19 votes

Have you ever experienced Sleep Paralysis?

Sleep Paralysis might be one of the most horrifying experiences one could go through.

Personally i had it only once, now about a year ago i think; i really don't know what it was caused by, but i sure as hell am glad it has never occurred since. During my specific episode i was just unable to move - no hallucinations ensued - but it was still one of the worst things i've had the displeasure of feeling.

Now you might be wondering 'if this has happened to you long ago and never had it since, what prompted you to ask about it?'

Well, yesterday i ended up watching this video; now i'm morbidly fascinated by this horrifying yet somewhat captivating condition.

18 comments

  1. CALICO Link
    I've experienced it only once myself, maybe 15 years ago or so. Unable to move, entirely lucid, and I felt extreme terror as I hallucinated a small group of shadow people (which I interpreted as...

    I've experienced it only once myself, maybe 15 years ago or so.
    Unable to move, entirely lucid, and I felt extreme terror as I hallucinated a small group of shadow people (which I interpreted as aliens [read a lot of UFO stories as a kid]) standing on the side of my bed. The closest figure was leaning over me and was injecting or implanting something in my arm. The next morning during my shower I was utterly convinced that a tiny freckle on the inside of my elbow was the injection site. I never told anyone, and it wasn't until a few years later when I discovered the Wikipedia page on Sleep Paralysis did I understand what I had experienced.

    Really bizarre. I'd kind of love for it to happen again sometime, with a more mature mind and an understanding of what it is going into it.

    8 votes
  2. UniquelyGeneric Link
    Happened to me about 3 times, all in roughly the past 3-4 years. The first time was terrifying, but I was aware what sleep paralysis was, and that helped me to rationalize through it. My roommate...

    Happened to me about 3 times, all in roughly the past 3-4 years. The first time was terrifying, but I was aware what sleep paralysis was, and that helped me to rationalize through it. My roommate in college had experienced it a couple times and described it to me, and I had the same symptoms this time around as well. Eyes open. Completely immobile. The scary part of it is that despite knowing what was going on, the act of being completely immobile is incredibly claustrophobic. I would have hyperventilated if I could even control my breathing. Once I broke out of the paralysis, I was immediately gasping for air. The experience reminded me of the sensation of "getting the wind knocked out of you". I don't know if it was actually a form of sleep apnea, but I'm reminded of reading how in space the air needs to circulate or else you wake up in your own carbon dioxide pocket of air, which produces the suffocating effect.

    The most recent time I had sleep paralysis occur, I had the other scary side effect of feeling watched by some "other" being. I had this nightmarish dream wherein a decaying, zombie version of my mother walked into my closed bedroom. She slowly approached my bed menacingly, while I lay there staring at her. My screams were either muffled or choked out by the paralysis and I can say I was struck by terror in that moment. When I broke out of the dream/paralysis, I again had a shortness of breath and was deeply shaken.

    It might be relevant to point out I've had night terrors before, wherein I've woken up screaming, but those have occurred in the same frequency as my episodes of sleep paralysis (albeit since I was a kid). The same college roommate I referenced at the beginning was also known for regular sleep talking, and I have been known to do the same when sleep deprived. I'm not sure I can attribute any other factor into the onset of sleep paralysis, as they seem to have occurred sporadically in different environments, but I certainly do not look forward to the next one (if it happens).

    4 votes
  3. Yugioh_Mishima Link
    Once, when I was fourteen. I suddenly shot awake around 1AM, hyper aware of a malevolent presence that I couldn’t see in the corner of my bedroom by the window. I stared at that corner without...

    Once, when I was fourteen. I suddenly shot awake around 1AM, hyper aware of a malevolent presence that I couldn’t see in the corner of my bedroom by the window. I stared at that corner without moving until at least 3AM as if my life depended on it.

    Interestingly, it didn’t occur to me that I couldn’t have moved if I’d tried until years later, when I watched a documentary about sleep paralysis called The Nightmare. At the time it seemed like I was just too afraid of drawing the presence’s attention to myself to move. Had I actually tried and realized I physically couldn’t it would’ve been a much more panicky experience, as I’m very claustrophobic and react poorly to having my movement restrained in any way. As it were, I got off easy not knowing I was paralyzed too.

    3 votes
  4. Silbern Link
    Relative to everyone else here, yeah, quite a bit. As a kid, I used to experience it maybe 7 or 8 times a year: roughly once every 6-8 weeks. These days a lot less often, but still once or twice a...

    Relative to everyone else here, yeah, quite a bit. As a kid, I used to experience it maybe 7 or 8 times a year: roughly once every 6-8 weeks. These days a lot less often, but still once or twice a year. Oddly enough, I've never gotten the terror and panic that a lot of folks report, I just wake up unable to move for a couple minutes. I'm not bothered by it and never have directly, but most of the times I've woken up into it have been from very intense dreams or especially nightmares (which suck).

    3 votes
  5. [3]
    Heichou Link
    Yep! Whenever I fall asleep on my back, I'm whisked away to nightmare shadow-figure dimension! My most vivid memory was one night I woke up, couldn't move, and started freaking out internally. I...

    Yep! Whenever I fall asleep on my back, I'm whisked away to nightmare shadow-figure dimension! My most vivid memory was one night I woke up, couldn't move, and started freaking out internally. I forced my eyeballs to the right slightly, and found that I was sleeping next to a skeleton! Not moving, not showing any signs of autonomy, just tucked in next to me. Naturally, I started freaking out harder. The snickering hands of sleep paralysis withdrew over time and I promptly turned on all lights in my room.

    I can usually snap out of it by attempting to shake the shit out of one hand. I'll be able to move one finger, then a few fingers, then a hand, an arm, and finally I'm out of it. I'll shake my head vigorously (a trick I use when I know/figure I'm dreaming and I want out pronto) to dissipate any leftover apparitions and then struggle to fall asleep. These days when it happens, I'll just shut my eyes tightly and hope my brain doesn't conjure up a nightmare creature just to force open my eyes. The last time I realized it was happening, shadow figures started surrounding me from various parts of my room and I figured seeing nothing at all was better than seeing what the hell would happen when they all got to me. Fun times, overall!

    3 votes
    1. [2]
      goodbetterbestbested Link Parent
      Well, don't leave us hanging. Was the skeleton surprised when you turned on the lights suddenly?

      Well, don't leave us hanging. Was the skeleton surprised when you turned on the lights suddenly?

      1. Heichou Link Parent
        As I regained motion, I heard a clickety clackety and a bony snickering as the skeleman dismantled himself entirely, evaporated into dream dust, and escaped through a small crack in my room. I...

        As I regained motion, I heard a clickety clackety and a bony snickering as the skeleman dismantled himself entirely, evaporated into dream dust, and escaped through a small crack in my room. I still think about him sometimes

  6. talklittle Link
    Happened to me a few times. Most embarrassing was at a sleepover long time ago, friend's dad walked into room to say hi to everyone but I couldn't move or speak even though my eyes were open. Was...

    Happened to me a few times. Most embarrassing was at a sleepover long time ago, friend's dad walked into room to say hi to everyone but I couldn't move or speak even though my eyes were open. Was awkward.

    In retrospect every time it's happened to me, I was dehydrated, but didn't know at the time.

    3 votes
  7. Grawlix (edited ) Link
    A few times! Luckily I don't get major hallucinations like many other people do. The first time was awful because I wondered if I had some kind of sudden permanent condition, but after that it's...

    A few times! Luckily I don't get major hallucinations like many other people do.

    The first time was awful because I wondered if I had some kind of sudden permanent condition, but after that it's been merely bad. I still wake up confused and may misinterpret things (like seeing a coat hung up as a tall hooded figure), and once I realize what's going on, just trying to move my fingers for a bit seems to help bring me out of it. All I can do is twitch them a little at first, then eventually it's like a wave as my body feels less heavy and able to move again. I guess it feels like I'm awake to feel my body waking up.

    I actually wonder if it happened to me as a kid, because I do remember having nightmares where I was paralyzed by fear.

    Hasn't happened to me in quite a while, though.

    PRO TIP: sleep paralysis is often associated with sleeping in a supine position. That's why one of the common hallucinations is some kind of monster standing on your chest—because you're lying on your back. If you want to avoid sleep paralysis, try to sleep on your back or side.

    2 votes
  8. knocklessmonster Link
    My last stint was a couple years ago. I always avoided sleeping on my back because ibwas afraid of having an episode, because I had quite a few as a child. I had oje on my belly, where I heard my...

    My last stint was a couple years ago. I always avoided sleeping on my back because ibwas afraid of having an episode, because I had quite a few as a child. I had oje on my belly, where I heard my brother playing his guitar in the kitchen, then see him squatting in his underwear in the middle of our bedroom. Then, everything felt wrong. this was the typical fear response that seems to be caused by (but isn't) a hallucination. I realized what was happening and how bad it may go, and fought for control, and tried to make a noise. I finally made a "wmmmuuuah!" sound, got on my knees, and worked it out, tripping out at tge experience, and realizing if it happened on my face, then I could sleep on my back with no fear.

    I usually saw scary stuff, one time seeing a horrific entity from a nightmare in my doorway when I was 10, in full color. It messed me up for a couple days, vut I was a skittish kid (amd only slightly less skittish adult). I had these a couple times a year until 6, and rarely until that last time at 10, and then fifteen years later (two years ago). I think tye worst thing is the unprompted terror, it makes the hallucinations worse

    1 vote
  9. laznic Link
    At least once (currently can't remember other times). I was taking a nap and was sleeping on my back. At some point I woke up but couldn't move and saw two of those shadow people others have...

    At least once (currently can't remember other times). I was taking a nap and was sleeping on my back. At some point I woke up but couldn't move and saw two of those shadow people others have mentioned here. One of them was female and the other a male and they were both calling my name, telling me to wake up. And when I was taking too long, they started slapping on my face, which I felt physically and caused my head turn from side to side. After few harder slaps I woke up and was pretty shook on what just had happened.

    1 vote
  10. lazer Link
    I experienced it once as a teenager when I decided to experiment with astral projection techniques. I don't know that I believe in astral projection now, but whatever I did back then resulted in...

    I experienced it once as a teenager when I decided to experiment with astral projection techniques. I don't know that I believe in astral projection now, but whatever I did back then resulted in an experience that made me afraid to try again. I was in bed, relaxed with a dim light on, eye closed, and visualized my soul leaving my body as if rising in an elevator of sorts. After what felt like a few minutes everything started spinning - but not the world, it was as if I was spinning in my bed, although I could tell that I was not actually moving. My eyes were closed but it seemed like I could see all around me as I spun from my room to my bedsheets and I rotated around repeatedly and extremely quickly. This was accompanied by a deep rumbling/whooshing sound, and eventually the dim lights in my room started to fade away and everything started getting really dark. This is when I began to get scared and I tried to move and sit up to snap out of it, but I couldn't. I kept spinning on the inside but could tell that my body itself was paralyzed.

    After what felt like forever (but must've only been a few minutes) I was able to move and the feeling subsided. I sat up and saw that the bed/sheets were undisturbed, so I know I wasn't really moving around in bed even when it looked like I was. It was a really interesting but unnerving experience.

    1 vote
  11. Grand0rbiter Link
    The first time i though i was dying. I was getting out of my body and hovering above. I started thinking: "Shit i'm dying! I don't wanna die! What now?" "So... there's a soul and an afterlife...

    The first time i though i was dying. I was getting out of my body and hovering above. I started thinking:

    "Shit i'm dying! I don't wanna die! What now?"
    "So... there's a soul and an afterlife after all..."

    After that i stopped worrying about the fact that i was dying and suddenly a huge weight was lifted. I experienced pure bliss. I can't explain exactly, but i had no problems, no obligations, nothing... It was awesome.

    Then i woke up. I did some research and found about sleep paralysis, so i continued being an atheist lol

    After that i had a lot of episodes. I was able to induce it myself. It was almost 100% certain that i would have sleep paralysis if i tried to sleep during the day. I could sense it coming so i was not afraid anymore after the 3rd time.

    I experienced a lot of fun and scary things. People making noises, sitting by my side at the bed. I could feel the couch compressing. It was awesome and weird at the same time. I learned that to get out i just needed to hold my breath. It worked almost every time.

    It stopped one day and never came back. It's been years since my last experience.

    1 vote
  12. Sahasrahla Link
    I've had sleep paralysis very frequently for as long as I can remember; most recently either last night or the night before. I'm lucky in that I don't have hallucinations or delusions except for...

    I've had sleep paralysis very frequently for as long as I can remember; most recently either last night or the night before. I'm lucky in that I don't have hallucinations or delusions except for maybe some mild ones related to proprioception. I'll try to explain the experience for anyone who's interested:

    Normally I'll experience sleep paralysis at night when I'm falling asleep, or during either falling asleep or waking if I take a nap during the day. Sleep position doesn't seem to matter much as a trigger but if I'm tired enough I'll avoid resting in a position that I wouldn't want to be paralyzed in. If I'm tired and resting but trying not to fall asleep I can slip into and out of paralysis multiple times.

    When I'm paralyzed I can't move at all except for being able to control my breathing. When I try to move it's not like there's a force keeping me in place and it's not like my muscles are too weak, rather it's like I'm sending the signal to move but something is blocking the signal from getting to the rest of my body. When I notice I'm paralyzed I do try to move though, quite desperately, because I know that movement is what breaks the paralysis. This is where my only hallucinations come in: sometimes it will feel like I'm able to move very slowly with a lot of effort, but sometimes when I do this I'll realize I've moved into an impossible position (e.g. my arm would be in the wall) so I'll realize I was moving my "dream arm" and not my real arm.

    I don't see or hear anything or feel any "presence" like I've read from other reports of sleep paralysis. It's not frightening or painful, it's just psychologically unpleasant not having control over my body. People say it's like being awake but being unable to move as if you were still asleep, but I'd say my state of mind is somewhere between sleep and wakefulness. It feels more similar to the state of mind I'd have in a lucid dream; I'm aware of what's happening and where I am, I'm capable of some logical thought, but I don't really feel fully conscious either.

    In addition to trying to snap out of it by struggling to move I'll also try to take deeper breaths. It's my attempt to sort of shock myself awake and if I can't feel myself obviously breathing I'd be worried that I was paralyzed in a position where I couldn't breath. Like I said, I'm not in a fully-awake state of mind. In fact I've heard that holding your breath is actually a good way to break out of the paralysis but I don't have the presence of mind to try. Sometimes I'll be able to open my eyes a little and sort of look around but it's like there's a strange filter on my vision, like what a soap opera might use to indicate a flashback. If there's a bright light like a window nearby I'll stare at it to try to help myself wake up.

    Mostly I don't mind that I get sleep paralysis so often. It's not pleasant when it's happening but it's interesting to look back on. It has also come in handy at least a couple of times: a friend was experiencing sleep paralysis (and hallucinating ghosts) and I was able to explain what was going on to her and ease her mind, and it helped settle a discussion that came up in a D&D game about whether or not you could talk if you were paralyzed but could still control your breathing (you can't talk, shout, or make any noise).

    1 vote
  13. IvorCaddoc Link
    Oh, I used to experience that when I was very young. I can remember at least one particularly memorable instance when I was face-down in my pillow and struggling to breathe as a result. It still...

    Oh, I used to experience that when I was very young. I can remember at least one particularly memorable instance when I was face-down in my pillow and struggling to breathe as a result. It still happens now from time to time, though I'm usually on my side or back and feel as though my bedding is acting as quicksand. I have to wake up through several layers of sleep before I'm fully conscious.

    For a while, that face-down episode of sleep paralysis was the scariest thing that I'd experienced, until I saw a picture online a few years ago of someone who'd suffered the worst freak sporting injury I'd ever seen, and I blacked out twice (with spasms and facial abrasions) after chest pain that I thought was a heart attack.

    1 vote
  14. oryx Link
    I've dabbled in lucid dreaming before so I am quite experienced in sleep-paralysis. Honestly, once you can recognize it when it's happening, it's not that bad, it just means you're super close to...

    I've dabbled in lucid dreaming before so I am quite experienced in sleep-paralysis. Honestly, once you can recognize it when it's happening, it's not that bad, it just means you're super close to getting into a lucid dream if you know what you're doing.

    1 vote
  15. [2]
    meghan Link
    No, but I want to.

    No, but I want to.

    1. girl Link Parent
      nah it sux

      nah it sux

      5 votes