Have you ever had the experience of being ‘stuck to your bed’ totally unable to move? This is known as ‘Sleep paralysis’ and it’s very common. (Some people report seeing a ‘scary demonic figure’ standing over them or in the room – more on that later).
Almost everyone has experienced sleep paralysis at some stage in their lives, and it’s even more likely if you’re into Lucid Dreaming and you’ve tried the WILD technique. Don’t worry.. This is going to cover everything you need to know about sleep paralysis, and what you can do to deal with it. We’ll also cover a few things which will be linked to separate articles if we feel they need more clarity.
What exactly is sleep paralysis?
It’s the experience you get when your mind is still awake but your body has begun to shut itself down ready for sleep.
Every night, everyone goes to sleep and their bodies are paralyzed; their muscles are unable to move. This happens as a built in safety mechanism for your mind, to stop you from kicking your legs out in real life when you’re only dreaming about running. If your body didn’t do this, you’d find yourself sleep walking, shouting, thrashing around and causing yourself harm while you dream.
NOTE – The actual name for what’s happening is ‘muscle atonia’ you can read more about that if you so wish.
The problem is that sometimes your mind is able to stay awake while this is going on, leading to a terrifying experience of being ‘awake’ but being unable to move. You panic, and this panic is what causes the hallucination-like demonic figures to appear in your room or standing over you. From a very young age, it’s drilled into your subconscious mind that when you’re paralyzed, something bad happens.
Maybe it’s because we watched too many horror films, or maybe it’s because at a primal level, being unable to move meant that we would have been eaten by a dinosaur or something like that. Either way, normally you panic when you’re unable to move and so many people report seeing demonic figures in their rooms. (Either that or they report ‘feeling’ like something is there with them).
On a neurological level, you’re experiencing a ‘hyper-vigilant state’ created by your mid brain. You’re feeling like you’re vulnerable to attack when in reality you’re probably perfectly safe. In basic terms, on a primal and hormonal level you think you’re in danger simply because you’re unable to move and if a threat WERE present, you’d be unable to escape. For this reason, you get a sense of terror or of something being in the room with you. (Further reading on the psychology and biology of sleep paralysis)
So why does it happen?
Well, as we’ve said it happens normally to prevent you from sleep walking or other dangerous activities. It’s there to stop you moving around while unconscious, which when you think about it is a pretty good idea. Imagine waking up at the edge of a balcony!
So why does it happen after we’ve woken up?
Well, it’s essentially that system persisting after we’ve woken up.. Or rather.. After our MINDS have woken up. It happens sometimes randomly, but mainly at times when you’ve changed your sleep pattern or consciously tried to stay awake when you’re really tired. Here are some things that can affect sleep paralysis and make it more likely:
- Sleep deprivation. Not getting the sleep you need can make it much more likely
- Age. Young teenagers are the most affected, as well as young adults. People between the ages of 14 and 25 are the most affected by sleep paralysis
- Irregular sleep patterns. All those late nights followed by early mornings followed by early mornings are bad for you and they’ll confuse your natural bodily functions such as paralyzing muscles when you sleep
- Drugs. Drugs are bad
So this actually leads us quite nicely onto how to combat this experience and have more natural sleep, and NOT see a demon at the end of your bed.
How to stop sleep paralysis
It all comes down to your sleeping pattern.
The way you sleep in terms of:
- Quality of your sleep
You need a regular sleep pattern in order to stop having this paralysis because your bod needs rhythm.
Sleep paralysis and WILD?
You may be thinking; well what about if I’m TRYING to stay awake in order to perform a WILD. Using the wild technique can give really good lucid dreams, so what should I do now?
I hear you.
I understand what you mean and it’s important to realize a few things.
Firstly, if you’re experiencing sleep paralysis, and DON’T like it, then maintain a sleep pattern and stop using the WILD technique. It’s really that simple. If you’re looking for a way to use the WILD technique and still combat sleep paralysis, then look at the way you think about dreams. You need to understand that the hallucinations are just parts of your dream.
Although it can seem like they’re not and they’re scary demons that are actually in your room; they’re not. As a lucid dreamer you should be able to realize that and in fact use it to your advantage. This is what I do when I have nightmares, I turn them round into Lucid Dreams. If you’re having trouble with it, then keep practicing. Sleep paralysis hallucinations are not real (obviously) and therefore you can actually use them to trigger lucidity and control of the dream.
When you’re in paralysis, you’re not really asleep yet. You’re in the tricky in-between stage where you’re still technically in the room and you’re aware of the things around you in your bedroom, BUT you’re hallucinating and experiencing weird stuff. It’s a difficult thing to master but in the end you’ll be able to turn it easily into a Lucid Dream.
Is any of this dangerous?
No of course it’s not. If it were dangerous, there would be much more publicity for it and no-one would be trying to Lucid Dream.
Sleep paralysis can be scary, but then again it’s not featured on our ‘scary things about dreaming’ list for nothing. It can be dealt with and there are things you can do to make it easier to cope with. We’ve covered a couple of them, but also try and decide what you’re doing. If you’re just trying to have ‘normal’ lucid dreams, that is to say not using the WILD technique but instead naturally achieving awareness in your dreams, then the best way to combat sleep paralysis is to just maintain a regular sleep pattern.
If you’re trying to use the WILD method, then you’ll have more chance of running into sleep paralysis and must learn to deal with it by altering your mindset or looking out for the signs and becoming lucid during the hallucinations. Hopefully you’ve learned a lot from this article, and as always feel free to leave a comment on the Facebook page.
Thanks for reading. If you’ve enjoyed this please share using the links below, it really helps us.