Sleep Paralysis: Awake But Still Asleep

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Biology 202
2000 First Web Report
On Serendip

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

Gavin Darcy's picture

Hi my name is Gavin Darcy.

Hi my name is Gavin Darcy. This 'sleep Paralysis' scares the hell out of me! This started happening to me about 7 months ago.. My last one was last night except it wasnt just once but about 5 times during the night!

My partner was asleep beside me, the first two times this happend to me I woke up a few minutes later. The third time it happend I suddenly became very afraid. I cannot remember the dream but I know I was fighting to wake up. Because I was struggeling to wake up I was dreaming that I was chewing my partners hand off. I suddenly woke finding my partner fast asleep beside me.

I noticed from this happening to me that if I put my blanket over my face it does not happen! Does this happen to anyone else?

I also sometimes feel as if something is pressing on my chest, this only seems to happen if im in a certain room asleep in my house!
Gavin Darcy, Feb 21st 2013, 02:00

Serendip Visitor's picture

die?

Nah. I dont think you can die. I did get this impression of "deaths servants" but I guess when you get that impression its as far as it goes. With nowhere further to go and zero concern, wound up at the opposite end if the spectrum reassured they would not take me.

Just dreams but psychologically its best to face it without fear. Ive been told a couple of times since by doctors I should be dead for unrelated reasons but fine now. Positivity always a good thing.

Serendip Visitor's picture

what I think causes SP

Personally, What I think happens is when you have SP, is that your body is still in REM sleep, which means it is paralyzed to prevent you from acting out in your dreams. You wake up and your body is still asleep. Now, I believe in demons and ghost and stuff. But I don't think that is the cause of this. I think the visions you see are just your brain still partly dreaming. Or it could be your imagination. Now, you may say that why there are cases of hallucinations shockingly similar to eachother? My theory to this is that something during time as cave men or earlier there might have been some predator out there, thus we might have some primal fear of that thing. This does not mean that the creature is still out there, or we would all be dead. think of it as the Fight or Flight response.
Here are some words that might comfort you:

Say God's name or Jesus'. To me, these are words of comfort and makes me feel better. It might work for you too.

Have fun. Use your imagination. imagine something that makes you feel happy and safe.

YOU WILL NOT DIE! No matter how terrifying the experience is, you will not be hurt. If you feel that you can't breath, just remember that your body needs air, and it WILL find a way to get some, usually on it's own.

Wait it out. This experience will not last forever.

Laugh. Laughter is the best medicine. Even if you can't laugh physically, laugh on the inside.

I hope this helps.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Great post! Thanks!!!!

What a great heart, you are a true gem!

Serendip Visitor **Wildalaska**'s picture

Terrifying experience

Would like to first off say that I am SO glad that I am not the only one that this has happened to. Thought I was crazy for a few minutes there until I found this forum. I had a similar terrifying experience last night and to put it mildly, am scared to try and sleep again. It started out with a loud crashing beating sound in my ears, after a few minutes that went away. My husband soothed me and I almost got back to sleep again when I had this terrifying overwhelming feeling that someone was watching me, I couldn't move at all. I was faced toward my closet, my mind turned shadows into a man standing there staring at me, he was very scary and angry. It felt like I was possessed by a demon or something! I tried to scream but nothing would come out, it seemed to last for a very long time. I kept struggling to talk, actually felt like I was being suffocated by this **spirit**. It felt like I was going to die from not being able to breathe. Finally, I took a very deep breathe and mustered all I could to barely get out my husbands name, I nearly scared him to death! He jumped and wrapped his arms around me and I finally awoke and realized that I was okay. Honestly I think I may sleep with a nightlight on tonight! But I am glad there is some scientific explanation for this happening. Hope it never happens again. Thanks for sharing your stories.

Serendip Visitor's picture

I disagree. My first reaction

I disagree. My first reaction was fear. It didnt wake me up. I felt heavy but could move a bit. Hid under the quilt. That wasnt imagibation. It was hot. I was dripping with sweat. Didnt wake straight up even then.

Bajan 246's picture

SP: "partially" explained

Sleep Paralysis affects people many ways, but the causes of it may be more similar to all than most of us think... One of my discoveries of such is 'too-low' blood pressure during sleep. Blood pressure dips naturally during sleep, then rises just enough to make you feel uncomfortable causing you to shift/change sleep position.
Changing sleep position is necessary, because it allows the (maintenance) cells to access areas of the body which need a little "tuning". If he body isn't encouraged to move then blood-flow is disrupted in that section resulting in low oxygen delivery, power outages are expected during this time (nerve endings goes disabled)
So far, one conclusion would be to be able to "roll around" in bed, but there are people who believe that this may not be an option for them... fear of crushing their child, sleeping with a new room mate or just sleeping somewhere so small, you fear falling to the floor are just a few reasons but it is encouraged to change positions.
Another issue is how you over-exert yourself. Studies, job projects, house chores, exercise, blogging, gaming, net browsing, channel surfing... even yapping! these are the most common "laid-back" ways we all overdo at some point and end up nodding off to sleep doing it. It is something that leads to SP eventually so nip this by the bud and cut this nasty routine.
The issue with seeing dark shadows occurs when the retina is partially enabled and/or the Iris hasn't adjusted to the light yet. The dream section of the brain quickly forms that dark spot into a figure. eg: "if you usually wake up to see a ceiling fan, this time you might see a giant 4-legged spider". Most of us probably don't realize that one of the first parts of the body that fully gains full motor control are the eyes, followed by the lungs then, just like a city recovering from a power outage, the nerves which lets you know "helloooo, you have limbs to move!"
Recovering from SP is obviously easy: Panic. Panicking promotes a sudden burst of high blood pressure, gushing through and opening oxygen-drained veins and muscles. the faster you spike your blood pressure, the faster you reset your body to wake-up mode. People experiencing SP don't just jump out of bed immediately, they just realize they recovered full body control and get up. No wonder most of us wake up and not find a drip of sweat.
I've written too much, I think I have SP in my fingertips... thanks for reading :)

Serendip Visitor's picture

I cried for an hour...

I just awoke from the second sleep paralysis experience in one week. The first one I was sleeping next to my infant, I saw a black shadow come over me from a birds eye view- I couldn't move, my mouth agape I desperately tried to call for my roommate but no sound would come out.
This time it was so much worse, so frightening... I hallucinated like crazy, my baby is sleeping in a crib in our room- my husband was gone... I fell "asleep" only to "awake" to horribly vivid and real hallucinations- everything was moving and I was trapped by my mind... I tried to scream for my husband a thousand times but nothing would come out... I just kept desperately screaming for him. I hallucinated that he came and found me, that I asked to be taken to the ER but he left me and I just kept trying to call him to save me... I tried to say his name so many times. I kept opening and shutting my eyes but hallucinations came no mater what I was looking at.
I went to sleep around 9:30 and woke up at 12:47. It felt like I was paralyzed for hours upon hours. I woke up and found my husband and cried and wept and trembled for at least an hour before I could finally calm down. I was so afraid, I cannot go back to sleep. It was so frightening... I hate how I scream with all my might yet nothing will come out.

So many coincidences...?'s picture

Ive dreamt of the black

Ive dreamt of the black figures. They make you tingle. They only used to get fear from people. They knew nothing else though. They fed on it. They were in a cavern. It was close while they were here but far away. I dont know how it worked. The big one was in charge of them but I taught them to escape it. Beneath it all they are good. They just didnt know another way. I care for them when I see them now. They look brighter and happier.

I saw a brighter one recently but it was different. Different shape too. I woke my wife to see it but either she couldnt see it or it faded out of sight and she was too slow. The next day we heard her uncle died that same night. Didnt even know he was ill but not seen him in a while. Hes really nice so sad but good hes ok now if you know what I mean.

Tried the energy feeling thing with gaps between our palms. Worked well but why is mine hot and hers icy cold? Spirits feel cold too. Not tried it with other people. Id feel kinda weird asking too. Can someone else try please. One palm facing the other with someone else. One above the other almost touching. Close eyes. Tilt head a little and try to feel them. Like theres no space really. Think of closing the gap more and what you feel. Show you love.

Do they feel cold or hot? Did they say they felt the same or opposite?

Annette Posante's picture

Deep Sleep

I have on several occasions had the experience of going into one of these deep sleeps and feeling paralyzed. I one time was laying on my couch and I could feel myself going into one of these episodes but I was helpless and could not get myself out of it. All of a sudden I could feel and hear this dark figure say.."Call your Jesus! Call your Jesus now, and I could feel it placing it's hand over my mouth were I could not speak, but as soon as I managed to just think even though I could not speak call on the blood of Jesus, this thing would release immediately and especially during an episode where I could speak loudly and call on the name of Jesus I would immediately awake out of whatever this state is called. I know from experience that this is a supernatural thing and it is evil, but when you call on the name of Jesus it flees. Try it next time.

nancie's picture

I have only had this

I have only had this experience once. I was very pregnant and I woke with what felt like a weight pressing on my chest. I struggled to breath. I could not scream nor move. I prayed for help and was able to scream "I belong to Jesus" and it totally went away. Scared my husband to death! That was 26 years ago and it has never happened again but now my son who is 24 is telling me he has this experience every 6 months and that it is hereditary! I believe in angels and demons and I believe that it was a demon who was repelled by the name of Jesus. I have read the scientific explanation, I just don't buy it. God is sovereign and in control and he answers prayers.

W B's picture

I to

I recently found the courage to research and seek out people who have suffered from similar dreams as I have... I wasn't baptized as a child and I have endured these paralysis dreams since I was 4-5 years old.. I'm 30 years old now. The dreams of this natured subsided into my teens but, they started reoccurring within the last 4-5 years. I was baptized about a year ago and I have come to find clarity in what I have been enduring all these years and all that has happened around me.. When these types of dreams would occur, I found myself always laying on my back 90% of the time facing upward. I could move my head but the rest of my body was frozen except for minimal movement in my hands. I could feel the pressure in the room change and my eyes always felt like they were wide awake. Then I would see a figure with a dark, ominous feeling that was not friendly. I tried to call out but, could not but when I tried to say Jesus help me, I was able to say it and the presence and the pressure lifted and went away. We live in an age of logic and science. My dear you Re not alone..

Johnny's picture

Phew, it's not just me having this

To everyone, after reading the many posts here, I am feeling better. I started getting these episodes several months back. Each episode night, I would have multiple sp throught out the night. At first, I would start to fall asleep over to waken but be unable to move my body. At first I was scared but after awhile, I gotten better at it. Now each time I get sleep paralysis, my only thought is to get out of it quickly.

On 2/11/2013, I went to sleep around 12 and went into a sp episode and in my state there was an reaper like presence laughing sinisterly as i tried to move my body. When I finally awoke, there was nothing there. I felt a sense of fear but it soon subsided. After laying back into bed I then have another sp episode, only this time I didn't see anything only the usual trying to kick a leg or move my head to get our of the sp. I then again have a 3 sp episode, but this time I thought that I got out and sat up only to fall right back into another sp episode. Like someone post before it feels like a sp dream within sp. as of now it 4:25 and I doubt I'll be falling back to also sleep. Another funny thing is that I noticed I have these sp episode on Monday night for the past 2~3 week now.

yvette's picture

sleep paralysis

I have been experiencing this for the last couple of months,where im starting to fall asleep then i try to wake up
But i cant move my body but is like im awake. It sounds a lot like sleep paralysis wih the only difference with what i have read, that i have never seen any shadows and such or hear any evil laughs , i have neither feel any pressure on my chest. My body simply cant move then i try to relax and then i just wake up suddenly.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Have many of you had flu

Have many of you had flu shots?

Look up GSK pandemrix narcolepsy in the news.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Snap. My neck broke... Lol

Snap. My neck broke...

Lol

Laura M.'s picture

Paralyzed. Horrified.

Last nite I experienced what now I know it's called 'sleep paralysis'
It has happened to me so many times before, and I always thought it was a ghost or
something sitting on me trying to chuck me, but this article just gave me
a relief. I've been under a lot of stress lately and prolly going to bed thinking
About all my issues doesn't help either. - next time it happens
Ill try to remember that it's just my brain playing tricks on me.
Great article. Thanks so much.

Serendip Visitor's picture

paralyzed horrified

i just had one last night to where i was calling my aunt but i couldnt speak it feels as if someone or something was on top of me in my bed and on the side of my bed. it really scares me about this but thanks for the info

Dr. Bennie Forbes's picture

Sleep Paralysis

My Name is Dr. Forbes and i have found a close to perfect cure to this so called "sleep paralysisis". When your in sleep paralysis try turning your head as hard and fast as you can... This most of the time will shake you out of Sleep paralysis and bring you back to your senses

Erica 's picture

I'm guessing that "Dr" Bennie

I'm guessing that "Dr" Bennie Forbes is just a screen name and not indicitive of your real profession. First, no one who is truly experiencing a sp episode would be able to turn his or her head to try out your "close to perfect" cure. The PARALYSIS part of sp would prevent most anyone from moving their head even a little. Second, I think a doctor would be able to distinguish when to use " you're" vs. " your" properly in a sentence. Where you wrote, "When your in sleep paralysis", should be you're or you are, not "
your". Thanks anyway, "doc".

Jonalson 's picture

Bennie said "try to move" not

Bennie said "try to move" not literally acting it out..
Even though you can't move during paralysis, trying to move and or struggling to move
would help hasten recovery of motor control..
Struggling to move recovers from paralysis faster than doing no effort at all...
It stimulates ur brain to put back all those motor abilities..

Serendip Visitor's picture

Cant say for sure. There may

Cant say for sure. There may be a more rational explanation but until I have reason to believe it, the inclination is to believe my own eyes. At least as far as believing there is such thing as a spirit. More than that. Who for certain knows. Belief no matter how strong is not knowledge.

karen's picture

not for sure either !!!

hi i'm Karen I agree I'm not convinced yet sleep paralysis hmm... don't everyone find it freakin strange we experience the same crap ?? that should be impossible there's so many of us . I'm sorry there's no way i'm ruling being paralyzed ! thanks-Karen.

Serendip VisitorRads's picture

Sleep paralysis

It happens to me once in a while. yesterday afternoon it happened again. I was in deep sleep, suddenly I woke up, i was sleeping to the right side of my shoulder, I could sense that i was awake but my body was not awake, total numbness in my physical body,i could feel my airy body (foggy sense) moved to wards my left side of my shoulder, I could see every thing to the left side though I was slepping to the right side, my body was as light like a feather, no legs nothing it was all foggy ness, I felt my head and mind was pressed hard down, even i felt my real body was quite heavy totally detached to my conciousness, tried desperately to move and lift, no it is too heavy to get connected. After a lot of effort ,I opened my eyes looked around, could hear the voice of my mother talking to my daughter. I tried miserably to wake up, felt breathlessness, tried tried tried but failed to wake up fully , I was totally with held by some strong force. Out of despair, finally I closed my eyes, gone to a very deep sleep, i was quite panic that I may go breathless, sense less and might die. Little while later suddenly i woke up totally. What is this strange thing happened to me. Is it my soul which was awake all the while........... can any one explain to me what exactly I went through. once we die will that soul moves out of our body having no physical body, except with a face having eyes. Its a real experience which I keep having quite often.

Serendip Visitor guest's picture

Restless Sufferer

Ok, so while doing some research on my experiences/episodes of what could be "sleep paralysis", I came across this page. I just had aother of my episodes last night. It happended only about an 1hr into sleep. I have being experiencing this for some years now, dating back to 6/7 years ago, however the episode have changed, into something more painful. before it felt like something would be gripping my entire body except my head, I would be excrutiatingly aware of what was happening, however I am unable to move any part of my body, or scream or speak, I am completely aware of my surroundings, it used to feel like a prickling sensation that was very painful, I would feel this pain on the entire of my body except my head during the period of the episode, I would will myself to snap out of it by trying sooo hard to move my fingers and toes and sometimes my head, I would eventually gain control and rouse myself from sleep, however as soon as I wake the awareness of what happended would remain with me, I would even still feel the pain when I wake until I calm myself and after about 2/3 minutes the pain would supside. Recently however the experience changed, it has become more painful and is now feel it only in my head. Last night was by far the worst, Its still vivid in my memory. the pain can only be described as something being inside my head trying to make it explode from within, the pain is so unbearable I would be screaming and be close to tears however have no control, the thing is I actually know im sleeping and actually having the episode, however I am unable to wake myself up to stop it, I am aware that the only way to stop the pain is to wake up but I just cannot seem to do that. this change occured recently and I am presuming that it might have something to do with a certain medical condition the doctors have diagnosed me with, Its called "Intercranial hypertension" which basically means high pressure inside the brain/cranium. the causes are unknown, one of the symptoms associated with this condition is severe migraine upon waking. Im jst presuming that somehow the symptom of this hypertension (migraine) gets mixed okicks off as i go into sleep paralysis, if that is the most scientific explanation then I am disappointed as this could mean that as long as I have this condition and keep experiencing sleep paralysis I might not have a comfortable sleep. has anyone of you ever experienced something like this? and might youknow of any cures or treatments that could help.
thanks
restless sufferer.

Tbright's picture

Guest

I have had this disorder most of my life and never knew what it was until a couple years back . My mom and both my uncles have this when I was a little girl I can remember my mom having this and making noise trying to scream and we could hardly wake her up . I have sleep paralysis at least two or tree times every couple months it is terrifying sometimes . it takes it seems like a long time to wake up my heart is beating so fast as if I was running , my head is spinning its just all around not a good feeling and it all ways feels like something or someone is trying to get you .i hate that feeling because u simply cannot move no matter what u do in ur mind u think u moved but u really haven't . I wish there was a way to get rid of it . Although since ive had this so long I notice patterns if I don't get enough rest and allow myself to get really tired I have them really bad like two or three times in one night , and if I'm stressed out or am worried or sad about something I have them back to back if I don't sit up . Sometimes when I wake up I feel so sleepy I can't get up fast enough and it grabs ahold of me and I can't move ! I try to roll myself off the bed sometimes or even roll my head frm side to side to wake myself up . I am always glad when someone is home and they hear me and wake me up ! And then I'm up most of the night cause I don't want to go back to sleep because I am afraid I will have another one .

Serendip Visitor's picture

This is exactly how it

This is exactly how it happens to me, it actually just happened and I decided to research. Usually the only way I can for sure sleep the rest of the night is by turning the light on to sleep. It works every time, so thought I would share. I hate when you can't seem to wake up bc u are so sleepy and it keeps pulling you back, so weird but comforting to know someone else knows how it feels.

Cryptoshiriah's picture

Sleep paralization.

Just woke up and just remembered that i had sleep paralysis this morning.
I slept late like 5:30am because i watched anime and went to sleep and experienced this paralization.
I was like forced to open my eyes and saw some black shadows in our ceiling like trying to control my body.
And there was time that i felt like i was floating and i am struggling to stop it and fighting to not to open my eyes to avoid seeing the black creature.
And i was trying to move my body and thinking of happy thoughts but it didnt work, i think i saw the black creature 3 times. So what i did is prayed the THE LORD's PRAYER:OUR FATHER.. 3x but i noticed when i was doing that in the ending part i keep on forgetting the lines the fact that i know it in real life. I prayed in my mind. And after that.i went back to sleep and now im awake and keep on refreshing my mind.

The other things happened on this paralization were,my husband keep on calling and i thought i answered it, i know our phone is located infront of our bed but the phone rang was beside me and i think i grab something like talking to him,i thought it was really happening coz he was talking on the other line and then a ring occured again like I AM TALKING TO YOU ALREADY WHY ARE YOU STILL CALLiNg?and the phone was now on the floor and im holding something like a phone and now i notced our tv remote is beside me.. That dream was the first part of my sleep paralysis..i even saw my brother sleeping on the floor the fact that he is in other country, i approached him by throwing myself on the floor and told him to wake me up and turn the lights on. And now my heads hurt.im confused..i dont know nor sure if what came first..

Well im 23. I experienced this i think 3-4x since got married.

I read some post/comment here w/c similar to mine when i was a teenager.
The experienced of being raped thing...the experienced of your blanket being pulled slowly, floating like someone is trying to carry you, being sitted on your chest that you cant breath properly..happened to me so many times. Well now,i having ghostbumps while typing all of this. I want to share my experienced and like all of you, im curious WHY?why is this happening?why are we all have the same experience?why do we have to see creatures that doesnt exist?

So curious and yet afraid. Thats why i am now browsing,... searching for an answer.

Thanks for reading and have a good night sleep later!

Serendip Visitor's picture

Sp

Oh my God!!! I am literally speechless after reading your post. This is freaking me out as I have just had the same exact eperience as u! I have been suffering from this "Sp" for years. About age 5 as far as I can remember. I had an experience about 20 minutes ago. I wqs playing a game on my phone when suddenly I felt sleepy so I put the phone down and dozed off to sleep lying on my back and before u knew it, it was happening! I've been dealing with this so long til now I just lay there and dont fight it anymore. I just lay there and wait it out but this time was a bit different. For some reason I felt I had to fight it. I was kicking so hard or st least trying toIt always feels like there is a evil presence there. I was totally paralized. I tried screaming my daughter's name over and over but then I had a tight feeling around my throat and could see vomit eject from my mouth! I know it sounds crazy but this is what I thought I saw. I tried to say the Our Father Prayer but of course could'nt move my mouth so I said it in my head. Halfway thru the prayer I suddenly could not remember the words!! So I started over in my head and athe second time I tried saying it I suddenly felt like I was being lifted up by my legs, a floating feeling and then suddenly I saw a figure with big claws holding my feet I then heard a loud sound like paper ripping or a scratching sound and the figure was ripping at my feet then it just vanished and then I woke up Checking my feet because I thought my feet were ripped to shreds from the demon clawing at them lol The scary part is also forgot the rest of the prayer too! I am convinced this is something much more than science. Why its it that it always seem like something evil is hovering over u and I sometimes see figures like a man with no face and once I thought I saw the devil or something of that sort. My grandmother used to say that that was the devil riding my back and that I needed to pray aand I'm starting to believe that! When I would ask someone have they ever experienced that they would just look at me like I was crazy! So glad to know I'm not going insane!

Serendip Visitor jan's picture

halucinations

Hi guys!

I had a strong sleep paralyze last night, with some strong halucinations( almoust to realistic to be dreams).i had sleep paralyze before. first time it happened about a year ago, not a big deal, it seemed kind of funny to me, not scary at all. but last night i just couldnt sleep anymore after it happened. it was like my soul got out of my body, and i was fully avare that i cant move. but i got out of my body and trying to wake my parents, that they could wake me up. and i paniced as hell. but i just couldnt wake up. normally this paralyzes lasts 1-3 seconds, but last night it was i think about 10 seconds. the scarry thing is that my flat was ecactly the same in my halucinations that is in real life, even little things, because every time i have normal dream about my flat some room is missing or is in wrong place, but not this time. i just feel like it was so realistic, like i got out of my body. im 20 now, and i apologize for my bad language. THE INTERESTING THING I NOTICED IN THE MORNING WAS THAT THERE WERE SOME ANTS NEAR BED, AND I HAD ITCHY SKIN. COULD ANT BITES CAUSE THIS PARALIZE AND WEIRD DREAMS? feel free to reply. bye :) !

Serendip Visitor's picture

Cara, Constantly dwelling on

Cara,

Constantly dwelling on fear of anything heightens its impact upon us. If you can while waking, confront your fear. Imagine it happened then reassure yourself. Consider calmly how you would deal with it etc. Its not the end of the world and everything will be ok.

Hope it helps you get more peace.

Simon

Carawashere's picture

i dont even know..

So i've been having sleep paralysis, i'm 15, and it started when i was 14. so the only thing is, in my dreams, i get moved and touched.
like last night, i fell asleep and woke up paralyzed and totally panicked. then it felt like something dragged me to the end of my bed (which usually happens) and spread my legs out and i can only imagine raped me. that could have been an anxiety fear about i'm always scared of being raped. because right after waking up from that, i was in my normal place where i fell asleep and my feet were overlapped just like how i fell asleep. that same night when i tried to go back to sleep, i was dragged to the end of my bed again and sounded like a little girl's giggle or something which could have also been an auditory hallucination. it's weird, because i can feel myself moving like being dragged and the sheets under me and my legs being forced open and it's just...weird. the mind is a powerful thing i guess.
then i had an "episode" that night again and it felt like i was slowly rising out of bed (like some floating shit from the exorcist) and when i woke up, i hadn't moved. i've never seen a figure but i'm just scared because i don't know why i'm being played with and moved in my dreams but not many otber people are. i'm really scared and once in a while they'll happen, every 4 months i'd say now. when i was 14 they happened a lot in november and i found turning my tv on before i slept would help me sleep and keep the paralysis away. i'm scared, can someone explain why it feels like im being moved or worse...like raped? maybe it was assosiated with my fear of being taken away and raped. i dont know. im just really freaked out and i want to dream like a normal girl my age and i want to find answers to prevent these dreams because ive heard cases of going into cardiac arrest and dying and i dont want to die. so, can someone just explain a little more? please? --cara

Ro's picture

Reply to I don't even know

Hi Cara,

I started having sleep paralysis at age 15 as well. I am 31 now and still have these experiences although I have learned to speak my mind to them and somewhat control the situation. I can also make myself wakeup now, which took a while to acheive. First and foremost, it is important to know that you are in control. I know it's easier said than done, but do not let them scare you. Tell them to leave, they are unwelome in your reality, and shine them with your love. When I have a difficult encounter I try to visualize myself as a white light of unconditional love and I shine on them. Sometimes I just make self wake up and then get out of bed for a drink of water. I have seen many, many different entities (that's what I call them) in all differnt types of forms. From white heads, smoke faces, black shadows, invisible men, angels, energy of all colors filled beings, and the list goes on.

Do not worry, you are not going to die. I used to panic so much that I thougth my lungs would paralyze and I would stop breathing, but it's all mental. Is what you are seeing/hearing real? Well, who's to say.. Personally I do believe it is real, because the experiences are so real to me that I can't ignor them. It's my reality and therefore real to me. I think what happens is that we enter a different deminsion somehow.

I was diagnosed with Narcolepsy (sleep disorder) when I was 18 and sleep paralysis is a side effect of the disorder. If you start to experience excessive daytime sleepiness then I would recommend seeing your physician for a referral to a Sleep Specialist who treats others with Narcolepsy.

Also, my sleep paralysis was the begining to my frequen out of body experiences. I know know that if I am having sleep paralysis, then this means that I can detach from my physical body and astral travel, which I am just now really begining to explore.

You are unique. Embrase it. It is a gift - not everyone gets to work with the non-physical.

P.S. Check out the book Seth Speaks by Jane Roberts.

Rita 's picture

I know it's scary, but this too shall pass...

Hey there sweetie. I have been going through Sleep Paralysis all my life (I am 26), in different variation and when I was about your age and younger, I experienced ones just like what you are having i.e. sensations of floating, being dragged, someone sitting on my bed, someone trying to flip my bed or moving my covers from off of me. But I'd always wake up to find nothing is disturbed. After awhile, it just became something I expected and I understand how frustrating (and terrifying) it can be.

I'm not here to preach to you, but I can definitely witness to you. The first thing you have to do is Pray, sweetheart. Your mind and soul isn't at ease for whatever reason, and you need spiritual healing first and foremost. Before you go to bed at night, Pray for peace. When you wake up in the morning, thank Him for the peace (even if you didn't get it that night, you are thanking Him in advance and thanking Him for waking you up). This may sound too good to be true, but I assure you that if you just give your worries and fears up to God, He will bring peace into your life. I can assure you it won't be easy at first and it may not even work immediately (everyone is different) but it's 100% foolproof. I know this because I suffered from insomnia, severe night terrors and sleep paralysis for a large portion of my life and all those horrifying ailments began to subside once I began to give the fear and the worry and the shame up to Him. So, the first thing I advise you to do is to confide in God about what you are experiencing; He sees your suffering, all you need to do is ask Him for help.

The next thing you need to do is try to understand it in the biological aspect. Do your research on it, ask your doctor about it, try to find RATIONAL people who experience the same thing. It will further calm your thoughts once you realise that it's not going to kill you and that you are able to control your emotional state when it happens. I just had one about an hr before I logged on to here and even thought I heard someone open my door and walk into my room. I tried to wake up to see who it was, but couldn't move. I soon found my heart beginning to race and was about to panic for a second, but I remembered that I can control this as long as I remain calm. So I begin to breathe deeply and mentally told myself to start wiggling my fingers and toes. Once those got moving, I was able to kind of jerk myself out of the "paralysis" and when I got up, I stretched, drank some water, thank God that it was short and decided to get online to further my understanding of this condition. Now, it took YEARS for me to be able to get over it so quickly whenever it happens, but that is because I choose to deal with it alone, which made it much harder whenever it happened to me. With the right advice/information, prayer and Faith, you can get over this much sooner then I did.

Your fear of being raped seems to be coming out while you sleep, in the form of night terrors. I can relate to this in many different ways, but the most recent is when I was stationed onboard a ship and was deployed (I am in the Navy by the way. I had an overwhelming fear of the ship sinking and being crushed in my rack (a tiny closed-in bed) and every other night, I'd wake up screaming at the top of my lungs, falling out of my rack terrified, shaking and ultimately embarrassed because while I was asleep, I'd get the overwhelming sensation that I was being crushed. It didn't help that my sleep paralysis was triggered so not only was I being crushed but I couldn't even try and save myself. When my body finally did wake up, it'd be in a fit of panic. This was something I never understood and never tried to confide to anyone about, which made it that much more devastating. I now know that the stress of being deployed (and life in general) along with my innermost fears of the ship sinking was coming out while I slept. Long story short, I began to pursue lowering my stress levels. I became more involved with positive things: I attended church regularly and became a member of the ship's choir, I began to work out twice a day, I started to eat healthier and decrease the amount of junk in my diet, I volunteered for activities that involved helping people, I became more social and found a bi-lingual Marine who taught me Spanish. All of these things are very positive and stress decreasing, which can aid in eliminating the negative aspects in your life that are causing you to lose sleep in such a fitful way. I don't know how much you are or aren't able to do all of the positive things I did that helped me become more at peace during the day and while I slept, but here's 5 easy steps you can take immediately:

1-Pray, pray and pray some more. Just take 5 or 10 minutes of your day to lay in a quiet room and settle your nerves and calm your mind. It may feel weird at first, as if you are talking to yourself but trust me before long everything will come spilling out and you will feel the weight lifting off of your shoulders. The better news is that He can hear your heart so even if you can't put it into words, He is listening and working all the while!

2-Listen to soothing music when you go to bed and fall asleep to it. No hard rock, no rap, no dance hits or overly busy music. If you can, try to listen to calm nature sounds (beach, jungle, etc) or smooth instrumentals (jazz, classics, spa type music...make sure you don't know the songs either because it keeps you from focusing on the words that should be there and actually allows you to be lulled to sleep). If you have to listen to music with lyrics, let them be positive and music you can actually relax to, nothing that will hype you up or anger you.

3-Keep your television off before you go to bed at night. I know you said it helps sometimes ( I once thought so too), but all the light and noise coming from the tv keeps your mind buzzing and doesn't allow you to shut down properly for a peaceful rest. To start off (because I know habits are hard to break), if you are too scared to fall asleep without the tv on, make sure you are falling asleep to something positive, like a cartoon or your favorite comedy or romance.

4-Drink a bottle of water 1 hour before you go to bed. I can give you a hundred and one scientific reasons as to how this helps your body go smoothly through the sleep process, but you can easily Google that lol Trust me, it works and it doesn't hurt to try!

5-Start to incorporate more positive activities in your life, whatever they may be: reading, going on walks, sitting in the park and people watching, even just taking a warm bath with some music and candles on the weekends. Ooh, here's a great example: if you love animals, ask your parents to help you find an animal shelter to volunteer with. Shelters are always looking for people to help them out, all you need is your parents permission. They are very flexible, so even if you can only do it 1 day a week, they are grateful. I used to be one and it was such a relaxing experience! I worked with the puppies and kittens, literally feeding, cleaning and playing with them for 4 hours a day on the weekends. It helps socialize the animals, meaning you are helping them get used to being around people so that when they are adopted, they are loveable and welcoming to their new owners. I always left with a smile on my face and would sometimes go to sleep thinking about their cute little faces, anxious to see them again the next day.

I really hope that this helps you out; I know exactly what you are going through and I wouldn't wish that kind of fear on my worst enemy. I hope that you now feel at least a little better knowing that this isn't something you have to go through alone and that you actually have some control. If you need someone to talk to about it or want more advise on how to get through it, please don't hesitate to email me ok?

God Bless you Cara, and you will be in my prayers.

Rita

karen's picture

hi sweetie your not shocking

hi sweetie your not shocking me it' happened to me !! there's a name for this evil that rapes or touches you and you don't realize it when u come awake in same position ! but you know what was done to you vividly ! the t.v is a good choice I did it to but if it occurs when u wake don't go back to sleep get up get some water then lay down and it goes away whatever it is trust me !!! thanks -Karen..

Serendip Visitor's picture

Ive seen such figures fading

Ive seen such figures fading away when ive awoken. Had a good look.

Id like to know what vivid dreams people have been alarmed by that didnt involve these figures. The more surreal the better. If it is indeed random there should be the usual blend of content that isnt listed here...

still questioning 's picture

makes more sense...kinda

I experienced this "sleep paralysis" so many times I can no longer keep track of them, I am 33 now and can remember them happening as far back as age 6. I used to be terrified of them, but over the last 10 years have had a little better time coping with them. The weirdest part of all of it, is the feeling of leaving my body and knowing I am "dreaming"... I can usually see my sleeping self as I walk about my house, but tend crawl on hands and knees rather than actually walk. I used to hate this, but a few years ago my dad passed away and now during these episodes he is usually now there with me. As well as my grandmother on some occasions. These experience seem to last forever, with myself experiencing the paralysis and the out of body simultaneously. Usually ending in what feels like I am being forced back into my sleeping body. This is the most frightening part and often see or feel hands grabbing me in an attempt to pull me back out push me back in. Most recently these have been what seem to bee children. Now the weirdest part of all this is that on some occasions I have these experiences simultaneously as my mother and one brother. Often being in each others dreams in some capacity at the same time, even though we live in different states. Although the feeling of being held down, can't speak or even move, except the arm which has a tattoo of a cross on it, is terrifying I somehow need more answers than this experience being reffered to as just "sleep paralysis". Any thoughts?

sleepless's picture

im trying to get it all

im trying to get it all figured out myself i have a appointment on the 28th of January Im hoping to get some real answers cause mine hast been going on since i was around 8 and the last episode I was freaked out like never before so Im going to see what this doctor says and see if they run any test or not. I will surly have some answers on the 28th that i do know till then it is just a waiting game...

Kek's picture

Thank you

I am here writing this today because last night was the second time I had experienced what I now know as "sleep paralysis".
Waking up this morning, I wrote down what I had experienced as "being possessed, an evil presence , was not a normal nightmare, body shaking, jaw trembling"...I then googled it and was brought to this page,as well as others describing exactly that. I got shivers when I was faced with the image of the girl hanging off the side of the bed with the devil like figure sitting on top of her...was all just a little too close to home !
The first experience was not as scary as last night but still had me concerned I was losing my mind. In both episodes I felt a strong 'evil' presence in the room, I defiantly felt they wanted to hurt me. Last night it felt the presence had me hanging over the side of the bed sitting on top of me and pushing my head down so I couldn't t get back up. I have never seen anything, and I am always in my room when they have happened. As far as hallucinating I'm not seeing anything, just feel an evil force around me.
Both times my body shakes and my jaw trembles at a very high pace, although i cant seem to move anything on my own accord. After a couple of minutes of being scared to death and not being able to breathe or move i finally manage to say "get off" ... Which is when I usually wake up. When I wake up I am no longer frightened and fall back asleep almost instantly without seconding thinking about what just happened .
One thing I knew for certain this was not a normal nightmare....
It's good to see I am not the only one experiencing this, otherwise I would have checked myself into a mental institution if I could not find any answers.
I am happy with the information I have found, as I believe it to be caused by sleep deprivation. Both times it has occurred I was extremely tired , but was having trouble falling asleep. I also think it may be underlying anxiety problem I haven't dealt with.
I hope It never happens again , but if it does I will try some of the techniques described by you all.
Good luck everyone ! May you all get a good nights sleep :)

anne waggott's picture

sleep paralasis

i have had this experience 4 times from when i was 6 years old till last year. my first experience was having hands on my feet dragging me under my covers which i remember trying to scream and kick out , it was so scarey. last year was my worst. i couldnt sleep so i went and slept on the sofa that night. i remember lying there and hearing footsteps coming up the stairs to the flat and the door opening and closing and then the heavy weight on top of me. i started to panic and tryed to turn my head to see who was there and then felt the pressure of a hand pressing on the side of my head as if they didnt want me to see what it was, so then i tried to scream out my partners name but nothing would come out .. no sound.. never in my whole life have i ever felt so frightened. it eventually disappeared but later on happened again the same night. i hope i never in the future have one of these again.

sleepless's picture

response

I have had things like that but mine have always just been like i was parylized and could not speak, and this has been going on like this since i was around 8. I cant get it to stop and it is always the paralysis that happens when im waking up. It has only been two days since my last occurance and it scares me to death every time. I woke up from my last one and at 35 decided to see what is going on with my body and what is it. So i did a google search and found this then i checked webmd and it is real and happens to lots of people. The scary thing is that I feel like they are lasting longer and I wonder if you can have a heart attack because I really felt like i couldnt even breath this last time and have been freaked out ever since. Im worried about the next one and if i will wake up, i feel almost dead every time and like a movie I feel like the next one i will be dead but able to see the paramedics and watch my own funeral. If anyone can relate. Im going to see a doctor about sleeping disorders this week. I cant believe I have put fears of what others might think all these years and never said anything to anyone. Human stupity, so getting help now asap....

Serendip Visitor's picture

Sleep paralysis

Yes. Thank you. This is EXACLTY what I experience. At least one night a week. Maybe even more often. Its 3Am and i just woke up from an episode and finally decided To google it. People keep talking about "presences" and hallucinations. Thankfully, I experience these less so. But there is that feeling of "I'm not fighting to stay awake, but fighting to stay alive". I try to scream out for somebody to wake me. I'm panicking, yet when I'm awake and panic, I usually breathe faster. This experience is all the more frightening because I'm half awake and aware, can see my immediate surroundings(tho cn hardly move my eyes), yet my breathing is steady and slow. Almost non-existent. In this panicked state, I try to gasp for more breath, but it remains at the same slow rate, unresponsive. This causes even more panic, as I try to shake my head back and forth to wake up, scream out loud, or try to move a single body part.. A finger, or hand or arm. All attempts fail for some time. My "screams" come out as barely audible moans. Then finally, I will win. Usually the shaking-the-head thing prevails and I spring violently out from that state. Only to fall right back into it after or few seconds thinking "I got it beat, and its safe to drift off again". It doesn't cease until I actually get up, sit or walk around for a bit. Normally the episode can last from 20-30 seconds. But in some episodes i can swear I fought for my life for 10 or 15 minutes straight. This is a terrifying experience as you've said. I've been experiencing this since the age of 21. Now I'm 35. I would like to say I've got it mastered by now. But that would only be half true. Sometimes, I'm able to keep myself calm and just kinda "go with it". But the end result, I still feel, is that I absolutely MUST wake up. If I lose the battle, I lose my life. After all these years, I still do not know what will happen if I succomb to that "numbness" or deep nothingness that is sucking me in. It may well have happened, and I drifted safely back into deep sleep. But I have no memory of It since i probably returned to dream state wherein i experience no memory. So. I really don't know what would happen. The only thing I can say is that I've learned to be more calm and less panicked. But I still feel I MUST wake up.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Im no psychologist but have a

Im no psychologist but have a reasonable understanding of my programmed response. The unknown.. caution. Dark figures cultural programming and steroetype. Immobility... fear.

In that state, your responses and emotional state, usually dampened by your state, are amplified

Best advice. Make one determined effort to change your emotional state. Look at a black shape andvassociate it with despair and loneliness. Feel pity and compassion. A simple but effective exercise.

night shift RN's picture

I think you might be onto

I think you might be onto something there. I never considered that what we experience as helplessness, fear (panic, even) could cause the "evil" quality of our episodes, rather than the pleasant reaction that would be obviously preferable. But that would mean that we experienced the paralysis prior to the thoughts, visions, manifestations of our particular episode. In my case, I usually first sense the presence of something sinister and then I find I am powerless to move.
But thanks for the insight. You could very well be right.

Harley's picture

Sleep Paralysis

This actually happens to me quite often. It is brutal especially after seeing the exorcist movies. But I have learned to co-op with it and I have now turned it into a game for some reason. Whenever it happens I try to test myself to wake out of it quickly or I try to go back to sleep and ignore it. Ignoring it is the hardest though because like others have said it feels like there is an evil presence in the room. I think of God and my deceased mother to calm the experience but lately it has become a challenge that I look forward to for an odd reason.

Jordan's picture

MY DEAD MOM ANDMY DEAD GRANY

Man how could I probably explain.
this sleep paralysis happens only when I sleep in my elder brother's room.
IT'S TOUGH to make hope that one may be able to survive.
I HAVE THIS EVERY SINGLE TIME I SLEEP IN THAT ROOM.
I am quite aware, when I'm about to enter into that state- sometime's I quickly go wash my face the other time's I'm helpless
I tried to scream- but the vocals won't respond
I try to drop objects so that my bro or dad notify me and wake me up from sleep paralysis, but my hands or legs won't move.
I'll be stuck like a man in the well.
I had happened to my mom too due to sleeplessness and eventually she got a heart attack and passed away.
now the question is-
"is there an spiritual act behind it ! "
coz every time I SLEEP IN my room my mom who passed away 4 years back and my grany who passed just 1 year back never fail to come in my dreams.
lately my elder brother is too receiving sleep paralysis in his room.

My dad had that kind of extreme sleep paralysis where he used to make weird noises and sounds
(all the time trying to shew something)
and we had to wake him up.
.
it so happened once my dad was sleeping in the living room, and he started to make noises and sounds in middle of the sleep,
I was very curious from my past hearing of noises from him.
I quickly woke up from my room and saw him, and what appears to be like a black shadow moved quickly from the out side of the window.
even before I could wake him up , he gained consciousness.
.
now my dad has completely stopped making noise or weird sounds (sleep paralysis)
and now my elder brother and me started receiving it.
.
When I pray Jesus name when I'm paralyzed the clutch is gone in ease.
sometimes my mind is so lost in dreams, that I really feel the body is not in my control or any other so called "Satan"

santiago 's picture

guys im 17 this never

guys im 17 this never happened to me before and i didnt hear about it until ten minutes ago, i have no explenation for it, i believe in god but it just happened. so yesterday i woke up at 11 a little late but i was feeling tire so after i ate my breakfast i came to my room and while trying to study for my midterm (which is tomorrow, monday) i decided to take a litlle nap so i checked the clock before going to sleep and it was 1:30. suddenly i wake up but, as soon as i open my eyes i knew something was wrong with me i felt weird, and i couldnt open my eyes totally; When i tried to get up my body didnt respond. desperately i tried moving my hand with all my strength but it was futil. I tried calling my mom for help but my lips stayed together and i could feel how my teeth in the lower section were barely bumbinp the ones on the top, many thoughts came to my mind at first i thought i had enter in a state of a coma and at that point i just couldnt accepted and i said in my mind "this cant be happening to me". then i just relaxed and closed my eyes. maybe ten seconds passed and then i just jumped out of bed!!!. i was like this cant be possible it was probably a dream the whole thing last like 20 seconds. i saw the clock and it was 2:54. then i tried probing me wrong and went back to sleep then again i woke up paralized this time i proposed myself move out of it and with all my might i tried moving my hand n i coudnt, the only thing that i could move were my eyes; i felt my right arm numb and then i notice that i was sleeping on top of it, couldnt move neither. this time i didnt get desperate i could hear and feel my breathing like if some else was breathing for me. then i closed my eyes and i woke up like the first time but with my right arm numb. the conclusion i reached is that your conscious is awake somehow but your body is still asleep, is like a glitch and the quickest way to snap out of it is satying calm and closing your eyes trying to go back to sleep. is a known fact that we wake up more than one time every night while we sleep but we dont remeber it because we r unconscious of it or our conscious still asleep (either way that is better for you to understand it ). probably this sleeping paralysis happens more often than what we think but we r not aware of it because we dont remember it, is like it never happens. This could be a explanation why sometimes people sleep with their eyes open probably their are experimenting a sp but they dont remeber it. i hpe that if you read this and you found it helpful you let me know.

Night shift RN's picture

Sleep paralysis

Sleep paralysis is a nightmare, literally, for those of us who suffer from it. My episodes are almost always at the beginning of my sleep cycle, often before I've even fallen completely asleep. I slowly become aware that something isn't right. I start to perceive an "evil" presence (never anything pleasant or happy), and then I know I have to fight to wake up. The feeling of total panic when I find I can't move isn't lessened by knowing that this isn't real. The evil presence is so frightening that I've even tried to pinch myself awake though I'm unable to move any part of my body.
The last time I had SP was the other morning. I had just shut off the alarm, and I intended to just rest for a few more minutes. As I was lying there, I heard a knocking sound coming from my bedroom window. Then, I "felt" something approaching my bed, climb up on it and grab my leg. All of this as I am fully awake! It was the first time I had actually had a tactile hallucination; all of the others were visual. This was far worse, and I hope it never happens again.
Until I learned about this condition, I thought I was developing some kind of mental disorder. That's a relief, but it's not really a lot of comfort. I just want it to go away. Since reducing my night shift hours to 2 days a week, it is actually happening more.

Erica 's picture

reply to night shift RN

My sp started when I was 23, going to grad school, and working crazy hours, including three overnight shifts then two day shifts...all during the same week. In the years since I have read that sp can be caused by an irregular sleep pattern. Unfortunately, I have never been able to master a normal sleep schedule, but hope to one day. You mentioned you now work two overnights a week, and your sp has gotten worse. If it's true sp can be caused by sleep disturbances such as working third shift, I wonder if your job affords you the possibility to work mostly first or second shifts only. This may not be an option for you, but it was just a thought. As I mentioned earlier, 14 years after my first sp experience,I'm still trying to keep a normal sleep schedule ( with no luck yet), with the hope that it will be the key that eliminates the nightmare of sp from my life forever. Good luck to you!

night shift RN's picture

reply to Erica

It really is comforting to know that others share this strange affliction.
Two things I neglected to note, though: I might be able to link my sp with something that happened many years ago when I was about 7. I remember lying in bed one night and hearing what I thought was a party, with loud voices, clinking of glasses and shouts. I got up and my mother was sitting alone in the living room; no party going on at all. I went back to bed and the noise continued, louder and louder. Thinking back about it over the years, it is possible that I was having a neurological reaction to maybe a fever or maybe a virus. I wonder if that episode set the stage for the ongoing sp over the years. It didn't start as sp until I had started working night shift, but it was very infrequent. I've had more episodes in the year since I dropped from 5 shifts a week to 2, and maybe that is because for years (25), my body accepted (somewhat) the full time night schedule, and now the overnights come only at intervals during the week, causing more of a disturbed sleep pattern. I ordinarily have no problems sleeping, but on nights I can never sleep more than 4 or 5 hours.
You asked if I could/would consider another shift. I could change to days or evenings any time, but I actually prefer nights. If the problem gets worse or begins to affect my functioning negatively, I have the luxury of being able to retire outright.
Erica, thanks for your comments and I hope that your sp will finally leave you in peace.

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