What is sleep paralysis?
Sleep paralysis is when during awakening or a falling asleep, a person is conscious and aware but unable to move or speak. It can occur while falling asleep (predormital sleep paralysis) or when waking up (postdormital sleep paralysis). It is equally common among men and women, but it is more common among young people (like young teens.)
Feelings of fear and panic are naturally common during a sleep paralysis, and some have felt sensations of electric vibrations running through their body as well as hearing static sounds. Some have had such bad experiences during their sleep paralyses, like seeing the shape of someone in the room, that they fear going to sleep. Some suggest that lack of sleep might be a contributing factor for people prone to get a sleep paralysis, but I have heard of even more testimonies where the exact opposite is true – where individuals have had plenty of regular sleep and yet experience sleep paralyses.
Factors that may be linked to a sleep paralysis might include:
- Being a young teenager
- Sleeping on the back
- Having had lots of sleep and feeling relaxed
I have often wondered if the blood factor RH 0 Negative (0 -) might be one of the triggers for a sleep paralysis, but I have no statistics for this. About 7% of the world’s population have this blood type including myself.
My own experience
My first postdormital sleep paralysis lasted about 15-20 minutes, and the second one lasted for a couple of minutes.
My first one occurred when I was a young teenager, about 14 years of age, and I believe I was sleeping on my back. It was late one morning, about 10.30, and that is when I usually woke up in my teens without an alarm clock. When I woke up I could open my eyes and look around, but I could not move or speak. My entire body was completely paralyzed and I could not move even if I tried. I was wide awake so it was definitely not a dream, a hallucination or similar. Naturally I was frightened but I took for granted that this highly unusual condition surely must stop right away because I was awake after all! However, regardless of my severe attempts to move I was still paralyzed.
If I would not have been able to see, I would likely have panicked, and also if it had happen during the night when it would have been dark. Fortunately I was able to see, and it was light with sunshine coming in from the window. Apart from my paralysis, everything looked and appeared as normal and it was therefore not a frightening atmosphere. I still longed to hear sounds from any family member outside my door, because this would hopefully help my body to wake up? But I heard no one, and after some time my body woke up by itself.
My second experience happened soon after, but I cannot remember if it was days or weeks in between.
I have had numerous predormital sleep paralyses in my life, even if I had not had them the last 10 years. I did not realize at the time that the two types of sleep paralyses were connected, nor that they were even called sleep paralysis. In a way the predormital sleep paralyses were more frightening even though they only lasted for seconds, because then I could not even open my eyes, it was dark in the room and I had a strong sensation of fear. Usually you are not aware of the moment when you fall asleep but during a predormital sleep paralysis you will suddenly be aware of the exact second of falling asleep. Maybe this does not sound too bad, but it is extremely frightening to not be able to move or speak in combination with a nightmarish feeling – and the knowledge that you will likely not succeed to overcome the situation (by sitting up in bed) but you will be dragged down into a sleep against your will. This type of paralysis might happen both when you are about to sleep for the night, but also later during the night when you wake up with a paralysis.
I remember when I was a very young child – like 4 or younger – when I was afraid of sleeping due to the feeling of being totally absorbed into my pillow and not being able to move. I felt that I was dragged into a nightmarish feeling from the very start, and I desperately tried to prevent it but always failed. I also had plenty of nightmares and hallucinations during this time, but this is not uncommon among small children. (These types of hallucinations should not be compared with sleep paralyses, which are real.)
I have read testimonies from people who have had “out-of-body experiences” (or astral projections) and it seems like at least some of them start with a sleep paralysis. It is when they fight hard to get out of the paralysis when they suddenly feel that they are being lifted up and move towards the ceiling, where they turn around and can see themselves in bed. I have no means of knowing if these experiences are true or not, but maybe they are since “near death experiences” definitely seem true. Sure, some of them might be lies, and others might be exaggerated or misunderstood, but I truly believe people have experienced them. At times they have been able to describe dialogues among the hospital staff during the time when they (the patients) were actually “dead” – before returning back to life. Many have described the light, an encounter with angels, communication without words and even a meeting with God who tells them that it is not time …
Up to as many as four out of every 10 people may have experienced a sleep paralysis. Have you? Please let us know about your sleep paralysis experience or an out-of-body experience.
Eccl. 12:6 Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.