Imagine curling up under your covers on a cool spring evening slowly drifting off to sleep only to awaken what feels like minutes later to the overwhelming feeling of someone in the room with you, not anyone you know or recognize but a strong and very strange presence. Your heart begins to pound as you realize you can’t move or speak, but just there out of the corner of your eye you see something which gives you an overwhelming sense of fear but you cannot scream… only a quiet whisper may emerge from your lips or no sound at all. A tall dark shadow man slowly moves to the foot of your bed and quietly crouches down while staring at you gripping the end of your bed with black claw-like fingers and grins at you with razor sharp teeth. As he begins to crawl slowly up the bed he whispers to you that you have nowhere to go, and hums a strange tune in a raspy voice, then suddenly begins to wrap his hands around your neck choking you slowly. You feel your throat closing as his cold hands grip your throat; you try desperately to move or scream or kick yet nothing seems to work!… You suddenly awaken sweat soaked, terrified, gasping trying to catch your breath. Was it a dream? Because it felt so real!
Perhaps you’ve experienced your sleep paralysis as a similar nightmare man or entity like this or another better known as “the hag” who visits in a similar way except instead of appearing like a shadow man she appears as an old haggard woman who sits on your chest suffocating you while you can’t move or speak. Sometimes, though when they do speak they will threaten you or tell you horrible things will happen to you. Some people have a repetitive occurrence constantly repeating itself in a never ending circle of horror such as spiders or bugs erupting from boils in their skin.
This my friends, is what is better known as sleep paralysis (not just any old run of the mill nightmare!) as scientists and psychologists would call it. It can be triggered
by stressful moments in life, some after difficult changes occur in relationships or death in the family, and some who also suffer from insomnia. Others have these “dreams” for simply no reason at all. The way to break it down simply is this… During rapid eye movement better known as REM sleep our brains have vivid dreams, while the muscles of our bodies are essentially “turned off”. While you’re sleeping your muscles are unable to move so that you won’t be able to act out dreams with your body (cause who REALLY wants to see you dreaming about running around in your grandma’s pink robe walking a poodle downtown while eating an entire bag of cheetos right?) When sleep paralysis happens you wake up before REM is finished, this leads to the feeling of being unable to move while your nightmare continues right before your eyes as if you’ve been awake the entire time. In truth they only last from 20 seconds to only a few minutes but believe me they feel like a LOT longer than that.
If you’ve watched the documentary on Netflix recently called “The Nightmare” it depicts multiple different experiences people have had, some who believe they’re beings
from another planet (or aliens if you prefer) trying to communicate or study us and our
habits. If you haven’t seen it I suggest you do! It’s pretty interesting and maybe you’ll be able to relate in some way. In fact a young man named Nicolas Bruno even recreated his sleep paralysis experiences into a collection of photographs which can be found here: http://www.lostateminor.com/2017/02/01/man-with-sleep-paralysis-recreates-his-nightmares-in-photos/
Check them out for yourself and see what you think!
As far as treatment goes for this scary stuff… It seems the one true way to avoid this is to get better sleep, more of it, and get into a normal routine if possible. Try some meditation techniques with deep breathing exercises to fall asleep faster and deeper. There are a load of apps out there for everything. I have one I use daily myself and it works (almost) every night.
If any of you have any spooky experiences to share please do! We’re definitely interested in hearing about them.
Thanks for reading!
Until next time, sweet dreams!