Last Updated on December 19, 2014
Have you ever experienced the terror of sleep paralysis? How would you define sleep paralysis? You’re basically sleeping soundly when you wake up only to feel one of more of the following symptoms:
A feeling of being choked or suffocated, or a feeling that there is someone or something around you that is holding you down or even sitting on your chest. You may hear sounds such as footsteps around you as if someone is standing near your bed but you are unable to move to get a good look or to react. Some people hear ringing in their ears or hear more violent sounds such as a banging on the walls. Despite the feeling that something or someone is around you, you are unable to move, no matter how hard you try, and you have the distinct impression that you are not safe. An experience that I had with sleep paralysis involved the sound of heavy breathing as though someone or something was making its breath and itself known.
Typically people experience sleep paralysis when they wake up. They are coming out of their sleep when they realize they can’t move. Then they typically notice the presence around themselves and panic even more. An episode of sleep paralysis can last a few minutes and feel as if it has gone on for hours. It’s also believed to happen more frequently when people sleep on their backs.
If this has happened to you, you are not alone. This phenomenon is quite common and there are many theories about what is actually going on when it happens. The term to describe it is ‘sleep paralysis’ and you’re physically helpless while your mind is aware of a looming threat.
For some people, sleep paralysis is a once-in-a-lifetime thing. (And if you’ve ever experienced it, you know that’s more than enough.) However, some people are plagued with sleep paralysis episodes frequently, which can wreak havoc on one’s ability to relax and get a good night’s sleep. Some studies say as many as 30 percent to 50 percent of people have experienced sleep paralysis at some time in their life.
Is sleep paralysis dangerous?
While there are many instances of sleep paralysis that are reported, you don’t hear of it ending badly. People obviously live to talk abut it. If someone were to die as a result of sleep paralysis, we naturally would not know it.
So what causes sleep paralysis? As I said before, there are many theories. Some scientific studies proclaim that sleep paralysis is simply the result of the body not transitioning properly through the stages of sleep. However, many people who have experienced sleep paralysis would argue otherwise. The scientific explanation does not take into consideration the fact that so many people sense a presence around them when sleep paralysis occurs.
Because so many describe the feeling of a presence around them, it’s no surprise that many people believe sleep paralysis to be the result of an evil or demonic presence around you. Others believe that sleep paralysis occurs when an extraterrestrial is in your presence. In their minds, it is an instance when you wake up while extraterrestrials are experimenting on you, which explains why you cannot move.
Some believe it is the result of a ghost trying to communicate with you. They believe that the reason some people feel a pressing down on their chest is because a spirit is literally pressing downward on their bodies.
If you’ve ever experienced sleep paralysis, you know that it is a terrifying experience that you likely don’t want to repeat.