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Sleep Paralysis or Bangungot - What Is Sleep Paralysis and Stories of Episodes

Updated on September 5, 2018
That feeling that everything is so real. It scared you to death but you just can't move.
That feeling that everything is so real. It scared you to death but you just can't move. | Source

What is bangungot or sleep paralysis?

Ever wondered what is bangungot or what happens when having a sleep paralysis or bangungot? Bangungot is the Filipino word for sleep paralysis. As I search and read results online, it is referred to as SUDS or the sudden unexpected death syndrome, the cause of death of mostly young adults, usually young males which was first reported in the year 1917 in the Philippines.

Sleep paralysis could happen right before waking up, and that's when the mind awakens before the body does and that keeps the body immobile. Another one is when the body shuts down for the night, too tired for all the daily activities while the mind was left active. (Maybe still thinking about everything that has to be done for the following morning? Or all the worries and troubles?)

I always hear it from my mom telling my dad to slow down on food as eating too much might give him sleep paralysis as my dad tend to eat heavy meal, and that includes more than 1 bowl of rice for dinner. I also had heard this from the elders as well as the belief goes that too much carbohydrates can cause sleep paralysis or bangungot.

Have you had a sleep paralysis?

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What are my sleep paralysis about?

I didn't see any monsters. And I was thankful of that. But when I experienced sleep paralysis or "bangungot," I believed they were ghost or spirits thou they're not scaring me. But whenever I encounter this it scares me somehow knowing that there shouldn't be anyone in my room but me. And that's when I try to wake up. And it would be a long struggle as I lay there gathering all my strength to move my body or speak up. And every time I manage to open my eyes and decide to get up, there's not enough strength to do so until sleep takes me back to square one as I fight back not to fall sleep again as whatever I'm experiencing or seeing just continuous.

At times I wonder if it was just a nightmare or indeed a sleep paralysis, but what is the explanation behind the struggle to wake up or speak and the feeling of being drained of energy not having the strength to get up?

My Bangungot Stories

It wasn't the first one I had but I will start with it. It was way back in the Philippines when I was about 19 years old. I was sleeping one afternoon and the part I could clearly remember was there's this few faces showing on my wall looking at me. They appear elastic and is the same color with my wall, which is brown. The faces would be gone in a few minutes and then they would pop out again. And there was a baby too that was laughing with menace that scared me the most.

Another one I had was when I'm already here on US. I was 20 years old at that time and I still have this habit of trying to take a nap in the afternoon. Now, of all the sleep paralysis I had, I could say this one was the least scary and when I woke up, I kinda smiled thinking of it. Why would a sleep paralysis made me smile? Alright, I can't move my body, eyes closed but my mind is awake or should I say half awake and all of a sudden I hear sounds of furnitures being move. This went on for minutes and then the study table on the foot of my bed was being moved too! I could clearly hear the eeking sound with the furniture being drag on the carpeted floor in my room.

I felt curious on what's making all the sounds and whose moving the furnitures. Then I saw these dwarves that was carrying the study table and moving it around. I even remember thinking their so busy their not even bothering me lying there on the bed! Well, this didn't scare me but then when it came to the part where I can hear the sound of water, like a river and the water is overflowing, that scared me and I wanted to wake up but I can't! And like what I always feel when having sleep paralysis, I feel so weak and too sleepy while I desperately try to wake up but lacking the strength, I couldn't and it took me some time. Thankfully I broke out of it.

And when I woke up, it was probably passed 3 pm or almost 4 pm. I was sweaty as the afternoon sun had gotten through my window. At those times in the afternoon, the sun peeks in my room and it shines on me while sleeping. Sometimes I think if it has something to do with that as well. For what reason? I don't know.


In some provinces in the Philippines, such as those that speaks Ilocano, a folklore goes that the "bangungot" or sleep paralysis is cause by a demon called "batibat" that resides in trees. When the tree is cut down, of course this would enraged the demon as this is its home, it will still be attach to the tree by residing on the post that was now being used as a house support. With the post serving as its home now, it doesn't like any humans getting close or sleeping near its post. And when a person sleeps near the post, or used the wood for bed, the batibat attacks by sitting on the chest of the sleeping person. The person, being unable to breath because of the heaviness or the feeling of being suffocated dies from his/her sleep.

Sleep Paralysis on Our Current House

So far I had only two in our current home, I didn't remember which one came first but here they are:

My brother was on deployment and like always, he would ask us to sleep in his room so it won't be empty. Dad usually sleep there at night while I spend some time napping there once in a while. And since his room was cool and the sun doesn't peek in there in the afternoon, I spent an afternoon sleeping there. He has a curtain too which makes the room a little darker which I like.

And so I was sleeping, the door was open of maybe about 8 inches wide and my brother was standing there! He spoke to me, I just can't remember what he said that got my attention, that's why I look at the door and saw him standing there. I was surprised to see him there by the door looking inside the room (or at me) and he spoke. I remember asking him what was he doing here being at home? I am aware he isn't supposed to be home as he was on deployment. He didn't answer me. The thought that this couldn't be him as he should have been out there on his deployment scared me and I said," You're not him! Leave."

I wanted to wake up so bad before this person or entity get any closer to me or get inside the room but I can't. I can't move my big toe or any of my fingers. I wanted so bad to break free that in my head I was thinking, " Please God I wanna wake up!" And in a snap of a finger I got a sudden strength, I was awake. Thankful enough that I remembered to call up to Him for help.

I felt so weak, (way to sleepy) as always. I always feel like this every time I broke free from a sleep paralysis, feels like a drum is beating so hard in my chest but I just can't lie there, or else I would fall back to sleep. And I'm afraid it will continue if that happens. Groggily I force myself and walked out of the room and went to the living room.

And yeah, my most scary one? I told you it would be the last story so here it is.

This was probably my first one, or I believed it was as I don't recall any other episode of sleep paralysis that came before this one. (Unless I had forgotten it.)

First, how did my day went? I didn't know if there's any connection on why I experienced that frightening night, but my whole day was spent on the road, about maybe almost 6 hours back and forth on the road riding the jeepney as my bestfriend and I went to a city with her family as we want to inquire for a computer school we want to attend to in that city. I love riding and looking out the window of buses or jeepneys and it didn't tire me at all. I enjoyed it. But it was already dark when we came home. Oh and I feel light I just wanted to go to bed. And I did.

And so that's the night when I woke up (or I believed I was physically awake but it was my mind which is awake,) I glanced at my right side and there she was! She's standing just right at the stairs of my double-deck bed wearing a white dress, a young girl. I can't even see her face as it was dark. And she was reaching her hand to me. I asked her how did she got inside my room but she won't answer me. I know my door was locked. Instead she said," come with me. ___ is waiting for you." I keep on wondering how did she got in, and I started feeling scared when it hits on me that she wasn't a human! I remember calling my dad, yelling, but no answer as no words came out of my mouth. Either I was really calling out for him but no words came out, or I was all calling for him in my head (telepathically.) (Well, I didn't even really speak to the girl, the talking was all in my mind but she was responding.)

I asked her again how did she got in. But still she won't tell me but repeatedly says,"come with me. She's waiting for you. It would be quick," still reaching for my hand. What she said was waiting for me was a lady, I just can't remember the name. I should have written it down.

Then what scares me was when my hand started lifting off my bed, slowly reaching for her hand. I used every will I have to stop my hand but looks like my hand has a mind of its own. In my head I keep saying no. And when my finger was about to touch her hand, so close, maybe 2 inches or so, all of a sudden I had uttered a prayer, or "God help me." And my hand drops back to the bed. I snapped out of it, turned on my left side facing the wall. And I thought "was she still in there?" I turned to look back and she's gone.

Just writing this last one gives me ghost bump. I was still thinking until now if it was real, I mean like was it a real spirit or was it sleep paralysis? I'm thankful I hadn't had anymore of it so far. Maybe because I rarely takes naps now or maybe my room was darker now. As one thing I noticed, most of these happened in the afternoon when the sun has gotten through in the window while I was lying there in the middle of my sleep.


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    • profile image

      Brian Villabito 

      21 months ago

      Hi mam that last story you tell is same as my experience..

      In my situation i was sleeping in my uncle old big house no one has been living in the house since they are separated and that one night i was sleeping around 3 to 4 am i have a Bangungot that there was a child beside my right side arm and he was like rubbing the right side of my bed and murmuring that i don't understand and i thought that he was going to sleep beside me but i cannot move my body and speak and i thought why the hell he got to the room because i lock the door that's the time i realize something was wrong and i scream but there are no word came out of my mouth but i just keep screaming for help thanks to my cousin that another day there was a inuman because my brother having a party and they are drinking until the morning they heard my voice and they wake me up and tell that binabangugot daw ako that when i started to wake and pause for a moment who the hell that is and immediately run to get out of the house because i feel the child is under my bed hiding.

    • profile image

      ava p 

      4 years ago

      Hi omg i am looking for a story about bangungot bcoz i experienced it yesterday friday the 13th. we have same experience except of who's with us in the middle of nightmare...

      I wanna share mine. This was fresh and i really can't believe what i experienced.

      Im a customer rep and my shift is from 8 to 5am. Im alone in the office because my teammate is absent. In that office i always take a nap alwys on breaktime... midnight... i had experienced 4 to 5x but the last one is the scariest for me...

      Im sleeping sideways.. i remembered that all lights were on before i take a nap.. fresh on my mind that i know that im awake but it feels like im dreaming.. i can't move .. my heart is beating so fast because i know that this is it.. bangungot... i feel it and i know it.. im really scared.. at first i see the sala of the office its full of lights and i remembered when i opened my eyes someone closed the door.. i did not see that person.. i did not hear the door closing.. i keep on moving but i can't.. i almost fall at the sofa but its not.. i keep on standing but i can't.. i wanna see whos outside that door.. i can't move.. i even hear the flashing of toilet i even hear people talking outside and a scrrreeetchhing sound.. i don't know what is that. I want to stand up but don't know why i keep on laying down on the sofa..

      strange... i told myself that "be brave and keep on moving your right arm". i gave my full arms strength and then i can move fully but when i stand up.. my body is still heavy that i had a feeling na still im on a nightmare.. when i fully stand on my feet.. the first thing that i did was look if theres a noise when i open the door.. and yes it has a loud noise...

      When i went up to the room.. i saw on the other pc monitor that someone was there.. i moved my face toward the monitor to see if who is that person.. this time i am fully awake...

      Now.. i don't want to go to work.. waaaaaaaà!!!!

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      ....i've been searching about the cause of bangungot. Then i saw this article of yours. I have read your stories and some of them are familiar and seems same on my experiences too. Experiencing sleep paralysis has always been "normal" to me- either i get easily sleep after taking meal or the usual one s having scary dreams.

    • profile image

      gustvo elias 

      4 years ago

      I've had some sleep paralysis through my life and l can tell you it's a terrible feeling! In my case it feels like l can't breath, talk or move! I'm actually conscious but l can't move! I've tried to continue breathing and l finally achieve that right after my body shakes. It feels like some kind of epilepsy attack.

    • precy anza profile imageAUTHOR

      precy anza 

      7 years ago from USA

      About the bedroom, well, it was my dad's superstitious part. I think every province in my home country has its own superstitions as I hadn't heard it before. The first time I heard about it was on my brother's first deployment when dad said something like, "someone has to sleep in your brother's room as it isn't good for a room or the bed itself to not be used for a long period of time." I'm curious and asked why but wouldn't explain further. They would probably rent the room, if it became empty. I also had thought about my experienced of sleep paralysis and waking up with the afternoon sun's heat through the room. All of these happened afternoon except for that little girl in white dress. I haven't known anyone else which has the same afternoon "bangungot" like mine. Maybe there's some out there, I just don't know. :)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Precy Anza, Your last story is definitely scary although it's quite unsettling about whoever was masquerading as your brother.

      What happens if the bedroom of a living person is not occupied? What will your parents do with the room when your brother starts his own family and has his own house?

      Do you know if others are also more likely to have bangungot in sunny rooms during the afternoon and if they have dispelled bangungot with a call for God's help?

      Respectfully, and with many thanks for the explanation and examples of sleep paralysis, Derdriu

    • precy anza profile imageAUTHOR

      precy anza 

      7 years ago from USA

      @ Aviannovice: Thank you. I think so. And I'm thankful for that. ^-^'

      @ Diyomarpandan: Thanks! Wow. You are lucky then :) And yes, I remember about the news of Rico Yan that it might be sleep paralysis. I was in grade school then.

      @ Dinkan : Thanks. Glad you found it to be something interesting to read :) It was scary to have sleep paralysis. And I don't like the feeling I get after waking up from it: feeling weak, groggy from sleep, and I can hear my heart beating. lol.

    • dinkan53 profile image


      7 years ago from India

      "bangungot"-interesting and at the same moment scary too. I just wanted to comment and say that I really enjoyed reading your article here. It was very informative. Let others also know about it, shared!

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      7 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      You have a strong spirit, which always seems to see you through.

    • precy anza profile imageAUTHOR

      precy anza 

      7 years ago from USA

      Good to hear you haven't had them for long time :) I think the last one I had was last year. Thankfully I hadn't had any episode again. Thanks for dropping by and reading :)

    • yougotme profile image

      Renz Kristofer Cheng 

      7 years ago from Manila

      It really is scary to experience sleep paralysis.

      I had one when I was a child, after I woke up, I was all sweaty and my pillow was heavily soaked with sweat. I can't remember what I dreamed of that time, but I'm sure it was pretty much scary.

      Anyway, it's fortunate that I haven't experienced any of these for a really long time. I guess, relaxation before sleep pays off.

      Great hub, precy anza!


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