8 Terrifying Facts About Sleep Paralysis

Terrifying Facts About Sleep Paralysis

Have you ever woken up at night and found yourself unable to move? You were awake, you wanted to shout, but felt as if something was holding you back? Well, chances are that spooky feeling you experienced might be sleep paralysis

Many people misunderstand this for an encounter with something paranormal, but it is simply a medical condition. An average person needs to sleep for approximately eight hours per day. And we all know how important it is to have a good night’s sleep. It maintains our mental and physical health.

However, a good night’s sleep isn’t easily achieved, or they are disturbed by this bizarre occurrence known as sleep paralysis.

What is Sleep Paralysis?

Sleep paralysis is characterized by a brief loss of muscle control, known as atonia, that occurs immediately after falling asleep or waking up. During episodes of sleep paralysis, people frequently experience hallucinations in addition to atonia.

It occurs when your mind wakes before your body has had a chance to. You can breathe normally, see and understand everything around you, but cannot move a muscle no matter how hard you try. When sleep paralysis occurs, the feelings that run through your mind are overwhelming, and the entire experience can be described as terrifying.

Many people have reported strange sounds or sudden movements that startle them up at night. Others have stated that they have difficulty breathing or they feel as if they are being choked. These vivid and terrifying dreams can last from a few seconds to several minutes.

Medically speaking, there are no serious risks associated with sleep paralysis however, you may experience mental or physical stress.

8 Terrifying Facts About Sleep Paralysis
8 Terrifying Facts About Sleep Paralysis

Here Are 8 Terrifying Facts About Sleep Paralysis

1. No one knows for sure what causes it

Many people believe that sleep paralysis takes place for unexplained reasons and has a paranormal element to it. However, even if there is no definitive cause or explanation, science and researchers suggest that there are some contributing factors that may trigger sleep paralysis.

It could be due to genetic factors or a lack of sleep, others believe it could be due to changes in sleeping schedules or sleeping on one’s back.

Lastly, stress and anxiety are some of the factors because these medical conditions can keep you awake at night, disrupting your sleep patterns and cycles. This increases your chances of experiencing sleep paralysis. Find ways to cope with stress and anxiety, such as increasing your physical activity or practising mindfulness.

Read Sleep Paralysis: Main Causes and Treatments

2. It feels like you’re dead 

Many tend to associate waking up and being unable to move or to speak while being mentally awake with the feeling of being dead.

You’re unable to move, you try calling for help only to discover that no words are being uttered from your mouth. This may feel as if you’re being choked because not enough air is getting through to you. But, you’re alive and these episodes don’t last for only a few seconds to a few minutes.

3. It can happen when you’re trying to fall asleep

It doesn’t just happen when you wake up. It can happen at two points during the sleep cycle when your body is transitioning into and out of the REM (deep sleep) stage. It usually occurs when the body has difficulty making these transitions while exiting in and out of the REM cycle. 

If it happens while you’re falling asleep, it’s known as hypnagogic sleep paralysis, if it happens while you’re awake, it’s known as hypnopompic sleep paralysis. Unfortunately, the reason why the body can’t transition smoothly is still unknown.

According to the sleep paralysis project’s researchers, people who sleep on their backs are more likely to experience sleep paralysis than people who sleep in any other position.

Read What Is REM Sleep? Why Is It Important For You

63 thoughts on “8 Terrifying Facts About Sleep Paralysis”

  1. Avatar of Prema

    ..yaa… this happens to me, though the frequency is less now…one more thing i want to add here,…in that particular phase, most of the time, i feel the warm touch like somebody touching you gentally for a while…but then being helpless, i just go on praying and taking the names of my gurus in my mind and wait till the time it slows down…!…and now i am not much afraid of it…, as it really doesn’t cause seriously to the body once it gets awaken…all we need to do is to be reluctant mentally and yet an observant to all the happening…!.. it surely lessen your fear then, whatever it may be as a sort of frequently experienced experience…

  2. Avatar of Beverly

    Yes this has happened to me many times you ever had a out of body out of mind experience I get it backwards sometimes or out of mind out of body I think I had it the first time I have those experiences also

  3. Avatar of Milton

    Sleep paralysis is one of the classic symptoms of narcolepsy, which is excessive daytime sleepiness even after a full night’s sleep and drinking large amounts of coffee. Other symptoms include waking dreams, and cataplexy. A sleep study will reveal if narcolepsy is the cause.

  4. Avatar of Karoline

    You can always regulate your respiratory system because it’s autonomic.
    When you realize you’re having an episode you simply start breathing rapidly almost hyperventilating. This has woken Me up each time.

  5. Avatar of Hein

    A year ago this happened to me, almost every time i tried to get some sleep, for over a month. I think it had something to do with me quitting smoking weed after a weird bad trip involving all kinds of drugs. It was horrifying the first times it happened, because i was resisting instead of accepting. It was a scary place till i saw it for what it was; a play of my imagination. You are always incharge of your dreams and toughts. When this occurs to me again, and i can happily say it didn’t for a long time, i close my eyes and focus on my breathing. When my breath is at ease i fall back in sleep modus and wake up in total controll of my body. Fear is a creation of the mind, it doesn’t have to exist. Enjoy your days and nights.

  6. Avatar of serendipity happens
    serendipity happens

    I forgot to mention, that when I can not breathe during the event of sleep paralysis, I try to call for help, but my ability to talk, is also cut off. It is one of the most frightening events that happens to me quite frequently, and I wish that I knew how to prevent it. My husband has shared with me, that he is quite certain that I astral project quite frequently, and I often have dreams that I am with my son, when this happens, and he passed away in November 2014. When I visit him, I never have the sleep paralysis, but the dreams are quite clear and lucid.

  7. Avatar of serendipity happens
    serendipity happens

    This has happened to me quite frequently, but worse than what this states. My body is paralyzed during the episode, plus I can not breathe. My ability to move, sit up, and wake up is associated with a lack of ability to even take a breath of air. My doctor has stated that it may be related to sleep apnea, but after a full discussion about it with her, she said that I do not have the signs, nor symptoms of sleep apnea. It has not happened in a while, but it has caused ma a terrible fear of going to sleep at night. It has even happened during a nap, several times. Can anyone else relate to this? I would truly like to know how I might prevent this from ever occuring again.

  8. Avatar of Dana

    Used to have it regularly and felt like a tornado touching down in/on my skull. I trained myself to control the tornado and was able to move it around inside my skull. Often was associated with weird visions and the more I focused on the whirlwind the stronger it got till I felt I was in a wind tunnel and several times took off in the wind to hover above the room and to the sky even. This was in my college years…As I got older it became rare and now only happens once every few years. Probably because I’m not focused on it any more. The more I concentrated on the wind the more intense it was and more frequently it came. Usually was when I was restless and feeling warm and couldn’t sleep and in a half state half asleep it would come with the familiar roar in the ears which became the whirlwind tornado as I focused more on it… To get out of the state I tried with all my might to move my jaw by just a millimeter and that would usually make it go away. Sometimes the visions were heavenly but often it was just pure energy and sound. Often the sound also came in waves like the whooshing of a fan and as I focused more the frequency of the waves increased until it became an audible tone (like a car starting up -revving )… Eventually I gave up seeking it as my spiritual seeking became more heart-centered and less worried about phenomena.

  9. Avatar of Khan

    I feel a loud sound like a blast when I keep my right or left temple on pillow and after few minutes, Suddenly, I feel a loud sound like a bomb blast. What does it happen, can anyone explain, rightly ?

  10. Avatar of GregR

    I’ve had this happen to me numerous times. it seems like I’m awake, and for some reason I feel like I want to yell “hey” like to call somebody because I can’t move, but I can’t speak either. I’ve never seen or felt anybody in my room. There were times when I was falling asleep I could feel it coming on. There’s a certain feeling that I get where I know it’s going to happen. Also, when these events occur, it seems like I’m partly awake and I’ve felt what feels like an earthquake. Also there’s a sensation of a lot of wind blowing by me in an upward direction. When the paralysis thing happens, I think I’m awake, but I think I’m just dreaming I’m awake.

  11. Avatar of Chazzo

    It’s the beginning stage of astral projection. Because you become scared because you can’t move (you use your mind to move in this situation, not your physical body) then you attract fear based entities to you. You can learn to shake yourself awake, or you can research what this truly is. You’re seeing the realm adjacent to this one, called the astral realm through your 3rd eye. This can be strengthened. You can go from seeing negative entities and not moving, to seeing the loving beings who are with us from before birth and actually exploring other more pleasant realms. It’s society with the scary movies and stories n shit that make us more afraid of this than we should be. This is actually more natural than we really know yet on this side of the world.

    1. Avatar of Denice

      Chazzo..any thoughts or reference material on how to train yourself during paralysis to Not be afraid and attract the negative entities and instead attract the positive loving beings? Ive experienced this for all of my life and just feel like the Devil is trying to steal my soul!!! Terrifying doesn’t even describe it!

    2. Avatar of Mary

      Excellent. We move through time as we sleep and dream. Alternate realities. Once we acknowledge this as a positive and natural thing, it can be used to download what Self knows, without thinking. Medical society wants to create Fear around it and call it a disease, so that we can be controlled by the drugs they prescribe for our condition. If we will realize our true purpose and power in the Universe, we can initiate the changes needed to live and love peacefully on this Earth. She is patiently waiting for us to get it. We are One.

  12. Avatar of Patrick Poulsen

    Happens before a lucid dream and also regularly before you astral project. Don’t be scared, embrace it and relax. Stay aware and don’t fight it. Now prepare for awesomeness. ??

  13. Avatar of Fraser Sigsworth


    1. Avatar of Barb Kobishop

      Yes….I have experienced it many times and I agree that it is a preliminary stage to astral projecting. I just breathe now and relax into it and go…..where it takes me.

  14. Avatar of Alexandre Trépanier

    Happened to me once when i was very young.. was really afraid.. found ways to move bit by bit until i drop myself on the floor from my bed to wake my body up and it helped a little but took some time but heck i still remember it like it was yesterday..

  15. Avatar of Rohis Sangroula

    Worst nightmare ever experienced. I’ve experienced it 3 times, I felt like someone was pressing my whole body and I literally couldn’t move except I was fully concious of everything, I tried to visualize it and saw something sitting on my chest but it was so dark like a perfect black body. But, last time when I experienced, as soon as I woke up , maybe after a minute of struggling I heard some noise on my window, felt like some evil spirit left through my window..

    1. Avatar of Dhari Dhulaei

      Elmina Sagga The main reason is sleeping with a full stomach and I usually eat before I sleep, but there are plenty of other reasons why this can happen to a person. Al Yathoom is explained to Muslims and scientists should read the Quran to find the answers.

  16. Avatar of Burnum Vickie

    Has happened to me once when I was taking a nap during my teenage years. Now before I fall asleep I sometimes hear loud noises only to awake and nothing going on. I read that it is the same cause.

  17. Avatar of Kaeren Moore

    Ooh after someone spoke bout this last year it seemed to prompt my body into having this experience it wad mad!!! Turned over in bed then suddenly my body froze and felt a huge weight on me i tried to call hubby to help me but cudnt speak or yell it was extremely scarey but thank goodness it lasted podsibly seconds or a minute!!! I dont want it to happen ever again – no likey :(((

    1. Avatar of Rosie CB

      Been happening to me for years, I really thought I was going a bit cracked! Its a proper sleep disorder though, think it is a electrical fault somewhere lol

    2. Avatar of Kaeren Moore

      Omg how awful it possibly put’s you off going to bed to sleep not looking forward to it happening :/ then comes sleep deprevation and so circle begins eh 🙁

  18. Avatar of Monika Meier

    I often happens to me, when I wake up early in the morning and decide to sleep a little bit longer. It doesn’t frighten me anylonger and sometimes I even can determine what I want to “dream” during this time. But earlier I desperately tried to move and get up, I was terrified and when my body finally woke up, I was exhausted and sweaty.

  19. Avatar of Monika Meier

    I often happens to me, when I wake up early in the morning and decide to sleep a little bit longer. It doesn’t frighten me anylonger and sometimes I even can determine what I want to “dream” during this time. But earlier I desperately tried to move and get up, I was terrified and when my body finally woke up, I was exhausted and sweaty.

  20. Avatar of Kurt

    It has happened several times when I sleep on my back and during the day. Once it happened when sleeping on the couch. I devised that if I took my arms and dropped my leg off the couch it would jolt me awake. I did it. I woke up (shortly there after) only to find my arms tucked at my side and both legs on the couch. But it felt so real. LOL. I’ve tried screaming for help. Nada. I have awoken to an apparition as well. It said to me “Aren’t you feeling chilly”. I lashed out at it and woke up. Bright and early the following morning I met an old lady at the bus stop. She asked how my sleep was. I said “It was great, thanks”. She replied, “Are you sure you didn’t have nightmares?” I guess there is a “scientific” explanation. Yeah right!

  21. Avatar of Vicky Mulroy

    I’ve never had this happen though hear people swear it does to them. Though oddly enough since I’m a realist.. Have woken up twice in my lifetime to something figure-like staring at me while I was sleeping. Maybe I’m just too scary for them to approach closer & hold me down. lol

  22. Avatar of Karim Gayraud

    yup… spent my childhood running in my older sister bed and slept with all the lights ON. Then, we did not have Internet to research sleep paralysis and OBE, so I had to deal with ghost, spirits stories, posession and such, which made it even worst. It took me 30 odd years to get a handle on it, and learn what it trully is. Though all is under control today, the consequences are that I am a night owl now !

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