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Sleep Paralysis And The Legends Behind It

Updated on August 12, 2017
What sleep paralysis feels like.
What sleep paralysis feels like.

Legends Surrounding Sleep Paralysis

Just like every other legend that was created to explain a natural phenomenon, sleep paralysis has quite a few of its own.

One of the more common legends would have to be The Night Hag. It's a pretty generic name for a variety of phantasmal creatures, all of them having the same general description. The Night Hag was said to be a being that weighs down on the persons chest to keep them still and plagues the victim with hellish screeches and petrifying hallucinations.

In Italy, there's Pandafeche, which is an evil witch that is virtually the same as the Night Hag. In Egypt, they thought that sleep paralysis was caused by Jinns, which are basically evil genies. In Egypt, however, people are convinced that the Jinn has the ability to bring physical harm to them, maybe even fatally injury them.

What Exactly Is Sleep Paralysis?

Sleep paralysis has many theories surrounding, but here's what it is defined as, by the books: Sleep paralysis is when, either when you're first waking up or just about to fall asleep, you know what's going on around you but you cannot move. Often, this is accompanied with the feeling of a heavy weight on your chest and hearing loud noises or hallucinations. These are the things that can make sleep paralysis so horrifying, but also what bring on the stories of demons coming to torment as you sleep.

An example of a demon sitting on a woman's chest.
An example of a demon sitting on a woman's chest.

"Up to as many as four out of every 10 people may have sleep paralysis."


Symptoms Of Sleep Paralysis

There are many things that can contribute to sleep paralysis. Some of these things even being more trivial and easy to fix than you think:

  • Fluctuating sleep schedule
  • Not sleeping or not getting enough sleep
  • Certain medications
  • Sleeping on your back
  • The abuse of drugs or alcohol
  • Other medical conditions that are related to sleep
  • Stress

Multiple symptoms on that list, such as stress, the abuse of drugs, and fluctuating sleep schedule are just a couple things that could be fixed just by a few lifestyle changes.


The most simple of these treatments, the first one that would be recommended after having gone to the doctor, is fixing your sleep schedule. If your sleep schedule is all out of order and you get many hours of sleep one night, and next to nothing the night afterwards, you might be more prone to sleep paralysis than you think. To fix this, you might want to invest in Melatonin and Valerian Root, which are all natural supplements you can get at most pharmacies or general stores that are meant to help with sleep and relaxation.

Try to get rid of the stressful things in your life. If your phone is keeping you up, turn your notifications off. In all honestly, I'm not on my phone nearly as much as I used to be after I turned mine off and the quality of my sleep has improved tremendously. Got a toxic friend in your life? Tell them that you can't deal with the problems that they're causing in your life. Try doings things that induce relaxation. Take hot baths, drink some hot tea while bundled up on the couch, read a book. There are many was to go about relieving stress, it all just depends on the person.

The next step after that if it isn't getting any better is to tell you doctor. At that point, they might try to address any mental illnesses that might be the cause of the sleep paralysis. If none are to be found, then an antidepressant might be prescribed to help keep your sleep schedule proper.

Don't Be Afraid

Sleep paralysis truly is nothing to be afraid of. There's a scientific explanation to back it up that doesn't involve any sort of demonic beings or aliens. If you're having any sort of issues having to do with sleep paralysis, be sure to try the at homes fixes before going to your doctor. If those don't make any change, then don't be embarrassed to speak up and admit that you're having these issues.

Have you ever experienced sleep paralysis?

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