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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 


Expiring gal's picture

I've had sleep paralysis;

I've had sleep paralysis; can't count how many times. Watch testimonies on YouTube of those who experienced sleep paralysis. Sleep paralysis is not that innocent. Also, the scientific explanation of sleep paralysis is just a theory that's being treated as if it were a fact, like the Big Bang theory being taught in science schoolbooks. Yet ironically Jesus Christ isn't a theory; his whole life and existence on this earth is a fact. You should say his name when you go through sleep paralysis by the way. I tried saying other things in sp to get out of it to see if his name was just a coincidence, but it didn't stop. It only stops when I manage to say Jesus's name.

Ulysses's picture

Is there something else going ON?

Ok this Happened to me like 1hour ago but ive been trough this before when i was 17. Now im 19. I was asleep but i woke because my body and brain were showing me signs that im hungry and therefor kept hearing a buzzing noise behind my head. i heard that this is sign telling you that your hungry. Well anyways after i ate i when back to sleep. and after an hour i could hear and feel static. i was aware that im awake and can hear my surroundings but i had my eyes shut. at this point my brother left the room because they had asked me if i wanted anything from the store and i said no. so then he shut the door and my room was silent and dark. that is when the static seemed to get louder. Again i had my eyes shut . And knowing this feeling i decided to let myself get taken over little by little to try and understand why this happened to me when i was 17. I could feel every part of my body go numb slowly. and my conscience was fading away the longer i let it control me so it got to a point were i felt i was never going to be me , someone else would have control. it trully felt someone was controlling me.Then my left arm lifted up but it wasnt me. it was moving on its owns but the rest was not responsive. i felt a little fear. so i decided enough was enough. and kept telling myself i can get out of this . this is my body . no one else can have it. and thats when i gained a little control of my left arm. i felt like i was crippled with my arm dangling like a cord none of my fingers could move. Even moving arm was hard. But i kept trying and i opened my eyes and took control . Keep in mind i kept hearing small footsteps it kept contributing a little fear in me. But i was awake now and tried to experience it again but nothing happened. This was A similar situation that happened when i was 17. and i used the same method to get out of it. I feel like i could get out of it easy in the early stages of my problem cause i have before. but when i let if slip it becomes a battle. kind of weird but thats my story. Sorry for the spelling, i just wanted to put this out there quick.

KD V's picture

Still suffering from SP

It’s me again. My previous post was about me wearing my head phones while I sleep. I thought it would stop but unfortunately it didn’t. To all who have given their testimonies. You are not alone. There’s been times where I’m afraid to sleep. Shaking myself awake is getting harder to do since I’m older (mid 30s. I’ll keep you all updated. Glad to see others have shared their episodes.

Jonathan's picture

SP ?

Last night, something really weird happened. I woke up in the middle of the night hearing footstep going down the stairs, towards my bedroom. I was sure It was my mom, and I expected her to open my door. I managed to get one foot out of the sheets, and then a resoning sound started in my head. Like both my ears were plugged, and this sound was loud. I then felt and saw my right leg lifting, and then my whole body started moving towards outside the bed. I wanted to speak, but not a word would come out of my mouth. I was hearing the noise, and feeling my body shift to the left, and there was nothing I could do. I then heard the footstep go up the stairs, and I was gradually relieved from my paralysis stade. I stood up and when outside my room, no one was there, everyone was sleeping.

What I find weird is the lifting part. I can conceive that I can be sleeping, hallucinating, but my leg was really lifting, and my body was being so light. I was scared, but it didn't stop me from falling back asleep.

ladybugg's picture

sleep paraylasis

I have been studying this phenomenon for the past 12 years and the more I learn of it , it is not a brain dysfunction at all. It is a manipulation, a matter of mind control or study. It always may be directed in a trance of dimensional passengers in which is also apart of a focused study. You are awake during this time but your mind is in a sedative state in which you cannot focus on your stimulation impulses to move, It appears as a dream due to your lack of memory.

Debbie Catanzaro's picture

sleep paralisis

I am 60 yrs old and have been experiencing this since I was in my 30s. Last night I had one , I woke up and I was awake but I couldnt get out any words, I felt like I was paralized. It is such a weird feeling, I used to be scaredwhen I would get them, now I know I will be ok so I just let it happen. I dont see anything or hear anything I just cannot speak and cannot move but Im awake. Im glad I found this page and can relate with these people. Sometimes I try to explain it to someone and they look at me as if im nuts. Ill check back often.

KD V's picture

Hello Y’all

Still suffering from SP . It doesn’t happen when I listen to music as I sleep.

KD's picture

It started again :-(

I was the visitor who commented back on 6/21/17 that I had no more SP problems. Unfortunately it's back and I'm currently typing this in bed (3:46am). It didn't matter if I slept on my back, side, or stomach. I felt like something was holding me down. To be honest, these new episodes don't seem like the others. It's so strange.

Simon's picture


Where abouts in the world are you? Have you travelled or had a change of climate etc?

76's picture

No worries

When I think about it, I can chalk this off as a dream, and any part of it or my conclusions as an inner dialogue playing out in my dream. So, that in mind, and remembering it's not real, I can say what I like ;)

The shadow guys simply reach out that way - they are remote not local. The evil feelings a side effect. The region they triggered they explained was via a polarised field. Midway along the side of your head (brain).

That region allows for easy interaction but readily has side effects in most. Control is important - for me it didnt quite work but I'm passive / friendly and got a clear line. Anyone else had the visuals of the cavern system and blue eyed peeps when they queried their actual nature? Those eyes are cool.

Bibi's picture

sleep paralysis

Hi, I have always had these experiences throughout my life. sometimes it occurs repetitively and sometimes, i would be fine for like a year and then it starts again. I'm African, from Nigeria actually, and here we believe in evil spirits. Honestly,I'm not convinced that it is a scientific issue. Growing up it used to happen when i sleep in the day time. So, I tried as much as possible not to sleep till night.

This is usually my experience: I open my eyes, try to lift my head but it seems something or someone is pushing me back to sleep.
I'm a christian so when it happens I begin to call JESUS though no one can hear me. I can actually move my hands cos i try to tap someone beside me but they don't respond. I really do not know what makes me snap out of it but when i do, my heart beat increases.

However, if the scientists can prove this to be a psychological or brain issue, it would be a kind of relief.

But then, how often is it supposed to happen? Is there a season for it? I had an automobile accident last week an since then, it has happened four times within the last week. Could it be because of the trauma? I would really appreciate a response. Thank you

Tina Gray's picture

Continue to call on Jesus

Continue to call on Jesus when it happen it is spiritual.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Just checking in

As of now, I had no SP episodes.

Going on 2 months :)

KD VA 757 's picture

Checking in

Hi, it's me again

The last time I checked in was back in September (2016).

I just wanted to check in to let you all know that I'm still managing my SP.

A couple of nights ago - I had an episode. I was in bed and suddenly heard creepy laughter while my eyes were fully shut.
Mind you , I'm aware this is happening. That's the thing about SP, we know it's occurring but are completely paralyzed.
I shook myself to snap out of it but I am going to stop that process because I'm tired of being afraid.
I need to face it head on.
I'm almost to the point of taking "cat naps"aka short naps because it scares me so much.
I've been on this website for about 4 years sharing my experiences. I'm just glad I'm not the only one.

Things I've experienced with my SP:

•The feeling of something touching me, holding me, pressing down on me.
•Auditory noises (laughter, whispers, inaudible sounds, buzzing, ringing.
• Dark shadowy figures
•floating feeling
•Something caressing me
• Growling
• Something walking or jumping on my bed
•Sinking feeling

KD VA 757's picture


My last check in on here was in May (2016).

I'm back to let you all know that I had an episode on Friday night (9/09/16). I fought it off. The weird thing about SP is that you can literally tell when it's about to start. The feeling is indescribable. The only thing that comes close is a feeling of dread paired with a sinking feeling. My only worry is when I'm 70 trying to fight this. I'm currently in my mid 30s (female).

Continue to share your experiences.

Julian Arocha's picture

just a thought

Im 24 and had an episode last night.. i wok up to a big thunder storm in Dallas Texas.. only i didnt fully wake.. i stood stuck could not moove with my eyes open and tryed fighting it off and couldn't so i drift back to sleep and had a very very strange vision of myself standing in my old room and observeing the sky with both the moon and sun shining at the same time positioned 9 & 12 clock wis with the moon on top and the sun low left and for some reason that dream scared the shit outa me and i wok up scared to death not knowing why.. is there any meds for this condition? Just wanted to share this

Serendip Visitor's picture

Awake sleep

Hello this happens to me too like falling into a hole and sometimes the sinking feeling happens a few time before I actually get normal sleep. I lie there awake in a really uncomfortable position hopeing someone would wake me up but I usually concentrate really hard to make my body have sudden movement but some times this works other times I fall into deeper sleep and I'm stuck

Serendip Visitor's picture

If you don't like the falling

If you don't like the falling sensation, I found you can will yourself to reach out and "feel the floor beneath you".

Not had that sensation for a very long time though :)

Satish kumar's picture

If u want to get rid of this

If u want to get rid of this then i have something.
Tell me if u want

Satish kumar's picture

Sleep paralysis

Hi everyone i want to share my experience. I just had this experience. This thing happens many times with me even when i travel. I can feel everyone around me. I don't hear any loud voices or any shadow. I just freeze and always want anyone to touch so that i can come in normal state. I want to much more about it a sign of weakness. Reply me or call me

satgur singh's picture

its occured due to the ghosts

i would like to share my experience with you also that was occurred twice time in my life within 2 months .I have read on many sites these types articles and everyone says that it i cannot be the part of ghost.but i want ask to you one question is that if its not the part of spirits then how i am going on this episode twice time within 2 months because when i am going on this episode on same location when i was lived on another then why i did not dreamed about these type episodes .its the fact that it is occurred only because of ghosts.

Simon H's picture

I never got the paralysis. I

I never got the paralysis. I could sit up to look at them. It was like a projection. I went outside. Nice bright blue moonlit night but the ground had a silvery shine to it like frost or dew and the air was fresh and crisp. The little guys really have bright blue eyes.

Havr you seen the white ones too? Why would you be white or big in your dreams? I dreamt I was having fun chasing the kids one night. They both told me the next morning they had a bad night and dreamt I was chasing them but I was a huge white giant :(

Serendip Visitor's picture

No current SP episodes

Just checking in-

I used to come to this page to talk about my SP problems.

I haven't had any over the course of 9 months.

I just want to let everyone know that this page is therapy for us.

Please continue to share.

Mari's picture

It has happened before

I am so glad it's not a psychological thing? I know I had these sleep paralysis before a couple years back but I've never knew it can get this bad! It was around 10:00pm? And I just got this feeling that I knew tonight was just going to be one of those nights. Like I was scared of sleeping! I don't know why I just had that feeling so I tried not to fall asleep but all the sudden my eyes blur and my whole body gets paralyzed and My ears starts ringing. I was so terrified I got goosebumps everywhere and I just had a feeling someone was watching me. I look to my right and there was a darky figure there I was scared and all I was thinking was this isn't real. I was fighting so hard to scream and I just couldn't and I had a very hard time breathing too like if there was something on my chest. I tried thinking of God and that's when everything was going away but the ringing in my ears stayed for a couple second longer before I got off my bed to go to my parents room and tell them what just happened. They thought I was crazy and said it was only a bad dream. It kind of helps that they say it has nothing to do with evil it just some anxiety whatever and there is scientific research done to make sure of it, but I just can't believe it because why would I get a feeling that there was something there trying to harm me and why did it all go away when I asked for God to help me?

Satish kumar's picture

Hi i have such experience but

Hi i have such experience but i never feel any voice or black shadow. I can feel everyone besides me but i cannot speak or call them.
I want to ask one thing is it a problem of weakness?

Mari's picture

Hi, you asked me if its a sign of weakness

Hi, you asked me if It's a sign of weakness and I'm pretty sure it's is because after that whole incident I started getting panic and anxiety attacks every night. I couldn't sleep because I was afraid to, I was getting depression just for the thought of what is going to happen to me when I fall asleep. So I think the reason behind these sleep paralysis is people showing signs of weakness.

Satish kumar's picture

Hey i have a solution for

Hey i have a solution for that i don't know it will work or not.
1st thing u should not put ur hands on ur chest while sleeping.
2nd thing put a glass of water under ur bed becore sleeping.

Just Me's picture

Boy did i have a dream lastnight

I was home visiting my parents with my husband, sleeping in my bed I had always slept in as a kid. I woke up looking at this big black object ducking its head to get into my bedroom door I looked up at it really scared. This black figure then walked over to me sat on my chest the weight of it made the bed sink i was paralyzed with out being able to move anything nor make any sound. After it sat on me for a while it got up and put the room exactly like it was i watched it leave as as it closed my bedroom door which was not closed all the way he put it back exactly the same way without fidgeting with it first shot everything was the same but once that door had closed and he was gone i was not scared any more i turned over and went to sleep. First thing the next morning I saw my mom and I said to her mom,mom this big black thing came into my room last night and I started to explain to her what happened and she stopped me and said sunny it came into were i was sleeping which was in my brothers room at the time who didn't either live at home. She said i jumped out of bed and attacked it I tore it apart she said and it was tar and feathers dripping from my nails she said. My mom said it was so messy she said i killed it. so how can this be sleep paralysis.

Christina's picture

Close One...

The other night, I was trying to lucid dream by staying aware while I drifted into sleep. I tried envisioning myself flying and within SECONDS I felt my inner self being physically lifted from my body. Being lifted felt incredible but it was so short-lived. After being lifted a few mere inches, I was slammed back into my body and I went completely numb. In the distance, loud alarms started going off. I tried screaming but my lips were sealed shut, I tried moving but entire body was paralyzed. To my left, I saw/felt a shadowy human begin creeping towards me. I was so scared, I couldn't breath. Being so exhausted, I was so tempted to let the numbness take over. But I knew if I let up for a second, waking up would be that much harder (and the figures and alarms would get worse). I knew it was all fake because I had heard of sleep paralysis stories before… but I never had it happen to me. I have never put so much power/energy into my movements… just clenching my fist was an immense struggle. It was one of the most frightening seconds of my life. Once I gained control of my right fist, I was able to jerk my left leg which eventually woke my body back up, made the figure disappear, and made the alarms die out.

When I tell people about this experience, they either laugh or tell me I'm overreacting… like I should feel crazy or sad that I can't easily shake it off...
It happened when I was lying on my back which I think contributed to it. Also, I was very exhausted and it was very late at night. I was too scared to fall back asleep after that and had to walk around in a lit room for a half hour before I attempted falling asleep again. I was so close to being trapped for a long time… but I'm thankful it only lasted about 6 seconds. I feel like it could have been so much worse… but I'm scared this is going to happen again. And, to be honest, I'm scared of my own room because I sometimes feel the presence of the shadowy human in my dream…. although i know its just my mind….

I think now I'll listen to everyone's advice and pray to Jesus before going to bed or attempting to lucid dream…

Serendip Visitor's picture

awake paralyzes

I have felt it too... the only way i can break out of it is by Praising God. They try to find a logical conclusion for everything... but you are right, Jesus name has the power to break it. When you feel it coming on, Pray and turn your body the other direction. Your not alone in this hun, just know great is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. That being has no power over you unless you give it to him... the paralyzes will go away, as well as the ring. Just sing Praise songs in your mind, smile and think beautiful thoughts of God and his Mercy... you won't fear it anymore and those figures... will disappear. I have had it happen more than once, and i wasn't asleep just laying there reading God's word or trying to lay down and go to sleep. I have had the problem of waking up a few times as well, that i understand is what they are speaking of, but the other is totally different. I was wide awake and paralyzed, ears ring and couldn't move. The feeling i got i knew what was going on... so do you. Pray :) God be with you.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Sleep Paralysis

I had my first episode when I was 15 years and became less as I got older, but I still hated going through it. It was terrifying. It also became very tiring instead of terrifying after so many years. I am now 56 and I think my last episode was probably in 2013.

I saw on The Doctors that this is called Sleep Paralysis and they describe pretty much everything I was going through. Then I started surfing the web and found this website and other information about Sleep Paralysis. You don't know how good it feels to know there is a logical explanation. Thank you and thanks to The Doctors. I great to know it is not as bad a you think. And most of all, thank God in Jesus' name Amen!

Duze's picture

SP truely an evil phenomenon

I have had various episodes of this paralysis, I can't count.
However, when it happens I know am awake, can't turn, speak, nothing at all. sometimes I don't dream when it happens. always happens at night between 1am-3am (a period of high witchcraft activity, especially in Africa, in which I dont even care about, doesn't bother me), I sometimes call Jesus usually with difficulty but once I succeeds it stops. or I sometimes move my limbs especially the left leg and it stops.
It doesn't matter my sleeping position it happens.

Now what made me to believe more of evil was that a particular episode I had, after experiencing it every nigth of that week, this particular episode I was awake, immediately I felt a presence I smiled and in my mind I said " you are back today again". I tried to turn as usual but couldn't. after the struggle I succeeded.
Now hear this. I got up from the bed, looked through my window for any suspecious activity or anything at all but nothing. I was still feeling the presence in my room but its position I couldn't locate.
Immediately I got back on my bed, took a deep breath and tried to adjust myself well in bed, I couldn't. Struggling continued until I was freed again. I just left my bed for it.
Now how do you explain that if not witchcraft?

Serendip Visitor's picture

Why is it hard to say the name of Jesus

I am in US and I just had the same thing, I've had it before when I was younger, but when I would finally tell it to leave me alone in the name of Jesus, it would disappear (my mom told me to do that). Now if this was all Scientific like these guys say it is, why is this sleeping paralysis okay with your mind wondering and saying everything else but the name of Jesus? Something is fishy about this sleep paralysis. Today the creep pressed on me and then felt like there was a presence of a child jumping in and out of my bed I was sleeping on. I could feel the bed moving, but I couldn't move a finger nor open my mouth! I tried several times to word out the name of Jesus, but couldn't even complete it in my mind, it was like this thing was trying to show me how much control it had. This was the longest one I've ever had, I could feel the back of my hair rise up when it moved around me. But when I stopped being scared and I got angry, I used all the strength I could use to say "In the name of Jesus, leave me alone" and poof I was awake and the creep was gone!

Serendip Visitor's picture

May be it is

Yes, it could be African witchcraft. I was going through the same thing the whole of 2014 and could only be released when I called Jesus in my heart. I came here looking for help more than twice. Before the attack I usually had horrible dreams where i could see myself in drowning in sewage or stepping on feaces, falling from a height, burying a loved one, being chased by ugly creatures and being attacked by snakes and so on. The being could attack in the midst of my fear and confusion and all of a sudden i could hardly breathe, talk or move any body part. What I usually avoid now is sleeping on my back, drinking coffee minutes before bed and sleeping while feeling angry or discouraged. I also listen to good worship music the whole night and say a prayer before sleep. This year I have hardly suffered a full episode and have seen improvement. When you call the name of Jesus the being escapes. So continue calling him in prayers. Thanks.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Please help


I’m Marissa, 28 years old, this weird thing has been happening to me. I have been experiencing some sort of brain freeze, where I sit in front of my pc at work and then it’s like I just stare at my pc or something and then I can’t even move my eyes from it, like I’ve lost a moment of time, this even happens when I’m driving which is scary. Can you please help me because I’d like to know what causes it? Tx

Serendip Visitor's picture

I think you should ask a

I think you should ask a doctor before you die from this while driving etc.

Samantha's picture

Sleep Paralysis.. Confused

I never had sleep paralysis as a kid or as a teen. My mom hid a lot of secrets but I remember my senior year she vaguely talked about out of body experiences and I told myself I don't want one or ever get close to that since my bloodline we are shamans (medicine women) in native American culture. I can look into someone's eyes and see their totem and with this effect, spirits have an effect of finding me or trying to talk to me. I don't like it and want none of this. I am now 21 and in one month went through my first two sleep paralysis. My first one I was dreaming of something and then suddenly I kept hearing hooves so very loud and clopping. Then I kept hearing a horse neigh and sounds of their nostril and breathing. I knew quickly it had nothing to do with my dream and tried to wake up only to find I couldn't. Right beside my bed I could hear the horse and I felt my arm get very cold. I tried shaking my head and opening my eyes but still couldn't. When I finally did get to wake up I still heard the horse vaguely as if its sounds were fading away but the room still cold. a week or 2 later I had one again but this time I heard nothing. I tried to wake up for some odd reason in the middle of the night and panicked because I just couldn't get up or move or see anything. Is there anything specific in a day routine that could be the cause of this?

Simon's picture


I suspect ancestry doesnt play a significant part. I'm aware of no one in the family who have had the issue. Odd that we all report the "chill" when talking about spirits etc. The only exception I've known to date was my wife who reported heat when I tried it on her, but she felt cold to me. Ultimately this could all be our minds playing tricks on us, but the mind is capable of surprising feats and I've seen research that points to some very unusual oddoties that to all extents should not happen. Watch this space eh.

Tara's picture

Insomnia, and sleep paralysis. A little bit of sleep apnea

Ever since my sister passed away I have been unsuccessful at sleeping. I go to bed for an hour then immediately wake up for a few hours. Then go back to bed for 2 hours and I'm up the whole day. I have an extremely over active brain that constantly does not shut down. It's always spinning and thinking about shit 5 years from now, what I have to do tomorrow, next week, and any projects I am taking on. My brain never shuts down. I have tried melatonin, and multiple other sleeping aids. I finally turned to ambian... The scariest sleeping drug one person could be on. Now for being on it so long my body has built a tolerance for it and now I am having to take more than the required dosage. Trust me I have experienced scary things on that drug but all I want to do is be able to sleep. I finally had a sleep analysist conducted and they informed me that out of the 5 stags of REM. I am in stage 1 90% of the time. I have also experienced sleep paralysis on multiple occasions and the first one freaked me out a little bit. But I have gotten so use to them that it's just normal now.... I always wake up between the hours of 2-3 AM and can't figure it out. I have tried to change my sleeping schedule to prevent that but it fails. Can someone please help me on how to sleep and stay asleep. Please don't give me this over the counter shit. I am on one of the most powerful sleeping drugs ever... So I need something better than that especially knowing the mg. I taking. Thank you. :)

JOC's picture

Sleeping on my back seems to

Sleeping on my back seems to help stop this happening to me.

Rex's picture

this happened to Me thirty minutes ago

The sun was coming out and I hadn't slept yet. so I figured I could get at least a few hours of sleep. so as i was sleeping I was thinking of a new story to draw. A woman protecting her child I thought. In a nutshell she died with the baby in her arms with her last word beings I will always love and watch over you. that she would haunt anyone who threatens the child. At this point i realised I forgot to to pack my sketch book so I tried to wake up but I couldn't move only hold my eyes open just enough to barely see. then a figure of a woman could be seen as I tried to talk nothing but inaudible sounds where coming out as I was trying to force my self to move the figure was in my face then I closed my eyes and opened them a couple times and I got control of myself again. The experience lasted about 6-8 seconds with me having a sinking feeling when it was over. I always thought when this happen I was still dreaming and with this experience and the article I just read made my thoughts seem like I was right. What I was seeing was something directly from what I was thinking about though I couldn't see the shadow figure very clearly I could tell it was female. So my dreams about the mother manifested to create what I saw. I often get freaked out about spiritual story's so I guess I was freaking myself out with the story and when I woke up my brain made it "real".

Saxet8121's picture

Trying to go to sleep

Idk what to think it is but tonite is the first time this happened to me and Ive had five times already so I'm not going to sleep.

So I'm really tired and was trying to go to sleep but my head just felt real weird and I went to open my eyes and I could see but then it was like I was going blind and then some how I fixed myself so I tried to go to sleep again same thing happened again five times so now I don't want to go to sleep cuz once I go to close my eyes it happens again

Anslyn's picture

First time this happened to me

I was taking a nap and woke up but was just laying down suddenly I see someone face laughing on my sister arm who was sleeping by me. But suddenly I couldn't move my body or my head but only my arm. I kept saying her name but she couldn't hear me I poked her nothing works. I got very scared and started praying I was so scared. Finnaly it was over I don't want to go through that again.

Mike's picture

Had them for 27 years, I understand them better now

I have these all the time, I've had them consistently since I was a kid. I've learned a few things that greatly contribute to me having them:

When I go to sleep on my back, it greatly increases the chances of them happening.
When I stay up real late with little sleep and I am very tired, they occur frequently.
Finally, those nights I do stay up late, if I am spending a lot of mental energy on a task right before bed, guarantees I'll have one.

The combination of the above 3 scenarios is a recipe for disaster. Mine are so bad the only way I snap out of them is my wife hears a change in my breathing and shakes me so I can wake up. I too have experienced very evil situations when they are happening but my eyes are wide open and the shapes of household decorations greatly shape the "evil" figures of my mind.

In a nutshell, when my mind is wound up, yet I'm tired, my body tends to fall asleep prior to my mind shutting off. It's nothing to be afraid of, when they happen just remember that it's nothing to be scared of and you will get through it. Hang in there! :)

- Mike

EmilyKarissa.A's picture

Thank you for the tips on how to avoid these nightmares

I've had this happen to me every couple weeks for the past couple of years and they are often very violent and terrifying and leave me in a state of shock for quite some time. It often scares me to go back to sleep. This morning I had one of the worst I've had in awhile and needed to know an explanation and that's how i ended up here. I'm sorry it's happened to you for so long! It calms me a little to know that I'm not the only one. Thank you for the suggestions on how to avoid this

wesley's picture

im not sure what to think

This has been happening for years. On and off. Sometimes bacc to bacc nights. I palm reader told me a witch was on my bacc. So i prayed to lord nd it went away. Then weeks later it came bacc. I called her she asked if i slept with ashes in my room. I slept with 3 different sets all familu members. I removed them from my room. It still persisted. So i called her again told me i maybe too angered inside. So i released some. I tookk a trip to school 400 miles away and it happens there. I moved into another house it happens there. So i feel as if something is following me. Im sleeping on the couch one night it happens in my mind im screaming and praying for help. I wake up 7 times before i actually wake up.... sometimes i hear deep voices of another language nothing familiar to me. Tonight i hear a loud roar and i lay watching a dark full body figure no face or anything jus shadow hover over to me very slowly. I plead to God and it disappears as i become fully awake.... any explaination?

Jacy (Visitor)'s picture

There is hope

First I will say that I am glad to know that you pray to the Lord. The name of our Lord, Jesus Christ is powerful!!! Those evil entities that you are facing during these supernatural encounters, are real; I have also seen these type of evil ones before. However, please know that they are indeed afraid of Jesus because He was manifested in the flesh, that he might destroy the works of the devil. By Jesus living a sinless life, and by being the perfect sacrifice and dying on the cross, and being raised from the dead by God, something awesome happened. The bible says in Colossians 2:15 - "And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it." So, first step for you my friend, is to surrender your life to God. If you haven't done so already, repent from your sins (turn away from yours sins) and turn to God and walk with Him. Ask Jesus to forgive you and to wash you clean by the blood that He shed for us. He died on the cross, to unite us back to the Heavenly Father. He conquered death....God raised Jesus from the dead, and He is now sitting at the right hand of the Father. The Word of God says, in Romans 10:9 - "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." Ask Jesus, to become your Savior and King. Ask God, to fill you with His Holy Spirit. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you into all truth. Ask this, in the name of Jesus Christ. Only then, being a child of God, filled with God's Spirit, will you be able to use your authority in Christ's name, to rebuke those evil spirits. Also, please know that as a child of God, you simply cannot be asking palm readers to guide you. Palm reading is in other words, withcraft as their source of information does not come from God, but from deceptive familiar spirits from the evil realm. God warns us in His Word. In Deuteronomy 18:10-12, it says: "There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all these things are an abomination unto the LORD..." My friend, I will be praying for you. May you find peace in our Lord an Savior, Jesus Christ. Read the bible and continue on praying. God will deliver you if you ask Him. Be blessed my friend. In Jesus' name. Amen

Kayla Atkins's picture

Wow, Thank You

Today i woke up with this, and i had no idea what was happening. I feel like i am dreaming even though i know i am awake. Thank you for writing this article so i could understand what was happening this morning. Amazing how the body can do this...

Serendip Visitor's picture


I also wakeup by this,tell me the solution if u found.

Shawn 10s's picture

to all

I posted on this a few years ago and haven't been back since but I have been having this happen alot the past year is it the spirt world we see or is it just our brains scarring us to wake because we stopped breathing? is it real or not matters not because the experience is terrifying until you learn to cope Like I did. So heres my info there are two types of sleep paralysis the most common being in a dream state the other being fully awake but the same experience as the other. Ive had both they always start by not being able to move so all you have to do it lift and you will if you cant just call for Jesus and it will work but its easy for me now to lift. then its like an out of body experience you will move just like you can now but I never get far then i wake up. sometimes I see things but havent since I chocked one of the ghost girls I seen last time. I saw a girl hiding outside my doorway like she was gonna get me when I walk threw so I got angry because im sick of this sleep para shit so i rushed out turned and chocked her and since then havent seen nothing but still have sleep para. just fight back first get your movement by lifting up then you can do whatever you want. is it linked to sleep apnea or is it the spirt world we may never know but just fight back. and also Ive noticed whenim prone to have it is on them days when you get hit with a sudden sleepiness and just want to take a nap. mine mostly happen then at a afternoon nap but can also happen while ive been asleep all night. just seems like it happens more when I feel drained suddenly and take a nap.