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 


Serendip Visitor's picture

I agree with everything

I agree with everything you've said Tina. These espisodes cannot be scientific. .. they always try and say it is but its not. I know this because I too have had these so called "SP". To the people who say its scientific... why can't it be a good "SP", a happy "SP"??? But they never are though... they always seem to be bad and scarey. I too have seen a dark figure above me and wasn't able to move or speak. The first thing that pop in my mind was JESUS! Just the word JESUS and it went away and I was able to move again. I've had more then one episode and everytime its happened. I've ask God to help me in my mind because I could not speak. He always comes to my aid when I call his name! My most recent episode happened about 3 weeks ago... I was in the living room and I could feel some bad presence with me.. the room was dark... I went into that so called "SP" you scientific people call. I then heard evil laughter of little kids down the hallway. I could hear their footsteps coming to the door as I stared in that direction. The footsteps got closer and closer until they were at the door... I was so scared I thought I was about to have a heart attack if that door open. I started praying to God as I heard the door knob twist and turn as they tried to come in, but God saved me... I know deep down God didn't let them in. He is our Savior. Now if you want to still call this scientific, go ahead... we our free to choose. But I also believe on the other comment I read earlier... this is happening to us because we are getting prepared for what others cannot see. We are building our faith our strenth when we call on him when these things happen. God Bless

Child if God's picture

evil kid laughter

Omg I had the same one. my mom woke me Up then i got mad. Took me awhile to go back to sleep, but then I got comfortable and Bam i hear this weird noise, then this creepy evil children laughter, i managed to move my teeth by grinding them together, and snapped out of it. First time that has happend and i didnt go back to sleep because i felt this evil presence. From now on I will pray to God for his angels to protect me at night.

Serendip Visitor's picture

this is true i believe you...

this is true i believe you... this would happen to me a lot when i was pregnant if i didn't sleep with my rosary. my bf didnt believe me then like 2 days later it starded happening to him and he used my rosary and he didnt have them. This is a true story.

T.a.W's picture


I to understand its a spirtual battle and Im in God and still experience this same issue from time to time,it tried to weaken your spirit and bufet people,but when i call on jesus it flees

W B's picture

Not so sure

I had an episode last night.. I can remember having dreams similar to everyone else's from what I have read. Mine were a bit different and unique. All seem to point at ghostly figures but, the descriptions are vague. I remember every episode vividly since I was a mere 5-6 years old.. I'm nearly 30 now. They at one point went away when I reached my teens but have started reoccurring more frequently in the last 4-5 years. I understand our nature as humans to seek out logic to the things we don't fully understand and label a scientific method or title to it, but I'm hear to tell you, those figures we have seen are not imagined within our psyche. There is such a place from reading books both spiritual and scientific that point to our brains dormant abilities which controls our senses. Astral plains, alternative dimensions what ever you feel comfortable in calling it, our brains have the ability to operate within those boundaries. It is reassuring that I'm not the only one who was having these issues. Lol I remember telling my mother and grandmother of my dreams and they were terrified of the fact that if I uttered these stories of what I saw in my dreams at school, CPS may have taking me away As an adult, with all my logic and practice of finding the logical solution in the age we live, I can't simply dismiss the thought of our connections. We all have seen things that scared us in these dreams. One question seems to keep coming up including me also asking the same question. "why is it that, in almost all of our dreams that follow this pattern, do we always see or feel an ominous presence of evil??? He or two dreams here and there but, every dream with the paralysis pattern.

Serendip Visitor's picture


I too used to have things like this when I was young. Then it stopped for a while through middle and high school. Then started back during/after college. I'm a livid dreamer and can control my dreams to an extent, but when the dream changes really fast (scenery) I can't control it anymore. It is different on the nights it happens, sometimes it is my apartment or someone's house I've never seen. But I go from calm too 100% fear. I just feel so terrified, I know what is about to happen. A few times I've felt myself being pushed into my bed or the couch depending on where I fell asleep. But my most recent one I was sleeping I started to get attacked and wanted to wake up but couldn't move. I was so frustrated the thing, which was a copy of my dad but didn't look like him he was all disfigured, was looking at me and trying to get at me. I was like well if I can't move just open your eyes you know you're dreaming. So I opened my eyes staring at my door like yep I'm in my apartment but still can't move. Closed my eyes and opened them several times and finally was able to get up.

Sandi G's picture

Paralysis Recurrences

My name is Sandi and I am 33 years old. I have been experiencing sleep paralysis for many years now. It is not a nightly thing, but it does occur often. Lately, it seems to be happening more and more. I just had it happen twice within the last week (including within the last hour and a half). Today it happened for probably at least a half hour to an hour, as I did in fact wake up several times. (Unfortunately, each time I woke up from each occurence, I could not motivate to get myself out of bed.) Anyways, I checked out a couple of sites to research this and they all mentioned the "intruder" experience and hallucinations. In my case, when I experience the paralysis, I do not have these things happen to me. Most of the time, there isn't anything in the dream that is threatening me. It is just me laying there freaking out and panicking, because in my mine, I have to wake up. I don't know why I get so scared but I do and I can't stand it anymore. It is terrifying to the point where I think if I don't wake up, I will die. I should also mention that earlier today when I was having my episodes, I could hear and feel myself breathing in and out heavily, as well as snoring. If anyone has any helpful suggestions, I would appreciate it! Thanks!

Monterio's picture

walking in a sp

I had woken up into a sp and i had already relized what was wrong with me. I was really becoming good at waking up from this mind state but this time it was diffrent. I tried to throw my arms up i did but it did me no good so iactually stood up in the sp and when i turned behind me guess what i saw ... myself sleep on the bed... i coudnt freak out because i was moving super slow like a zombie. all i could thnk to do was walk to my mothers room. keep in mind im still in that sp state. i walked to my moms room tried my hardest to knock on there door but my body woudnt let me do it . so i just walked back into my room and just stood there dead to the world then i zoned out. when i woke up i was exacly where i had fellen asleep in my bed, covers around me and everything.

p.s. i hate when i wake up in a sp and im in a unconfortable position it just hurts like hell

Michelle Nicole's picture

Hi there. In my opinion, and

Hi there. In my opinion, and forgive me if I may be wrong, but I'm very sure that what you have experienced is not Sleep Paralysis. You said that when you "stood up", you noticed that your body was somehow, mysteriously, still lying and "sleeping" on your bed! I have done a lot of researching on this strange phenomenon, knowing that both my father and my grandmother have experienced and done this before, and I think what you have experienced is what's called "Astral Projection". Astral Projection, also known as "Astral Travel", is an obscure interpretation of "out of body experience". Symptoms that come with doing or experiencing this, include floating out of your body, meeting other entities, and experiencing the physical world from a heavenly, even ghost-like perspective (which includes being able to float through walls, and teleport instantly around the universe.)

Serendip Visitor's picture

I think I've experienced this

I think I've experienced this for years now. It happens when I have this one dream. Since I was seven, I've been having the same nightmare of being tortured, then brutally murdered. I try to move, and stop dreaming, but all I can do is scream. No one wakes up to help, due to my family being heavy sleepers.
I can't open my eye, move, and I can barely breathe because I feel like I'm being choked. Sometimes, when I have the dream, I can move, so I result to walking, hitting myself, and pinching myself. Most of the time it doesn't work.
It really scares me. I'm only 14, I don't like this happening

Ramishvili's picture

How to vake up the body?

As I see, we have all experienced that sleep paralysis or whatever. It has been happening to me when i was a child and then again, for several years already. It was very scary in the begining (when i was a child i even saw an omlet had eyes and was threatining me :)) but then i found out that after saying (and feeling what i was saying) "in the name of father, son and a holly spirit, amen!" i immediately woke up.
Another way that helps is just being calm, not moving or doing at all, just waiting, maintaining breathing (breathing is the most important problem during this experience) helps as well. finally your body wakes up, you open your eyes and move yourself.
Do you think that doing nothing, just being calm, not panicing is the best way out or struggling is better? dont you think that struggling and forcing your body to move could be harmful?

Serendip Visitor's picture

I agree

Ive experinced this too a few times in my life and Im a very strong guy so I struggle and yell and shake untill I wake up... There was one time I did jus let myself go deeper into sleep. Wierd stuff, I also would experince evil occuarances, like battling a evil force with trememdous powers...

Manny's picture


Hey everyone,
It seems like we all have experienced the same. It feels good to share this with people that know what it feels like. I have tried to explain to others and they just either make fun or dont believe it. I have experienced these "sleep paralisys" countless times since I was a kid, now I am 30 years old and every time it is terrifying. The other night I fell asleep in the couch when suddenly it started happenning again. I could see my wife next to me watching TV and petting the dog. I was trying to call her for help but I couldnt. I saw my wife when she got up and grab a blanket from the closet, covered herself and walked to the door to let the dog out. When I finally broke free I explained to her about what just happened to me. She was shocked by my words. The science may have an explanation about what happens between your brain and body during sleep paralysys but someone that have experinced can tell you that it feels more like a demonic encounter.

TAW's picture


You are abosolutly right.Science may have an explanation but since we are experiencing this thru our life and even now I know its a demonic attack and it doesnt feel good.Im recently divorced and i can recall alot times when it happened my wife was laying there and I can see her and cant move talk or anything, She had laughed and didnt believe me until i guess it showed her that its real.She had never experienced it.Then one night she woke up frightened and woke me up telling me she is freaked out.I actually heard her moaning and trying to wake up. she said she saw me looking at her and I nudged her and helped her to wake up.She hated it and now shes a believer lol.Now when it happens i begin to pray and call on God and it works faster everytime, but theres times when Im just upset and mad its happening again, I talk Junk when it happens.Whwn I do that the atmosphere/room im in gets darker and wickedness feels even crazier and i definitly cant move then, so then i then call on GOD lol and it leaves, JUST LIKE THAT.this thing gets on my nerves.

Serendip Visitor's picture


I definitely agree with the last part you said. I have been experiencing this since I was a teen. Calling out for God always helps me.

Randy O.'s picture

Dreaming but becoming paralyzed when trying to wake

Ex Spec ops:
For years I have had this very real dream turn nightmare. It has always been the same one until this morning. Sometimes I will have have the dream every night for a week and then it skips a night then it may skip a few nights, then it may skip a week or month. Sometimes it may not appear for several months and then start the cycle over.
In this dream, I begin to feel chilled and I start to roll over in bed because I feel a presence behind me. I struggle as I can't seem to roll all the way over, but I can finally turn my head enough to see over my shoulder. I the doorway, there stands a tall individual wearing a very dark cloak and hood over his face. It's so dark I cannot see in to see his face. All I can see is skeletal fingers at the ends of the long dark sleeves. I can look at his feet, but they are not touching the floor. I can feel the chill in the air as he starts to move toward me. I would struggle so hard and finally be able to yell loud enough that I seemed to wake and regain control of my muscles and he would disappear. During the years I have learned to be able to turn my head sharply, using every ounce of strength I can muster. That seems to work enough to disrupt the activity.
The problem I have had recently with this same dream is that each time now, he is closer to my bedside when I become apparent of his appearance and is now beginning to lift his hand and reach out as if trying to touch me. The most bizarre thing about the last major encounter with him was that I was ill and feeling rather weak and wimpy when I went to bed that night. He appeared and I could not, for the life of me, turn my head sharply to break the cycle as usual. He came closer and was about to touch me when suddenly there was a bunch of laughter of little girls and sounds of little foot steps across my front wooden porch. He disappeared and so did the sounds of the little girls running and laughing on my porch. Go figure.
Had another dream as such tonight, but so different than the other one that has taken place for years. This time it was a conversation about the death of someone very close to me. I was walking in to my house from my truck and it was dark and hazy. When I went inside, their was a man waiting for me at the kitchen table. I sat down and he began talking about two different things I should do with two different items and two sets of words I should say. I immediately had that feeling I always had with the other image in my previous dreams. There was that same ominous feeling and I stood up to back away and became paralyzed and couldn't back away any farther. He just smiled and chuckled at me as he started to reach out to touch me. I was able to snap my head and wake up as before. The problem this time is that the dream seemed to try to overpower me even then and pull me back in. I know I was awake because I threw the covers off and put my hands up behind my head. Usually, activity like that completely breaks the hold and effects the dream was having on me. But, this time, it just kept trying to pull me back in when I was conscious of what was happening. I physically had to get out of bed to pull away from the strength of the dream trying to pull me back in. That's how I ended up on the computer doing what I'm doing right here.
I'm so sick and tired of the dreams and thinking maybe it's time to just face the dream and the person and just say, ok motard, let's get it on! And let the cards fall where they may.

T.a.W's picture


I to had this very same thing happen to me and it was during the day while taking a nap.i woke up and couldnt move and when i opened my eyes I saw a very tall figure all black with black hood and was so DARK I couldnt see its face and it approached me and his arms was folded, when it got closer it extended one of his arms to touch me and the hands were bones and I said "In the name of Jesus Get back, and every time I used Jesus name it stepped back until it left.Even now I experience same thing but room feels smething is there and It makes me weak and seems like its trying to pull a darkness over my face.its a spiritual battle and these evil spirits are real.

Serendip Visitor's picture


When I was younger, I kid you not, I had sleep paralysis and remember a time probably 27 years ago whee I looked out the window and saw the same figure you described! I don't think at that point I had ever seen or head of a grim reaper, but there was the hooded skeleton at my window. Never forgot it. In fact, no joke, I've been afraid of the dark ever since.

Master Storm's picture

SP or Whatever

One evening I fell asleep...guess I went into SP or were I really out of my body??? Who knows...only God would know. I believe that my soul was deteched from my body... As I opened my eyes after going to sleep I found myself floating a round in my room, in the dark. As I flew upwards to the ceiling...I flew past it and guess what did I saw? I saw the dark night sky with the moon and the stars. I hovered for a few minutes in the night sky and as I started to panic because I realised that I'm deteched from my body I try getting back in the room an I saw my body laying there and the next minute I woke up! When I got out of bed I looked out of the window and guess what?! The moon was at just as I saw it when I was floating around! I believe SP is connected with the spirit world. I believe it is a near death experience. I get it a lot...even had it one time when I was laying in bed...couldn't move or speak. I was laying on my back. Saw my blankets over me, but then I heard a sound what sounded like lots of horses. As the sound got louder and came nearer, a strong wind started to blew. As the wind blew and the horses which I cannot see but feel running over my body, my bedding felt like it's waving in the wind and my pajamas felt the same, but my eyes saw no movement of my bedding waiving. As I prayed from within everything stopped, including the wind. This is no scientific occurrence! This is spiritual! We live amongst the deceased...they are between us and our only connection with them is when we have this thing you refer to as SP.

Ameljo's picture

I've experienced sleep

I've experienced sleep paralysis a few times. The first time it was scary, i was a kid. I wanted to move but couldn't move and couldn't speak but i could see and hear. Now its not so scary anymore. I never thought it as evil, i was always aware and knew that everything that i heard or felt was from a dream although i am person who believes in ghosts a lot and i'm afraid from them. When you are in sleeping paralysis you have to be calm. I try to move a little just the little finger or my hand, if i can't i stay calm and try to sleep again. If you try to move a lot you will panic. Relax you know its only a few seconds or a minute we all can stay without moving for a little. I just dreamt a pink darth vader telling me that he could make me sleep and i said no, I woke up and could move for a half minute. I'm sure that that was evil.

kvn's picture

just sharing experiences

hi all,

ive experienced SP for some years now. i cant remember exactly when it started but i wanna say it started early high school. im twenty now and just had an SP experience early this morning (2am-3amish). my boyfriend and i were dozing off cuddling and i felt like i was about to fall deep asleep but i was falling into SP. i didnt open my eyes because i didnt wanna scare myself even more because i know the possibilities of seeing things were high. i kept hearing a dog run around in front of me (not necessarily a dog but the sound a dog makes when they run back and forth) and then i felt like my boyfriend was in my face but i knew that wasnt real obv he was next to me, my face was turned away from him though. i usually try to wiggle a toe and break out of SP but last night since it had been so long i couldnt move a thing so i kept telling myself its not real and to stay calm and i felt like it was working and opened my eyes and just saw darkness and dark objects and shut them tight and the noises came back and at this point i tried talking and i could hear myself say the words loudly i kept saying "honey ,baby" and i tried squeezing my boyfriends arms because he had them around me and then i felt him squeeze me back hold me tight and when i was able to move again i was breathing heavily and finally i was able to talk to him and he asked me if i was ok and i told him what happened. he said he knew i was having a bad dream or something because i was breathing heavy and he said he heard me mumble some words and he wasnt deep asleep therefore was awake enough to hear me a bit (i felt like i was saying it loudly but he said my words were soft and mumbly).

ive researched sp in the past and was familiar of the scienetific explanations and all but its been a while and wanted to refresh my memory. reading up on the researches made me remebber past experiences better

i experienced it in the past while napping with an ex boyfriend and during that sp episode i was screaming but no sounds were coming out and i finally broke out of it and i remember i was so terrified during that episode because he was next to me and i was trying to scream for help and i wasnt able to move a thing.

ive halucinated and heard deep voices and saw dark figures in the past . the floating experience only happened once. it felt like someone lifted me and i couldnt break out of it.

there was a point in time where my sleeping schedule was all screwed up and i was going through sp almost every night. When i was falling asleep and knew i was falling into sp i would do w.e i could to wake myself up and was able to prevent going into sp. its a strange feeling but for the most part i know when im about to fall into sp. waking up into it, i cant control.

im not afraid of it like i used to be. at times i just found it annoying because it was happening so often and i was only trying to find ways to break out of it. id at times experience it a few times throughout a single night.

early this morning was the first time in almost a year that ive experienced it. i know it can get scary and it is scary sometimes but just remember youll be ok and dont panic or stress yourself out just try to wiggle a body part :)
(this morning's sp scared me even though i dealt with it in the past because i hadnt had it in so long)

Shawn P. (how convenient) 's picture

What you just all described

What you just all described almost to every last word has happened to me. Im under alot of stress now and Im afraid this is reason why Im having SP every night 5-10 times. I can't wiggle fingers. I can flutter my eyes and shake my shoulders. If Im sleeping alone because I live with my crazy mother now and my mind wanders off n SP and i won't allow myself to fall into it. But at my boyfriends Im fine. Its still freaky but in a cool way I guess. Im trying to overcome it here but its only getting worse. I just awoke from SP actually. I heard two loud bangs and immediately started to shake body parts. Sometimes I feel as if Im throwing my arms up over my head but my eyes are open and i can't see them. That's weird. I wish i could just fall straight to sleep and wake right up in the morning like normal people!!!):

Curious's picture

Ro. Snap. No conclusion yet


Snap. No conclusion yet but what feels like suspicion.
I dont repel though. I drew them in and flooded with warmth. They changed into something else.

Sami Hawash's picture

A wake up call

spiritually I have this consideration for it as some kind of unexplained entity -even tough I don't believe in any religion- I always fight it back and I win by not dying but I do feel someday when I am like 40 I may lose and experience (SUNDS)
it started with me when I became addicted to a life style of laziness heavy smoking an horrible diet so it is kind of a wake up call that I am not waking up from considering that I am still on this bad life style
keep fighting dudes and live your life.

nsno's picture

Sleep Paralysis

I had this for the first time last night and although I felt fully awake I could not move and had the feeling that I was being held down, after a short while I awoke and thought that this was a dream, and I went back asleep but this happened again and again during the night aprox 4 times, each time I felt like I was being held under the covers, after the 3rd time I realised that this was not real and managed to pull myself awake. is this normal for it to happen so many times in a single night ??

Serendip Visitor's picture


I had It three times last night, I had been awake for 36 hours due to long haul flight and I fell asleep last night, woke at 3am had a cup of tea and sandwich then I fell back asleep on the sofa, it was awfull it felt like the sps just keep coming over and over, it really scared me.

It's normal to get it more than once a night. My dad suffers from it too.


Ramishvili's picture


well, normal or not i usually used to experience it several times. sometimes my brain even woke up several times (i thought it woke up, but acually waking up was a dream as well) after i finally really woke up. Maintaining breathing is the most important I think. Its very important to stay calm, not panic and everything will be ok, sooner or later your body will move, its not needed to force it to move.

Master Storm's picture

Supernatural Powers at Work

One evening me and some friends went to get some pizza...that was round about past 10 the evening. As we walked back home a man came on a bicycle out of the dark near shops that had been closed already. The man wore a black hat, black long coat, blue jean and pair of black shoes. As we walk he asked if he can go home with us, so my friend said NO! Ok so then the man insisted that I keep him company outside the complex when we get there then my friends can go I said no and I started to walk fast to get home. So the man told me that I should have faith, well I kept on walking without saying a word. As we came to the corner of the cemetary...with my friends coming on behind us (me and the man) the man started ringing the bicycle bell constantly as we walked past the cemetary. Then he asked again that I should keep him company so I said NO! After a while my friends told the man that he can't go with. As we walked I saw a man standing in the road as the cars approaching...okay as we walked and after a while I looked back, the man in the road was gone! That night when me and my friends went to sleep. As I sleep I woke up, couldn't move and then I black shadow-like thing started to lick my ear wet and sucking it and hold me around my waist! That's when I started to feel his manhood near my anus...I've never shouted so hard in my life for help! Eventually one of my friends was working on his laptop and started hearing me make sounds, as soon as he switched the light on, it, the black shadow, was gone and I can move! After that I prayed and slept with the bible next to my head...then it came to me what that man on the bicycle said that I should have faith! This is not sp, but supernatural forces at work!

tony's picture

Please read , posible spirits

I just had the usual case of sleep paralysis last night while I was sleeping on the couch. I was awake but still sleeping and unable to move my body . I was pretty alert like I just woke up in the mourning but I was totally limp . I just wanted to wake up be cause it is a very awkward feeling and I was panicked to even be like this because a previous situation which i will tell you about . So as Im lying there I could hear my mom moving in the back of me . I was calling for my mom and think I was able to grunt a couple times and actually managed to say mom but in a low voice . I asked my mom if she heard me calling her name but she is old and has bad memory so she wasnt much help but did say she went to get some food from the kitchen . This happened for maybe 2-5 minutes . Now the last time this happed was during the summer and I lived in this creepy house with my room mate , It was a carriage house ( a small house behind a bigger house ) the house behind us a murder took place in an abandoned house . some guy shot another guy in the head in the basement . All in all its a bad nieghborhood . So this summer night I was in bed about to go to sleep a few rays of moon light were coming thru the side of my curtains it was all dark otherwise and I saw small marble sized blue orbs floating around my room , I reasearched and they said it could be light gleaming off dust particles but it was moving as fast and my windows were closed so it doesnt seem proably but anyways I felt like something was watching me but I could not see anything I could only feel its presence and It didnt make me feel good . I just ignored it tho to keep myself calm and went to sleep . I woke up in the night and I was hot so I decided to get some water .. Unfortuneatly I was unable to move my limbs I tried calling for my roommate but I could not speak , but this time I had my eyes open . same as what happened to me before but this time I saw a a cloud moving but with a manlike figure in it , in the form of a shadow floating on the wall above my bedroom door. I started thinking that this thing is evil and became freaked out because I couldn't move. I was so frieghtened that I closed my eyes and started to pray . I said the normal christian prayer and at the end begged god to please keep me safe, i'm scared, please protect me ect. (all the while with my eyes closed) I could feel this thing moving towards me to the point where it was maybe 2-3 feet above me and almost directly above me , all the while i was praying and felt it coming closer . As soon As I finished my prayer and said amen I felt as if there was a spiritual body hovering over me (maybe 3 feet directly above me) that hovered my body for a couple seconds then came right down into me like a ghost going into a body. I felt a cool gentle breeze like on the beach and energy that all the hair on my body stood up. I immediately opened my eyes and laid there for a few moments tring to comprehend what just happened . Im not sure if I could move or not because I was so stunned about what just happened but I think I moved my head or turned on my side( shoot idk but I went to sleep ) shortly after . This was so scary !! Im not joking and idk if that spirit went into my body that day or if it was the holy spirt that came and recused me but Ive been praying almost every night ever since .

Honest Abe's picture

I feel your pain

Hey everybody, hope all are safe and feeling protection and help from loved ones.

For all those that are convinced that there is definitely more than a simple scientific explanation for what is happening to you, I agree with you 100%. This stuff is too real, too bizarre, there are definitely spiritual forces at play in this life. And I've found out that they aren't all so nice, unfortunately. I think I can help a lot of you out, if you want to you can email me at my gmail account, the username is lifes2trippy. I'm not trying to seem like a know it all, like I got all the answers, because I definitely don't, I just want to help, with what I've been shown.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Sleep paralysis

You said you can help. Like, how?

Honest Abe's picture

When you go to a doctor's

When you go to a doctor's office, they first ask you what the problem is, then diagnose you, and see what possible treatment they can give or recommend based on the knowledge that they possess. The treatment will vary from person to person and case to case. Not saying I'm a professional by any means, but I might know a thing or two that can be of benefit. My email is l, feel free to email me with whats bothering you and we can try to figure it out.

Josh Knudson's picture

Sleep Paralysis!

Hey man, i neeed you to give me some pointers on this, im experiencing audio hallucinations in my as well as Sleep Paralysis! need some good meds for it. im 17 years old. im in california, bakersfield

Honest Abe's picture

Wow man that seems pretty

Wow man that seems pretty bad, hopefully you get cured from all that. The thing is, with this stuff, not necessarily everyone, but a lot of experiencing this stuff are getting messed with by, simply put, what most people understand as demons or spirits. These beings live in a dimension parallel to us, where they can see us but we don't see them, but they generally don't cross over. Real sorry bro, but this kind of stuff doesn't go away with meds, that's like hearing some weird noises from your car, and fixing it by turning up the music. The stuff I mentioned is supported by actual facts, you gotta know the problem to fix the problem, let me know if you're ready for more.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Thats the funniest quote ive

Thats the funniest quote ive heard yet from a Christian :)

"Jesus has nothing to do with organised religion"

Are you saying the various Christian churches are all utterly disorganised rabble? Aside from their apparent power struggles why do you say that? :)

Shelley's picture

Sleep paralysis

Have suffered from these for years and the occur in bouts of maybe 5-6 every few months. These mostly happen when I feel stressed or am overly tired.. I have learned to deal with them and most times I am able to wake my self up. Although these episodes are very frightening at the time it does get easier.

Serendip Visitor's picture

I get that dizzy feeling too.

I get that dizzy feeling too. In the day included. Infact whenever I try to run now it kicks in. Pretty much put a stop to me running altogether. Docs are clueless though.

Erika's picture

Yes doctors are clueless most

Yes doctors are clueless most are:( I find that whenever I Fu** up a sleep pattern(my normal sleep pattern) sleep paralysis happens) hope you are okay!! Love Erika

Sahar's picture


Whenever I have some quiz, exam or test I usually study late at night. But when I go to sleep I feel so dizzy in my sleep that I remain unbalance and things move around me and this state continues to such an extent that I push myself to open my eyes and came out of this. but I cant. Sometimes its too hard to break the dream that I feel that i'll never gonna wake up. While sleeping I know that i am in my room and lying on my bed i.e. i am in conscious state but sleeping as well. Sometimes i fear that I'll die during my sleep because it only depends how far can try to come out. (so breathtaking I cant explain)
But this do not happen very often (i.e. twice or thrice in a year)

Kindly tell me whats happening with me.

only me's picture

You dont have to keep telling

You dont have to keep telling us that youre strong believers in god etc :)

Its more than obvious from the content that follows.

That said its equally possible that the same mindset that encourages strong religious inclinations encourages these experoences. Theres a surprisingly large number of religious people having this experience. Its possible its actually worsening it not improving it when you sleep believing it is real or feeling anxious abput it its far more likely you will get it again.

On the other hand people will take mental comfort wherever they can find it.

Megan's picture

A little enlightening.

First and foremost, a believer does not always mean a religious person. I do agree that religion is something a lot of people go to comfort for and as a means of hiding in a sense. I myself believe religion is what happens when God has left the building. Jesus on the other hand, has nothing to do with organized religion!
I am a believer in Christ and have been getting these sleep issues since I was 13. I do very strongly believe that this has direct correlation with the spirit world. Because of my experiences I believe this, but however I still don't know why.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Jesus saves

Iam a Christian and a strong believer in god and the devil I myself have experienced these evil dreams and all I have to say is
you all need to understand the power of the name of Jesus the blood of Jesus. spiritual warefare and this is not a battle in flesh but the spirit.
god allows the devil to attack you because he is trying to get your attention. Jesus died on the cross for each and every one of us and he loves us all so much
if are are experiencing these evil spirits just say this prayer in your head.. in the name of Jesus I cover me god with your blood I rebuke you demons and eve spirits and I cast u out in the name of Jesus.
there is negativity in your life and u need to get rid of it,
hope this helps

Sara's picture

This sucks !

Hi. I came across this as my nervous self was googling things like I always do. I've been experiencing "Sleep paralysis" for about 5 years now. It started when I was about 14. Like any person would be I'm sure, you get scared because you don't know what's going on. When it happens to me, I always hear voices and little noises around me, and laughing. You know, my eyes are open and stuff but I can't see what's making the noise. Once it happens once for me, it continues to happen through the night. About 10-15 more times. It eve does it right when I'm about to fall back asleep. I know when it's coming because I can feel my body getting tingly and I feel like I can't breathe. When I went of to college it got worse. Not sure why. But recently it's been happening every single night about 10-15 times a night. It's so bad that I'm afraid to sleep because I know it's going to happen again. But at least now I can put a name to my problem!!

Simon's picture


Coincidence is a weird thing. I've had my share too. More than my share I'd say. Enough to start wondering if there's more than coincidence to this.

I've had the odd timing with dead too - I remember not too long ago being woken in the middle of th night by what appeared to be a spirit in the room. That didn't half make me jump lol. The next day we found out about a relative that died the same time. Didn't know he was ill and hadn't been there in ages :o(

Not the first either. Sometimes it's impressions without logical grounding that appear uncannily accurate. Easy to chalk off as imagination. I frequently do, but I'm increasingly questioning it now.

Even in waking life coincidence is weird. I remember a few years back going to a hospital in London (not as patient) but having an overwhelming feeling there should be water around like a paddling pool or sauna. I stopped to comment on it, on the way down. Moments later the roof ahead caved in with gallons of hot water flooding the floor. Long shot at best. Of course what you don't say you wonder if you really thought first, or if it was deja vu.

The shadows I'm familiar with too. I remember one where I converted them and freed them. It was like they were trapped in a cycle feeding off of fear and couldn't break it. At the end I imagined them as "death incarnate". I kinda felt sorry for them. Like they were just doing a job but only ever met with fear and hate. I had neither for them and made friends. I guess it's just notions going through my head but I felt reassured at the end. Not going to go. Waiting it out. Some time later I was told by a couple of doctors I should be dead, never mind walking around. The first time was trivial in my mind. Just asthma, which I guess must have been in the "bad" category. Didn't seem a biggie though. I don't know people that have died from it, and I just felt at peace like I was safe in a bubble. No panic = less need for oxygen. I guess it's like meditating on your feet, not that I've ever tried it, on my feet or otherwise lol.

I'm waffling now though, but the short of it is this: There seems to be one hell of a lot that CAN be chalked off as coincidence or imagination, but you have to begin to wonder at some point if you're crossing that line. Perhaps there is more. An open mind is usually a sign of wisdom.

If there are spirits though, what are the limits and how does it work? Do they react to our emotional states? Does our fear drive most away in fear? Will only peace and energy attract? Do others feed on fear etc? So many unknowns. Even to theorize would be good. Try things out. Perhaps it won't make any difference but if there's a chance it's worth trying.


Serendip Visitor's picture

Praying probably would work.

Praying probably would work. Counting would too. Or humming.

Infact anything like that should help

Mari's picture

Sleep paralysis

Is it bad if someone tries to wake you up wile your sleep parlays?

vikas's picture

Last night

I am surprised to know many people have same ... I had headache for last 1 week... and i faced this SP last night... God.. it is really scary... It was not the first time, i have experienced it many times before ... same feeling.. no sensation... i try to scream and run out of the room but nothing works... dunno what to do... thanks for this scientific explanation ... but why evil feeling... its mysterious... i wish i wont have it again...

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


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.

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