Sleep Paralysis: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

Sleep paralysis is characterized by the sensation of being unable to move while awakening from sleep. Sleep paralysis is described as a transitional state that occurs when a person experiences a temporary inability to react, move, or speak while asleep, falling asleep, or on awakening from sleep.

Symptoms of Sleep Paralysis

Symptoms of Sleep Paralysis

Unfortunately, sleep paralysis can be accompanied by frightening hallucinations during sleep whereby, due to the paralysis and physical experiences (which could be a forceful current running through the upper body), the person is left physically unable to react. These hallucinations can be very scary, and often involve a supernatural creature or other person taunting or terrifying the individual, together with difficulty breathing and/or a feeling of pressure on one’s chest. Another quite common type of hallucination involves either supernatural or human intruders lurking outside the person’s window or entering their bedroom, leaving the sleeper with feelings of fear and dread.1

During sleep paralysis, the individual is completely aware of the surroundings. The person often has the desire to move but is unable to. It can be frightening to the person.

What Causes Sleep Paralysis?

One explanation of sleep paralysis is that it’s caused by disrupted REM sleep: REM sleep typically induces total muscle atonia which prevents sleepers from acting out their dreams. Sleep deprivation and genetics are the major causes of sleep paralysis, and this condition has also been linked to disorder

What Causes Sleep Paralysis

s such as migraines, narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea, and anxiety disorders. It is associated with excessive daytime sleepiness and being sleep deprived. When a person sleeps in a fixed supine position, it increases the likelihood of them experiencing sleep paralysis. In addition, it is related to REM atonia, which is the paralysis that occurs as a natural part of REM sleep. Sleep paralysis is also one of the symptoms of narcolepsy.2

When Does Sleep Paralysis Occur?

These events often occur when a person is either falling asleep or awakening from sleep. If it occurs when going to sleep, the person will remain alert while the body prepares for REM sleep. This condition is known as predormital or hypnagogic sleep paralysis. If it occurs when the person is waking up, the person becomes alert prior to the REM cycle being completed. This condition is known as post-dormital or hypnopompic paralysis. The events can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes, with rare cases lasting for hours, where the person could well experience panic symptoms.3

Sleep Paralysis Is Not Complete Paralysis

Due to the correlation of the paralysis with REM sleep, this type of atonia is not complete. The use of EOG traces clearly show that eye movement is still possible during these episodes; however, the person who is experiencing the events is not able to speak.

Types of Visions Associated with Sleep Hallucinations

The three main types of visions that have been linked to pathologic neurophysiology are:

  • Vestibular motor sensations,
  • The incubus, and
  • Believing there’s an intruder in the room.

Many people describe their experience as a sense of terror; where they experience the events followed by the sense of a frightening presence (or intruder) in their room. The neurological explanation for this phenomenon is that sleep paralysis occurs due to a hypervigilant state created in the midbrain. Specifically, the brain activates the emergency response when the person wakes up paralysed and feeling vulnerable to attack. This feeling of helplessness only serves to intensify the brain’s threat response, certainly more so than the level associated with normal dreams. This could well explain why visions experienced by a person during sleep paralysis are so clear and graphic.

Sleep Paralysis: The Story of Being Awake but Unable to Move

It is a very frightening story that many of you have experienced: You awaken in the morning, but are unable to move your body. This is the story and description of ‘Sleep Paralysis’.

Sleep paralysis is a sleep/wake phenomenon that most people experience in their lifetime. Usually it occurs in the morning, upon awakening. However, it can happen during other transitions between wake and sleep. In most cases, it is a normal finding. For some, though, it is a symptom of the sleep disorder, narcolepsy.

Often the sensation can be accompanied by intense fright and fear because the individual feels completely paralyzed during sleep. The experience is usually short-lived lasting only a few seconds.

Theories of Sleep Paralysis

Many scientists believe that sleep paralysis occurs because of ‘cross-over’ between different sleep stages. Specifically, there is a transition that occurs between REM sleep and wake.

It has been theorized that we evolved to be paralyzed during dream sleep in order to protect ourselves and the ones near us from bodily harm. This makes sense as we would not want to thrash and kick while sleeping.

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48 thoughts on “Sleep Paralysis: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

  1. Steve Reply

    I’ve had sleep paralysis before MECFS but it was never like this. Usually, I’m in the room I’m sleeping in and I can’t move —- nothing too unusual. But in this version of sleep paralysis, I’m in unfamiliar places and CAN MOVE. Usually, in sleep paralysis, you think you’re moving but you’re not. Every time I’ve had this version of sleep paralysis I roll off my bed in an attempt to jolt myself out of sleep, so I hit the ground and I wake up. It’s very scary because in the dream I’m panicking that I can’t wake up and I’m hallucinating that my mother or my sister is in the room and they can see that I’m trapped between the dream state and awake state. And since they can’t help me, I have to then do it myself. Hence rolling off the bed (which, again, I always thought was impossible during sleep paralysis). I should also note that this doesn’t happen during the main part of my sleep, which is usually 12am to 5-6am. I usually occurs if I doze off or nap.

    Does anyone else experience it to this extreme?

  2. Sam Reply

    I’ve had sleep paralysis ever since I was little, maybe around the ages of 3 and 7, and man was it realistic. First one was me being throw up from my bed by the Grinch, yes the Grinch, the real life action movie with Jim Carry. I’m 17 now and get them often, I have to have a TV on with the volume on which somewhat helps it go away. Though if I’m really tired and go to bed there is a 90% chance I’ll wake up 5 minutes later and experience it all over again. Sometimes before I go to bed I can literally feel if it’ll happen or not which is weird. If I know I’ll end up having it I’ll walk around a bit and go to bed, it’s the only way it’ll stop it.

  3. Tina Reply

    I used to experience sleep paralysis in my early twenties (over the course of a few months), during a time of great stress. I also experienced an outer body experience during that time. I wonder if they are related experiences. Perhaps sleep paralysis occurs before an outer body experience, although all experiences of sleep paralysis may not progress into an outer body experience. ???

    In both experiences I would be sleeping on my back. Sleep paralysis occurred mostly during daytime naps … so I was probably fatigued in general since I was taking naps. I also had auditory hallucinations during sleep paralysis, mostly just some kind of incessant buzzing, no visual hallucinations. I did fear that there could be a presence in the room out of my line of vision, but that may have been just fear given my sense of vulnerability. After realizing I could not move during these experiences— trying to do so only compounded the fear as it increased my sense of vulnerability — I would just allow myself to fall back asleep and awaken normally some time later. I would just try to relax and trust that this was a problem with sleep and wakefulness that would resolve itself by going back to sleep. I did not fear any supernatural cause so I was able to fall back asleep. I would highly suggest doing that — stop trying to move. Stop fighting it. Just fall back asleep.

    I only had one outer body experience. With THAT experience it was only after I “awakened” from it that I remembered I did feel there was a presence in the room prior to leaving my body and that I had been held down by a force. It felt like the presence was causing the outer body experience to happen. It is hard to explain but during that experience I felt a lot of movement of my consciousness … as the force was pushing down on my chest I could feel it concurrently pushing and pulling my consciousness — as if I was being pushed under into complete darkness and then I’d be able to see again before going back into darkness. Very strange.

    I do not know what stopped these experiences. They just stopped. However, I can say in reflection that my extreme level of stress I was under at the time did end at the same time and I also tried to not sleep on my back. I have not had either experiences since then (I’m now in my fifties). I still live with normal levels of stress, but definitely not to that same degree. So …. I think reducing whatever major stress might be afflicting you is important.

    Years later I was diagnosed with a seizure disorder and have been on medication that successfully prevents seizures. Even though my experiences ended about 20 years before I had my first seizure, there could have been some neurological connection as well. I had had a concussion in my teens which doctors believed caused damage to my brain (ironically, it is the same part of the brain scientists think is related to outer body experiences) that did not manifest symptoms (the seizures) until 25 years later. Perhaps the damage to that part of the brain was another factor in the sleep paralysis and outer body experience.

  4. Askhat Reply

    My case is a little different, guys. Besides classic sleep paralysis that can happen to me sometimes, recently I ve got absolutely different experience. When I was falling asleep, somehow I managed to preserve my consciousness and I witnessed firsthand all the changes that happen to a body during REM sleep. I even realized that I moved my eyeballs simultaneously seeing pictures and some scenees. I was scared that my heartbeats differed in such a way that a) I was able to hear every beat of my heart despite the fact that I was on my back b) and the beats were quite irregular depending on what kind of picture/scene I saw, like terrifying ones caused my heart beat more frequently. I felt all this sort of things simultaneously seeing the dreams as usual, and it was quite strange and scary.

    • N Greene Reply

      Try strapping a tennis ball to your back which may cause you to sleep on your side and not experience the paralysis. I have sleep apnea and since being diagnosed, will wake up with my hands feeling paralyzed. I am also gripping them in some kind of tension. When I awake, I remember that I am not paralyzed so move them to prove it.

  5. Angela Reply

    I have been facing this issue ever since i can remember from childhood to present. I am now 33 years old. I don’t just face sleep paralysis i face dream loop where i think i woke and start living my day till things don’t make sense anymore and i realise i am dreaming then i focus hard to wakeup, in some cases i got stuck more than 6 times till it became hard to figure out whether i am awake or dreaming. As for my sleep paralysis it lasts sometimes 2 hours, in my worst ones my body would start shaking thats when a family member would notice me and realise something is wrong and wake me up.
    It always happens when i sleep on my back, rarely when i sleep on my side, also noticed it is more likely to happen if i sleep after i broke out of one. It is more likely to happen when i am stressed, or worked hard during my day. My job requires mental power whenever i have a hard task as a programmer and i force myself to finish fast to meet the deadline im sure to have a sleep paralysis episode the same night. In some occasions i tried giving up like sleeping back thats when i enter an awake dream but when i want to end the dream and wake up it doesn’t work so giving up to it never worked for me. These episodes leaves me exhausted mentally and physically all day long.
    I don’t want to resort to medication cause i ve understood from all articles that science hasn’t yet figured out the real reason behind these episodes.
    Anyway just want to share my story and i happen to woke up from one an hour ago where the family member panicked cause she heard me calling her and i was barely able to get the words out straight and when she tried moving my hand it dropped like a dead person hand then the shivering started.

    • Lee M. Reply

      This is the story of my life, just like yours. I even know when im shaking… I start praying that someone would wake up

  6. Mark Reply

    About this subject I read an ebook by Amazon kindle which called The exclusive explanation of Jinns
    with their true anatomies by Alex Falk, this book explained real what is and behind the reality of sleep paralysis. I recomended this book.

    • Lala Reply

      hi mark! tried to search the book but to no avail, if u dont mind to share the resource link please?

  7. A w Reply

    Wonder if anyone can help me,
    I get sleep paralysis nearly every night. My episodes last anywhere from 2 minutes to 3 hours. They vary in how intense they are and usually have highs and lows. It can happen 2,3 times a night some nights. Like some other people I need to be shaken to be woken up but when I’m not in a relationship and sleep alone that’s not possible. I find my mind desperate to roll my self off the edge of the bed trying to fall off in attempt to wake my self. I also have vivid hallucinations, and sometimes when I do finally awake I have a overwhelming sense of drowsiness that usually lasts around 5-10 minutes where I can hardly even open my eyes properly. I rarely dream as opposed to waking up and remembering what I was thinking about in my sleep and usually it was something relevant going on in my life or a variation of that. Im 24 years old, I can remember being 9/10 years old and this happening to me and the first time I was too young to understand and as it happened more I was able to almost ride it out and stay calm (when I was a young child) this would happen up u till I’d say beginning of secondary school and I can’t really recall having much sleep paralysis till I finished school but I guess it was something to do with puberty. After I left school at 15/16 it started gradually happening again and I’d say by the time I was 18 it was happening couple times a week and now I’m 24 it’s every night I’m lucky if I don’t have it. Can honestly say it’s the worst experience Iv ever had and it happens nightly.
    There’s more I could say but don’t want to ramble but I’f anyone has any helpful advice please email me as it affects my day to day life and there seems to be no treatment for this

    • gigi Reply

      Hello I was browsing for a friend and saw your post. My “sleep disorder” …that’s actually what this is..began in puberty. I later learned it’s very common this begins in puberty. Why? Well makes sense as our hormones influence so much in our bodies including our brains. Anyway I had visions and paralysis almost every night then it would subside for awhile. i know now it was because I got so exhausted from not sleeping that finally I would sleep so deep it didn’t happen. It happened randomly for me through out my life till at age 23-24 it came back with a vengeance every night. Very scary and being a religious person I thought it was spirits etc. Not until my 50’s did I google my symptoms (they finally had internet ) and I realized it had a name and was an actual disorder very common. For me there is no solution except a half sleeping pill every night. It sets my sleep cycle so it’s more normal and I don’t typically see spirits/goblins or get paralyzed. Sometimes I take a whole pill if my insomnia is bad but usually a half works for me and I am not groggy the next day. It may take awhile to find the right one for you, as it did for me. I tried Ambian, gave me headaches, tried another one can’t remember, it started with an L. made me depressed. Finally was put on an oldie, Triazalam and been on it ever since. I take 14.5mg (which is half) every night.

  8. Jayne Reply

    I experience this quite often. It seems to happen when waking. I know I’m having another and try to think my way out of it but can’t. I will open my eyes to check if I was successful at moving, but I’m still in same position. Then, like a snap of fingers,I surge free. Always happens if I over heat.

  9. Jenna Reply

    I’d never experienced SP until I was in my late 20’s. Sometimes I’m just aware I can’t move so I concentrate on moving a toe or finger until I can move out of it. Other times I can’t catch my breath and it sends me in panic mode-
    Sometimes I’m awake enough to know I’m in a dream but can’t wake myself out of it. It not always terrifying but more times than not it is. Even though I can rationally tell myself it’s just SP. The inability to wake up or move comes with a sense of dread. I wish I could find the trigger. I experienced SP this morning. I knew I was dreaming but my dream kept playing out. It felt like a very long time to come out of it, even though I’m sure it was only a few minutes.

  10. Michael Reply

    I’ve had several of these annually for the past 15 years. I’m in a very stressful job with PTSD diagnosis. Sleep position is irrelevant in my situation. No harm or doom during my paralysis. I simply know my eyes are open, i can feel my heart rate increasing as I’m trying to awaken, I see and hear things around me, and eventually I’ve figured out that I’m able to move very abruptly which wakes me up. I’m on no medications and very healthy other than my recent ptsd diagnosis..

  11. Nate Reply

    I don’t necessarily know if I had this my entire life but it seems as if I have. 99% of the time it has happens while in a recliner. There is no presence of anyone involved or anything like that. I can hear what’s going on around me; from the television, radio and others talking.

    I usually just have to shake until I come out of it. And it happened again today. I knew before I bought my new current recliner that more than likely it would happen and sure enough it did, twice. It’s also happened a few times while lying on my side.

    I remember once my father had it when I was a kid. My mom told me to ‘shake your dad.’ I was frightened and I said as much because he was trying to shake out of it. When I shook him he came out of it and was upset with me that I didn’t want to wake him. Over the years I’ve come to realize that at times this is something I’m going to always have when I’m reclining.

  12. Danielle O Reply

    I’m 32 and this has happened to me more than i can even count. I used have false awakenings with SP and it was really weird. I would think i woke up but it would be a dream with very vivid details i would keep a journal about. Now, it’s just the feelings of impending doom, intense pressure in my head and pressure on chest- i know what is going on. I can hear things like my dog, phone, TV, note that i have drool- and when i wake up i can verify all i heard and the drool. It feels like something is misfiring in my brain- like electricity. I have felt my head fill with some much pressure my ears popped. Sometimes i’ll up for just a minute and if i don’t actually get up it feels as if i’m being pulled back in. sucked in really, it’s terrible and i hate it so much. no matter how many times it’s happened it’s always the worst. I think each time will be the time i die.

    To note my health- i don’t smoke, drink, do any drugs. I have a regular sleep schedule when it’s not interrupted by SP. I have been diagnosed with General Anxiety and Panic Disorder.

    • Lolani Reply

      OMG yes! I know this is a year late but I experience the exact same things Danielle! Intense pressure and can’t move but aware of my surroundings. Sometimes the pressure is in my neck and I can feel my veins just throbbing. Even twisting pains in my stomach some nights that worsens when I try to move. Its a very scary thing to suffer through every other week and doctors tell me its just a sleep paralysis thing, I just wish it didn’t hurt so bad.

  13. Aline Reply

    I haven’t had one in a while (which I thank God for) but Im just wondering after reading some comments i didn’t really see much mention of getting really hot during the paralysis or experience. (I have no vision or hear anything btw) but i first assumed I was going through a sickness thing , but now I’m starting to wonder bc I’m perfectly fine in health nor am I really stressed at the time. If someone has a similar experience to mine pls do reply, but yeah here’s my experience: so during it i feel completely paralyzed tho I’m fighting with to much effort to move and strangely (from memory) I get reallyyy hot like i feel like my full spine is burning, and I am very conscious but can’t speak. When it over tho I’m pretty sure the heat goes completely away bc I don’t recall wanting cool down after

    • Rita Reply

      YES! Aline I felt the same hot feeling and it was like a wave of heat; a slow to progress but finally a radiating heat, Like I could feel a heat wave emminating off me. Last night was the first I’d ever experianced sleep paralysis and I was coming out of one and felt like I was starting to be able to move and then felt like I was getting pulled back into totally being unable to move, I read anothers’ comment about “like being sucked back in”. I felt the panic part/intruder feeling and in the moment I felt like “it” was trying to prevent me from being able to see it clearly. Insane, but in the moment I felt like I was being possesed and that was the cause of the heat.

      Even after I regained full movement and knew I was wide awake I was still so hot but afraid to uncover.

  14. Bill Reply

    This has happened to me several times throughout my life, and I’m always in a recliner when it does, it has only happened a couple of times in bed. But my mind will wake up, and I can’t open my eyes, or move a muscle, as I have gotten older, I have learned to concentrate on moving a toe, finger, usually my whole foot, if I can get it to move, then I just start moving it back and forth as fast as I can, it still takes a while to get awake enough to move my body. It freaks my wife out, she says your foot was flpping back and forth really fast, and then all of the sudden your whole body moves, and then you wake up. I try to never fall asleep in a recliner, for one, you are flat on you back, as it says in the studies, but your body is at different angles, so it could also be a bloodflow to the brain issue? I don’t know, but I hate it, and it scares me to death. I’ve never seen any figures, but have felt a presence, along with breathing difficulties and pressure, like the feeling of being pinned down. Like something straight out of the Twilight Zone. Or could it be like that movie with Keanu Reeves, the Matrix, and it is during those times that you are awakened? Food for thought

  15. J C Reply

    I’ve had this from the time I was 24 up until I was 32 and it would occur 2 – 3 times a week. I still get it but now its about 2 times a year. I found a few things that would cause it to happen to me. First is, sleeping on my back, second is (and the most important for me) sleeping in a quiet room. No fan on, no TV, no radio. If I went to sleep in a quiet room and a slight noise occurred, like a door squeaking when the a/c came on or the footsteps from my kids walking down the hall to the bathroom, it would cause my SP to start. It took me years to realize this. I’ve had the same issues as most of you. Hearing coherent conversations in another room, not being able to wiggle myself awake, having to mumble out my wife’s name, Ellen, that would sound more like eehhhhnnnn. Only when I started sleeping with a fan on the side of my bed, did the SP stop dramatically. The fan was only because I needed the constant noise. It would drown out the other little noises in the house that would trigger it. I realized this is what I needed after having an episode one night when my smoke detector in the kitchen made a beep noise because the battery was dying. I was able to shake out of it once the second beep alerted. This was the turning point for me. I changed that battery, bought a box fan, put it by my nightstand and turned it on all the way. I have not had to worry about it since then. Like I said earlier, it still happens 1 – 2 times a year but that’s usually when I’m somewhere without a box fan or any fan that makes a consistent and constant noise. Hope this can help anyone.

  16. Catherine V Reply

    My 82 year old father suffers from Dementia with Lewy Bodies. He often is sleeping during the day while sitting upright in his wheelchair. When I try to wake him up, he often cannot open his eyes for more than a second, and cannot move. It sounds like the sleep paralysis that is mentioned here. I belong to a group of caregivers for LBD loved ones, and several others have noticed the same thing. Could it be a particular area of the brain is affected by the disease that turns on the REM, and causes the sleep atonia?

  17. Frank Reply

    I am awake in my bed. i cannot open my eyes and I struggle to move my arms or legs….and I cannot. I am aware of my wife laying beside me. I usually struggle to try and wake her up. she says I mumble incoherently and am jerking around. If I can get her attention she shakes me…..sometimes it takes 15 to 20 seconds of shaking. It usually snaps me out of it. It is terrifying because I panic not being able to move. No demons….No hallucinations. usually starts during a dream when I am driving a car and all of a sudden I cannot move my hands to steer. In my dream….when this happens….I know it is about to happen. Never experienced it until my 40’s. I am now 63. Good luck to all of you and I hope you find an answer.

  18. Tin Reply

    I always experience it. Maybe two to three times a week these past few months?? Sometimes I even had it more than 5 times a night (it would suddenly occur then i’d wake up then fall asleep again and the same thing repeats). It is terrifying really but I got used to it because I’ve been experiencing it since I’m 12 and I’m 19 now. Lol. The thing I find strange is whenver I woke up, my head aches and my teeth feels weird (teeth sensitivity as what they call it).

  19. Shayna Reply

    My sleep paralysis started when I was 12, I’m 62 now. I used to get it once every year then it increased a bit, but now I haven’t had them for years.

    It absolutely terrified me when I was a kid and I didn’t learn about sleep paralysis until I was in my 20’s. I thought something supernaturally evil was going on! I tried to talk to my mum about it, but she told me I was imagining it and not to be so stupid. Not comforting.

    I had the paralysis, of course, with unbelievably loud auditory hallucinations – it was like I was in the engine of a jumbo jet taking off.

    It was such a relief to find out about sleep paralysis and that I wasn’t going crazy.

    Some people have written about how it’s possible to flip from sleep paralysis to lucid dreaming. I would love to try that, but where is my sleep paralysis when I want it now!?

    • Desiree Reply

      I was also freaked for a while, folks tried comforting me (sorry about yours) then I learned about S.P. … Its rather comforting now. Maybe I’m starved for human touch that the pressure feels like a hug

  20. Michael De Soto Reply

    I am 48 and experienced my first…I believe it is. I don’t know if it was real or not, all i know is that i am terrified of What happened. I didn’t know what to do because this might have involved my falimy and if it was just a dream( which it was VERY REAL to me and i think it happened for the entire day). I have been stressing all day and night the previous day with a liver condition that has gotten worse. Saturday i awake and just sensed something. I sat on the side of my bed and started looking around my bed room then I started seeing things move in my room. First it was money I left on the dresser and then i noticed someone at my window…i live upstairs so I blew it off. Then i started hearing people and started to see movement at my window again..this time i saw a shadow of a hand with it. Once again I blew it off and looked up at a Jesus portrait I have started moving. This is where I don’t know what was real a dream or what you all have described…..still don’t know and still terrified. When the portrait started moving i freaked out and minutes passed and that’s when i started to think is this happening in real life or am i asleep still. Then I started thinking that something was wrong in my head because what i just saw is NOT possible. I end up at that time that it was my brother and nephew playing a joke on me so I was upset and went out to confront them, but didn’t see them…was still convinced that it was a joke. Then it all turned on me. I went to my bedroom and layed down and started seeing the recliner moving. So I was kind of over it and just played along. So i was laying in my bedroom and started taking to my nephew( that at the time was behind the recliner because it was moving again and the figure was back at the window. So i assumed it was my brother there waiting to see if I would get mad at him. I started talking with my nephew and explained I was not mad, but he would not say a thing. This went on for hours and it started getting dark outside. I was getting frustrated because I had alot on my mind. This time I noticed there were now two dark figures outside the window and heard my family outside talking. After about 30 minutes I thought they called the cops on me because I got very upset at what happened and my nephew was scared to leave from behind the recliner. That’s when things got even worse. The next thing I knew I was on my bed begging for my nephew to leave and please explain why your scared. I heard some people coming up the stairs and figured ir it was the rest. I put my hands up and explained to the figures at my window that i did nothing wrong and was giving up and they should get the whole story….that is when I started to feel terrified that this wasn’t the police. Some how this went on for hours longer( i think) then i noticed them in my room. I continued to talk with them with no answer or comment from them. Now i am having a panic attack. Police would normally say stay still or something. These figures I could NOT tell who they were….i still haven’t seen my brother or nephew yet. So i was still in my bed completely terrified and could not move and these 4 figures were not talking to me. I believe I had a panic attack and passed out. The next thing that’s happening is they walked to me, i still could not see any features. They started to touch me as to calm me down…so i figured they knew I did nothing wrong. Did NOT get arrested and the lights were still off. This is when i could not move and I started to feel like I was being touched on my leg and feet and my thighs. This is not police procedure. I was in full blown panic and terrified. All night i was held down without harm. They were trying to put me to sleep by stroking my feet and and legs..until I felt something on my privates while I hear someone saying to go to sleep. Remember there was no talking from the beginning. Next thing I know I am jumping out of bed still felling terrifed and didn’t know what just happened. I was thinking it was a nightmare. When i fell back to sleep eventually i just had this feeling this was not over..i felt them in my room. The next morning I didn’t know if it happened…it was just to many weird and terrifying things that happened in a day. I could not ask my family if it happened because if it was a nightmare it would be embarrassing and if it was real….I don’t know what to say about that. I have been terrifed and nervous on what just happened. Was i going insane..didn’t know, until I finally had to let it out because it was driving me crazy All day. I talked with a friend about what happened and she told me to read up on this condition I never heard about. I started reading and everything that you ALL experienced separately i experienced in one night. That one about the music playing…I heard that throughout the day and felling paralyzed…ALL HAPPENED . I am very scared to go to sleep now. I STILL don’t know if it happened in my sleep or it happened when i suddenly woke up and just continued the entire day or if it REALLY did happen. I’m just very nervous and scared because I don’t know and can’t ask my family. Someone PLEASE give me advice or comfort that it was not real or a nightmare or this condition. Either way whatever happened to me is something I never want to go through again.

  21. Nicole Perez Reply

    Believe it or not, but I’m on the age of 12, I just experienced this 2 times, the first was pretty freaky… The first time I experienced this was me trying to wake up and open my eyes but my eyes were glued shut, I tried to get up but it was I’d i were pinned downed to my bed, I broke into a terrible sweat and tried moving my toes but I was paralyzed, then I tried facing my head up and pain struck my head, and radio static sounds start happened as I did that, and I look at a corner and saw this weird creature staring at me, first it looked like my mom, then some random person, and this weird monster looking thing. Until I had the ability to move my right arm and spilled water on me so I can wake up, and I did so. The second time there was no creepy character but this time it was worst. I was trying to open my eyes but my body was refusing, I felt “nerves” passing my head, I had terrible migraine, and I was trying breathing through my mouth but it was clogged, I tried getting up but sounds of screaming- radio static- and other weird sounds start happening, after a few minutes I finally woke up- but ever since these experiences i’m starting to have anxiety of this, like I feel afraid to sleep. But I think the main cause if because I’m stressing myself with school work. But my main question here is that; is it normal to experience this at the age of 12 ?

    • Kate Reply

      I have been experiencing this since about your age, also. I have common symptoms, but I can open my eyes. I always feel a presence over my bed, and this only happens at my fathers. I see a figure that looks similar to Slenderman. If someone or something tries to wake me up, I will feel like I am suffocating then I will wake up when the light in my room turns on. It does not happen as much now because I placed a light in my room that stays on 24/7 to prevent this. It works and has reduced my sleep paralysis to once or twice a month. I still sleep with that light on and I am 14. I do not regret it. I feel no shame from it. Also, if you train yourself to believe that you are not scared of it, that works for me, too. I hope this helps.

      • Deidra Rother Reply

        -I’m Deidra &of all the comments about sleep paralysis I can relate to your symptoms. I am 69 &have had this for 10 years–I literally cannot move–function–talk– for at least an hour when I wake up in the morning. I thought maybe it was my arthritis or even medicine that I take. This has got to be the worst thing I’ve had &experienced. I feel a sense of doom also in that hour when I try to get my body moving-If a burglar came in I wouldn’t be able to defend myself–or if there was a fire I wouldn’t be able to get out….
        One of the things I go through is not wanting to go to bed–or go to sleep at night–because of what I’ll go through in the morning. I have stayed up all night sometimes to avoid going through this….
        But at least I know what I have-&others have it too. Everyone seems to have different ⁶symptoms though.
        It scares me-I mean if there was a fire in the morning I wouldn’t be able to do anything.
        I do feel a little better knowing others have this sleep paralysis–although I wouldn’t wish this on anyone.

  22. Beth Reply

    I experience sleep paralysis only when I am having a migraine. It used to be a theme, but when I started exploring them and looking up sleep paralysis they went away. Now they are back. They don’t come with every migraine but they are here. I am definitely not in the age range. I am over 50. I don’t understand the connection between them and migraines

  23. Yayoo Reply

    I started having sleep paralysis when i was 18. I’m 23 now. The reason it started is my stressful life.
    I was always afraid of going to sleep because of my abusive father. In my first sleeping paralysis i saw a my father standing at my door and moving very slowly, maybe trying to attack me.
    After that it happened every night that i had to sleep with my mother. I realized that its only happening to me when i sleep alone.
    My dad died a few years ago, but i constantly dreaming about him being alive. And it scares me. When i wake up, i feel relieved that it was just a dream, he is not alive.
    I got mental health issues (BPD) and probably this causes me the paralysis and vivid dreams.

  24. Angela M Reply

    Has anyone found a way to prevent them from happening yet? This is the fourth night in a row for me. I’ve had them since I was young (15 maybe?) and I’m 32 now, but I’ve never had them multiple nights in a row like this before. I don’t think I can take another night of this. There’s no supernatural element to mine, I just can’t move and feel like I’m suffocating and it takes all my strength to wake myself up. When I do, I’m weak and trembling. I can barely type right now, I’m shaking so bad. Thanks.

    • Tim Reply

      Yeah just had one, makes me mad as hell, hopeless I’m 39 had them since a teen, my mine increase when laying on my side it was my left side , I have to sleep on my back,

  25. Charity Caruthers Reply

    Does anyone hear things? I have heard panting (like a dog), static (like a radio), water running, people talking in an the next room when I lived alone, screaming, my name being said by an unknown shadow angel/thing and other stuff. Also have felt an arm around my middle pulling me down, someone holding my wrists down. I have gotten pretty good at waking myself up by moving my feet, but takes extreme willpower. Triggers for me are being too hot, laying on my back or long daytime naps, sometimes being sick. This started when I was 15/16, im now almost 38. It seems to happen less often but maybe I don’t notice it as much. I have extremely vivid dreams and feels like im trapped in a dream within a dream (hard to explain). Anywho, I never believed it to be supernatural or anything. Just curious about others experiences and looking to share mine. Thanks

    • Mz Reply


      I have experience the same thing I I’m now 31 an still having the same issues since as far as I can remember like you mentioned I became very good waking up from them but still very scare . My problem is that I go through them very often I think more than usual at times all week to 3 times a week i need help

    • Kelsey Reply

      Auditory Hallucinations are common with me. Screaming/Panting/clear as day, conversations. Over heating is a trigger. For example: If I’m wearing a sweatshirt or socks an I overheat it elevates the paralysis. One night I “woke up,” more so, aware. I felt a presence and saw a dark figure. My hair was being pulled (head feeling stuck). The pressure on my body being pinned down increased. I could hear breathing then grumbling then screaming. Trying to move I felt like I wasn’t breathing. Eventually these things dissipated and I was able to sit up. It was really freaky. Sometimes I feeling like I’m a rag doll being spun but unable to move.

      I experienced night terrors as a child but I am 25 and these have only increased. I woke up the day out of an attack and my face was numb for two hours after.

  26. Paulo Reply

    Sometimes I feel like I cant move or paralyzed after staying up late studying. Cant move at all in the morning evntho I know I have to get up.

  27. Angela Reply

    I’ve had sleep paralysis from age 15-27, if you need any personal accounts for you paper let me know in the comments below.

  28. Jeff B Reply

    I have felt this before. It usually happens in the morning after a late night. Can’t move my arms or legs. a bit freaky.

  29. Stephen ndungu Reply

    I have been experiencing the same and the best prevention is to take at least 1.5 litres to 2litres of water daily. I was very severe but when I started taking sufficient water it disappeared. In fact it comes when u are feeling so sleepy at night and your mind is active. I am from Kenya

    • Jeff B Reply

      I do not think that there is any association between water and sleep paralysis.

  30. Spener Pappas Reply

    Has people ever died from sleep paralysis? (doing this as a school project)

    • Brandon Rivera Reply

      While people are still commenting…. Interesting.
      I just felt mine a few mins ago. I was in a car on my way back to my house and my mouth was opened. I tried closing it but my mouth was moving by itself. I had no control over it. It was opening and closing fast. And then I tried to move my head forward and I couldn’t even do that. I was freaking out that I had to use my hand to bring my face forward. It was crazy. Never happened to me before

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