Sleep Paralysis Is it a Normal Phenomenon or a Psychic Event?

Incubus | Source

Throughout history there have always been stories and legends of Demons and monsters visiting us in the dark of the night. Dreams turning to nightmares as we lay our heads down to sleep.

As the shadows form, and the moon slides down the sky, we awaken to find that we cannot breath. A heavy weight sits upon our chest, and to our horror a ghastly form leers at us from the darkness. We push up off of the bed, trying to escape, but find that we can't move.

We are paralysed. The demon starts to stalk us from across the room, closer and closer until finally it climbs up onto our beds and leans towards us. Hearts beating so fast that we think they will burst from our chest, we silently scream. but nobody can hear us. Then darkness as we fall backwards into sleep, or is it a faint? No, It's Sleep Paralysis.

We wake hours later, still covered in sweat. Our hands shake as we recall the demon in the night. Getting dressed we rush to the priest for absolution. 'Father please help me I am being possessed by a demon'. We wail. But is Sleep Paralysis a Normal Phenomenon or a Psychic Event?

The Priest tries to comfort us. 'Don't worry my son, I will exorcise you, and cast the demon out, it seems that you have drawn an Incubbus to you, I will send it back to hell'. You weep in gratitude, and pray for your recovery from this possession.

(c) Nell Rose

Succubus and Incubus.

Incubus and Succubus. In legend, an incubus is a male Demon that prays on women at night. The demon mates with the human woman to produce a child. It is thought that if the demon continues to assault the woman, then she will eventually die. In the same way that a Succubus will attack a human male. these legends stem from many countries, in fact the first documented evidence was from Mesopotamia, 2400bc. Scholars believed that many of the stories were made up by the human women to explain pregnancy outside of marriage. Over the years there are many different derivatives of the story, and of course many different names to identify the Demons.

The Truth Behind Sleep Paralysis

My Experience

Sleep paralysis used to be believed to be paranormal, in fact in some countries that are still very superstitious, they believe it is a form of possession For example the Exorcist film. In fact it is usually a state brought on by stress.

At night your body produces a chemical that rushes through your body to stop you sleepwalking, your brain will sleep in co-ordination with your body. If you suffer from stress, the chemicals in your brain deviate from the norm, causing a part of your brain to wake up. But of course the chemicals don't go away.

If all your brain woke up then the chemicals will dissipate. I suffer with hyperthyroid and hypothyroid. high and low bad thyroid. When it was high, I suffered with sleep paralysis a lot. Because my brain wouldn't let me sleep properly.

Sleep paralysis will cause hallucinations, which is the origin of the Succubus and Incubus legends. Demons sitting on your chest in the night, aliens abducting you etc. The reason why you hallucinate is because, unlike other hallucinations caused by illness or drugs, in sleep paralysis you are literally just dreaming while you are awake.

In other words, most of your 'asleep' brain is just dreaming, but the part that wakes up is still dreaming! Therefore the hallucination reflects off of your retina in your eye, and makes you believe that you are seeing an alien etc.Believe me when I say it is terrifying! I have had two really bad Sleep Paralysis episodes.

The first one involved me being completely numb from the top of my head to me toes, and 'feeling' a hand pushing against my skin. It seemed to get closer and closer, starting at my feet and working it's way up my body. When it got to my chest, I started to panic.

Common sense told me that I was hallucinating, but the primal part of my brain screamed Demon! All sorts of ideas went through my head. Was it real? Has science tried to explain away a real phenomena? Maybe it really was a Demon, or some sort of being. It felt Evil. I knew that it was probably my mind panicking that made me feel this way, but to be on the safe side I started praying.

In my mind I yelled for God, and then settled on Angels. It seemed to work. Psychology? maybe. Perhaps by praying I calmed myself down. Or maybe it really did work and get rid of the Demon. Who Knows? The second time that I saw something, I realised what was happening, and watched a person walk around my bedroom! The funny thing was, it wasn't scary or frightening. It was a boy with a backpack on! Strange.

So what is the truth? I can fully understand 'seeing' somebody. As I explained above, it is a classic hallucination. But to feel somebody's hand running up my body? Not sure about that!

Maybe we are all wrong. Maybe it is another dimension overlapping this one. When Sleep Paralysis occurs, maybe our brains slow down, or speed up, to the exact vibration of another world. Scientists believe there are hundreds of Dimensions out there, overlapping this world. Who am I to argue with a scientist? I have had other Sleep Paralysis moments, but I don't very often see anything. All I can say is that, to see something is one thing. To feel them on your body is quite something else!

Symptoms of Sleep Paralysis

So what does Sleep Paralysis feel like? Every episode can be different for individuals. Some say they just go to sleep and then a noise wakes them, only to find that they are paralysed, but others have the same experience as me.

It can happen even if you haven't gone to sleep yet. Imagine going to bed, feeling really tired but you can't shut your brain down. Thoughts spiral around your head. you just want to sleep. Then all of a sudden you hear a really loud buzzing noise. But it is not from outside, it seems to be coming from your own head. It gets louder and louder.

Then the numbness starts. It is like your body is fed up of waiting for you to go to sleep so it decides to release the chemical to make you stay still while you are sleeping. Sometimes I have heard a choir in my mind. A sound so vast it seems that I am in an auditorium, listening to people singing and playing. It feels as though my head is hollow and as big inside as St. Paul's Cathedral. And then the numbness invades your body.

Incubus and Succubus

There are a number of ways to try to stop Sleep paralysis.

1. Try not to get too tired. When we sleep to heavy, this can cause us to go into a very comatose type sleep. If a noise awakens us, then we are sluggish, and often it can cause this to happen.

2. Try not to get too hot. This can cause you to keep waking up, and if your body is very tired, it can bring on sleep paralysis.

3. Please don't go to bed stressed. If you do, you may suffer for it later in the night. Make sure you drink a hot milky tea or warm milk with honey, or just take a bath. Anything that will sooth you. And if all this doesn't work, try reading a book. Lot's of people fall asleep whilst reading.

And most of all, if you do have a night paralysis, please do not panic. Try and breath calmly, don't struggle as this will tire you out. And just lay there until it starts to go off. Count sheep, count to ten, pray, even sing in your mind. let your body start to realign.

When you do wake up fully, don't panic. Just get up, put the light on and drink some water. When you feel ready to go back to sleep, keep the light on and open your window. Get comfortable. And be reasured that it should only happen once in a night. When you fall back to sleep you should be fine. And remember, it is all in your mind.

I hope.

Copyright Nell Rose


This was my experience, if any of you have had this horrible experience, please let me know below, thanks.

My Sleep paralysis was caused, mainly, by my bad thyroid. I was unaware that I had it at the time. Since then it makes sense. So please contact your Doctor for a blood test if you do start to experience this. Nine times out of ten it is because of a problem with your health. And please remember.

You are not alone.

Have You Ever Experienced Sleep Paralysis? And If So, What Do You Think It Is?

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Comments 367 comments

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 7 weeks ago from England Author

HI Singular, yes I totally agree with you. but I do understand why certain countries with different beliefs happen. sometimes even I had to yell at myself and say its only an hallucination! they can be pretty terrifying! thanks for reading, nell

Singular Investor profile image

Singular Investor 7 weeks ago from Oxford

I have had a number of such events and they all occurred when I got too hot while asleep. I try to make sure I don't overheat - just sleep with very only a sheet and no blankets - I recommend people give it a try if they are having trouble with these episodes. The actual things that you see are just dreams that appear to be occurring while you think you are awake.

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 7 weeks ago from England Author

Hi India, thats what they used to think back many years ago but now they know its purely psychological. thanks so much for reading, nell

India-Nepal profile image

India-Nepal 7 weeks ago from Nepal

Sleep paralysis is actual demons trying to get into contact with you. It ends when you accept Jesus Christ as your savior, because by doing that you close yourself off from the demonic realm that people falsely call "spiritual".

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 10 months ago from England Author

Hi LaDema, yes I totally believe you. I always have to check first to see if it is physical, if you are totally okay then yes something strange is going on, trust me I know! and yes animals do sense something, I actually think that one day it will be explained, maybe another dimension or something? who knows, but it is pretty damn scary! thanks for reading, nell

LaDema 10 months ago

I can say that my sleep paralysis had/has nothing to do will anything wrong with me physically. This thing has happened to me and others in the same house but at different times. It has happened several times to me and is so terrifying each time. I believe it is demonic in nature. When it happens to me the first thing I do is try to say the word Jesus. Seems simple enough but no it isnt and with great effort and struggling to move my mouth I will get it out. Once that is done I repeat that and each time I get the word Jesus out it becomes easier until I am unparalized. I feel very uneasy afterwards and my surroundings also seem slightly different. Maybe that ecplains why my dog will all of a sudden fixate on what appears to be a section of wall and bare her teeth and growl. You think maybe she sees something like one of them.???

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 12 months ago from England Author

Hi Beth, that sounds like astral projection! and yes it definitely sounds as though something spiritual or ghostly is going on, good luck with it, and maybe write it down when you wake properly? let me know how you get on, okay? nell

Beth Barthell 12 months ago

I have experienced this a few times, it's a little different now though. When my room was on the other side of my house, i would be floating in the air but could look down and see my body laying on the bed. Now that my room is on the other side of the house, I'm feeling as though I'm being seduced and my breath is being sucked out of me. I wake up to catch my breath, tell it to leave me alone, go to bathroom, then go back to bed. Onve I fall back to sleep it will happen again. I can't say this is mental/psychological when I've studied psychology and what's happening to me is different, but the same, in different rooms, but the same house.

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 19 months ago from England Author

Hi Mel, that's fascinating! to be honest there is a part of me that believes its real, we are surrounded by other dimensions, fact, even the scientists say so, so maybe in our dream state we actually do meet up with them, scary stuff! thanks for reading, nell

Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 19 months ago from San Diego California

Your medical thyroid explanation makes perfect sense, except...I had a friend who was as rational and non mystical as can be who had one of these experiences. Everything for him was pretty much as you describe, except when he woke up he had finger mark bruises where this thing had grabbed him. I believe him, because he wasn't the type to make up flighty stories. I would like to believe it is strictly a medical condition, but why the bruises? Have you heard this described in any of the cases you have researched? Great hub!

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England Author

Hi Odins, yes it's a horrible thing isn't it? sorry to hear you are a sufferer of sleep paralysis, and yes a hag troll or anything else clambering all over you is enough to give you nightmares without the paralysis, thanks so much for reading, nell

OdinsRaven 2 years ago from Nova Scotia

As someone who suffers from this sleeping disorder I found this a very interesting read. Though the succubus isn't the only supernatural culprit tied to it. For many Germanic peoples it was a hag or she troll sometimes called a mare who would ride your back and claw at you while you slept.

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England Author

Hi Sanjay, thanks so much, sorry to hear your wife has this problem, have a great day,nell

SANJAY LAKHANPAL profile image

SANJAY LAKHANPAL 2 years ago from Mandi (HP) India

My wife has a problem of Sleep Paralysis. I have bookmarked the page for further reference. Thanks for sharing the information.

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England Author

Hi PMartin, I haven't read anything about that, but I would imagine it would stop at some point and you would wake up, but it would be interesting to know, thanks for reading, nell

PMARTIN 2 years ago

Ive had the attacks but never paid enough attention to know frequency. Its the usual smothering paralysis effect and once I can utter something Im released. Im still not sure if I believe it to be a spiritual thing or the body doing something on its own but I wonder....has there been a report of what happens if you dont resist it?

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England Author

Hi Dave, yes you may well be right there, it is the caring people who get it, and then get stressed because they can't fix things around them, then their minds work overtime. Interesting read and thanks for sharing your experiences, nell

Daveadam 2 years ago

I've had at least 20 episodes of sleep paralysis in the last 10 years, & the main thing I'd like to stress is that "nothing" bad has ever come from mine....They we're all truly terrifying experiences at the time, & all happened as i was falling to sleep & i never had any whilst waking up....I've been studying mindfulness & meditation & emotions & feelings control in the last year or so, & know for a fact i had my last SP episode when i was awake & in fairly deep meditation about 3 months ago....I know people will disagree but i was defo awake the last time i had an attack, & i am an experienced meditate'r....The last one i was ready for as I'd worked out what to do for my next episode, & that was to try being mindful then open my eyes & take a look....Now I'd never done that before because of the fear, but as an experienced mindful meditate'r i had more awareness than ever before & i was aware what was happening....So i told myself nothing ever comes of these attacks (as i was laid there paralysed), & then mindfully pictured my hand in my mind (mindful meditating)....Doing that was enough to distract my mind from the fear of what i was feeling, & i was then able to break free & open my eyes....Now I'm not going to say what i saw or what i did next, but i will say this....What i saw I'm pretty sure was being projected by my mind, & i reckon by my ego mind....It's my ego mind (negative mind) that thinks about negative things, & I'm pretty sure that it's the good caring people that get SP.....In my investigations & i have done a lot of research on a lot of different subjects, all the people i personally know that get SP are all good caring people.....Those people have things on their mind because they care, & i reckon it's a combination of caring & maybe thinking too much + reading up on the very subject of SP, that causes their mind to project that negativity out when trying to sleep or first thing as they wake up....If you do get attacks often I'd suggest practising mindfully "doing stuff" & mindful meditating using only your senses, because that will give you more awareness in general of your actual awareness level....So as you get more episode of SP you'll hopefully become more aware at the time as to what's happening, & will then be able to break free easily....The worst one i ever had, i saw a vision of an oil tanker sinking, i couldn't move, & i couldn't breathe....That one went on for what seemed like a long time, & every few now & again i felt a slap across my face & then got a quick breath....I could hear all my workmates in the next room as it was happening, & i once had an attack on a work bus & could see my mates across from me but could move or speak ....All very scary, but now i find it all fascinating.....Remember nothing bad will ever come from them, & all i would personally advise is learning about your awareness. :-)

Karl 2 years ago

Thanks, Nell. Be in touch.

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England Author

Hi Karl, thanks for reading, to be honest I am not sure. But I do know meditation can induce these altered states. There is a CD called Awakened Dreaming, not sure if you can get it on Amazon, but I had the original tape version a few years ago, that definitely takes you deep, if you are looking to keep control then this is perfect, but if you can't find it, I am sure there are other CDs similar, you lie down to relax, not the usual sit up meditation, good luck! and let me know how you get on?

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