Sleep paralysis is a peculiar state of consciousness, during which the person suffering its effects finds him/herself wide awake in the middle of a dream/nightmare, fully paralyzed.

During sleep paralysis, you cannot move or speak and you may have frightening hallucinations.

By reading this article you will learn most of what we know about sleep paralysis.

Table of Contents

What is sleep paralysis?

What causes sleep paralysis?

Who is most prone to experiencing sleep paralysis?

What you can do to avoid sleep paralysis?

Can you put sleep paralysis to use?

Diagnosing sleep paralysis.

The treatment of sleep paralysis.

Hallucinations and sleep demons.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Sleep Paralysis?

Sleep paralysis is an altered state of consciousness, halfway between being asleep and being awake. For some reason, some people get stuck in this “halfway house” for seconds or several minutes. This explains why sleep paralysis mostly occurs when falling asleep or waking up.

Sleep paralysis has several elements in common with lucid dreaming. There are three basic types of sleep paralysis experiences, based on the dream content associated with them.

  • The vestibular-motor type features hallucinations of floating, flying, hovering, falling, or spinning in the void. This is the least unpleasant type of sleep paralysis.
  • The intruder type comes with hallucinations of a foreign presence in the bedroom. Often, clear and distinct noises of door handle turning and footsteps accompany this type of sleep paralysis. Such experiences are sometimes terrifying and traumatic.
  • The incubus type is perhaps the worst. This is the realm of sleep demons. People who experience such dream content describe maleficent entities smothering and assaulting them. Sensations of drowning and pressure on the chest are common with these hallucinations. Victims of such experiences often believe they are about to die.

An interesting characteristic of sleep paralysis is its persistence over time and cultural divides. People from all over the world, since ancient times, have reported similar experiences concerning sleep paralysis.

Despite its often terrifying nature, sleep paralysis is mostly harmless. Other than some additional stress and psychological strife, it does not cause harm to those who experience it.

The first line of treatment of sleep paralysis is to learn about its harmless nature. Now that you have read this far into this article, you have already taken the first step towards addressing the issue, if you are a sufferer.

The next step is to learn about sleep paralysis, what is likely triggering it in your case, and what you can do to alleviate your suffering.

What Causes Sleep Paralysis

A 2017 systematic review of variables associated with sleep paralysis, by Dan Denis, Alice M. Gregory, and Christopher C. French, states that the causes of sleep paralysis are probably multi-factorial. On my part, I would add that they are most certainly that.

Thus, we cannot define precisely what causes sleep paralysis. Most articles on this subject deal with this issue succinctly but superficially. They simply state that various sleep disorders like insomnia and narcolepsy, panic disorders, jet lag, and anxiety play a role in triggering sleep paralysis experiences.

While this assumption is correct, it does not even scratch the surface of the litany of factors, conditions, and issues that give rise to sleep paralysis. In this article, I attempt to give you a much more detailed picture of these triggers.

Age and Sleep Paralysis Frequency

We know that age is a factor in sleep paralysis. Teenagers report most such experiences. As sleep paralysis sufferers age the intensity of their experiences subsides and their hallucinations become less and less frightening.

A 2018 study by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine found that student-athletes were significantly more likely to have sleep paralysis experiences than the general population.

According to the researchers, among NCAA Division I student-athletes, sleep paralysis significantly correlated with depression. This correlation remained significant even after eliminating problems related to sleep quality and quantity.

As such, it is safe to assume that while sleep paralysis is harmless on its own, its presence may be an indication of an underlying medical/psychological issue.

Sleep Paralysis Frequency and Sex

It is ‘common knowledge’ that sleep paralysis is slightly more prevalent in females than males. However, this assumption may not hold water.

There are studies like M. Pires, M. Faith Burgess, and others’ 1995 one exploring the correlates of sleep paralysis in a university sample, and many others, which found no association between sex and SP prevalence. Other studies found males more likely to experience SP than females. Still others found women more likely to develop SP than men.

Research is inconclusive in this regard.

Ethnicity and Sleep Paralysis Frequency

Studies like a 2010 analysis of outpatients with panic attacks, by D.L. Chambless, B.A. Sharpless, and others, concluded that SP was more frequent in non-Caucasians. Other studies found African Americans, in particular, to be more exposed to the trials of SP than other ethnicities.

SP and Community

People living in rural areas are surprisingly more susceptible to developing SP problems than those living in larger towns/cities.

Lifestyle and SP

One might think that a lifestyle of regular habits would counter SP prevalence. That is not the case, however. One study has revealed that those who eat breakfast every day are more likely to struggle with SP than those who only eat breakfast occasionally.

Alcohol and Substance Use

Alcohol and tobacco use is associated with higher SP incidence.

According to a 2011 study by Y. Osaki, H. Suzuki, H. Kanda, and others, aimed at the incidence of nightmares and sleep paralysis among Japanese adolescents, researchers determined that people having more than one alcoholic drink per day were statistically much more likely to have SP problems.

SP’s prevalence in smokers is also twice as high as in non-smokers.

Interestingly, caffeine intake did not show any association with SP.

Trauma, Stress, and SP

Traumatic life events are major predictors of sleep paralysis. Together with childhood sexual abuse, they rank very high on the SP association list.

According to a 2005 study by S.A. Clancy and R.J. McNally, the prevalence of sleep paralysis in childhood sexual abuse victims is as high as 44.6 percent. In the same study, non-CSA victims showed a prevalence of only 13 percent.

Life stress and negative life events may act as triggers, but they are not as strong predictors of SP as CSA and traumatic life events.

Hereditary Factors and SP

Family history and various genetic influences may also exert some effect on SP. One study by M. Dahlitz and J.Parks in 1993 reported family history of SP in 13 out of 22 participants.

Physical Health and SP

As expected, physical health or the lack thereof is strongly associated with SP. A 2009 study by I.C. Ikem and C.O. Mume uncovered some very strong evidence in this regard.

According to its findings, SP incidence among patients with multiple somatic complaints is as high as 56 percent. Some 44 percent of orthopedic patients also reported having SP experiences, against a control group in which the prevalence was 28 percent.

Chronic pain is also a significant predictor of SP.

SP and Being Overweight

Some of the studies that looked at BMI as a possible trigger for SP concluded that there was no association between the two. One study found a significant correlation, however.

When it comes to transitional and altered states of consciousness, one’s personality, beliefs, openness to the new, and proneness to believing in the supernatural also play a role.

SP and Beliefs, Intelligence, and Personality

As far as personality goes, it does not seem to matter much whether you are an introvert or an extrovert.

Dissociative experiences, on the other hand, are significant predictors of SP. Those with more such experiences are more likely to struggle with SP.

In 1995, M. Faith Burgess, N.P. Spanos, M. Pires, and others found that higher imaginativeness did not significantly promote SP, although those with higher imaginativeness scores tended to have more SPs than their less imaginative peers.

Researchers found that a series of surprising factors such as:

  • Daydreaming frequency and style.
  • Mindfulness.
  • Sensory imagery.

…were not associated with SP frequency.

Those who are easier to hypnotize tend to have more SPs. People with higher IQ, on the other hand, enjoyed some degree of immunity to it.

Paranormal beliefs also increase the likelihood of developing SP problems. Belief in conspiracy theories, on the other hand, does not.

Thus far, I have discussed frequency. What about intensity? It is certainly an SP metric that is significant enough to consider.

Life Stress and SP Intensity

Life stress is a bit of an unknown quantity here. M. Pires and M. Faith Burgess have found an association between life stress and SP intensity in their 1995 study.

D. Denis and G.L. Poerio, on the other hand, did not record such association in their sweeping 2016 analysis of sleep paralysis, lucid dreaming, and waking life experiences.

Childhood Sexual Abuse and SP Intensity

The association between CSA and SP intensity is unsurprising. So is the fact that this association is rather significant. Furthermore, such victims are more likely to struggle with incubus and intruder SPs than vestibular-motor hallucinations.

Researchers have found a similar association between physical abuse and SP.

Beliefs, Intelligence, Personality, and SP

In a 2008 study, M.P. Abrams, A.D. Mulligan, and others established that various forms of SP positively correlated with dissociative experiences.

Other researchers drew up similar links for vestibular-motor hallucinations, while still others found no significant associations.

Imaginativeness, absorption, sensory imagery, positive constructive daydreaming, dysfunctional social imagery, and personal beliefs are all significant predictors of various forms of SP, based on scientific studies.

Since we are discussing sleep paralysis, it makes sense to explore the impact of other sleep-related variables on it.

Let us start with frequency.

Nightmares and SP Frequency

Unsurprisingly, several studies have found significant associations between nightmares and sleep paralysis frequency.

Such studies are the 1995 work of N.P. Spanos, M. Pires, S.A. McNulty, and others, and a 2011 study by T. Munezawa, Y. Kaneita and others.

SP and Lucid Dreaming

Interestingly, the links between lucid dreaming and sleep paralysis are not obvious. D. Denis and G.L. Poerio found a significant correlation between the two, in their 2016 study. P. Dodet, M. Chavez, and others looked at narcolepsy patients with and without lucid dreaming in their 2015 study, and they found no evidence of such correlation.

Hypnopompic hallucinations, on the other hand, are indeed associated with a higher prevalence of SP.

In 2015, B.A. Sharpless found similarly strong association between exploding head syndrome and SP. Exploding head syndrome consists mainly of loud noise hallucinations when falling asleep or awakening, sometimes accompanied by bright imagery. As such, it is very much related to SP on several levels.

Out of body experiences are also linked to SP to some degree, as some of the mentioned studies have found.

Other sleep-related variables linked to SP are:

  • Sleep deprivation.
  • Amount of Stage 1 sleep.
  • Vigilance before sleep onset.
  • Subjective sleep quality.
  • Daytime sleepiness.
  • Sleeping position. The supine position facilitates SPs to some degree.
  • Shift work.

Of these, sleep quality encompasses more variables and describes intricate connections among sleep paralysis and these variables.

In his 2018 study exploring the relationships between sleep paralysis and sleep quality, D. Denis concluded that the two were significantly associated. Furthermore, he also observed that SP seldom appeared in isolation.

In addition to these variables, researchers have also linked several sleep disorders to SP prevalence.

Sleep Paralysis and Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

C. Vernet, S. Redolfi, V. Attali, and others have found in a 2011 study, that some 20 percent of sleep apnea patients reported SP, compared to only 5 percent of the control group. It is safe to assume that OSA sufferers often experience incubus SP.

Another sleep disorder significantly associated with SP is narcolepsy. According to P. Dodet, M. Chavez, and I. Arnulf’s 2015 study on lucid dreaming and narcolepsy, the prevalence of SP in narcolepsy patients was 58.5 percent versus 15.1 percent in the control group.

A staggering array of psychiatric disorders can also bring about SP experiences.

The poorer your general mental health, the more likely you are to experience SP episodes.

Other psychiatric factors associated with SP are:

  • Depressed mood.
  • Hypomania.
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.
  • Panic disorder.
  • Panic attacks.
  • Anxiety disorder.
  • Depression.
  • Bipolar disorder.

Of the psychiatric medications used for the mentioned problems, only anxiolytic medication seems correlated with higher SP frequency.

As you can see, the comorbidities and likely causes of SP are of staggering complexity. It is, therefore, not easy to diagnose the problem and to pinpoint its cause.

In a March 2020 study, Kenneth G. Drinkwater, Andrew Denovan, and Neill Dagnall, analyzed the correlations between lucid dreaming, nightmares, sleep paralysis, and reality testing deficits, and paranormal belief.

The researchers concluded that paranormal beliefs impacted nightmares and sleep paralysis, but did not correlate with lucid dreaming. Paranormal experiences, on the other hand, correlated with all those variables.

Reality testing deficit has long been an accepted predictor of SP.

Who is most likely to Experience Sleep Paralysis?

While anyone can experience an SP episode, certain factors make you more vulnerable and likely to fall into the SP trap.

  • Age. SP is more prevalent among teenagers.
  • Mental health issues. The poorer your general mental health, the more likely you are to experience SP.
  • Ethnicity. SP seems to be more prevalent in non-Caucasians.
  • Sleep disorders, such as OSA and narcolepsy.
  • Poor subjective sleep quality.
  • A massive range of psychiatric disorders.

What can you do to Avoid Sleep Paralysis?

The first thing you can do is to learn to recognize SP and to stop fearing it. Despite its realism and despite the feelings of impending doom it often elicits, SP is harmless.

Now that you have a fair idea of the multitude of factors that can trigger SP, you should have a decent idea of how to minimize the likelihood of its occurrence.

  • Whip your sleep into shape. Stick to a consistent sleep schedule and take steps toward improving the quality of your sleep.
  • Exercise, but do not let your workouts interfere with your sleep schedule.
  • Try to eliminate stress and negative thoughts from your life.
  • Identify your personal risk factors and address them.
  • Do not sleep in a supine position.
  • If you are an experienced lucid dreamer, you may be able to use your skills to alter the content of your SP hallucinations.

Can You Put Sleep Paralysis to Use?

While most people nurture no fondness toward SP, some are fascinated by the uncommon nature of the state of consciousness it triggers.

Such people actively seek out SP experiences, the same way they try to trigger lucid dreaming episodes.

Exploring these altered states of consciousness is indeed an interesting proposition for many of us.

Alongside lucid dreaming and vibrational states, sleep paralysis offers a window into the unknown crannies of consciousness. Out-of-body experiences and lucid dreams can provide an alternative view of reality. If SP can help us achieve such states, then it represents an avenue worth considering.

How can an OBE/LD enthusiast attempt to harness the quirky power of sleep paralysis?

What we know about these altered states of consciousness is that they are thought-responsive. That means that your mindset dictates the quality of the experience. With that in mind, let us take a look at a few techniques to use SP for OBE and other internal explorations.

  • Be aware of the fact that you control and create reality during these experiences. Relax and remain calm, regardless of the shocking/unexpected twists of your consciousness. You hold the power. Allow your mind to feel empowered.
  • Adopt an analytic/observational state of mind during SP. Do not focus on your physical body, attempting to gain control over it. Do not fear the hallucinations. Observe and take mental notes. Do not fight/resists the experience in any way. Imagine yourself completely immersed in positivity on every imaginable level.
  • Treat sleep paralysis as a completely natural phenomenon. That is exactly what it is. Recognize its harmless nature and view it as an opportunity for exploration. SP has its aura of fear. That aura is all artificial, however. Let go of it and its threatening aspects will subside.
  • Stop focusing on your physical body. This acute focus is precisely what locks you into it. Let your consciousness float freely.
  • To achieve this shift of focus away from your body, pick a location, and focus on it. This is the point where you can attempt to step out of your body, leaving it behind.

Diagnosing Sleep Paralysis

Sleep paralysis is difficult to diagnose. Isolated instances of it require no diagnosis, nor do they call for treatment.

Diagnosis becomes necessary when SP takes a recurrent form, such as RISP (Recurrent Isolated Sleep Paralysis).

According to Brian A. Sharpless’s 2016 guide to RISP, proper diagnosis of the condition is a multi-step process.

  • Establish the presence of SP.
  • Establish the presence of RISP. This step is the most difficult one since there are no formal medical tests available in this regard.
  • Exclude competing diagnoses. Given the comorbidities and associated conditions of SP, this is no easy task either.

The Treatment of Sleep Paralysis

According to Sharpless’ mentioned paper, there are three ways of medically addressing the problem, following the establishment of patient appropriateness.

  • Psychopharmacological options, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and tricyclic antidepressants. The pharmacology model is similar to what doctors use to treat narcolepsy. Sodium oxybate is one of the most promising pharmacological agents. Its efficacy in the treatment of SP is still not well understood, though.
  • Psychotherapeutic options begin with educating the patient on the harmless nature of SP and RISP.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy. Sleep specialists may apply this method in a manner similar to the treatment of insomnia.

Hallucinations and Sleep Demons

During sleep, our brain shuts down signals to the body, to prevent us from acting out our dreams. During SP, the brain awakens to some degree, but not enough to restart sending signals to our bodies. It sometimes keeps dreaming, meshing our perceived reality with our dreams. And these dreams are sometimes literally the stuff of nightmares.

When, during an SP episode, you see a witch at the foot of your bed, an old hag mounting your chest or a demon doing its best to smother you, you see your nightmares while already awake.

These mysterious and creepy creatures populating the shadow-world of hallucinations are the creations of the dreamer’s mind. That explains why their form differs from one culture to another. Still, there are some creepily remarkable consistencies in the ways people describe these creatures.

  • Europeans in the middle ages would have likely seen a succubus, a demon, or a witch (e.g., the night hag, Mara).
  • Modern-day Europeans are more likely to see technologically advanced critters moping about in their bedrooms.
  • During the 70s and 80s, with the American popular psyche saturated with UFOs and aliens, many SP experiences showcased alien abductions. That also explains the spike in that phenomenon around that time.
  • Middle Easterners may see a jinn, whose hat they need to snatch to awaken.
  • SP sufferers from Zanzibar have reported seeing and struggling with a giant black bat.
  • Some sightings of Indrid Cold, the Grinning Man, particularly accounts where people saw the cryptid invade their house/bedroom, may also have resulted from SP.

Sleep Paralysis Demon

Conclusion

Science has not yet wrapped its head around SP. We know that the phenomenon is real and that it is harmless. We also know it stems entirely from our minds and that scores of factors may play into it.

Sleep paralysis is an altered state of consciousness, on the border between sleep and wakefulness. As such, it may offer a window into a part of our consciousness we cannot explore under normal circumstances.

Suffering from Sleep Paralysis? I can help. Click here to schedule a sleep consultation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Sleep paralysis is without a doubt one of the most terrifying things that can happen to your body.

While I haven’t experienced sleep paralysis myself, I have spent quite some time studying and dissecting the phenomenon.

What is sleep paralysis, why does it happen and can you die from it? These are just some of the questions I’ll answer below.

Sleep Paralysis

What is sleep paralysis?

While – as said above – extremely scary, sleep paralysis is a phenomenon that’s not particularly harmful for the body/mind of the sufferer, above and beyond the immediate panic it causes.

When you suffer from sleep paralysis, you will find yourself unable to move or speak for a few seconds or even for minutes, as you’re waking up or falling asleep, even though your mind has already reached full consciousness.

I suspect that sleep paralysis is brought about by the alternation of various sleep stages, or rather, by the various stages between a state of wakefulness and full sleep.

Sleep paralysis can occur for a person once in a lifetime, or even multiple times during a single night. There are of course people who never experience it, and given the short- and long-term psychological shock resulting from the condition, such people should probably consider themselves lucky.

We all heard horror stories of people getting stuck in sleep paralysis for hours and even days, and ending up almost buried alive, while being perfectly aware of the fate that awaited them all along.

Most likely to affect young adults and teenagers, sleep paralysis is the stuff of nightmares – according to those who suffer from it. While some sufferers describe the feeling as the closest thing to being buried alive, others say it feels exactly like being stuck between being asleep and being awake.

Why does sleep paralysis happen to me?

There are several answers to that, and none of them are nearly as scary as the condition itself.

The causes for sleep paralysis can be sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, some medications, and I personally suspect that sleep deprivation may be part of the package as well. I do know for a fact that narcolepsy is one of its potential triggers too. Youth is logically a factor as well, as it’s obvious that this sleep disorder plagues 10-25 year-olds more often than other age categories.

I believe that there has to be a genetic component to it all too. I have found that sleep paralysis may have something to do with the control of circadian rhythms, and this is where the genetic factor seeps into the equation.

To all the above, we obviously need to add all the factors usually responsible for sleep disorders in general. As such, PTSD, panic disorder, depression, anxiety and mental disorders have to be added to the tally as well.

What exactly happens during a sleep paralysis incident?

During the REM stage of sleep, unlike the brain, the muscles of the body are “unplugged.” This explains why most people cannot act out the dreams they have, no matter how vivid they may be.

When sleep paralysis strikes, the victim simply wakes up (regains consciousness) before REM is finished, hence the muscles will remain unresponsive for some time.

Can sleep paralysis kill you?

Sleep paralysis is definitely a scary phenomenon, often described by sufferers as something akin to a paranormal experience, rather than an actual sleep disorder.

Indeed, over history, different cultures have come up with different (often terrifying) mythic explanations for the issue, but the truth is that sleep paralysis causes no physical harm to the sufferer whatsoever.

As such, it is obvious that it will not kill you either. I can tell you for certain that to date, there are no documented cases of fatalities attributed to this problem.

If you happen to experience a bout of sleep paralysis, most likely you just need to improve the quality and the quantity of the sleep you get.

If you think your sleeping habits are all as healthy as possible, yet you still experience sleep paralysis, consider going to a sleep disorder specialist to get qualified help.

Is sleep paralysis dangerous?

As said above, sleep paralysis is not dangerous in a direct, physical manner at least.

The psychological impact of the condition over long-time sufferers should not be neglected though. Not only will sleep paralysis ruin one’s sleep quality, it will – through this pathway – affect various other areas of one’s life too.

If the condition becomes such that it indeed has a significant negative impact on your life, by all means, you should contact a sleep disorder specialist.

How To Wake Up From Sleep Paralysis?

Sleep paralysis can be very frightful, and knowing what to do when it happens could be a vital tip in reducing the fear that comes with it.

The following infographic clearly itemizes 5 tips to help you wake up from an ongoing episode.

Sleep Paralysis Infographic

  1. Don’t fight it or struggle with it because it is only temporary. The more you fight it, the longer it might last.
  2. Relax your mind. Tell yourself that it is not a strange demonic attack, and that you’ll be alright.
  3. Try to wiggle your toes or clench your feet, these could awaken your body, and help to stop the episode.
  4. Taking deep breaths could help calm you down, being conscious about the breaths you are taking can interrupt the episode and wake you up.
  5. Make a face, this movement in facial muscles can go a long way in restoring your boy’s motor activity.

The above tips could help you wake up from an episode. However, remember that you can avoid sleep paralysis altogether by getting enough sleep regularly, avoiding anxiety, and sleeping on your side or abdomen.

Can you go into sleep paralysis during the day?

Sleep paralysis can obviously only occur when you are going to sleep/waking up.

While you’re up and about during the day, it cannot strike, but the problem is that it can in fact be a sign of narcolepsy, another sleep-related disorder, which causes extreme daytime drowsiness in sufferers and which makes people fall asleep suddenly. Coupled with narcolepsy, sleep paralysis can thus strike during the day as well.

For an “average” sleep paralysis sufferer though, daytime is safe-time.

Can sleep paralysis lead to lucid dreaming?

As I stated above, most sleep paralysis sufferers describe the experience as a paranormal one, unlike any other sleep disorder. As such, it is perhaps unsurprising that many people think of sleep paralysis as a pathway to lucid dreaming and out-of-body experiences.

Before we delve any deeper into this issue though, let us make clear what lucid dreaming is. A lucid dream is a dream dreamt by a person who is actually aware that he/she is dreaming.

According to some experts, sleep paralysis is a key stepping stone to OBEs and those who possess the “ability” to experience sleep paralysis, can theoretically turn it into lucid dreams and OBEs.

The way to achieve this is quite simple.

When lying there in sleep paralysis, just imagine yourself in a dream. It can be a dream you had, preferably recently, or it can be a dream you want to have.

Needless to say, the science behind lucid dreaming and OBEs is really shaky at best, and non-existent at worst.

There are advocates who believe that sleep paralysis can be controlled to a certain extent, and even auto-induced. Knowing the possible triggers (already detailed above) is obviously the first step in this process.

This, however, takes us to the next question:

Can you trigger sleep paralysis?

To try initiate sleep paralysis, you need to bring some of its triggers to bear. You can start off sleep-depriving yourself and messing up your sleeping habits.

Obviously – as I said above – there are certain chemical triggers that can be “called upon” as well, such as alcohol and drug abuse, but I’m not going to recommend you go down that road, for obvious reasons.

While sleep deprivation is much less intrusive than substance abuse, you should still be aware of its negative health implications: it has been associated with increased risk of diabetes, heart disease and obesity. You need to be prepared to sacrifice your ability to focus as well as your alertness.

Breaking your sleep cycle into bite-size bits with frequent naps is another way to usher in a possible sleep paralysis incident.

One of the best ways to completely mess up your sleep cycle is to add a nap from 7 PM to 10 PM. Since sleep paralysis occurs upon going to sleep or waking up, make sure you wake up and then go back to sleep multiple times a night.

Sleeping on your back is always a good idea if you’re looking for sleep paralysis-trouble. Whenever you wake up, get your mind going by reading a book. When awake enough, try to go back to sleep, by lying on your back and relaxing. Repeating a sort of mantra or focusing in a certain point in your visual field during this time is also a good idea, since it will help keep your mind awake while your body goes to sleep.

The most important and obvious symptom of sleep paralysis is being awake/aware of yourself/your surroundings, while being unable to move. Remember that.

If your little sleep paralysis experiment turns out too well and you end up opening a can the contents of which you cannot handle, be sure to seek professional help.

Again: sleep paralysis will not hurt you physically, but it might have a massive negative impact on your psyche.

Does sleep paralysis lead to astral projection?

I can tell you that sleep paralysis – as scary an experience as it may be – is the perfect time for the bold to try astral projection.

In fact, the situation is quite perfect for this sort of exercise. Since your body is already immobile, and since you are already somewhat detached from it, going all the way and elevating your astral body above your physical shell should be much easier than on any other conceivable occasion.

How do you go about it though?

Raising your vibration is the first step. You need to shake off those links chaining you to your physical body, and this is indeed the best way to accomplish it.

Ask your spirit guides and angels for help. If you can indeed accomplish this, it will be well worth the effort.

How do you know if you’re indeed “there?”

You can try lifting your arm. If you can actually see your “astral arm” lift through your dual consciousness, while your physical arm remains immobile on the sheets, you have accomplished a certain degree of astral projection.

Once you manage to completely shake off the shackles of your physical body, you will find that the pull of your physical form will weaken.

What are the best films about sleep paralysis?

Check out this blog post about my favorite sleep paralysis movies.