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How To Stop Sleep Paralysis: 10 Prevention Strategies

Sleep paralysis is a phenomenon characterized by an inability to move or speak during sleep, despite conscious or semi-conscious awareness.  A typical episode of sleep paralysis is thought to last for minutes, whereas more severe types may persist for hours.  Most people experience infrequent short-episodes of sleep paralysis – this is diagnosed as “isolated sleep paralysis” (ISP) – and isn’t considered problematic.

More extreme, long-lasting, and recurrent bouts of sleep paralysis episodes are generally diagnosed as “recurrent isolated sleep paralysis” (RISP).  The RISP subtype is estimated to occur in a very smaller percentage of all sleep paralysis cases (3%).  However, those experiencing recurrent sleep paralysis are more likely to experience terrifying nightmares, hallucinations, and other unusual sensory perceptions.

Why sleep paralysis is problematic…

Although sleep paralysis doesn’t generally cause any sort of medical harm, it can lead to significant psychological distress, induce anxiety, and may exacerbate existing sleep problems.  When a person experiences sleep paralysis, it is thought that an individual has difficulty transitioning smoothly through sleep stages.  They may jump from a fully conscious, waking state, to REM (rapid-eye movement sleep) immediately rather than experiencing a gradual transition.

Sleep paralysis can be experienced during the transition from sleep to waking consciousness OR from waking consciousness to sleep.  It is believed that it is essentially a hybrid state of alertness with a blending of both REM-induced dream-like sensations and consciousness.  A person is consciously alert due to spurts of beta waves and excess alpha waves, yet is physically incapacitated (temporarily) paralyzed as a result of REM.

In some cases a person will experience nightmarish, sleep paralysis hallucinations, such as that of a demonic entity or malevolent presence.  Some people even claim to have been tortured by the hallucinatory demon or creature that they perceive.  Certainly not all cases are as extreme as to involve demonic entities, but they may trigger significant fear, especially if a person hasn’t determined how to cope.

How To Stop Sleep Paralysis: 10 Prevention Strategies

If you have experienced an episode or multiple episodes of sleep paralysis, and want to avoid another uncomfortable experience, there are preventative measures that can be taken.  It should be noted that not all of the preventative tactics will be universally effective.  Due to significant individual variation, you may need to do some experimentation to determine what works best for you.

1.  Rule out medical conditions

Due to the fact that the exact causes of sleep paralysis remain unknown, it is important to rule out all potential medical conditions that may be contributing to your episodes.  This means checking for neurological conditions, working with a sleep specialist (to determine whether you have a sleep disorder), checking hormones, vitamin/micronutrient deficiencies, etc.  If you want to make sure you’re not missing something obvious, check with your doctor, explain what’s going on, and determine whether something medical may be the cause.

In addition to ruling out medical conditions, it may be important to rule out exposure to toxins.  Unfortunately, most people don’t even think to consider things like: toxic mold, heavy metal exposure, or pesticide exposure for potentially causing sleep paralysis and other abnormalities.  One thing that has been linked to sleep disorders, particularly crazy dreams is that of mold exposure.

Should you have a medical condition and/or were exposed to environmental toxins, you’ll want to get them properly treated.  In many cases, treating the underlying condition will improve your sleep quality and stop sleep paralysis.

2.  Regimented sleep schedule

If you’re experiencing sleep paralysis after you’ve ruled out and/or treated various medical conditions, the next step is to correct your sleep schedule.  Researchers speculate that among the most common causes of sleep paralysis is lack of a regimented sleep schedule.  In other words, people that experience sleep paralysis are commonly going to bed and waking up at different times each day.

Fluctuation of sleep-wake times is especially common among those who work “shifts” (or who have “shift work sleep disorder“), travel across time zones, teenagers, and those who fail to understand the importance of a regimented sleep schedule.  Creating a sleep regimen should be as strict as possible if you hope to prevent or stop sleep paralysis.  It isn’t something to “attempt” for a couple days – it’s something you’ll want to stick with for the long-term.

Your sleep regimen should involve: going to bed at the same time each night, waking at the same time each morning, and getting approximately the same number of sleep hours.  By having a sleep regimen, your body knows what to expect in regards to how much sleep it will get and should transition through sleep phases more efficiently.  When setting a sleep schedule it is important to align it with your body’s circadian rhythm and make sure you are getting enough total sleep (hours).

3.  Minimize potential sleep disruptions

It is known that sleep paralysis can be intentionally induced with strategic sleep interruptions.  In one study with healthy volunteers (that had never experienced sleep paralysis), researchers were able to manipulate their brain’s into experiencing sleep paralysis. They accomplished this by waking them as soon as they entered REM stage sleep.

Eventually the participants would fall back asleep and transition immediately from a conscious, waking state to that of REM, which increased likelihood of sleep paralysis. This suggests that frequent interruptions, particularly as an individual enters REM stages of sleep, may increase likelihood of sleep paralysis.  To avoid experiencing sleep paralysis, you’ll want to minimize the potential for interruptions.

In other words, turn off your phone notifications, block out external noises and lights, and make sure that your partner isn’t going to roll on you in the middle of the night.  If you have pets, make sure they aren’t going to bother you in the middle of the night unless it’s urgent.  Don’t fall asleep with your TV on, and avoid anything that has the potential to disrupt your sleep.

4.  Enhance sleep quality

A regimented sleep schedule that fits your circadian rhythm as well as minimizing potential disruptions can be very helpful for preventing sleep paralysis.  However, there are some other tips that you may want to consider to enhance your sleep quality.  Avoiding stimulation before bed, blocking RF-EMF radiation (particularly from cell phones), blocking light and sound, and getting a comfortable mattress and pillows can go a long way to improve sleep quality.

  • Avoid stimulation before bed: Intense stimulation in the form of a cell phone, computer, television, or other electronic device prior to bed is likely sabotaging your sleep quality. Some experts recommend avoiding electronics 1 to 3 hours before bed.
  • Avoid RF-EMF radiation: If you sleep by a computer, cell phone, and or Wi-Fi router – your sleep quality will go down the tank. Avoid radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation if you want your sleep to be optimal.  Put your phone on airplane mode and turn off the router before bed; no need for radiation during sleep.
  • Block out light: Take steps to darken your room by blocking out all bright lights – even those from your electronics. Put a light-blocking curtain over your windows so that when you sleep, zero light gets through.
  • New mattress & pillows: If your current mattress and/or pillows are uncomfortable, consider changing them. An uncomfortable mattress may lead to sleep quality problems, which may make you more prone to sleep paralysis.
  • Sound-proofing: There’s nothing worse for your sleep than waking up from an unexpected boisterous drunk, construction project, dogs barking, or birds chirping. You should wake up in accordance to your circadian rhythm, not in the middle of the night from an unexpected noise.  Take steps to sound-proof your environment or reduce sound to improve your sleep quality.

5.  Increase sleep quantity

Sleep deprivation and/or restriction is a factor that may increase likelihood of developing sleep paralysis.  Those who experience sleep paralysis are often chronically sleep deprived and/or restricted, and have a difficult time resetting their circadian rhythm to get out of their funk.  Although sleep quality should be emphasized over quantity, you should be getting “enough” sleep so that you feel mentally and physically rejuvenated upon waking.

Most experts suggest shooting for at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night; this is subject to individual variation.  If you’re a person engaging in intense physical activity during the day, you may need more than 9 hours.  Do what feels right, but don’t skimp on quantity – which may increase your risk of sleep paralysis.

6.  Adjust sleeping position

In a majority of sleep paralysis cases, people are sleeping in the “supine” position (i.e. on the back).  If you find that you’re experiencing sleep paralysis on your back, logic would suggest trying a different sleep position.  You may want to experiment sleeping on your side or even your stomach.  If you want to stay sleeping on your back, consider propping your head up more and/or working with the natural curvature of your spine.

It isn’t known precisely why the “supine” position is most associated with sleep paralysis.  That said, changing your sleep position may make a difference towards reducing the intensity and/or duration of sleep paralysis.

7.  Relaxation / Stress Reduction

You may want to throw some relaxation techniques at the problem if you’re experiencing sleep paralysis.  It has been discovered that anxieties, traumas, and depression can increase risk of sleep paralysis.  Stress is known to interfere with sleep, and overactivation of the sympathetic nervous system may be the primary culprit in some cases.

If you are stressed, you may want to consider taking up meditation, self-hypnosis, or guided imagery before bed.  Even something as simple as deep breathing may help lessen anxiety, decrease activation of the sympathetic nervous system, and reduce stress.  The stress reduction should drastically help improve sleep quality, quantity, and may be beneficial for stopping sleep paralysis.

8.  Supplements

There are a variety of supplements that can be utilized to improve sleep quality, but the most common is that of melatonin.  If you’re taking other medications, beware of potential contraindications and interactions before using any supplement.  If you’re not using any drugs or medications, melatonin is perhaps the best supplement for resetting your biological clock.

It can be especially effective among those who work “shifts” and/or experiencing “jet lag” from travel across time zones.  There are plenty of other natural relaxants that can be used to tone down sympathetic nervous system activity and enhance sleep quality such as: magnesium, valerian root, L-tryptophan, and 5-HTP.

9. Drugs: Add or Subtract

If you’re on drugs, it is important to consider that they may be a direct cause of and/or contributing to your sleep paralysis.  If you started taking “Drug X” and noticed that you developed sleep paralysis while taking it, but never had an episode prior, it may be more than a mere coincidence.  Those that are taking drugs should realize that many pharmaceuticals, illicit substances, and even over-the-counter medications could contribute to sleep paralysis.

Individuals that ingest nicotine, caffeine, or alcohol frequently may also be more prone to sleep paralysis.  If you suspect that a particular drug may be contributing to sleep paralysis, you may want to stop using it.  If you’re on a pharmaceutical drug, always talk with your doctor before stopping as a result of sleep paralysis.

If you’re not taking any drugs and have already tested various supplements for stopping sleep paralysis, you may want to consider taking some.  It is said that some people have success taking antidepressants – particularly SSRIs and tricyclics for the treatment of sleep paralysis.  Other pharmaceuticals like Z-drugs (sleeping pills) may prove to be effective.

10.  Brain Waves

Another strategy would be to deliberately manipulate activity of brain waves prior to falling asleep.  Although not tested for treatment of sleep paralysis, it could be beneficial for certain individuals.  This could be accomplished by using one of the many types of brainwave entrainment such as: listening to isochronic tones at a specific frequency, neurofeedback, or even electrical stimulation.

There are some potential dangers of brainwave entrainment, therefore this treatment may not be suitable for everyone.  Do your own research and understand the risks before you alter your brainwaves in effort to prevent sleep paralysis.  In theory, entraining the right brainwaves may tone down sympathetic nervous system activity and help the brain efficiently shift through the various sleep stages.

Coping with Sleep Paralysis…

If you are in the early stages of attempting to stop sleep paralysis episodes, it may take awhile.  Don’t expect immediate results – it can take months before you adhere to a regimented sleep schedule, your circadian rhythm fully adjusts, and your sympathetic nervous system is toned down.  In the meantime, you should probably be aware of some coping techniques for episodes of sleep paralysis.

  • Wiggling fingers/toes: Although anecdotal, many people have found that consciously attempting to wiggle their fingers and/or toes helps them stop sleep paralysis in its tracks.  You may not be able to lift your arm, move your leg, or scream for help – but using your conscious awareness to “wiggle” your fingers or toes may help you “wake up” from feeling trapped.
  • Acceptance: When you’re experiencing an episode of sleep paralysis, it may be terrifying and uncomfortable.  You may sense the presence of another entity and in an extreme scenario, you may even be hallucinating.  Practice accepting your experience as a byproduct of faulty cycling through sleep stages.  Although the natural tendency will be to resist the experience, accept what is happening and realize you have nothing to fear – your brain’s REM activity is playing tricks on your conscious perception.
  • Sleep specialists: If you’re still experiencing sleep problems, you may want to consult a sleep specialist.  They will be able to monitor your brain activity and may be able to recommend a particular solution.  Sleep specialists have seen sleep paralysis before, and know what it takes to help treat this condition.
  • Psychotherapy: Should you have a difficult time coping with sleep paralysis, you may want to consider enrolling in psychotherapy.  Therapists may be able to give suggestions regarding what you can do to cope with the condition.  This can be particularly helpful if you have PTSD and know that the post-traumatic stress is a direct contributor to the sleep paralysis.  With the right strategies and therapeutic support, it is possible to overcome PTSD and improve sleep.
  • Sleep journal: For some individuals it may be helpful to consider a sleep journal.  Upon waking, write about what you experienced during your sleep paralysis.  Document how long it lasted, and keep track of how well you slept.  Write down whether you are adhering to your sleep schedule, whether you avoided stimulation before bed, etc.  Sleep journaling can help you keep track of all factors that may be contributing to sleep paralysis.

Have you dealt with chronic sleep paralysis?

If you’ve dealt with sleep paralysis episodes, whether they’ve been infrequent or recurrent, feel free to share whether you’ve been able to reduce it in intensity and/or severity.  If you’ve been successful in preventing, reducing, or stopping sleep paralysis in its tracks, be sure to share with others what worked for you.  To help others get a better understanding of your situation, describe the severity of your sleep paralysis and what you believe caused it.

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{ 20 comments… add one }
  • Baylee January 15, 2016, 12:40 am

    Really stressed because this happens to me almost every night. I’ve never had hallucinations or anything like that, but it really freaks me out and I don’t want to start hallucinating…

    • Alison February 3, 2016, 12:19 pm

      I’m sorry!! They suck huh!! When you have one, you should try getting up and eating something before you go right back to sleep. I always get right back into one after I have worked so hard to get out of the previous one. Do you have any tricks?

  • Alison February 3, 2016, 12:16 pm

    I experience sleep paralysis quite frequently. The more stressed I am the more it happens. When I have them I will eventually wake myself up or my husband will wake me due to my attempts of screaming and and trying to get his attention by twitching my feet and hands. I have found that when I do wake I will fall right back into one unless I physically get up and do something.

    I will eat something lite and then try to go back to sleep. Mine are very intense, my hallucinations are scary, I have been attacked by a creature of some sort. Its weird because in the “dreams” I can see my bedroom just the way it is but there are many shadow creatures, they mainly sit on my chest or back… I know weird. Even though I know its not real it is the scariest thing I have to go through.

    I’ve gotten pretty good at getting out of them but those times I can’t, it feels like I’m there for hours. My husband is also getting very good at detecting these experiences. He is my hero. I don’t think anyone could understand the horror of these dreams unless they themselves have experienced them.

    So if you have then, try getting up and eating something, dont sleep alone, and one interesting fact, there are 9 siblings in my family and 4 up us have this. So I’m thinking its got to be hereditary. I’m going to try the suggested supplements and repost later to see if it helps. Good luck people!!

    • alondra hernandez June 24, 2016, 12:12 pm

      Yes I feel the same way you just described. I feel a “presence” there next to me or in top of me. Unfortunately my husband goes to work really early so while I continue to sleep alone, that’s when it happens! I truly understand the way you feel. It stresses me out because it’s really scary because it looks like it’s really happening in real life and same scenario. Well Im glad you found your solution. I will try your hints. Sweet dreams. :)

  • andrew February 17, 2016, 9:21 pm

    Can anyone please help me? This has been going on for almost a decade.

  • Jessica February 22, 2016, 9:28 am

    I actually just woke up from my third episode ever and I’m 15 years old. I got straight on the Internet to find out what’s going on because, as stupid as this might sound, I had to go get my mom this time because it’s was so scary. Every time I’ve had it, I have been sleeping on my back. Usually I will just be trying to wake up from a dream (any dream really) and I simply can’t.

    At first I’m unable to move and I see my room as it is except there is a dark figure by my door. After what feels like a minute or so of struggling I was able to sit up but not quite wake up. I was even able to move my arms to hit myself but the only thing that got me out of it was the tear from me crying. While this may sound melodramatic, it was the worst one I’ve had so far. Does anyone have any tips on how to prevent this???

    • Tay May 5, 2016, 1:33 am

      Late reply, but better late than never, right? I’ve had sleep paralysis for over 15 years now, and I always hallucinate the same thing: A shadow man, tall, faceless, stands in my door and watches me. Doesn’t matter where I am in the world, he’s always at the bedroom door. He’s a malevolent presence, and I sense danger in the room, but I can’t move at all, and it feels like there’s a weight on my chest. Sucks, doesn’t it?

      Now, I don’t have any tricks to completely stop sleep paralysis, as it is likely caused by a neurological glitch in my sleep cycle, and probably all of us who experience it frequently have a similar REM hiccup. I can recommend things that helped reduce my episodes, and that removed the fear from them entirely.

      1) Set an alarm.
      I know the most annoying thing you can do on the weekends is wake up to an alarm clock, especially since you’re still in school, but the loud, continuous noise will snap you out of any episode. Also knowing that you have a fail safe is soothing, and will leave you less stressed when you go to bed.

      2) Only go to bed when you are tired.
      You’re much more likely to hit the sheets and just sleep. Sleep paralysis occurs more commonly when you’re stressed, so if you allow yourself to lie awake in bed and internalize your fear, you are much more likely to have an episode. Let the bed be for sleeping, not for freaking.

      3) Understand that your hallucinations are NOT demons.
      The man you and I see are hallucinations brought on by our REM. Similar to the way many people have dreams about falling, losing teeth, driving cars, losing the ability to walk, etc., our human brains translate our fear into something we universally understand: a dark, scary presence. But it is just a dream. Knowing and understanding that you are in no physical danger will calm your body, and you will come out of your episode.

      4) When having an episode, try lucid dreaming!
      It’s much easier to enter lucid dreams when you are aware that you are dreaming. Sleep paralysis gives you an easy entry. I’m able to lucid dream almost every time I get sleep paralysis now, although I’m terrible at maintaining the dream and usually wake up quickly.

      5) Physically get up and do something after an episode.
      If I don’t do something, when I roll over and go back to sleep I often fall right back into sleep paralysis. So get up, walk around, go to the bathroom, or grab a snack. Anything to give your brain a bit of time to reset.

      I hope all of this helps you out! It’s tough dealing with sleep paralysis alone, but there are a lot more of us who experience it than you think. Many people don’t even know that they’ve had it until I tell them about my own experiences! Cheers!

    • Luna August 15, 2016, 11:37 am

      I’m 15 too and I get sleep paralysis somewhat often. I don’t remember when it started but I always have this very specific feeling before it happens. It’s sort of like a ticklish wave that runs through my head or something…but it’s way heavier than a tickle. My biggest suggestion would be that while you’re in sleep paralysis try to ignore the entity as best as you can and focus on wiggling your toes or fingers.

      After sleep paralysis ends you should get up and do something or you might fall right back into one! I know it’s so distressing to be in sleep paralysis :( hopefully some of these tips will help. I’ve never really tried to “cure” my sleep paralysis before but I think I’ll try some things that the website suggests. I just woke up from a sleep paralysis (it probably wasn’t even a minute long) which is why I’m on this website.

      Usually I NEVER comment on websites and things but I can’t fall back to sleep heh. My sleep paralysis usually happens when I’m trying to fall asleep instead of after waking up after a dream. Lately when it happens there’s a very strong buzzing/tickling sensation in my head and I hear voices very clearly :/ the voices aren’t always scary though..sometimes it just sounds like a random lady talking about shoes but it freaks me out!

      I have lucid dreams somewhat often too and I think they go hand in hand? I haven’t had paralysis in a month (I was traveling) the case I had just now was very minor, mine usually are pretty minor but it just feels so uncomfortable and distressing! My whole body feels like it’s tickling and buzzing ugh :c Don’t know what else to say just that you’re not alone and remember that your mind is just playing tricks on you and to focus on wiggling your toes or fingers. Good luck people!

  • ana April 20, 2016, 1:16 am

    Happened to me couple of times. Last time it was like 5 minutes ago so I Googled how to deal with it and ended up here. Didn’t know it was called “sleep paralysis.” I was not able to move, scream or anything, just seeing horrible things that scared me. My hallucinations scared me and I see my room just like it is in real, so everything seemed so real. I thought I was gonna die.

  • Randy G June 6, 2016, 7:08 am

    SP has happened to me before a few times but never seen a shadow figure close enough to actually approve this theory of “demonic creatures” because of my lack of eye vision “thank god I don’t wear contacts during SP”. Unfortunately I had another experience in a old trailer home I spent the night in with my girlfriend which this time was PURE SPINE HORROR. I woke up in the middle of the night in this trailer to SP and looked to my right, and there it was…

    A dark large figure that saw me staring at it… it creeped on me slowly, so close that I literally notice it!!! And suddenly it screeched a loud, a horrifying scream which it gave me chills of death… as a write this, I’m getting a cold chill down my spine… Honestly, this is the scariest experience ever to the point I was “not scared to wake up” to now hoping I don’t see this thing again…

    HOLY COW MAN, I told my girlfriend and she just went back to sleep like “he’s prob joking”, now it’s not a theory.. these things exist!!! They will devour your souls!!! The only method that worked was to be very aware of its presence and scream in the name of the lord, whom shall I fear? I literally woke up swinging in the direction of this “demon” like if it was MMA or something.

    I was ready to kick some uranus up in that room but unfortunately when you come out of SP, those things disappear, honestly wanted to experience SP once again right after so I can kick it’s a-ss for haunting me. I’m thinking about recruiting a clan to ALL do SP at the same time in the same room, so we can all fight these things. And no I’m not messing around, this is a true story.

  • Ellie June 17, 2016, 11:08 pm

    I have sleep paralysis frequently – it started last year when I was 13, and though I mildly hallucinate (like I see my sister walk by and ignore me as I’m trying to scream) I’ve never felt a demonic presence. I only figured out this morning, after 4 episodes in a row, it’s easier to get out of it by taking it slow.

    1) Regulate your breathing and stop panicking. In my episodes I usually have difficulty breathing and my brain buzzes and feels heavy. When I relax it becomes easier to slip out of it.

    2) I wiggle my fingers and my toes. I can never move my arms or legs, but I find with persistence, I can move my toes.

    3) When I begin feel myself slip out of it, I slowly try to move my arms and legs too.

    4) Voilà! But when I’m exiting one of my episodes, the buzzing in my head becomes so unbearable that I see stars. Like I said, it becomes easier to manage when you’re not panicking.

    5) Make sure that you physically get up and do something so that you don’t slip into another one. I hope that I helped!

    • Luna August 15, 2016, 11:44 am

      Your tips are very helpful and I have the exact same heavy buzzing feeling in my head! Glad I’m not alone – the feeling is so overwhelming!

  • cierra June 27, 2016, 3:47 pm

    I have experienced sleep paralysis every couple weeks for the past 10 or so years. In my experience, I’m completely aware that it’s happening and try desperately to scream or jolt myself awake to cease it. Occasionally, I’ll think someone to sitting or pushing on my chest and attempting to kill me. It’s terrifying.

    The key to coping with these episodes proves different to me every time it happens. Wiggling my fingers and toes always helps stop the episode. As soon as I’m out of it, I change sleeping positions. If I go back into it, I start the process over and find a new sleep position again. If I continue to go back into sleep paralysis, I wake my boyfriend up and talk to him for a couple minutes about it.

    That usually will finally take my brain off of it for good. The key for me was definitely acceptance and perseverance to find a method to cope. Don’t give up, try the methods posted on this page and stick with whatever works for you!!

  • Nakia Liles July 10, 2016, 3:11 am

    I read that changing sleep positions can help with sleep paralysis. What if you already don’t sleep on your back? One episode I had here recently, I was on my back but I’m usually not a back sleeper. So it will happen in any position for me. I remember one night I was sleeping on my stomach when I felt whatever it was lay on my back parallel to me.

    I could actually feel the outline of its body. Also, when these episodes happen I do wiggle my fingers and toes. I would even keep blinking my eyes really hard if I couldn’t do anything else. I have always done it just to make sure I was awake. So then what do you do?

  • lydia July 24, 2016, 10:57 pm

    This is so fascinating. I’ve had this condition since I was a child, at its worst in my 30s and 40s, easing off in my 50s. The “terror” part was only when I was a child–there was a witch hovering over my bed, and I knew I had to move to banish her, but I couldn’t move. Pretty early on (though I never discussed this with my parents or anyone else) I was somehow able to understand that this problem was within me, not outside of me, which didn’t make it any less of a problem but at least less sinister.

    Definitely the sense of an electrical charge running through my body (and this went on for decades), which I knew I could break if I wiggled even one finger. But it would take SO much effort to move that finger, and then it would take SO much effort to make myself get up and move around even though I knew the paralysis would come back if I didn’t, easy to talk myself into thinking it wouldn’t start up again if I just let myself doze off.

    What I haven’t seen anyone mention (though I may not have read every post, and am just starting to research online) is this: my sleep paralysis is DIRECTLY linked to the amount of exercise I get. I’ve never had the problem on days when I’ve had sufficient exercise; I’ve always been able to snap myself out of it if I get up and get my heart rate up (easier said than done; the process could go on for hours before I finally got up)–getting on an exercise bike, climbing up and down the stairs, whatever.

    Even when I was really young I somehow understood this; I remember getting up from my childhood bed and going out into the living room and doing sit-ups when I couldn’t have been more than ten or twelve years old, just so I could sleep. A couple of people in these comments have mentioned getting up and moving around, to let the “brain reset,” but in my case it was definitely related to exercise; if I got up and moved around, but didn’t get my heart rate up, I’ll fall right right back into paralysis when I went back to bed.

    Now in my early sixties, I still have to be sure I get exercise, but if I don’t (and I virtually always make sure that I do, even if it’s just getting on the exercise bike for ten minutes before I go to bed; it’s just not worth the disrupted sleep) it’s more of an unpleasant logginess to my sleep, less the full-on paralysis. And I’ve come to almost appreciate the disorder (if that’s the right word for it)–it’s kept me fit.

  • Mary September 1, 2016, 10:35 pm

    I’ve been experiencing different degrees of sleep paralysis for a few years now (although I didn’t know that’s what it was until recently) and have found that taking allergy medicine before bed works incredibly well for me! Maybe I’m allergic to something in my room like the list said, but regardless it’s been a lifesaver. Just came here to say that – hopefully it helps!

  • Alyssa September 21, 2016, 5:02 am

    I am currently trying to fight off falling back into an episode and am trying one of my methods of sitting up keeping my eyes open. With SP you can feel when you’re going into it during dreams and can feel it still there in the back round when you wake up. Looking at screens and TV and creating activity in my mind helps fight the episode from coming back when I fall asleep. It’s not working at the moment so I may have to resort to standing up and walking and possibly splashing my face to completely shock my body into reality.

  • Morgan October 6, 2016, 4:09 pm

    It’s happened to me a few times and honestly it’s not completely heart droppingly scary. I mean, I wake up and feel like I’m going to cry. But I think it’s been gradually getting worse and worse. Just last year I had a discomfort in my own room and I’d always feel scared falling asleep because I kept feeling something sit on my bed right as was falling asleep.

    I ended up getting used to whatever it was and not caring whenever I felt weight on the side of my bed and just full on falling asleep. Anyways, recently I was dreaming, maybe 30 minutes after I fell asleep. I was dreaming I was cuddling my boyfriend and he had his arms around me. I then woke up and still had the feeling of arms around me and I couldn’t move, I started hearing whispering and conversations of gibberish.

    What helped with that was the fact that I tried to fall back into the dream, which was actually pretty calming, and I broke out of it. Basically I just got up out of my room, told my mother and slept on the couch that night. The second time it happened was last night. I was literally just having a normal dream, super vivid.

    Whenever I was ripped out of it to something scary and I couldn’t move or scream. I forced myself awake and still couldn’t move. What did help with that was the fact that I just started moving my fingers and toes. Oh, and whatever you do NEVER open your eyes. I still haven’t. I’m terrified of what I might see. I swear on God I felt some sort of presence in front of my face. Thought about praying, and I’m atheist.

  • Jasmine October 8, 2016, 1:25 pm

    For the first time in my life, I finally realized that I had sleep paralysis last night. It happened when I was scrolling through some pictures on my phone and decided to close my eyes for a while with no intention to actually sleep yet because it was only somewhere at 11pm. I was lying on my back and the next thing I know I fell asleep (or maybe I was transitioning into a sleeping mode). I could clearly remember how I was actually walking in my dorm room but the lights were off and it was so dark but I could somehow know that some of my housemates were outside in the living room area (but they were not in reality).

    But then I was lying on my bed once again, this time, I could feel this strong grip on both my wrist. It was so intense and I remember trying to wake myself up and “fight off” this thing that was pressing my wrist so badly but it was so difficult to even move my hand from the tightening grip. I remember trying so hard to loosen the grip and opening my eyes (I could only see a vivid image of this dark shadow in front of me but only for a few seconds). Being a catholic, I decided to recite some prayer in my dreams with the hope of waking myself up and I did. (Some might think this was all a hallucination etc.)

    But I did manage to wake up, with the pressure still intensify on both of my wrist and my hand position somehow was still the same as when I first fall asleep. What freaked me out, even more, was that, throughout the incident, there was this really loud piercing noise in the background but once I managed to wake up, the sound was gone immediately. At that moment, I didn’t feel scared or anything plus, I am away from home in college (2nd year) and it freaked me out even more when called my mum about it.

  • Morgan October 8, 2016, 11:08 pm

    I know I have nothing to fear. It’s like a bad trip. I’d much rather be seeing colors rather than a black figure coming to whisper creepy sh-t in my ear.

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