Home Others What actually happens during Sleep Hallucinations or Paralysis

What actually happens during Sleep Hallucinations or Paralysis

by Sangam Adhikari

Ever woken up to an evil presence by your bedside, unable to move or shout at the shadowy ominous entity in your room, before the presence vanishes in thin air, leaving you terrified of the implications of such a demonic visitation?

Chances are you experienced what is known as Sleep Paralysis or Hallucination.

First of all, I would like to share my personal experience before the you read the article. I was on a trip with my friends, we were all having fun playing games and cards. Then, We all went to sleep at 2:00 AM. I fell asleep quickly, after about 10 minutes of sleep I felt uncomfortable and opened my eyes and saw a guy having only face staring at me straight to my face. I was really frightened, numb, and couldn’t even say a word or do anything. After 5 seconds the guy disappeared and I completely woke up.
This was the first time I suffered from this kind of hallucination, So I did a little research on it and thought to put it in an article, If you guys have any stories you’re cool to share in the comment section.

Sleep Paralysis is a strange, yet totally explicable commonplace phenomenon that occurs to people with disturbed sleep cycles, which gives rise to hallucinations in which the person feels as if they have woken up while they are still dreaming.

This happens when the body messes up the transitions between REM (Rapid Eye Movement) phases and the NREM (Non-Rapid Eye Movement) phases, leading the person to experience dreams projected in real-time surroundings, while the body is still locked in temporary paralysis mode.

Just why or how it happens isn’t clear. Researchers believe sleep paralysis is caused by a disturbed Rapid Eye Movement cycle because it mostly happens as people are falling into or coming out of REM sleep. During that stage, their brains normally paralyze their muscles anyway — so they don’t act out their dreams. But during sleep paralysis, the sleeper is awake, or half awake, and so is aware she cannot move.

Many people who have it also have narcolepsy, in which they fall asleep uncontrollably. Sleep experts believe sleep paralysis might be partly genetic. Other causes include stress and disrupted sleep schedules (think jet lag or pulling an all-nighter). Several studies have also found links between social anxiety or panic disorder and sleep paralysis.

Often the experience is accompanied by noises (like loud buzzing), sensations of being dragged out of bed or flying, and difficulty breathing.


In layman terms, Sleep Paralysis is a bodily phenomenon caused by a malfunction in the normal process of falling asleep, dreaming and waking up in which the person is aware but unable to move or speak, leading to bizarre, frightening hallucinations projected in the real world (like augmented reality) by the still-dreaming brain while the person’s body – with the sole exception of the eyes – is immobilized (‘locked-in’), which lasts for a few seconds only but feels like forever to the sufferer.

In short – the brain wakes up suddenly, but the body stays asleep for a bit longer.

Sleep Paralysis has been reported throughout known history and has often been misunderstood and falsely attributed to ghostly visitations, demonic possessions, and in recent times, alien abductions. It has spawned plenty of literature, paintings, folklore and perhaps also religion or two.

My Dream, My Bad Dream by Fritz Schwimbeck

The most common hallucinations include the Night Hag (a crooked old lady/witch staring you down while sitting on your chest), the Intruder (a single shadowy human form approaching your bed) and the Shadow People (opaque shadows in human form walking around in your room).

Clockwise from top-left: Artists’ impressions of Night Hag, Intruder and Shadow People

Scary as hell, isn’t it?

Thankfully, with a little effort, Sleep Paralysis can be managed pretty easily – by becoming aware of the phenomenon, adopting healthy sleep habits and proper sleeping postures, avoiding stress before bedtime, and seeking medical help if the problem persists, or for any other sleep-related disorders.

If and when this happens, stay calm. It’s not an anomaly. Neither is it anything demonic/alien /supernatural. Don’t panic. It’s just your brain playing unintentional tricks on you. Resist giving in to paranoia. The ordeal only lasts for a few seconds, at most a few minutes.
Keep Calm and Sleep Tight.

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1 comment

Alaina July 17, 2020 - 1:09 PM

I have been through it too. It’s really scary, I woke up in the middle of the night and all of a sudden I couldn’t move, I tried my best to get out of the bed but couldn’t. I could see a black smokey thing on the sealing of my room and l was soo scared that tears were rolling down the eyes…….


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