You are waking up in the dark with the uneasy feeling of being watched. If you try to move, you notice that your body is not cooperating. You are paralyzed from head to toe.

As your fear builds, in the corner of your eye, you see something approaching. You want to scream, but no sound comes out of your mouth, and you can’t reach for the light switch.

It sounds like a scene from a horror movie, doesn’t it? Yet, people with sleep paralysis experience this.


Sleep paralysis is also known as sleep paralysis. It is a sleep disorder that affects about 20 to 40% of the population.

People with insomnia, a disturbed sleep rhythm, or narcolepsy are more susceptible to sleep paralysis. However, it can happen to anyone. During an episode, a person can not move, and the limbs feel very heavy.

Also, a person may feel that something is pressing on their chest. Sometimes hallucinations occur, which can be auditory, tactile, or visual hallucinations.

For example, someone may feel there is a presence in the room or hear footsteps. An episode generally doesn’t last very long, from a few seconds to minutes.


While sleeping, there are different stages that we go through. These different stages all have their own characteristics. For example, your brain activity and heart rhythm differ per sleep stage.

One of these stages is called REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep.

During this stage, your eyes move quickly from side to side, but your body is paralyzed. For example, this protective mechanism of your body prevents you from actually carrying out your dreams while sleeping.

The REM stage is also the stage in which dream appearance. Of the different stages of sleep, the state of the body in the REM stage most closely resembles the state of your body while awake.

Your blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate increase, and brain activity skyrockets, It is still unclear what exactly goes wrong with sleep paralysis.

However, likely, a person during sleep paralysis will partially wake up during REM sleep. You are in between sleeping and waking. Your body is still paralyzed, and your dreams can come alive before your very eyes.

Paranormal and Alien Statements

The hallucinations that people experience during sleep paralysis can feel so real that people try to explain them in other ways.

For example, they are convinced that there was a demon or other entity in the room. This is not a new phenomenon; for centuries, there has been writing about entities that visit the bedroom while sleeping.

For example, you have the demons Incubus and Succubus who, according to legend, enter the bedroom at night to sit on people’s chests.

Sleep paralysis may also be an explanation for people who say aliens have abducted them in the night.

Interpretation and consequences

A recent study shows that your belief about the cause of sleep paralysis can influence your experience.

If you interpret sleep paralysis as a supernatural experience, the episode will last longer. However, if you see it as a brain error, the episode will be shorter.

In addition, it appears that people who interpret sleep paralysis as a supernatural experience are 3 times more likely to suffer from an episode. Your interpretation also influences the level of fear you feel about the next episode.

People who explain sleep paralysis by a supernatural cause experience more anxiety. Research shows that these people can even sometimes experience post-traumatic stress symptoms.


Sleep paralysis is not harmful, but it can disrupt your sleep. You can therefore take some measures to try to prevent an episode.

A regular sleep rhythm can help prevent sleep paralysis. The maintenance of consistent sleep time and avoiding stress play an important role.

If you do have an episode, you can make it pass more quickly by moving your eyes quickly or focusing on one limb, for example, your hand, and trying to move it slowly.alarm-clock-590383_1280

What do you think? Does sleep paralysis have a paranormal explanation, or is it explained biologically? Leave your answer below!



2. Kalat, J. (2007). Biological Psychology (Ninth Edition). United States: Thomsom Wadsworth.

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