Sleep paralysis is a uniquely terrifying experience, not only do you wake up not being able to move, but this can also be accompanied by hearing and seeing things. You can also experience a feeling of pressure on top of you, which honestly makes you feel like you’re about to be attacked by demons.
There are both scientific and spiritual explanations for this phenomenon.
Stephanie Pappas wrote an article in Live Science about this topic and had this to say:
“Sleep paralysis occurs when the brain and body aren’t quite on the same page when it comes to sleep. During rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, dreaming is frequent, but the body’s muscles are relaxed to the point of paralysis, perhaps to keep people from acting out their dreams. Researchers have found that two brain chemicals, glycine and GABA, are responsible for this muscle paralysis.”
However, anyone interested in the occult or a different explanation focuses on this being a more spiritual experience than a result of your mind and body being out of synch
Now regardless of what you believe causes this, I have some helpful tips to get you out of this experience as from the ages of 16 – 21 I experience sleep paralysis multiple times a week.
MOVE YOUR PINKY FINGER
One of the most valuable tips I give to everyone is to focus all your strength on moving your pinky finger. From what I’ve heard people spend too much time focusing on moving larger limbs, and it’s not the easiest thing to do, especially when your body is completely paralysed.
One of the reasons I focus my strength on moving my pinky finger is because it’s small and it takes a lot less effort. Once you’ve successfully moved it, it snaps your body out of the sleep paralysis and you’re now in full control of yourself.
DON’T LET FEAR PARALYSE YOU
Another tip is to not be scared, now I’m aware this is easier said than done. Especially if this is the first time you’ve experienced this, but when people are scared they don’t tend to think logically. As a result, this can lead to them not being able to take any action and just staying in that paralysed state for longer than necessary.
SOMETIMES IT’S WORTH JUST GOING BACK TO SLEEP
Now, I know this isn’t conventional but hear me out. Sometimes when I’m just over the whole experience I just go back to bed, and nothing horrific happens. You’re already in a state of paralysis so you might as well take advantage of this and go to sleep since you can’t move.
DON’T OPEN YOUR EYES
If I had a pound for every time someone told me they opened their eyes and got scared I would be a richer woman. Honestly, whether you believe in science, or the paranormal, if you’re easily frightened opening your eyes is the worst thing to do. You’ll definitely see something weird and this might haunt you more than the experience itself.
Personally, my instinct has never been to open my eyes purely because I put all that energy into regaining control of my body. But from what I’ve heard, opening your eyes leads to seeing some weird things.
SORT OUT YOUR SLEEPING PATTERN
One thing that is a cause in my case is an irregular sleeping pattern. I always experience sleep paralysis when my sleep cycle is out of whack and that’s why I experienced it so much when I was a teenager. I never slept at normal times and often slept for too many hours. As an adult, I’ve found ways to help this, and honestly, it’s made such a difference.
One way to fix your sleep cycle is to have a nighttime routine. By enforcing this regularly you essentially trick your mind into getting ready to sleep at certain times. For me, this begins with nighttime skin care.
Another way to do this is to get rid of blue light after a certain time, so that means your phone, laptop and any other device you use. This helps as blue light has been scientifically proven to keep your mind awake, making it difficult to sleep.
Lastly, don’t eat heavy meals at night time. It’s hard to sleep when your stomach is full and it just makes the whole night time process more difficult than it has to be.