9 Ways to Wake Up From Sleep Paralysis

Sleep paralysis is the terrifying feeling of being held down after just waking up or going to sleep. You can’t move or scream, and sometimes this paralysis is accompanied with the certainty that someone –or something — is in the room. Quite simply, sleep paralysis is one of the most horrifying experiences in life, because we know we’re awake but can’t believe what appears to be happening to us.

The truth is, sleep paralysis is a biological event and it can be often prevented by attending to lifestyle choices, but making new habits can take time.  So how do you wake up from sleep paralysis tonight? There’s not a lot of information available.  Below I compiled 9 ways to get out now, adapted from the Sleep Paralysis Kit.

Note: Because this is such a personal thing, some of these tactics will work for you, and others won’t. Choose the ones that make the most sense to you intuitively.  Think of these strategies as tools in a toolbox to bring out when the conditions are right.

1. Don’t Fight

If you feel like you are being held down and you can’t move, do not fight back.  This actually will intensify the experience.   Not only is fighting back likely to increase the feelings of being held down (so much that it may seem like you are being crushed), but fighting back will also increase the fear, thus triggering the emotional centers of the brain and strengthening this lucid nightmare. Controlling fear is the most important skill during these moments.

2. Surrender and Go with the Flow

Instead, try to relax when you notice SP starting to happen.  Prepare an affirmation like “This is SP and I am okay.”   If you feel pressure on your chest, see if you can “go with” the pressure rather than against it.  It’s like winning a fight by having no resistance. For example, for me, I often feel like I’m being pushed into the mattress when I have SP.  I let myself go, and mentally “pull” in the direction I am being pushed.  What happens is I then “pop” into a full-on dream, or I can wake up directly.

3. Wiggle your Toe

Another excellent tactic that works for many people is to try to move an extremity, such as a finger or a toe.  Most of the feelings of paralysis are in the belly, chest, and throat.  So focus all you attention on the toe and try to move it back and forth.  In many cases, this will break the paralysis.

4. Clench your Fist

This is a variation of the toe wiggle method.  Clench and unclench your fist.

5. Focus on your Breath

An easy way to stop these nightmares is to do some controlled breathing.  Controlled breathing does several things at once.  For starters, it lessens the feelings of chest pain that sometimes accompany SP. Breathing is autonomic like the heart’s beating or digestion, so it’s not paralyzed like the big muscles in our arms, chest and legs.  But breath can be controlled with attention or be affected by severe fear, which may be why SP sufferers “forget” to breathe when under attack.   If you can control your breath, you can control your fear.  Simply draw your breath in at a normal rate, and exhale fully, using all of your lung capacity.  Notice that you can breathe fully without obstruction. This technique will keep you calm as the SP runs its course and then you will wake up without any trouble.  A few moments of focused breathing with a strong intention to wake up is effective.

6. Lean into Love to Find Courage

Now is also the time to lean into unconditional love.  For many, the surest path is in religious or spiritual beliefs.  Regardless, focus on a figure that you admire and love. Think of someone who calms you down—someone who you associate with peace, love and safety.  This could be Jesus, the Dali Lama, or someone you know personally. In my first SP nightmare when I was fourteen years old, I thought about the love and respect I had for a girl in my class. Embarrassing but true!  It worked: the feelings of oppression and evil dissipated immediately. In this case, true love really does conquer all.

7. Getting Help from your Sleep Partner

If someone shares your bed, you can tell them about your SP attacks and what to look for when you are having a nightmare.  For example, my wife used to shake me awake whenever I began to breath heavily and irregularly in my sleep.  As it turns out, she was waking me up each and every time from an intense SP nightmare.  Now when this happens, I tell her not to wake me up, because I actually use SP to go into a lucid dream.

You could also have your partner respond to a verbal request.  This only works some of the time, because some people cannot speak in paralysis.  But some can.  Choose a short word that is easy to say.  “Help” is a good choice.  When you’re in paralysis, focus your attention on your throat and say “Help.”  Don’t try to say it as loud as you can; what may happen is that your imagination will take over and you will only say the word in your dream.  Instead, say it forcefully but without screaming.

8. Coughing for Help

A variation of using your voice is to try to cough into wakefulness.  Like breathing, coughing can be autonomic or consciously regulated.  By coughing on purpose, you can jar yourself awake.

9. Write out the Plan

The suggestions above all have helped hundreds of people get out of SP and get some sleep.  Not every tactic will work with you.  But having too many tactics in your mind can actually be counterproductive.  So it is important to make a plan, almost like the fire escape plan you may have for evacuating your family home in case of emergency. Write it out; this will cement the plan in your mind and make it easier to remember when the paralysis comes on strong.

10. The Ultimate Method I know — I said 9 ways, but this is the single best way to wake up from sleep paralysis and it’s really in a class of it’s own. When you realize you are in SP, scrunch up your face. In other words, make a face like you just smelled something bad. Snarl and squint. Do this two or three times in a row and the paralysis will break IMMEDIATELY. I’m not sure why it is so effective, but unlike the pinky wiggle, this method is foolproof.

After you wake up, get out of bed immediately and turn on a light. Wash your face with cold water. If you just stay in bed, the chance of sliding right back into sleep paralysis is pretty high.

For more information about preventing sleep paralysis from occurring in the first place, as well as how to get over the fear of SP, check out my Sleep Paralysis Kit.

This $15 multimedia digital kit also covers the science, psychology, and history of SP, as well as methods for using SP to have lucid dreams and other extraordinary experiences.

CC Image credit: Ornoth @ Flicker.


  1. says

    I’ll try this cause I’m only 13 but I’m experiencing this since last year I’m hoping this could help in my SP.Sometimes if i can’t really fight it I’ll just relax and I feel like I’m being shaken by someone.Really hope this could help

      • mary says

        This is happening every night for a month I can’t move talk but I hear noise. An seen something once even heard my door open 3 times and here someone say my name .. tonight I thought I moved my phone to wake me up and when I woke up and could move my phone was on the floor .. my old man thinks I’m crazy I don’t know why its happening so much ..

    • Michael says

      I had a dream for the first time last night that I felt someone push down on my back when I was sleeping on my stomach. I was terrified. It felt real. Also this was the first time I have slept with the windows open. Coincidence?

  2. Kev says

    just read all of the above comments. And feel for you all. Been having them for years now my self and at first they scared the living delights out of me and I like to think I am a macho guy.. But not been in control of your own body but yet hearing everyone around you and not been able to respond is the worst nightmare ever. However for those of you who really are struggling just look at it this way.. YOUR STILL HEER, NOTHING HAS HURT YOU AND NOTHING WILL. Its your sub conscious filling in gaps that’s all. one sense is awake the rest are asleep. Nothing is

    • eleanor machado says

      I have experienced 4 SP in the past 6 weeks!
      It is such a terrible feeling, not having control
      and having the pressure you can not move your
      body and head and wake up! Leaves one not wanting to go back to sleep; I try to call for help and my husband doesn’t hear me!
      After caliming down when I do become conscience, I walk around and then take a couple of aspirings and worry if I will ever wake up again! Most scarry. Your comments have been a great help for me, thanks for the internet. God Bless All who are supportive. Eleanor

      • brad says

        I’ve experienced the exact same thing for years and I finally discovered that it doesn’t happen to me when I sleep on my belly. It only happens when I sleep on my back. Happens everytimevi sleep on my back. So I stopped sleeping on back and my sleeping problems stopped completely. Sounds dumb but it works. Don’t sleep on ur back. Try it

          • Linda McKnight says

            Thank you for the suggestions, Ryan. I am 38 and have been experiencing SP for 20 years. I notice that when I’m stressed or extremely tired, it occurs more frequently. Your last note of getting up immed, turning on light, etc sounds reasonable for when I ‘shake’ myself out of it, I’m too exhausted to get up and I drift off into another episode. I’m bookmarking this page for future ref. Fellow sufferers hang in there, esp the 13 yo. It’s frightening, but you’re not alone.

          • sam says

            sleeping on the stomach does work to stop it but its actually much harmful than SP itself. if you know about SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) you will know its the worst position to sleep in. science proved the best position to sleep is lying on the right side and prophet muhammad(PBUH) told this hundreds of years ago.

  3. Kev says

    just read all of the above comments. And feel for you all. Been having them for years now my self and at first they scared the living delights out of me and I like to think I am a macho guy.. But not been in control of your own body but yet hearing everyone around you and not been able to respond is the worst nightmare ever. However for those of you who really are struggling just look at it this way.. YOUR STILL HEER, NOTHING HAS HURT YOU AND NOTHING WILL. Its your sub conscious filling in gaps that’s all. one sense is awake the rest are asleep. Nothing is as powerful as the human imagination. Love you all and please don’t forget your all still here.

  4. Jorge Correia says

    Great but triyng to breath will probably not work as parts of REM characteristics may still be found that includes inability to controll breath creating the sensation of being stroke.

    The rest is okay.

    • Ryan Hurd says

      Hi Jorge, thanks for the comment. to clarify, you can breathe slowly and calmly without in REM. the feelings of suffocation arise when you try to gulp in breath quickly or erratically. That’s why staying calm and controlling your breath is key.

  5. Jayy says

    When I’m in SP I can’t even move!! I try moving but I think I’m moving but in reality I’m not.

  6. Lavi says

    Hi. I had my first SP at 14 years old. It was terrible. I was sweating. I panicked at first but then I realized it was all a dream so I tried to ‘open’ my eyes several times. When I thought I was awake, I realized I was not because I still couldn’t move. Then I prayed to God. It calmed me down. The next year, I had another attack. It was worse because I was like engulfed by darkness. Of course it was creepy but I prayed and I was awake again. Those things left me staring into space for a while but then it was night and I was tired so I drift myself back to sleep. After the latter paralysis, I wasn’t able to sleep well for 2 nights. The recent I had and third too was yesterday. It was a dream that I was sleep paralyzed. I don’t know if that counts. All I did to wake up was pray. It really works. It calms me down and it gives me strength. If you believe in God, I suggest you do it. I also suggest that you don’t sleep on your back.

    • Nate says

      I agree had it happen in past and I said Jesus and then I woke up. Last night it happened again and I was fighting it and tried to say help and Jesus name and it really works. I know he hears me and he calms me. Thanks

      • Bryan says

        Praying truly works..I just keep calling out to Jesus sevaral times and I wake up..say my prayers again n go back to sleep..this will do it
        .Faith is all u need to overcome the your fear.. :)

  7. Danny says

    Funny I’m actually trying to get into sleep paralysis to slip into a lucid dream, can anyone help me get into sleep paralysis? Strange posting my comment here :P

    • Ryan Hurd says

      Hey Danny, basically, just do the opposite of these tactics here:
      In a nutshell, if you are prone to SP, sleeping on your back, disturbing your sleep (especially in the morning when REM is more likely) and then going back to sleep and supplements like galantamine are well known tactics for encouraging SP and lucid dreaming.

      And here’s some techniques for moving into a lucid dream from SP:

    • Sheena says

      Hey Danny, I’ve been experiencing SP for the last 7 years or so and it always seems to happen to me when I’m either somewhat sleep deprived or if I’ve been sleeping for a long period of time. If the latter then it increases with how many times I wake up and go back to sleep and on multiple occasions I’ll experience back to back episodes. For example, I had one just this morning and last night I’d say I fell asleep around 8pm (which usually would be very early for me but i had been up since 3;30 am the day before for work) and i woke up once at about 3 am and rolled over went back to sleep then I woke up again a little after 5 AM after an intense dream and i didn’t want the dream to end so i fell back asleep and probably woke once more around 7:30 or 8 and then went back to sleep and the next time i went to go wake up it happened.and not this time but sometimes after a sleep deprived onset upon awakening from an episode ill be so tired and exhausted from the previous episode that when i finally awake and realize im not being attacked by an intruder ill pass back out and it will happen again the next time i go to wake. Also I’d say about 80-85% of the time that its occurred to me is when I’m lying on my back. I don’t necessarily fall asleep that way, but i might wake up and roll onto my back. Good Luck! Because even though I always get scared and panicky while its happening because i feel like i can hear someone or something in the next room and i know its coming to get me and i cant wake up to fight back when i do wake up and realize i am okay it becomes an appreciated experience. For the first time this morning i saw something, well i guess it was just a hallucination, but i felt like i kept opening my eyes and everything was just how it should be in my room except that there was a spirit of some sort. Anyway sorry to ramble hope this helps it really is an exhilirating feeling!!

  8. Trey says

    I’m 24 years old. I came to this site to look for an answer. When I have SP, I can’t move a single inch. I try as hard as I can to stretch my arm, or move my leg. I even try to roll back and forth, so that i’ll fall off the bed to hopefully wake me up. Some times I see my family talking to me, saying “he’s okay,” or “somethings wrong with him!” I try screaming for help, (and I’m an extremely independent person, and think of myself as physically, mentally, and an emotional strong individual). It makes me feel absolutely helpless, and that i’ll never get out. Sometimes I’ll fall and fall, and find myself right back on the bed, still paralyzed. It lasted for an hour and 45 minutes yesterday, stuck on the side of my bed screaming for help, with no words coming out, and not an inch of movement; REAL TIME, not sleep time. It felt like a lifetime. I just woke up from experiencing SP today, while praying, and when I went to do the cross, my hands were stuck together, and I was back to the hell. I really hope something works because i’d rather die, than experience this nightmare on a daily basis. Thanks for the tips Ryan, you can bet i’ll be trying a couple of them tonight! P.S. I have about 5 to ten dreams a night. I can remember all of them, and have started to write them down. I can recall the smallest detail. I dunno if that has anything to do with it, but thanks again.

    • Kenya says

      It happens to me almost every week and it terrifies me also, I just woke up from one now actually. I hate it too, you hear everything, you think your moving but your not. Something strange for me is that time passes by so quickly. Last week I was in SP, in my room and my mom came to get something from my room and I felt that literally seconds after she left I woke up. When I went to thank her for going into my room she told me that she went an hour ago. This made me more scared because I have a fear that one day I will be stuck like that and life will just fly away from me. I am 17 and hope I don’t have to live with this all my life. :( Good luck to you :)

    • Sheena says

      Trey when I first started experiencing SP I was probably 13 or 14 I remember one time I fell asleep during an assembly at my highschool and when it was dismissed i couldn’t wake up to leave, but i could hear everyone shuffling around me to leave. I was struggling to make myself move or yell but couldn’t and was so panicked. That time it probably only lasted about 15-45 seconds but it felt so long. Now I’m 22 and i still get them only there more intense I feel like I can hear someone, or something, moving around in my house and i have this sense that whoever they are are coming for me (sounds paranoid i know). I consider myself an independent strong person like yourself and i realize that i always wake up when im at the point of surrender. I don’t know how long mine last because usually noone else is home but sometimes ill have them back to back. I still always panicky when it starts to happen, but I’ve grown to embrace them because when i wake up and realize I’m okay, and I do always wake up, its just such an exhilarating feeling. I only drink so to me the rush of the aftermath is like a natural high.

  9. ladonica says

    This happened to me two nights in a row three times each night im 14 and it scared the holy he’ll out of me. Id been reading about smile dog slenderman jeff the killer ben drowned and the rake and sally teddy bear and seed eater

  10. Ruby says

    I just had one and have been having it for many years. The worst part is I always sense a presence up against me trying to crush or hold me immobile. What I had today was the worst. It felt so real and terrifying. I felt someone slipped in bed beside and was trying to crush me. I tried really hard to move but could not. Then after some time I woke up and it was broad daylight (it was an afternoon nap). Now I read some tips which could help me awake when it happens again. Thanks!

  11. edonbega says

    Ok guys I think I am the only one who experiences 3 to 4 SP in a row , when the first breaks up I open my eyes breath and say to my self like “damnn..” And right after I close my eyes it happens again .. And it goes over and over all the night till it leaves me , and I don’t feel pressure on my chest I feel pressure in my head its like my head is going to explode .. Damn it , the last time it happened I was feeling pressure in my head and being pulled by legs , something was pulling me off the bed , until I screamed calling my mom and she broke it by shaking me..

    • Felecia says

      I’m 34 and have had them since I was 12. I too have them back to back. When I have them somehow I manage to breathe really fast, or hum loudly signaling my husband to shake me. Sometimes I can even force my husbands name out. It’s a terrible thing to experience. I’m so glad that I now know what this is. My 11 yr old son is now having them and is absolutely terrified. I will utilize these tips on the both of us. Last week was the worse one yet only because I scared my 13 yr old. I had been having one for what seem like 30+ minutes, I heard him come downstairs and walk into my room. He saw me having an episode and began calling my name “Mama”. I was already mummering and trying to shake myself
      (sometimes this works) I knew that once he saw me he would panic as he knows that I have them but he’s only seen his brother (my 11 yr old) have them and not me. As stated most of the time mine are in my own bed where my husband awakes me, however my husband was at work. My son kept saying mama and tried shaking me, though lightly. In my mind I was saying shake me harder, he said my name again, shook me lightly again and then he panicked. He left the room and ran upstairs and because I knew I scared him I automatically shook myself out and called his name. He came back down crying and was getting ready to call my husband. He said “I kept trying to shake you and you were making these weird noises and I couldn’t wake you” bless his heart. I told him next time shake me a little harder but when it comes to his brother to not shake him as hard. I’m bigger so compared to my 11 yr old I’ll take more force.
      Sometimes after having an episode for so long I have a terrible headache. I find that I can have them whether on my back, stomach or side. Stomach is the worse as I feel like I’m suffocating. My youngest likes to sleep with his head up under the cover and I stopped him from doing it because that increases the panic, the lack of air. I’m glad I’ve stumbled across this site. Let’s me know I’m not alone

  12. Tiffany says

    I started experiencing this when I was 17 years old. The first attack was one of the most terrifying thing I ever experienced. The attack lasted for over 5 minutes, for some reason I finally wiggled my toes and woke up. Since then every time I had an attack I’d wiggled my toes and would wake up. It’s been over a year since I had an attack. I honestly think my attacks were stress related. Once I moved away from home and all the drama surrounding it the attacks stopped. I’m now 21 and I haven’t had one in over two years.

  13. julia says

    i always experience SP for like 3-5 times a week, 1-5 times a night. Its horrible!! some told me to drink water before i sleep, drink milk, sleep sideways, pray before i sleep. after a nightmare, turn pillow the other way around and such. and i do all of that, and STILL i get SP! my mom and dad were thinking on having me check up-ed by a sleep doctor

  14. Blake says

    I dont agree with surrender and go with the flow. My SP nightmares intesify when i give up and let it do its thing. Only way to lessen it is to muster all strength i have

    • Ryan Hurd says

      thanks Blake for your perspective. You got to go with what works for you. To be sure, I am not necessarily saying surrender to being hagged by a monster — that’s a situation that can have a lot of variability. But in my experience, if the only sensations are the tension and the breathlessness, relaxing and breathing normally — surrendering– are helpful to quiet the mind before trying to grapple away. withough the “grounding” exercise of surrender, fear can increase and make it worse. Again, this is my experience and everyone has to make their own way!

      • Ashley says

        My husband has sp and when I hear him it sounds like he is making a whining noise and it scares me and I shake him and holler at him and he wakes up and says something was holding him down and he has trouble breathing but when it happens he has been asleep for a while I don’t know it scares him. His mom had done thins when she was younger is there any that this is hereditary bc we have a 9yr old daughter and I don’t want her to have to experience this

        • Ryan Hurd says

          It’s likely that isolated sleep paralysis is hereditary; it seems to run in families anecdotally at least. for many people learning that SP is harmless is very helpful. learning the ways to wake up is also a powerful de-stressor. for myself and thousands of others, learning how to navigate SP has resulted in the chance to experience amazing dream experiences… that’s some serious lemonade!

      • CZ says

        I use all my strength to break free everytime. Im kind of used to it so its not scary to me anymore; just that I would wake up panting after breaking free.

  15. sam deol says

    I am 17 years and i had a SP last night and this was the first time had them. i was not able to move my body and it felt like time was passing very slowly.
    i was scared about it but now i will try these methods if i get SP again.

  16. Ronan says

    I’ve had three SP’s like this now and ive just woken from one. It felt as if someone was pulling me out of the bed by my head and when i woke up i looked at the pillow beside me and some guy just rolled around and stared into my face. The methods i use is to just relax and dont fight it as it will only get worse and to think of someone i love like my girlfriend or family member

  17. L0vetti says

    I’m 15 years old & started having sleep paralysis at about 14 years old. The first time I had it it lasted about a minute & tried ignoring it.But it happened again a few nights later.I told my mom what was happening to me at night & naps, turns out that happens to her too!sleep paralysis usually happens when your being attacked by an evil spirit or “demon”. I am a Christian & the 1 thing that breaks my sleep is by saying Jesus repeatedly I’m my head cuz I have no strength to speak.when I wake up from the terror I put the bible on on my phone and hear it out loud & comforts me while in my sleep.When your not living right the enemy does whatever it takes to scare you or go after you.He goes after Gods people because he’s a coward! Remember, the number 1 thing that makes the enemy stronger is by fear. -Godbless you all hope I’ve helped.

  18. Jay says

    I’ve had it since I was 12 years old. Now at 25, they have gotten worse. I slip into it every night whether I’m laying on my side or my back. Now, while in the episode I can’t breathe at all. It feels like someone is holding my nostrils shut. I do breathe but no matter what it gets cut off. The only way I get out of it is by moving my body from side to side until I’m out of it. Years ago, it took me what felt like a hour to get out of it now it feels like a few seconds. I used to see and hear things but now it’s gone. Glad to know I’m not the only one experiencing this terrifying experience.

  19. Ai says

    My SP attack started when I was 16 ! The worst part of it was I know im sleeping but i can hear the real world . Its kinda heavy to move but i always try to move and if it not work i try to relax and when i can feel the heat of my bed immediately open my eyes. This is the only tactic i use to wake myself up. Im still not used to it and everytime i got this attack it really scare the hell out of me.

  20. Lance says

    I don’t know what to believe. Some claim that these SP hallucinations are not, in fact, hallucinations. They say that this phenomenon scientists call ‘Sleep Paralysis’ (and the hallucinations associated with it), is actually a brief moment in which we perceive another world or plane that overlaps our own, and that these ‘dark figures’ we sometimes see during these episodes are inhabitants of that realm who, are very aware that we are able to see and hear them. They seem to be able to interact with us, that is to a certain agree, while we are not able to interact with them or their world, hence why we can’t move our body. The moment we snap out of it and ‘wake up’ and this alternate world disappears is when our being fully returns to our own plane of reality.

    Then there is the scientific explanantion for this terrifying phenomenon. I reckon there’s no need to get into that, we know how it works.

    I am more inclined to believe the scientists. When I think about the spiritual explanantion for these events, I always think those people have watched way too many supernatural or paranormal movies for their own good. But, could the spiritual explanation be true? What do you think of this?

    • Sheena says

      I used to go with the scientist version until this morning when I had an episode. Usually I just hear things, but this morning i saw something and i know how ludicrous and ridiculous it sounds and if someone told me id say well yeah its a hallucination and your partially asleep. But what I saw was a teenage boy figure only he was plasma-like looking. I dont know its hard to explain but kind of like when you blew bubbles out of those plastic jars when you were younger… and that wouldn’t have seemed so strange to me except that right before i awoke he went through a rippled spot that looked like the same material as him (portal?). I don’t know it sounds crazy butit got me wondering “what if?” because thats the first time something like that has ever happened to me and I’ve been experiencing it for 7+ years now and i actually came online to see if anyone else had that type of thought process on the matter.

  21. Tyler says

    This happened to be last night, it lasted about 20 sec, it didn’t scare me while it was happening, but when I woke up my first thought was “Holy sh** aliens”.
    I fought it at first and was able to move my arm slightly, but it didn’t go away until I relaxed.
    The first time this happened was a few years ago in HS I fell asleep in class, so that was awkward having it happen in a public place. But it’s interesting because they say you have to wait for REM to occur, and I’d only been asleep mins or secs in class
    I took a sleep pill last night that may have caused it. Honestly, I think they’re kind of exciting. I don’t do drugs, but it feels like what I imagine acid or DMT is like.

    • Ryan Hurd says

      thanks Tyler. relaxing while in SP is the best course of action–easy to advise, but hard to do when you’re thinking about aliens. cheers.

  22. chris says

    Try to jump if that helps like after a scary dream…. Try to scare your body after waking up It’s more a mental thing but the times its happened to me ive been able to scare myself away from sP try it it could help

  23. Tess says

    I had this last night! So today I went online to look for answers. I had it before but my husband was by my side. Yesterday was the first time i had an episode sleeping alone. I even saw a faceless girl standing beside my bed. I was panicking so bad and that made the paralysis even worst. Then i was able to move my head and saw my kitten next to me and that made me calm down and the paralysis broke. It was horrible!!!

  24. sam says

    one thing I am sure about this is when everyone who experinced it were sleeping in supine position. its related to sleeping in this particular position. there was a wise man 1400 years ago who said sleep facing on your right hand side.

  25. Tamoor says

    Very nice info… i had SP today thats why i was searching about SP :)
    but my case was a little bit different. It was like i was thinking about two shadows of a boy and a girl and then i was like what would i do if i saw those in my room. Then i was like “i would scream loud for help”. I was scared just of thinking that. then i wanted to go to my brothers room but at that moment i found out that i could move nor make a sound. I was frightened but i dont know how i calmed myself down and i pushed hard at once to sit and i realized it was SP.
    i have never had this feeling of thinking in sleep before so i am confused that how i did it !!!

  26. me says

    I’m 16 and I had my first SP 2 days ago. It was absolutely horrifying after I realised I was paralyzed. There was complete darkness, I felt a hand on my body but I thought it was something else… I then realised it was a ghost or something, so I tried to scream, but my voice was ”gone” and I wanted to cry. Then I woke up without trying any of these things (???) because I never knew this. I guess I was lucky then, that 1 minute scared me already!

  27. Jared says

    I’ve experienced this many times but my last experience (20 minutes ago) was by far the scariest I have ever experienced. I opened my eyes then got dragged back into SP. But caught a glimps of someone leaving the room before my eyes closed again! Is this normal?? Should I be concerned?

    • Ryan Hurd says

      well, “normal” is a tough word because it’s so creepy — but yes, it’s totally in the range of experience. My first encounter of SP was a lot like yours — I felt like I was getting dragged back in, pushed into the bed. If you begin having SP regularly, every night, for more than 2 weeks, then you may want to consult with a sleep doc. Often, however, recurrent SP can be managed through lifestyle tweaking.

  28. David says

    Thanks for those tips. Finally, I hear about others who deal with this nightmare other than me. I’m 45 & have been having RISP since my early teenage years at least once or twice a month. Now since I’ve gotten older it happens two and three times a week. I’ll try these techniques in hope that they’ll work for me. My first occurence was when I was around 12 or 13 and it intensified as I got older. Thanks again for posting this info. God bless you.

    • Ryan Hurd says

      thanks David. Keep in touch about what works and what doesn’t! There are so many individual factors so it’s helpful for folks to read about others’ journeys.

  29. douglas says

    This really dnt explain wen someone wakes me up i bawl up a fist or i actually start punching them..wen im disturbed from sleep i wake up fighting n i dnt know y

  30. Chartresgreenman says

    Im inclined to believe the scientific explanation for this. Ive been experiencing this since I was a kid, with basically 3 variations of descriptions of what I think I see in my room. The most frequent is a tall shadow silhouette-like thing in what looks like a shroud or monks robe. The second and less frequent is a smaller
    implike shadow, this one usually gets in my bed and either holds me down or tries to strangle me.
    The third only occured once, and was avery large cat, it slowly raised its head as if it was four feet from the bed. I looked at it, closed my eyes and opened them only to still see it there. It was also shadow. The only diff was it had eyes, white I think, but no other features other than what looked like cat ears pointing up from its head.I only have one question and that is why the scientific explanation implies that many very diverse persons from many walks of life would/could have such similar accounts of what it is they see and feel during this state. I would be inclined to think diff people would dream up many many differing scenarios and images. This shadow people crap has too many consistencies to be easily explained as a blot of mustard or a portion of undercooked potato. Thnx

  31. Jonathan Ferreyra says

    I just experienced a sp but it was weird i saw an asian lady but just saw her from her nose to the top of her head i asked who she was and disappeared. After was when i was sp.

  32. Anon says

    Argh. Had two of them this morning. One thing that I think is different with my experience is that there generally isn’t an “intruder” for me. Maybe I’m dreaming a bit, and there is a nonexistent presence there, but it’s never a foreign presence with me, per se. I generally know who or what it is, even if I’m not personally acquainted with the presence, and it’s generally not out to get me; it’s just there (which is a pleasant surprise considering the content of my usual dreams, actually).

    For me, the terror is and has always lain in the inability to breathe through either my nose and/or mouth (because my nose is stuffed from allergies and/or my mouth is closed). The inability to move only becomes scary when I realize I can’t reach for a tissue or open my mouth or even roll over to make the above two easier. I try to breathe anyway, but I don’t have the range I’m used to, if that makes sense. I can’t breathe as deeply as I normally do when I’m scared and need to calm down. But I’m awake and aware that there may not be a pressing need to move aside from getting my blanket somewhere it can’t tickle me, as I CAN breathe, just not as well. I can’t relax because that typically makes it harder to move, breathe, and wake up.

    So what I do is focus on taking deeper and deeper breaths as I struggle to move my fingers and roll over, since I noticed early on that I normally take a deep breath right when it ends and I can move again. Wiggling my fingers and rolling over are ways to reassure myself I’m not dead in addition to retrieving that elusive box of tissues, haha.

  33. Tanya says

    I have been having these for years now. Year before last a woman standing by my bed looking down at me and late last year to recently whenever I sleep on my stomach a man trying to rape me
    from behind. I haven’t been able to sleep well for the past few nights really scared. Glad to know what it is and to know I’m not alone in this.
    What works for me calling out Jesus name and moving my hands or feet. God bless

  34. Meshelle says

    This been happening to me since I was about 12 I’m 23 now . I don’t understand why it happens it’s pretty scary n sometimes make me cry. I just wonder what if I can’t wait myself up. It’s pretty sad but sometimes I know if it’s going to happen. I either have a bad dream or it either comes if my dreams switch fast to another dream quick!. What I do to wake up? I try moving my head,feet,legs or hands. It’s hard to do but I keep moving until I wake up. Once I wake up I tell myself not to go back to sleep because it would happen again faster! It feels like something is taking over my body or someone is watching me or in the rm with me. I thought it went away but I guess I was wrong cuz it just happen again tonight

  35. Isabella says

    I’m a 13-year-old girl who often suffered from SP for a long while when I was dealing with chronic anxiety disorder, and in the process figured out some ways to wake up from it. (They’re for the most part similar to yours.)

    1. I would shake my entire left leg. This is similar to the wiggling your toe method, but I found that if I didn’t do it for long enough and with enough vehemence, I would lose even the ability to move a toe and would lay there for about half an hour smothering, unable to fall asleep. So, if you can do this one, it might work better for you.

    2. I would open my eyes. A lot of the times when I had SP I would feel like I’d opened my eyes when I actually hadn’t. But, as soon as I actually would, I was able to breathe clearly again and calm down.

    I hope these can help others with SP! :)

  36. phallon says

    This happened to me today for the first time ever. I feel a sleep on my sons bed, and I was awoken by him jumping on the bed, but it was scary because I could see him jumping up and down on the side of me but I couldn’t move or talk. I tried so hard to even humm but nothing would come out, I tried to clench my fist, and tried to move my fingers. I was totally paralized. I could feel my heart beating so hard and fast. I would have to say that was the scariest thing to happen to me.

  37. Andrea says

    I don’t have these episodes too often, but its always when I sleep on my back. I don’t know if other people experience this, but most of my experiences happen as if I have my eyes slightly open (because I see my room and the light of day exactly as it is when I wake up) and also, during them I feel like I am moving my arms, but nothing happens. One very vivid experience was a few years ago. There was someone sitting at the foot of my bed, it had the shape of a man, but covered in white/blue light. I felt myself sit up to try and reach him, and then I laid back down. My other experiences are mostly feeling/seeing a dark presence or just not being able to move, and most of the time I am able to wake up by saying a prayer or trying to think aloud that God is with me. :)

  38. Silent_Screamer says

    I’m 16, almost 17, and I go through SP almost every weekend. It’s terrifying, I think tonight was the first time it happened during the week. I have a heart condition which means that I have an implanted Defibrillator, so I’m scared that I’m gunna get shocked during SP from my heart rate going too high. I actually think this just happened, but I don’t know for sure. I’m scared to go back to sleep so I guess I’m staying awake the rest of the night.
    I’ve tried everything to get out of SP, but nothing helps, an it’s damn near impossible to calm down and breath normally. I tried asking my mom to take me to the doctor to see what’s up, but she passed it off as something that isn’t a big deal.
    Sometimes I’ll be Lucid Dreaming (Which isn’t fun for me, it’s actually terrifying, but I don’t know how to stop it) and then that turns into SP, and it’s scary.
    I just wanna know how to stop having both Lucid Dreaming and Sleep Paralysis, because it happens at least 3-4 times in just a weekend!

  39. Rocky says

    Just woke up from one now and I’ve been experiencing it every now and then since my early teenage years. I’m 25 now and it still frightens me like it did the very first time it happened to me. It would occur to me in any position: lying on my back, on my belly and lying sideways. Different things happen to me like feeling someone hugging me from behind, someone preventing me to move or face the other side, someone walking across the room, my sleep buddy showing weird and scary faces, etc. The feeling is worst than ever that it prompted me to google it! Found out that it could be genetically transferred since my aunt and my mom experiences it as well. It happens to me mostly when I’m very tired. Found relief when I found out that a lot of people are experiencing it and that there are tips on how to wake up from it. Will surely try them! Very helpful! Thanks a lot!

  40. sgroclkc says

    Physiological symptoms of sleep paralysis are the same with those of syncope. Thus, sleep paralysis is caused by syncope. For experts in cardiovascular diseases, sleep paralysis or syncope is a common symptoms of cardiovascular disease?1?.For a long time, due to the ignorance of physiological knowledge of syncope , ischemie cerebrale , slow beat, fast beat and so on, psychological illusion in people’s sleep generated by such physical symptoms i.e. the nightmare really has puzzled the psychologists, therefore they put forward a wide range of wrong even absurd views onthe nightmares, which both have no scientific basis, and could not be confirmed, even more were not self-consistent.For example, a medical expert Debacke drew the correct conclusion that the anxiety-dream resulted from ischemie cerebrale according to the physiological symptoms of the anxiety-dream of a boy of thirteen. Freud called such view was a ” medical mythology” in the book of Dream Psychology. Most important,the experiment confirmed the idea. For example, a place in country , there is a “haunted” bed which makes people have sleep paralysis or syncope every night, and it is this fact that the pillow in the bed is too high will reduce cerebral blood flow.?1?http://www.medhelp.org/posts/Sleep-Disorders/Nocturnal-fainting/show/11612

  41. Etienne says

    Ok… now im scared… i read all the above comments and no one experienced what i did.

    i had SP twice in one week now, or i hope it was SP…. i wake up cant move scream speak and and and…. but the first time i saw a demon girl looking at me and her face was melting away. second time i saw a white man walking past me and keeping eye contact. when he returned he was a black man walking the other way keeping eye contact with me.

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