Avoiding Scary Sleep Paralysis When Lucid Dreaming: The Best Guide


🌙 Written by Kai Riverstone, international lucid dreaming expert and teacher. Learn how to lucid dream in 7 days or less.

Many lucid dreamers find themselves going through terrifying sleep paralysis (being unable to move on your bed) when attempting lucid dreams. Here’s everything you need to know to avoid it!

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. Here’s everything you need to know about sleep paralysis, and what you can do to deal with it.

What is sleep paralysis?

Sleep paralysis is when your body paralyzes your muscles to prepare for sleep, so that you don’t physically act out your dreams during the night and injure yourself.

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.

Avoiding sleep paralysis

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.

Why do we experience sleep paralysis?

Sometimes it happens sometimes randomly, but mainly it happens 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: Some substances can induce more sleep paralysis than normal in the user

It can feel very real as well. People report feeling like someone is sitting on their chest, strangling them, or just breathing heavily down their neck. No one really wants

How to STOP sleep paralysis

There are some easy ways to end sleep paralysis if you wake up during the middle of a stage of it. These things work most of the time, but if they don’t, be patient and keep trying! If you don’t want to lucid dream and you just want to end the sleep paralysis stage instantly, here are some tips for you.

  • Gently move your fingers or toes, whichever ones you can move. Small movements at first, and then bigger and bigger movements
  • Try and swallow or breathe deeper and more rapidly
  • Keep your eyes open and try to move each body part one at a time
  • Moving your mouth, neck and jaw are often the easiest, so start by trying to move those
  • Clearly tell yourself in your head, ‘I’M AWAKE NOW!’

How to turn sleep paralysis into a lucid dream

The experience of sleep paralysis is actually VERY close to lucid dreaming.

The only difference between a lucid dream and sleep paralysis is that in SP you’re not able to engage with the dream. You’re still half stuck in reality, and half in the dream. Often you just need a little push in the right direction to become fully lucid.

Many lucid dreaming methods involve TRYING to keep your mind awake while your body falls asleep. This means that really, sleep paralysis is actually what lucid dreamers are TRYING to experience because we want to be awake in our minds, while our BODY is asleep.

  • As soon as you realize you’re in sleep paralysis, relax and don’t move
  • Tell yourself that you’re almost lucid, you just need to stay still for a while longer
  • As soon as you can, perform a WILD and drift into the lucid dream
  • It might take a little bit of time, as the WILD is not for beginners but stick with it!
  • If you can’t enter the lucid dream this way, wait a few minutes and then try again

Here’s how to have a wake induced lucid dream, which is what you should do as soon as you realize you’re in sleep paralysis at night and can’t move:

FAQ about sleep paralysis and lucid dreaming

This is a big topic and we get a lot of questions about this experience, so here are our most common ones! If you don’t see your question on here, please subscribe to our youtube channel and leave a comment, we’ll answer it there!

Is sleep paralysis 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.

How long does it last?

Usually, sleep paralysis only lasts a few seconds or minutes but it FEELS like a lot longer, because you’re unable to move, so your mind is panicking and working overtime, so the time feels like longer. It can also be slightly longer with certain sleep disorders as well.

Can you die from sleep paralysis?

You can’t physically get hurt or die from sleep paralysis, because the experience is all in your mind. It’s like a mix between being awake lying in your bed, and being in a (lucid) dream.

I’m scared to go back to sleep after sleep paralysis, what should I do?

Lots of people report being scared to go back to sleep or too scared to try and lucid dream, for fear of having sleep paralysis again. I’d suggest you read this post again, because if you apply what I showed you here, you’ll be able to turn the sleep paralysis stage into a lucid dream, every time. Don’t let one or two scary experiences put you off!

Tips for avoiding sleep paralysis


  • Sleep paralysis should only really be noticeable when you’re trying to perform a wild, so if you have it and don’t want it, consider improving your sleep quality
  • Listen to binaural beats when trying to have a lucid dream, it will make it easier! You could try these for starters!
  • If you have insomnia, try this simple cure, it works faster than you would believe, and it doesn’t take very long at all
  • If you normally have trouble falling asleep, and THAT’S why you’re having sleep paralysis, go through this sleep optimisation program, it’s very effective
  • Read more about the sleep paralysis ‘demon’ that some people report seeing
  • Don’t panic! It’s all natural, and as lucid dreamers we’ve got to learn to deal with it