

Well I just snapped out of my paralysis a few minutes ago. I have been suffering with this for years. For years I have thought it was an evil spirit trying to take control of my body. This one time I felt strong pressure on my chest as if someone was on top of me. I couldnt see it, but I could move my eyes. My mouth then opened up and I couldnt close it. I was feeling literally like someone was sucking the air out of me. It was horrible! That has happenes 5 times to me. I am paranoid to sleep on my back, or even to fall in deep sleep. I hardly sleep. Now I assume my body is gwtting use to me not going into deep sleep, because lately my body twitches and wakes me up when I fall in deep sleep. Is there anything I can take for this? However I am glad there is an explanation.

Beth's picture

AfterTyphoonYolanda

I just research about these sleep paralysis today because it's only now that i have access to internet. I have the same problem like u guys. After the typhoon yolanda that hits in our place ive had these experiences wen evrytym i nap i hear/see unusual thngs like footsteps, evil voices,laughters,ghost images etc etc. & thank God ive found u people. I thought im d only experiencing these thngs.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Has anyone ever filmes their

Has anyone ever filmes their selfs while a sleep?? Find any weird behavior?

s10s's picture

No but my gf seen my jaws

No but my gf seen my jaws shake as I was struggling to wake up. But even though very real it was a dream state and not like previous times where I'm awake and not in a dream state

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