Sleep Paralysis

Sleep Paralysis

Author: Josh Hill

You wake up and open your eyes. You try to move and nothing happens, panic sets in. Frantically you struggle and fight till your body finally moves. You have just suffered sleep paralysis. For some people only one time is all they ever have to handle, but for many of us, this is a repeating problem.

The History

Many regions and religions have there own interpretation of what is happening. The Old Hag, for instance, is believed to sit on the chest of the person, so that they can not move and makes it hard to breathe. This old hag experience has been depicted in newfoundland, and the first theory most people encounter.

Some reasons for sleep paralysis were brought up as early as 300 BC in Chinese culture. Sleep paralysis was even used as evidence against witches during the salem with trials.

The ‘mare’ of the word ‘nightmare’ is derived from the Norse word ‘mara’. This is a term for the female figure that supposedly sits on top of you as you sleep. Which can be found in the 1500-1800 year range.

Kanashibari, meaning ‘to tie with an iron rope’ , came from one of the Buddhist gods, while some people believe that voodoo magic is the cause.

In most instances, it is believed that something or someone is sitting on the chest, or tying you down.

In our culture, we believe that aliens are the cause, well some people do.

The Experience

I will now relate to you one of my experiences.

One night I woke up abruptly in my bed, eyes glued to the ceiling. I started to hear my fan slow down, It came to a slow clicking, and stopped.

I looked around the room, and didn’t see anything. I felt very nervous, and a deep dread feeling set in. It was at that point, I realized I could not move. I tried my best to move though, I struggled and flailed in my head with no reactions.

I tried to yell as loud as I could to get my ex to wake me up or hit me or anything, but she couldn’t hear me. I fought for I don’t know how long to move, but eventually I started to move, and snapped out of it very suddenly.

For me this experience was extremely scary. Since it has happened to me so frequently and I know what it is, it is easier for me to deal with it in the moment now.

The Explanation

When your body goes to sleep, it floods your body with chemicals to help stop you from acting out your dreams. Your body stays in that state until you are ready to wake up. Before you wake up, the body stops producing the chemical so you can move again… So what happens?

Shadow People
Shadow People

Well, it goes like this, in your sleep cycle if your brain wakes up before your body during a rem cycle, say with something that startles you, the chemicals do not have time to stop acting. While your mind is free to think and look and feel, your body stays asleep. Since those chemicals are still running your mind keeps you in a dream state. So in essence you are half asleep and half awake.

When this happens you can usually get your eyes open and nothing else. Since the body can’t move it feels like pressure is on you. Hence why people think something is sitting on them.

Some people say they experience noises, or shadow people. In some cases, they even think its UFO abduction. When you realize that you know whats going on it will make it a little easier to get out of it, or to not panic so much.

The first thing you want to do, is stay calm. Just like in a dream, like I said half dreaming, you can have nightmares, or hear things that aren’t there, or see people sitting on the edge of your bed. So stay calm, its still partially a dream.

Second, don’t panic, just try to wiggle your fingers and toes. Trying to struggle yourself awake will take a lot out of you. Just keep it simple. Try to move your head, and try to talk, not yell, talk if there is someone next to you. This is why people panic, when you try to move, or to scream for help you can’t….it is one of the worst experiences I have gone through, to not be able to react in any way at all. So please, don’t panic.

If you see something too intense, just stay focused on getting your body to wake up. When you wake up, everything should go back to normal. This happens when my body snaps awake, everything goes normal again.

The Conclusion

So, now you know what is going on in your body. If this keeps happening to you, realize that there is medicine that may work to take care of it, you would have to ask a doctor about that one. Also realize that just like in your dreams, you are in control.

I would also like to mention lucid dreaming. Lucid dreams are dreams that you have control over. Now sometimes when people first start lucid dreaming they can run into a sleep paralysis episode. So just realize that this can cause it too. If you want to lucid dream or are trying…be prepared.

If you would like to sign up for my upcoming eBook ‘Unexplained Sleep’ just go to find the contact sheet at the bottom and sign up. Also check out the Paranormal Activity Blog on my website.

4 comments on “Sleep Paralysis

  1. So.. I’m a lucid dreamer and “sleep paralysis ” is NOT a side effect of lucid dreaming. Infant “sleep paralysis” as you and many not so open minded people call it. Is much more than that. It’s your consciousness separating it’s self from your vessel. It’s a means of Astral projection or out of body experience. And is very much not like a dream. It much more real and alarming. Especially to those who have no idea what is going on. In your experience you mention eventually you are able to focus on “waking up”. If you use that focus and calm yourself you’re able to separate from your own body. Though look up astral projection and out of body experiences for yourself. If you want to hear my experiences with this let me know.

    1. Hi James, I’m not the author of this article (it was a guest post by a sufferer heavily into the subject). We would love to hear your experiences and if you put them into writing we would happily publish them here in an article! Simply use the contact form here if you want to contact me – contact.
      As I said, we often take on people’s experiences and publish them here – we are happy to do it if you provide your view! 🙂
      Think about it and let us know. I own the site, my name’s Chris.

  2. In my experience sleep paralyses can be avoided by:

    1. never sleeping on your back, for some reason, sleeping on your back seems to increase your chances of experiencing sleep paralyses very significantly, you can experience it in other positions much more rarely, but most likely, if you experience it, you were sleeping on your back.

    2. avoid sleeping in high temperatures.
    For reasons I don’t really understand, the human mind is more prone to negative thoughts in warm temperatures. (Like fever dreams, basically) Sleeping in cooler temperatures can help prevent traumatic episodes of sleep paralyses, as well as ordinary nightmares. As a guide, if it’s warm enough that you’re sweating, it’s too warm. This isn’t as important as number 1, and I don’t think high temperature can cause sleep paralyses on it’s own (though it could possible make the experience worse), but this will improve all your dreams in general.

    To add some mystery to this, sometimes I’ve been able to break free and actually kill the aggressor, using various means (knives, brute\force, fire), as this is a dream, you pretty much have any weapon you can imagine at your disposal if you believe hard enough.
    And everytime I’ve managed to do that, I’ve always woken up shortly afterwards.

    What I think happens here, is that, instead of waking up, the mind actually falls back into a full on dream state, where the dreamer is no longer paralyzed and can move about the room. These dreams usually don’t last very long, and usually take place within the confines of the dreamer’s home, never really straying into a more fantastical dreamscape, it can even be a challenge to make it out of the room.
    In my experience, the farthest I ever made it was the front door, which I then opened and proceeded to sick my trusty sidekick, a rather large dog, on my aggresor, the dog dashed into the house at blazing speed, and went straight to my room, and supposedly killed the aggressor, who I had somehow, and somewhat humorously abandoned in the room, I was getting a bit sick of fighting him at this point. I woke up shortly after that.

    1. Wow thanks for this CJ – some awesome info on the subject of sleep paralysis (it’s like an article in itself!). Thanks for taking the time to write this – I know a lot of our readers of this article will appreciate it!

Leave a Reply to James Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *