Skip To Content

    Well, We Regret Asking About Sleep Paralysis After Reading All Of Your Responses About It

    "The worst part is when you try to scream to wake your body up and it sounds like a demon has entered your brain."

    Dear David is out now in theaters and on digital, and many of us are already having nightmares about it.

    "I am pretty scared."

    In the movie, the main character experiences sleep paralysis, so we asked the BuzzFeed Community to share their own experiences with sleep paralysis, and boy, did you all deliver. In fact, after reading your stories, I'm starting to feel that my silly little nightmares are a privilege.

    People shared a lot of good (awful) stories. I'm just going to pull out a selection of 13 particularly bad ones for your reading horror:

    1. "I’ve been waiting for this! I get sleep paralysis around two times per month, the first time being when I was 17. For me, I usually see a large, dark figure standing in the corner of the room. It has horns and red eyes. Occasionally, the figure comes and sits on my chest, and I feel like I’m suffocating."

    "It’s scary not being able to move with a demon watching you, but I remind myself it’s not real and hyper focus on trying to move my pinky finger. Once I do that, it’s pretty immediate to snap out of. It’s definitely freaky, and I don’t know why it happens to me so often."


    2. "I don’t see stuff as much as I feel stuff. I get it sleeping on my back and on my side. But it’s worse on my side. I feel stuff crawling up my back or breathing on my neck. But I’m aware I’m experiencing it, so I just try and stay as calm as possible until it passes."

    "I’ve gotten it my whole life. When I was really little, I would 'see' my stuffed animals come to life and bite me. And I could feel it! It’s so weird how much feeling I have of things that aren’t there. It’s not fun to live with, but it gets better when I keep stress low, workout, eat healthy, etc."


    3. "My hubs used to get it. He’d have a small, mouse-sized, dark creature on his chest. Grew as big as a bear. Nope, nope, nope."

    4. "So my experiences with sleep paralysis started about four years ago in my early 20s. I lived alone in an apartment, and my only perception of sleep paralysis was from The Haunting of Hill House, iykyk, and I thought it wasn’t realistic. One night I 'awoke' and looked out of my open bedroom door and saw a gray figure trying to pull the half wall in the hallway out of the ground, and when it noticed me, I got a heavy chest, and my legs felt like heavy sandbags, and after a lot of panic, I awoke, and my bedroom door was closed, and the apartment was empty."

    "I had very rare reoccurrences all pretty random and unrelated; however, I got engaged and bought a house, and keep having reoccurring sleep paralysis with the same little girl reoccurring. To my fiancé's horror, I usually wake him up telling him to make sure the crying or laughing little girl in the corner is staying with her back to us and facing said corner. I only really see her now when I’m really stressed. The crazy thing about sleep paralysis for me now is that it’s either terrifying, or I’m still conscious enough in my own head to understand it’s happening and just wait it out. Ironically, once my fiancé and I started talking about my sleep paralysis, he also now gets it sometimes, but just auditory."

    Abigail Walker

    5. "I wake up, able to open my eyes a bit but not a single limb. Every time it happens, my mind goes, 'If someone walks in now and tries to murder me, I won’t be able to defend myself,' and panic hits. The first time it happened, I was about 13 years old, convinced that a ghost was pushing me down the bed. Since then, I’ve been getting them every here and then, so I know it’s nothing dangerous or paranormal. But that feeling of vulnerability still gets me every time."

    A man scared in bed

    6. "In my case, I have noticed that sleep paralysis often happens when I take a nap. I have to be very careful with long naps (more than 20 minutes) or I'll go to deep sleep and then have sleep paralysis."

    "The first time it happened, I was a teenager and was watching a movie at home and fell asleep. When I opened my eyes, I could hear the movie playing faintly in the background. I tried to move to turn it off and could not. Then I had a very vivid feeling of someone standing by the bedroom door just watching me. I thought it was my mother checking on me, and I tried to talk to her or to move my head and nothing. It was very scary. Finally, I managed to roll over, but so forcefully that I fell out of the bed. It has happened half a dozen times since then. I have learned to focus on my breathing and slowly try to move little by little until I fully wake up. But yes, not a fun experience at all."


    7. "When I was in college, almost a decade ago now, I went to bed just like any other night. As I was falling asleep, I was gripped by an overwhelming dread. I literally thought that I was going to die. It felt like I was so scared that I couldn't even move. My brother and I shared an apartment at the time, and it kept racing through my head that I should call out to him for help, but I was so terrified that I couldn't even open my mouth. I didn't see a sleep paralysis demon/shadow man/whatever because I was so paralyzed that I couldn't open my eyes."

    8. "Weirdly, it happens more often when I take a nap but not when I sleep at night. I have seen some phantom-like things in the room, but typically, I can’t open my eyes, and I’m totally frozen stiff, unable to move. I feel like I’m being held to the bed by a really strong magnet. But the scariest part for me is knowing that I cannot breathe."

    "The only way I can is to realize that I’m having an episode and try to force air in and out through my nose. After a few seconds of this, I can finally whip my arm across my body and get up using sheer momentum. But those few seconds really do feel much longer, and I’m panicking internally the whole time that I’ll never get out of it. It really does feel like your mind is awake but your body is knocked out cold."


    9. "The year was 2018. I was in Germany for work. I usually get sleep paralysis in new environments. No different when I arrived at my hotel room for my stay. The first night I slept on the couch in the living room and popped on Channel 4 to watch Big Bang Theory. I fell asleep and 'woke up' experiencing sleep paralysis. The couch in the room with me was moving its cushions like it was a mouth, and was mouthing the words that were coming out of the TV."

    10. "It happened to me once. I was on a long roadtrip with a friend. We pulled over to rest. She would stay awake while I took a nap. I felt uneasy but fell asleep. I remember there being a demon thing crouching on the hood of the car, and I couldn’t wake up. When I did wake up, my friend was like, wtf just happened. You wouldn’t wake up. I was shook! Didn’t even know what sleep paralysis was until I looked up what happened."

    Katie Piuta

    11. "I had sleep paralysis almost every night my second year of college. Unless I took something to help me sleep, it would happen like clockwork. A lot of times, it felt like an out of body experience. I remember waking up with it while having a dream of a car accident or someone attacking me. I couldn't move or scream. A couple of times, I felt myself float away and out of my room. It was so realistic that I felt the leaves on the trees outside brushing my face. It stopped after about a year and would happen on and off over the next decade. I wouldn't wish it on anybody. It can be truly terrifying."

    Annie Tokarski

    12. "The first time was about 10 years ago. I was on vacation with my mom, and during this time, I was under a lot of stress and going through a period of depression. I woke up to a human figure standing over me. I tried to scream and flee, but I was unable. It was really scary, and I thought I was permanently paralyzed. Suddenly, the figure started punching my face. I felt the impact and pain. I knew I was going to die. After awhile, I screamed, and my mother woke up really startled."

    13. "I had it happen once, in high school. I had just moved my bed so the foot of it was pointing toward my door — at the time, I slept with it open. Across the hall was the bathroom. At some point, I 'woke up,' and I could see something sort of sliding in across the ceiling from the direction of the bathroom. Eventually, I could make out an old woman's face, with an enormous grin — the kind where you can see a person's teeth. They were normal teeth, but there were way too many of them."

    "She eventually settled in the corner of my room, up on the ceiling, like a giant spider. At the same time, it felt like a weight had settled on my bed, pinning me in place. I couldn't do anything but stare back at her for what felt like hours. Eventually, one of my cats came in and hopped up on the bed to start her usual routine of making biscuits and snuggling up. That was when I could break eye contact, and I actually woke up. I did stop sleeping with my door open after that, and I haven't experienced it since."


    If you want to read the rest of the stories people shared, you can find them over here. Thanks all, this was a great time. Hope you can get some sleep tonight. I'll be staying awake!

    Check out the trailer for Dear David here:

    View this video on YouTube

    BuzzFeed Studios / Via

    Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity

    EXmas, starring Leighton Meester and Robbie Amell, is streaming now for free on Freevee.

    EXmas Movie