What Sleep Paralysis Feels Like

I wanted to write this article to help educate people on what sleep paralysis is and what sleep paralysis feels like, if you haven’t experienced it yourself it’s very hard to understand just how awful it really is. Hopefully, I can also help people who are experiencing sleep paralysis to find ways to reduce the severity and the frequency of it.

While some have never heard of the term, others simply don’t understand it. If you fall into those categories then you have no idea how bloody lucky you are.

I would love to be the one asking what sleep paralysis feels like instead of being the one who explains what sleep paralysis feels like.

Let’s start by explaining a bit about sleep paralysis, what sleep paralysis feels like and how to treat it.

Before we do that, I just want to point out the ‘meme’ I will be inserting below..

Was I made a meme? Yes. Yes I was.

Whilst part of me is humiliated, the other part is grateful for a photo that fits in with my post!

I mean I can take a joke and laugh at myself.

It seems like fate so I couldn’t not use it at this point.

Expectation vs reality meme of two women sleeping. One looks cute the other has her mouth open dribbling.

Okay and back to the sleep paralysis…

I have decided not to add a list of sleep paralysis causes because it can be as simple as sleeping on your back. I mean buggar me we’d be here all day wouldn’t we?

Personally, I feel it’s one of those shit luck situations. Welcome to my life.

What is sleep paralysis?

Sleep paralysis is when your mind is conscious, but your body isn’t able to move, causing you to become ‘paralysed’.

Hence the name ‘sleep paralysis’.

It tends to happen when you are just rousing from a sleep. (Am I the only one who finds the word ‘rousing’ cringe?)

When you are in that awkward transition between sleeping and waking.

The bare back of a lady asleep in bed with grey pillows and grey bed sheets. Just above the bed is a window with brown blinds pulled down to darken the room. The picture is edited using a filter to make the image look 'moody'

What sleep paralysis feels like

The only way I can even attempt to accurately describe what sleep paralysis feels like is by asking you to try to remember yourself as a child. If you’re anything like me and your childhood was just an outright embarrassment then sorry for dragging you back there.

The point is, as children we don’t have the knowledge and awareness that we do as adults.

As a child, anything’s possible.

We didn’t have that rational mind telling us that the bogeyman didn’t exist.

The idea of monsters under the bed was enough to truly terrify you.

Literally, stop you from being able to sleep. Heck, sometimes I still shit myself about that now.

What sleep paralysis feels like is that monster you feared so vehemently. It’s holding you down and making you completely powerless against it.

Your mind is awake you are fully capable of thoughts, feelings, emotions, everything, especially fear.

Because your body hasn’t awoken you can’t move, or speak, you can’t even wake yourself up.

You have to stay in that very spot.

I sometimes have a night terror whilst experiencing sleep paralysis. Which I have been told is a pretty common symptom of sleep paralysis.

Now, this part is difficult to explain so hold fire and please bear with me.

I can have a nightmare whilst my mind is in a state of consciousness.

It’s as if my nightmare is seeping through into my conscious mind making it believe things that aren’t real actually are.

The nightmare basically enters the room.

Say for example I fall asleep on the sofa.

My sleep paralysis nightmare will make me fully believe that there is something in that room with me. The room my body is asleep in. It’s basically a sleep paralysis demon.

That is a truly haunting experience. The nightmare plays out in my mind making me fully believe that it isn’t a nightmare.

A beacon of light silhouetting a black figure surrounded by darkness to create a creepy, scary effect.

When you are in this situation It’s not a nightmare to you. It really is in front of your very own eyes. Some people refer to this experience as sleep paralysis hallucinations.

It’s real and it’s happening. Someone/something is there, they are going to hurt me and I can’t move a muscle.

I can’t use my body, I can’t open my eyes, I can’t even scream.

You are fully capable of wanting to do all of those things.

To call out for help yet when you try no sound comes out. It feels as though you are in a real-life horror movie and you can’t even try to protect yourself.

Sounds fun right?

No? Well, that is exactly what sleep paralysis feels like.

The good news is there are ways to lessen the chances of it happening again.

The question is how do you prevent sleep paralysis?

How to stop sleep paralysis

A lot of people have experienced sleep paralysis.

Whilst there isn’t actually a cure, there are methods to prevent sleep paralysis.

• Go to bed at the same time every night.

• Get enough sleep.

• Avoid caffeine, smoking and alcohol.

You know, the usual boring lifestyle.

Heck, it’s such a scary experience I don’t care how boring the ‘fix’ is, I’m down.

In all seriousness sleep paralysis is such a horrendous experience. If you are worried or are having frequent issues with it you really do need to see a medical professional.

I do actually have a self-help plan for understanding your mental illness which could be used in this scenario. If you swap out symptoms and instead find possible triggers. For example on the nights you have sleep paralysis take note of what you’ve eaten, programs you’ve watched all that kind of stuff! You can find the article here.

If you have your own stories regarding sleep paralysis, or you feel comfortable describing what sleep paralysis feels like to you personally, please do comment below!

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