Sleep paralysis sounds like a terrifying experience, but what does it really feel like? (
Sleep paralysis sounds like a terrifying experience, but what does it really feel like?

Experiences with sleep paralysis

February 4, 2021

When you first hear the term “sleep paralysis”, you may think you’re hearing about something straight out of a horror movie. But this phenomenon is very much real and is very common. Sleep paralysis occurs when your mind is awake while your body is still “asleep”. This combination leads to full awareness but the inability to move or speak. The state of paralysis is temporary and lasts only a few seconds to a few minutes at most.

While experiencing temporary paralysis is frightening, there are other aspects of sleep paralysis that are downright horrifying. During an episode of sleep paralysis, it is incredibly common for one to hallucinate. It is possible to experience auditory, visual, and even tactile hallucinations. According to the Sleep Foundation, 75% of sleep paralysis episodes involve hallucinations that are distinguishable from typical dreams.

I have had sleep paralysis three separate times in my life, and consider it to be some of the scariest experiences I’ve ever had. Here are my stories:

1.) The first time I had sleep paralysis it was combined with a dream I was having. I was dreaming that my family had moved into a cliche haunted house. It had everything from creaky floor boards to creepy porcelain dolls. I was mad that we had moved to such a creepy house and decided to just go to bed. Then, my dream shifted from my perspective to the perspective of the two porcelain dolls. The dolls got a knife from the kitchen then went to my room. One of the dolls reached up to grab my hand, but right before she could grab it, I woke up. After I was awake, I felt the cool, smooth surface of a dolls hand. I then realized I couldn’t move. I was only paralyzed for a few seconds, but the fact that I had felt something touch me was enough to scare me for the rest of the night.

2.) My second experience with sleep paralysis was the most intense out of the bunch. For as long as I can remember, I have slept with a fan on all night for white noise. However, one night I woke up right as my fan turned off. I tried to look around to see if the power had gone out, but I couldn’t move. I then heard my closet doors opening and closing over and over again on their own. I was already scared, but things only escalated when I noticed a dark figured that was barely visible out of the corner of my eye. I remember it being a woman with long hair and a flowing dress. She spoke without even moving her mouth, which was hanging open. “I’ve found you”, she said. She repeated herself over and over, getting louder every time. Right as I was thinking I was in serious danger, everything went quiet. My mom had opened my bedroom door to wake me up for school. I asked her if she had heard or seen anything weird and she said that she hadn’t. I spent the rest of my day extremely confused at what had just happened.

3.) I consider my most recent experience with sleep paralysis to be the most frightening. The experience itself is very tame, but it involved my little brother, who I care about a lot. When we were younger, my brother and I had a pact that we could stay in each other’s rooms if we were ever scared or just couldn’t sleep. One night, I woke up to my door opening and someone walking in. I was facing the wall so I couldn’t see who it was. Then, I heard my little brother say, “Taylor, I’m scared. Can I sleep in your room tonight?”. I tried to roll over to face him and tell him that he could, but I found that I couldn’t move. I laid there for what felt like hours before I was finally able to say that he could. But when I rolled over, he was gone. By this point, I knew about sleep paralysis so I assumed that was what had happened, but it was still scary. I considered going to check on my brother, but I decided against it because I didn’t want to wake him up.

So far, these are my only personal experiences with sleep paralysis. I hope that I never experience again, but I know that at some point I likely will. Have you ever had sleep paralysis? Let us know in the comments below!


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