Sleep Paralysis - A Terrifying Experience

by WebWriter

Sleep Paralysis is a terrifying experience, and one that I hope to never experience again.

My Experience With Sleep Paralysis

Fortunately, I've only experienced sleep paralysis once. It was the most frightening thing that I ever experienced. I woke up from my sleep and I could not open up my eyes, move my body or speak. I was total paralyzed. I was awake, aware of the sounds around me and I could feel my husband roll over next to me, but no matter how hard I tried to force myself to move or speak, I couldn't. I remember trying, with all my might, and nothing happening. It was terrifying. It wasn't a bad dream. I was totally awake. I will never forget that terrifying feeling of being away but paralyzed. I remember panicking and thinking, "Why can't I move, why can't I speak?". I tried to scream to my husband, "Move me, wake me, shake me!". Nothing would come out of my mouth. It was almost like an out of body experience. Finally, after a few seconds, perhaps minutes, I was able to voice a whisper but without moving my mouth, so it sounded like the girl in the video below. The whisper was not loud enough to wake my husband, who I was pleading to for help. I eventually came out of the paralysis, and when I did, I felt terrified, confused and exhausted. That afternoon I researched the Internet and discovered that what I experienced, like millions of other people, was sleep paralysis. After researching it, reading others people's stories about it, and watching youtube videos on sleep paralysis, I feel very fortunate that I didn't experience some of the other common terrors associated with sleep paralysis, such as feeling clothes being torn off, visits by demons and terrifying hullucinations.

About Sleep Paralysis

Sleep paralysis is a feeling of being conscious but unable to move. A sleep paralysis episode can last a few seconds to a few minutes. It usually occurs when falling asleep or when waking up. When sleep paralysis occurs when a person is falling asleep, the person remains awake while their body shuts down for REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep.  When sleep paralysis occures when a person is waking up, the person becomes aware before the REM sleep is complete.  

Surveys suggest that 20-60% of people have experienced sleep paralysis at least once. It is common for people who have narcolepsy to experience sleep paralysis. Sleep paralysis is often accompanied Hypnagogic Hallucinations. 

Causes of Sleep Paralysis

Research suggest that some of the causes for sleep paralysis may include: 

  • Sleeping on the back (face upward).
  • Irregular sleeping schedules .
  • Increased stress levels.
  • Sudden environmental and/or lifestyle changes.

Note: All of the above applied to me when I experienced sleep paralysis


Sleep Paralysis Videos

Have you ever experiences Sleep Paralysis?

Other Names For Sleep Paralysis

Medically, sleep paralysis is sometimes referred to as "waking paralysis". In other parts of the world it is referred to as:

  • Old Hag (Newfoundland and some parts of the USA) For an old witch thought to sit on the chest of the paralyzed sleeper.
  • Kokma (West Indies) For a ghost baby thought to sit on the paralyzed sleeper's chest and attack the troat.  
  • Gui Ya (China) For a ghost thought to sit on and assult the paralyzed sleeper.
  • Karabasan (Turkey and in some islamic beliefs) For a demon thought to strangle the paralyzed person in their sleep. 
  • Kkana Tevoro (Fiji) For the paralyzed sleeper being eaten by a demon.

Freightening! That explains why some people refer to it as night terror.

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Updated: 06/07/2011, WebWriter
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JoHarrington on 07/14/2012

Yes, I've experienced this half a dozen times. It is frightening.

JoHarrington on 07/14/2012

Yes, I've experienced this half a dozen times. It is frightening.

dustytoes on 11/14/2011

I've never heard of this - how frightening! At least now if it ever does happen to me I will think of this article and know I'll eventually be okay.

atomicgirl on 11/13/2011

I used to have this all the time as a kid whenever I slept on my back. When I learned to sleep on my side, the episodes disappeared for a few years, then reappeared during college with a vengeance. Now I have them sporadically, the last one about two years ago.

sheilamarie on 09/27/2011

Scary experience! It sounds fairly common, though, according to your report and the comments people have left here.

barbarab on 09/05/2011

I experienced this way too many times! during and after grad more reason why menopause and grad school and not to forget adult children in training do NOT mix haha

Holistic_Health on 07/05/2011

I had this sporadically as a child for some reason. It's definitely a horrible experience.

howcurecancer on 06/07/2011

Such a terrible experience.

lou16 on 06/07/2011

Yes, I've experienced this and you're right when you say it's the most terrifying experience and I don't think anyone can truly appreciate the sheer terror you feel unless they've experienced it themselves.

SidewalkPhilosopher on 06/07/2011

This has never happened to me but did happen to my daughter last year. She called me very upset later. I had never heard of it until then. Will send this on to her to read.

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