What Is Sleep Paralysis and How to Deal With It

What if you woke up paralyzed? A dark and spine-chilling entity approaches your bed, looking straight in your eyes and smiling threateningly ; it knows you can’t move. It slowly climbs your bed, staring at you malevolently. It moves over your chest and you feel its extreme weight preventing you from breathing. You desperately try shouting for help, but no sound comes out of your mouth. Sounds like a nightmare? No. This is a documented medical condition known as sleep paralysis … and it’ll happen at least once to most!

Sleep Paralysis

What is sleep paralysis?

According to most who’ve experienced it, sleep paralysis is one of the scariest episodes you can go through. Historically, sleep paralysis has been mislabeled as ghost attack, demonic possession, or even extraterrestrial encounter. Having experienced the “sleep paralysis demons” myself, I understand how people can believe such things.

In a sleep paralysis episode, people wake up paralyzed, trapped in their body and sensing a malevolent presence in their room. They often get terrifying auditory, visual and even tactile hallucinations. Strangely, the most commonly reported experience is that of being asphyxiated by a demon or a witch. It is intriguing that these sleep paralysis demons have been reported by most who’ve experienced sleep paralysis.

Fortunately, sleep paralysis has been studied by scientists and a satisfying medical explanation has been found. While dreaming, the brain naturally paralyzes the body for safety reasons so that, for example, our legs don’t move when we dream about chasing a rabbit. In rare circumstances, your brain can keep your body paralyzed even though you mentally wake up. You thus find yourself lying in your bed, fully conscious, yet only able to move your eyes – as they aren’t paralyzed during sleep. Since your brain still is half-asleep, you experience the same hallucinations than occur a dream, only with your eyes open. Obviously, most people panic when they wake up paralyzed, and this fearful mental state creates very, very scary scenarios. Sleep paralysis can occur before falling asleep or upon waking up, the latter being by far the most common.

An interesting fact is that your eyes are indeed physically open during the experience, so what you see is indeed your “real room”, but mixed with the hallucinations created by your brain. I used to think the room I saw was created by my mind, but recently, someone sleeping next to me noticed my eyes being open during an experience. Freaky, isn’t it?

Sleep paralysis demon

Henri Fuseli’s depiction of sleep paralysis. The black horse represents Satan.

How to deal with sleep paralysis?

At this point, you may wish you’ll never experience sleep paralysis! I’ve actually experienced sleep paralysis hundreds of time and thus have had the opportunity to study it extensively. Although it is a frightening phenomenon to the inexperienced. Sleep paralysis can be an invaluable tool if approached and understood properly. Sleep paralysis can be used to achieve altered states of awareness and to study the nature of the mind.

So, what can you actually do besides getting scared out of your wits? The main two things I love using sleep paralysis for are meditating and lucid dreaming.

Using sleep paralysis to meditate. Since most meditation techniques usually involve starting out by relaxing the body, one can definitely use the fact that the body is asleep to achieve deep meditative and trance states super quickly. Implicitly, meditation techniques often aim to reduce your brain wave frequency. When awake, your brain will usually be in a “beta” state, which ranges from 13 to 30hz. Most beginner meditators achieve at most an “alpha” state, which ranges from 8 to 13hz…

But when you enter sleep paralysis, your brain automatically is in the “theta” state, which ranges from 4 to 8hz. This state allows for more profound meditative experiences, assuming you can cope with the initial hallucinations caused by sleep paralysis. Personally, I simply close my eyes, ignore the hallucinations and start meditating. After experimenting with many, my favorite meditation technique is Vipassana, but feel free to try your own! You’ll likely get auditory and perhaps even tactile hallucinations for a little while but keep meditating vigilantly and trust me, they’ll quickly fade away.

Using sleep paralysis to lucid dream. One of the fundamental goals when trying to lucid dream from a waking state (Wake-Induced Lucid Dreams) is to relax the body to the point where it is asleep while the mind is awake. The hardest step when attempting to lucid dream in this way is the relaxation phase, and the inability to sufficiently relax is why most people fail at it. However, if you wake up in a sleep paralysis state, 95% of the work has been done for you! Your body is fully relaxed, and the only thing left to do is to close your eyes, imagine a dream and enter it! Personally, I’ve had great success imagining myself “sinking” in bed and emerging in a new world of my choice.

Sleep paralysis can also help you fight your fears, since everything you’ll be experiencing is created by your own mind. Sleep paralysis has put me face to face with some of my fears and with time, it has become much less scary. Most of the time, I’ll just see random people looking at me, sometimes even friends of mine! They often talk, which is a great opportunity for me to “communicate” with my subconscious mind!

How to stop sleep paralysis

Although it has interesting uses, it is still useful to know how to stop sleep paralysis. This knowledge will also help not panic and maintain a calm mind during the experience.

Most tips I have read involve trying to move a toe or a finger to break the paralysis. I find this method’s efficiency to be very limited ; often enough, you won’t be able to move an inch.

The key to getting back to full wakefulness is to send a signal to your body so that it realizes that your mind is awake and stops the paralysis. Since the only two things you’ll be able to control in a full sleep paralysis are your eyes and your breath, you can take advantage of the latter and escape sleep paralysis by altering your breathing pattern. For example, by taking shorter or longer breaths, your body will notice the change and respond to it by stopping the paralysis. It takes less than 30 seconds to escape sleep paralysis with this technique.


Sleep paralysis is scary at first but it proves to be a fascinating phenomenon once you transcend the frightening stuff it induces. Your mind will be blown!

Learn to meditate today with our free meditation resources. Our technique is simple and effective: you'll see benefits after the first sit!

Gabriel Rocheleau

I'm a meditation teacher, writer and live to grow at all costs. My goal is to help you develop an effective and profoundly rewarding meditation practice.


  1. Akhil on January 15, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    Hi Gabriel,
    I am facing this stage almost daily. At first it was so freaking scary but now i am just used to it. Sleep paralysis only happens to me when i sleep again after waking up. Do you know how can i meditate during this state? i mean i tried but found it very difficult..i use to feel that i am stucked in a compact dark matter

    • Gabriel Rocheleau on June 24, 2014 at 3:52 pm

      Hello Akhil,

      Sleep paralysis can indeed be a very frightening experience at first, congratulations on crossing the “scary” stage and getting used to it!

      You’ll notice that during sleep paralysis, you are much more in touch with your body sensations, and its typically much easier to see them at a more subtle level, as tiny vibrations across the body. You can have fun watching these sensations unfolding by themselves and seeing their impermanent nature. This is insight meditation, where the goal is to understand the fundamental nature of reality.

      You can also do concentration practices, such as mindfulness of the breath or simply imagining a “color” sphere in your mind.

      Don’t be afraid to explore, reality is your playground!

      • soupflood on August 28, 2014 at 1:52 pm

        I remember I couldn’t control my breath, that’s why I lost consciousness during my first SP. The eyes are the only things under conscious control during SP.

        • Gabriel Rocheleau on August 28, 2014 at 2:08 pm

          Sleep paralysis may give you the impression that you can’t control your breath, but you can still control your diaphragm. However, since your chest and abdomen muscles are paralyzed, it may give you the impression that you are unable to breath since your amplitude of breathing is reduced.

          • soupflood on August 30, 2014 at 4:33 am

            Oh I see… so diaphragm breathing is possible if one is trained to do so.

          • Viviana on March 7, 2015 at 8:50 am

            I was worried about this. I was in a paralyzed sleep and my throat became tighter to breathe. I immediately freaked and tried moving and my body cramped up, hands inward.

  2. Christopher on June 25, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    Hey Gabriel, I experience sleep paralysis relatively often and it is very frightening. I usually wake up to something moving my arm or something getting onto my bed and I often feel as if I am being lifted or pulled upwards, this is usually accompanied by a weird sound and a tingly vibration that I feel throughout my body (similar to when there is a temperature fluctuation within the body). Luckily, all of my hallucinations are tactile, but I guess I should get to the point of my question. I have read that sleep paralysis is the perfect platform for astral projection, or I guess (maybe these two are the same thing) lucid dreaming, like you’ve mentioned. I would love to try this but I am worried that this “thing” I feel in my bed will cause a negative lucid dream/ astral projection. What do you think about this?

    Also, I am not religious or superstitious, but there is for sure something there. Most likely a projection, but I for sure feel it wants to hurt me.

    • Gabriel Rocheleau on June 25, 2014 at 10:00 pm

      Hello Christopher,

      You’re experiencing all the typical stuff that most people go through in sleep paralysis episodes. It’s important to hold in mind that all the scary stuff you’re going through is caused by your own mind, there is nothing “out there”, although I know that it definitely seems otherwise while you’re experiencing it. If you’re getting “overwhelmed” by the hallucinations, try focusing on your breathing or anything that helps your mind stay focused and not “think” as much.

      Sleep paralysis is indeed a fantastic platform for astral projection and lucid dreaming. I’ve experimented a lot with astral projection in the past, and although my experiences often seemed quite credible (i.e. “traveling in the real world”), I was never able to verify anything I found on the “astral plane” in the “real world”. I therefore consider astral projection to be a form of lucid dreaming.

      Lucid dreams (and astral projections) are VERY malleable experiences, meaning that your state of mind and thoughts will pretty much dictate your experience. It can therefore be useful to develop a positive state of mind right before projecting, as this will maximize the likelihood that you have a “good time”. However, if you have the guts for it, I would definitely suggest projecting and facing the “thing”. You’ll come out stronger.

      It can’t hurt you, it’s a barking dog with no teeth.

      • Christopher on July 30, 2014 at 10:21 pm

        Thanks for your words Gabriel, they helped me through a tough moment. I have had a few more experiences as of late and I keep my mind calm and the hallucinations aren’t as bad. I wish I could induce this state but it seems to be a gamble every time I go to bed. Do you know of a way to set yourself up for sleep paralysis? I would really like to explore this mind state further – on my own terms.

        • Gabriel Rocheleau on July 30, 2014 at 10:45 pm

          Hey Christopher! I’m glad my previous response was helpful 🙂

          To can increase the likelihood of getting sleep paralysis, I have found it very helpful to reduce the number of hours sleep I get (around 4-5 hours a night or less) and if possible, to take one or two 20-minutes naps during the day, evenly spread. When sleep deprived, your brain will naturally be much more inclined to go into REM sleep quickly, and this makes it more likely for you to be mentally awake even though your body “shuts down” into sleep paralysis. I wouldn’t recommend being too extreme with sleep deprivation and alternative sleep schedules at first though ; do it progressively and see how your body reacts.

          Also, lucid dreaming develops your capacity to be mentally aware while your body is asleep. Experienced lucid dreamers find it quite easy to switch back and forth lucid between dreaming and sleep paralysis, so you might want to look into that! Here’s an article I wrote if you want to learn how to lucid dream.

          Although harder for the inexperienced, it is also possible to enter sleep paralysis by progressively relaxing your body until it naturally enters sleep while you remain fully alert. I sometimes enter sleep paralysis when meditating lying down.

          Keep in mind that there’s always going to be an element of randomness involved, but you can increase your control with these tips and techniques!

          Let me know if that helps.

  3. Olly on July 5, 2014 at 10:44 am

    I have been really getting into meditating lately and finally got to the stage where I entered this state, seriously awesome stuff!

  4. Liz on July 30, 2014 at 11:19 am

    What’s crazy to me is the other night I had sleep paralysis and seen both the black horse and the white woman with blonde hair. Is this something that others have seen and they drew these pictures to depict what they saw? If this is the case then that means other people are seeing the same thing when they experience sleep paralysis which makes me think that it is more than a scientifical experience but really a spiritual experience. I think these are spirits we are seeing and there is an influence from them which causes these symptoms.

    • Gabriel Rocheleau on July 30, 2014 at 6:59 pm

      Hello Liz,

      It is indeed very interesting and a bit strange that you’d have seen the same things that are in that picture, which is an artist’s depiction of a sleep paralysis episode. In that picture, the woman is the one experiencing sleep paralysis, the small “demon” on her chest represents the sensation of being asphyxiated that many feel during sleep paralysis and the horse represents the evil force behind all this (here, it represents Satan since the painter was Christian).

      There does seem to be a very strange similarity between the various experiences of sleep paralysis, and this may easily lead one to believe that there must be something “out there”. From my experience though, what happens during these episodes is very strongly correlated to one’s state of mind. Since waking up to one’s paralyzed body is frightening, most minds will be scared and therefore produce scary visions or hallucinations.

      If this happens again, remember that this is a normal experience that has never harmed anyone. If it helps, focus on your breath and allow your mind to settle down. Watch how the atmosphere and environment around you progressively changes for the better as your mind becomes less frightened.

      Hope that helps and thanks for the comment!

      • Sheree on August 8, 2018 at 8:05 pm

        Nah..ive seen the same lafy with the white face and the horse on two separate occasions and it freaked me out to see an artist painting them when i googled yeeeaarrrss later.i think its definitely something “out there”.😐seriously

    • Krysta Davis on January 13, 2016 at 10:31 am

      I have seen a blonde woman but no horse she was wearing all white with blonde hair I also seen a woman with available her face that was black and she was also wearing all black and she was scary before I used to only be able to open my eyes everything else was paralyzed as the years past now I can’t open my eyes at all but I can only make a noise which I’m grateful for because when I make that noise my son shakes me and wakes me up I always wondered what it would feel like if I was going through sleep paralysis and somebody actually ship me when I come out of it and the answer is yes I do come out of it but I also noticed when there’s no one around to help me the only thing that does is praying to God and Jesus over and over say his name God in Jesus God and Jesus over and over I promise you it will work I’ve now been going through this since I was 16 years old and I’m 28 now it started when my brother said why didn’t you wake me up I was trying to call your name and he told me and explain what happened shortly after he told me it started happening to me and I have you seen things that I cannot explain things that people will call me crazy or say it was a dream and I know for a fact since I am the one that it happened to I know it was no dream it felt real and if everyone is going through sleep paralysis and seeing and dreaming about the same thing then I don’t think it’s a dream I think that somehow we cross to the side where no one can see when they are awake and I do only think that there’s certain people that have this issue and I call it an issue not a gift not a blessing a blessing is not scary and this scares me everything everyone says about it is exactly what I experienced paralyzed can’t move can’t breathe can’t talk can’t yell for no one to help me are known this is beyond scientific fact I know this has something to do with the other side like I said the only thing that snapped me out of it is God and Jesus when I say the name is so powerful God and Jesus will help you I promise it might take a second which in that case that second feels like forever but it’s better than staying in that position cuz I am scared one day I might not be able to wake up from it because of my since I’ve been praying really hard and I also change my lifestyle for the better I literally change my lifestyle I used to do things that my family and others would not approve of bad things I completely changed my lifestyle and doing way better in life doing good things doing good deeds praying lots of praying sincere praying and it hasn’t happened to me and one month until this morning I watched the documentary called nightmare from director Rodney and it made me think about it again I feel like that’s why it happened again

  5. David on August 14, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    Hi Gabriel

    I have had experienced sleep for over 15 years now it started when I was around 14 and I am now 32. I have posted a few things about my experiences over the internet so I’m going to copy and past a post of my experiences from a different website just because it is a long post and

    “Ever since i was 14 i have had spontaneous sleep paralysis as much as 5 times a week. This used to scare the hell out of me as when in SP (Sleep Paralysis) not only am i not able to move but it comes with other side effects such strange tingling to high vibrations even the feeling of being electrified not to mention the hallucinations, sounds and high pressures forming within my body.

    From the age of 17 had figured how to snap out of SP at will so i decided to confront it by bring SP on during the day as it was less scary than at night. Anyways a few years have past since i was 17

    At the age of 22 more experienced in SP and less afraid i had noticed a few observations the first thing was softer sight the softer sight can lead to my mind running wild and creating the hallucinations as it was easy to mix up a black coat hanging up to a shadow being once the thought enters my mind a shadow being would appear and take a life of its own. To stop this what i did was to scan the room once my eye sight had got use to the dark and remember how the room looked and if i could i would move anything that stands out so wasn’t able to see it when i was lying down in bed.

    The other thing was memory trying to remember anything from being in SP was like trying to remember a dream and still is to this day.

    The experiences got more complex as well i start hearing more complex sounds from machinery to animals to peoples voices the voices seemed more personal more like peoples thoughts than spoken words.

    I began to realize that i had more energy in my body it was like having a full night sleep from being in the SP state for a few minutes but the excess energy wouldn’t last and would go once i moved my physical body, on a few occasions some of the energy would last for up to an hour afterwards.

    Sometimes when I try to go further when in SP my head feels like it’s going to blow that’s the point when I stop pushing it. Also when in this state my body feels different it kind of feels detached from itself and feels more like pressure and I can move it in waves it sounds strange but it’s hard to explain.

    From aged 31 no longer afraid of sleep paralysis during the night at all. Meaning i could explore being in that state in more depth.

    Now this bit might sound really crazy but obviously being in SP i cant move any motor functions all i can do physically is move my eyelids, control eye movements and control my breathing.

    But now when in SP i can feel 2 bodies at the same time my physically body and i’m guessing my spirit body it’s hard to imagine i know. Ok so when in SP and when i try to clap my hands i can feel and hear my spiritual hands clapping but not see them and i can also feel slightly my physical body at the same time. The same thing happens when i try to touch my face with my hand i can feel my spiritual hands touching my face.

    From the first day of 2013 I’ve been able to speak back to the voices that i hear and able to get a reply from them (still not made my mind up on whether i’m speaking to spirits or whether i’m speaking to my unconscious until i get prof otherwise i’m undecided. The problem is its hard to remember the conversations i have in SP after i snap out of it.

    Another strange experience i have in SP is an extension of clapping my spiritual hands is being able to walk around my room in my spiritual body while not seeing anything but knowing where everything is i call it a dark sight or sight of feeling.

    Well i think that’s about it this could just be all in my head or i could be experiencing something otherworldly.”

    Well that was my post i don’t see things in SP now days but what i don’t see i make up with hearing and feeling oh and sight without seeing if you can get your head around that. I’ve never had the idea of meditating in SP i will have to give it a try oh i do get a type of WILD but the wild controls its self i guess my subconscious likes to be in control.

    The thing is though i will have to learn how to meditate now lol

  6. Gabriela Gonzales on January 6, 2015 at 4:22 am

    Hi so I experienced this and now am scared to sleep I felt like something was holding me down and I couldn’t breath I felt like I was dieing is this normal?

    • Gabriel Rocheleau on January 7, 2015 at 12:00 pm

      Hello Gabriela,

      Everything you have mentioned is very common and perfectly understandable. The feeling of being held down is caused by the paralysis of your chest and abdomen muscles, which give you a different sensory feedback than what you typically experience in daily life. It is not dangerous and your body does it every night, only you’re not conscious of it. It may give you the impression that you’re unable to breath, but don’t worry, your diaphragm is still well and functioning properly. This probably won’t happen again, but if it does, remember that what you’re experiencing is normal, that you’re safe and that this state is temporary and won’t last long. There’s really no need to be scared! 🙂

  7. Dakota S. on March 2, 2015 at 10:42 am

    I have been trying to lucid dream for a long time and have been avioding WILDing as much as possible because I am frightened by the thought of hallucinations, since I have never had a terrifying one yet in my life. I want to try WILDing as my last resort, since it seems to be the only one that can help me. Should I do it? I’m trying to convince myself that sleep paralysis can nbe fun, and not as terrifying as many websites have frightened me with the descriptions of it. I need some help?

  8. Christopher on March 4, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    Heya, you have replied to one of my posts before and I think I might get the same kind of answer (not that it’s a bad thing), but I had an intense experience and I would like your take on it. Again, I am not religious at all – more of a saganist than anything. So, to continue on my experience, I woke up from deep sleep and started to experience the hypnopompic sleep paralysis – I always find the hypnopomic experiences to be far more intense than the hypnagogic experiences. Anyway, I woke up paralyzed and I again felt the “presence” to the right side of my bed. I was laying on my left side and my neck was facing the direction that I felt the presence to be. I started to feel something drawing on my neck, as if a finger was making an outline of a shape. I felt it over, and over, and ever again. The shape that was being outlined was a triangle. I started to see the triangle in my minds eye, it was a copper color or close to a burnt sienna. It had a fairly thick border and the outside edges where the points would be were flat while the inside edges kept the pointed triangle shape. I laid there calmly because I’ve been trying to practice calming myself to sooth the frightening experiences, and to maybe allow myself to bridge the sleep paralysis into a lucid dream – which to my knowledge it already is. A few minutes later the feeling of the triangle being drawn on my neck stopped, but I still saw the triangle in my mind. Then I felt a hand brush over the side of my ear and face with a whisper that followed immediately after saying “I know you’re awake”.

    What do you think of this experience? I am learning to be calm as I have these hallucinations, but at times they are so weird. I’ve had them since I was young, ranging from things sitting down next to me, getting into my bed with me, and many many others.

    Also, thanks for being available for conversations on something that many would look at you like you’re crazy for mentioning.

  9. Alexi on April 3, 2015 at 10:35 am

    I’m not sure what I experienced, but I decided to try lucid dreaming and at first it was good until I tried opening my eyes. I think I was awake but my body wasn’t, but I was trying to get up and I couldn’t. My body wasn’t paralyzed necessarily, but it was entirely numb to the point where it hurt. It was like this numbness spreading through my entire body, but never stopping. Kind of like when your foot falls asleep, but intensified a lot. I was kind of going from dream to dream too. It was kind of like I was in my own body in between each dream or something, and when I tried to wake up, I opened my eyes and there was this girl that looked really creepy, and they were trying to force me to go back into a dream. It kind of felt like I was drugged because my eyes kept falling shut half way but I wouldn’t let them close. And I could move around but everything was numb so it hurt a lot. Every time I went to go to another dream, a big wave of this numbness/pain would rush over my body and when I tried to refuse it, I would feel a line of excruciating pain going down the right side of my back, and it was going from the bottom to the top, it felt like something stuck a claw into my back and was moving it from top to bottom. As for me going from room to room, I was kind of submerged into darkness and when I felt the numbness/pain (not the thing on my back) it was like I was in my own body because the lighting was the same as it was in my room. And one more thing, when my body finally woke up, the exact spot on my back hurt a lot. I was wondering if this sounds like sleep paralysis? Because I was reading about it and it just doesn’t really fit the description of what happened to me.

    • Hachibukai on March 18, 2017 at 7:35 pm

      I just experienced this. I don’t have other dreams however. I just woke up in my room, it was dark but i remember exactly that when i fell asleep it was daytime. I panicked a bit and the only thing i can move is my eyes and face, it was where the lamp on my bedside illuminated. So i tried bringing up my hands to the lighted spot and slapped myself. My hands were so heavy and tried pinching myself i recalled i could feel the pain.. Then a hand tried to grab my left arm in which i yanked away. Everytime i thought i saw something i close my eyes. I did it about 5x. I knew then i was in a dream but i can’t seem to wake up.from it as everytime i opened my eyes its still dark. Now im scared to sleep alone. 🙁

  10. Sebastian on June 2, 2015 at 9:13 pm

    Since i started working on midnights SP have become a thing on my life. I always go to sleep around 9 am and wake up at 3 pm and i will sleep just fine, but if i want to sleep more before going to work i will get SP. I learned how to break my sp but if i try to go with it and stay calm thats when i get scared because i feel like im not breathing. Since i cant get rid off sp i try to lucid dream but when i feel that i cant breath i stop. Any tips

    • Gabriel Rocheleau on June 2, 2015 at 9:28 pm

      Hey Sebastian,
      I also get frequent SP when I sleep irregularly. Great to hear you know how to break it!
      You say you get SP only when you get additional sleep before work. SP is easily triggered when your brain is more active (preoccupied with waking up at the right time, anxiety, aversion, etc.) Also, are you eating/consuming caffeine/alcohol before that nap? Perhaps you can prevent SP by eliminating some of these. Wish you success!

  11. Dominic crossley on June 9, 2015 at 9:29 pm

    Hello , I was just wondering can you just get sp by thinking about it , as I have never had it and not know about it really until recent times , and now I know more about it can’t stop thinking about it and am tbh pretty freaked out. Once in get something in my head I find it hard to forget.So was just wondering is it possible for it just to trigger in me for stressing about it and overthinking. I recently saw a film about it and can’t get the images out of my head so I’m feeling It will happen to me now. Thanks

    • Gabriel Rocheleau on June 9, 2015 at 10:00 pm

      Hey Dominic,
      If you’ve never had sleep paralysis before, chances are that getting informed about it won’t change that. Sleep paralysis is different from a nightmare. Nightmares usually have psychological causes (for example stress). On the other hand, sleep paralysis usually happens because of physiological causes (for example lack of sleep).

      Even if it was to happen, which is unlikely, remember that you can stop it with a simple trick. Close your eyes, and alter your breathing pattern (oscillate between fast and slow breathing). This will wake you up quickly.

      There’s no reason to be scared. You can sleep without worries (and even if you worry, it won’t cause sleep paralysis).

  12. Nessa Ness on July 23, 2015 at 9:50 pm

    I have experienced sp only once when I was about 16 years old. I was falling at high speeds and i was awake and i was paralysed i could not move my body, I panicked… It was an awful experience and one i wish too never experience again. I always wondered what that was, at that age I had never heard of sp before. It is really quite fascinating and reading these posts it seems its quite common.

  13. Brandon on August 1, 2015 at 5:35 pm

    Hey Gabriel,
    I first began getting sleep paralysis when I was very young, about 5 or 6. It would always occur at the end of the same nightmare that would continue to play out until I was able to shake out of the sp. At that young age I did not know what it was, why it happened or that it was sp. I only realized this until I was about 15 and I had another episode which would be followed by many more to this day (I’m 20 now). Although I do not get the frightening nightmares anymore it is always accompanied by a vast range of side effects – different effects each time. Such as ringing noises, seeing completely white, total awareness of my surrounding although my eyes are closed, tingling that leads to almost a convulsing sensation, feeling sucked into my mattress, feeling someone that I know in the bed next to me, etc.

    Because theses episodes have yet to stop occurring my experiences are numerous for I have these episodes relatively frequently. Reluctantly I’m pretty used to it happening so it doesn’t really bother me anymore. Although it does get very old and tiring.

    Thus recently, I’ve come to the conclusions that I want to allow sp to run it’s course, but I have yet to see any legitimate testimony other than your’s in one of the previous comments. Can you share you experiences and what it is like getting past the scarier parts of sp?

    • Gabriel Rocheleau on August 10, 2015 at 8:33 am

      Hey Brandon,

      Great to hear you’re not bothered by sleep paralysis anymore. Very few people can say that. Congratulations!

      I really like your comment and I can relate to a lot of the experiences you mention. Especially ringing noises and seeing completely white. In fact, these two types of experiences are one of the main reasons why I got into all of this (meditation/sleep paralysis/lucid dreaming/) in the first place. I vividly remember lying down as a teenager and watching my body sensations. I gradually felt waves of sensations arising along with a very loud high-pitched ringing noise. It may sound weird, but it was absolutely clear that the sound was coming from “inside”. At some point, the experience was so overwhelming that I had to forcefully try to stop it

      As for my experiences, they are incredibly varied. They of course are more enjoyable now that I’m not afraid of sleep paralyis. Here are a few experiences that happened in the last week:

      – When taking a nap at a friend’s place, I woke up paralysed numerous times and repeatedly remember her looking at me and talking, although she wasn’t.
      – I remember getting sleep paralysis and feeling a strong sense of anxiety. Although it was a “negative feeling”, it helped me gain insight into some subconscious anxieties that I was having. Even though I wasn’t aware of them in daily life, sleep paralysis made them rise to the surface, and I could then deal with them properly.
      – When going to sleep, I quickly entered sleep paralysis and then created a fairy-tailish lucid dream to enter. I can hardly recall it now, but I remember it had to do with space, sort of like in “The Little Prince” (which I read a week back).
      – While meditating lying down yesterday, my body gradually “shut down”. I could feel parts of my body getting micro-spasms while I was entering sleep paralysis. A feeling of lightness then emerged, and I drifted off into an awesome semi-lucid dream.

      Sometimes I simply get sleep paralysis without hallucinations. When paralysed, my body awareness is always very vivid and my thought patterns somewhat different. Just like in normal dreams, I find it hard to recall “normal” life when in sleep paralysis, an vice-versa. They’re two different worlds, and I’d speculate that their memories are perhaps stored in different parts of the brain.

      Hope that’s helpful,

      Thanks for your comment!

  14. priyanka on September 23, 2015 at 10:25 am

    Hi gabriel, wonderful article i must say. I personally experience sleep paralysis once a while (luckily not too frequent).. Especially mornings when i shut off alarm and go back to sleep next time i try to wake up this happens.. I am stuck in my bed and tryin to move vigorously sometimes its the same bed where I m sleeping sometimes a different scene. But eitherways after a few attempts to move my legs and hands i manage to wake up could be few minutes. Funny enough once I was doing morning Vipassana meditation (lying down) and I went to sleep after saying sadhu sadhu sadhu! 🙂 and then I had a series of sleep paralysis dreams like 3-4. Well.. from next time I will try to stop fighting it lot and just meditate.. And only once have I had the feeling of someone holding my hands down, I remembr taking those hands balling up that invisible being and projecting some electric ultra violet light sourcing from crown chakra.. and throwing that ball away.. 🙂 I guess first step is to stop being scared.. lot of the fears are just rooted in our minds.. we need to throw them away!

  15. Caroline on October 18, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    A particularly frightening episode of sleep paralysis last night is what set me on the internet to do more research on the topic – I was with three friends of mine, and each of us could see a dark entity in the room (my bedroom), yet it was lurking in different locations for each of us. For example, I saw it sitting at the foot of my bed next to one girl, while she saw it hovering over the shoulder of another. The entire time, none of us were able to move.

    Yet looking back, I have a few questions about some previous experiences I’ve had. While I have had experiences with some scarier hallucinations, there have been numerous occasions where I’ve fallen in a dream (off a cliff, slipping on a patch of ice, etc.). Often I’ll be jerked awake accompanied by the sensation of falling, yet occasionally I will ‘hit the ground’ and be unable to move for several minutes. I will feel as though I’ve been jerked into consciousness upon impact, yet it will take time for my body to wake up. What I’m really asking is, is this a form of sleep paralysis? Even though I’m not hallucinating?

  16. Ronan on November 24, 2015 at 8:30 am

    Just had what I assume to be sleep paralysis, but thought I should ask questions.

    It started as a dream. Colorful room with lots of people and music. I was at a table with some people. Someone I feel like I know said, “I wonder what would happen if I tried to kill him (me)” Someone else said, “You wouldn’t get a chance.” I asked “What do you mean?” and the second person reached behind my left ear and snapped their finger. I heard what sounded like a dozen different sounds all at once, like a bunch of AM radios trying to tune all at once, and then I was suddenly awake in my bed and I couldn’t move. I grunted a little in my panic and saw someone across my bed. I tried and tried to force myself to reach to them but as soon as I was able to move my arm they disappeared and everything was back to “normal”.

    Does this sound like a sleep paralysis moment?

    • Gabriel Rocheleau on November 24, 2015 at 10:22 am

      Hello Ronan,
      This definitely sounds like sleep paralysis. A good deal of sleep paralysis experiences happen right after a dream, and I’ve experienced similar sounds than the ones you describe!

  17. Prerna on November 27, 2015 at 2:02 am

    It happened to me last year on a daily basis and continued for about 6 months. I used to dream in loops, knew that I was dreaming but couldn’t move or wake up. I used to be so scared that even after I woke up, it used to take me minutes to realize whether I was awake or still dreaming. I was scared to sleep and used to feel tired and sleepy throughout the day. It stopped around 6 months back and has again started coming back. But I try not to panic and keep myself calm now. It helps me in getting out of that stage faster than before.

  18. jay richardson on February 2, 2016 at 2:25 am

    I have been dealing with this for 20 years and I’m finally able to put a name to it. I usually enter this state waking from a nightmare or dream. I’ve been observed sleeping with my eyes open . I can see my surroundings and while occasionally positive most of the time I wake myself by screaming in my head and thrashing without actually moving. I’ve experienced most of the nightmares you listed . Luckily I recognize when I’m in this state and am good at waking myself. A few things that help I sleep in view of my television that’s on. The changing images give me something to focus on. Also smoking weed helps to curb my dreaming.

  19. Jamie on March 28, 2016 at 12:48 pm

    Im not sure if what im experiencing is sleep paralysis. So after i sleep either i dream of something with a scary vibe or like a loud scary sound then i try to wake myself up and when i do..ill fall back again to sleep then a different scary dream will happen then ill wake myself up again and try to change sleeping position then it repeats. It repeats like around 3-5x a day even if im beside my hubby. Most recent, he said when i start to shake he tries to wake me up. And again ill sleep and it repeats with him waking me up. Is this sleep paralysis?

  20. Izzah on April 11, 2017 at 5:39 pm

    Even before reading this article I did all the things that are written to break my sleep paralysis. I started to breathe faster and then although my whole body felt numb I moved a finger. But once the sleep paralysis was broken and I woke up I was shit scared and didn’t wanna sleep again. This happens to me very often…. do you think it can also happen more often because of some medical issues like a defeciency or something?

    • Gabriel Rocheleau on April 12, 2017 at 11:17 pm

      Hello Izzah,

      I can relate a lot to what you mention! From my experience, sleep paralysis happens much, much more often if I’m sleeping at weird hours or not sleeping enough. I don’t know what your sleep routine is, but if possible you could try establishing a healthier one : less coffee/alcohol, more overall sleep and regular hours!

  21. Emmy Cooper on August 14, 2017 at 2:42 am

    I have often experienced sleep paralysis and still find it very scary. This morning it happened, I went back to bed after my husband left for work and went back to sleep leaving the bedside light on. When I tried to wake up I saw my room, but then the room started to turn sideways, so I start fighting to wake up properly for I’m aware that I’m having one of those cannot wake up, I always call on the Lord to help me wake and I do. Sometimes I try to call my husband when he’s sleeping and can’t get sound out, but I do seem to make noise for it wakes him, then he shakes me and that wakes me up proper. I always get out of bed, for if I try to fall asleep straight away I go back to the same thing. Scary stuff. I do have nasal problems and don’t breathe regularly, always thought it was that, but this morning I wrote what happened into google and found some info on the subject and am glad I’m not the only one. Had a scary experience after watching one of those 3d movies where you have to wear glasses. After the movie I went to the ladies room and while in there the whole room started to turn upside down, that was very scary, and that’s what happened this morning, the room started to turn upside down. I try not to sleep in the day as I’m a light sleeper and don’t want to lie awake at night, and really wish this wouldn’t happen again. I always have the feeling that if I do try and sleep again when I’m in that state that I won’t wake up again.

    • Gabriel Rocheleau on August 14, 2017 at 11:07 pm

      Hello Emmy.
      I can understand that this experience scares you. Rest assured that it is not dangerous, your brain is only playing tricks on your since it is freaking out about being paralyzed. Next time it happens, simply close your eyes & take slow and deep breaths (you can still control your lungs!). This will help you relax and wake up.

  22. Sameer on October 3, 2017 at 6:47 am

    It used to happen to me when I was on Zanax. Not an interesting experience for sure. Usually when I was about to wake up.

  23. natalie on February 4, 2018 at 4:36 am

    before i woke up i saw a picture of a man and a black horse then i was about to wake up but suddenly the horse appeared in my room and quickly step into my chest and i was unable to move and cant ask for help thankfully my auntie wake me up im so scared because of the black horse and i had read here that the black horse symbols satan

  24. George on August 9, 2019 at 9:01 pm

    i often get it .. but yesterday was my worst .. i couldn’t swing for anything for a while and saw a whitish prospect of coming to me and listening to weird noises and feeling really weird .. out of my fear i just shut down my eyes not to look at the white face ..if it is the white face because I am not sure at all .. why the white face?? Why white ? Why the same thing all the time just getting stronger and harder for me to wake up? because what kind of dress was so different? what can I do to avoid panic?

    • Gabriel Rocheleau on August 13, 2019 at 10:31 am

      Hi George. Sounds like you had a pretty terrifying experience. In my experience, the hallucinations produced by sleep paralysis seem to be random, and do not hold specific meanings. I would recommend, to the degree that you are able, to try to meditate during these kinds of experiences. The mental alertness and physical relaxation that characterize sleep paralysis are highly conducive to deep and interesting meditation states.
      Wishing you the best,

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