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Tell Us Your Experience With Sleep Paralysis

It can happen to anyone, and it's terrifying.

Sleep Paralysis is, in simple terms, when your mind wakes up, but your body doesn't. And it's terrifying.


It usually happens between stages of REM sleep, when either waking up or falling asleep.

Many sufferers say it's like "waking up dead" – fully aware of their surroundings, but unable to move, or in some cases, to breathe.


Some sufferers say they concentrate on wiggling fingers or toes before shaking themselves awake, though experts say it's a case of waiting it out.

As if the paralysis wasn't bad enough, some sufferers also hallucinate, seeing dark shapes or figures and hearing voices.

The Nightmare / Gravitas Ventures

The phenomenon is present in folk lore in many cultures. It's thought that many "alien abduction" experiences are actually sleep paralysis.

Though there are some common themes, each sufferer has a different experience, and we'd like to hear yours.

Universalimagesgroup / Getty Images

Maybe it feels like something is sitting on your chest, pinning you down and stopping you breathing, as in "The Nightmare" (1782) by Swiss painter Henry Fuseli.

Perhaps you get visited by shadow people? Or shadow creatures? Perhaps they talk to you?

The Nightmare / Gravitas Ventures

Documentary The Nightmare recreates some of the terrifying hallucinations sufferers experience.

Perhaps there are recurring monsters who've followed you for years, or metal claws that come at you in the night?

New Line Cinema

As well as inspiring 18th Century painters, sleep paralysis gave Wes Craven the idea for A Nightmare on Elm Street.

Does it only happen when you sleep in a certain position or place?

The Nightmare / Gravitas Ventures

Is it worse if you've been drinking, or if you're stressed?

What's your experience with sleep paralysis? Tell us in the comments below.

The Nightmare / Gravitas Ventures

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