After this post I imagine varying responses. The Christians will say that I need to seek God, some will be worried, others might think I lied and those who have experienced this and whose minds are scientific will realize that might have simply been stressed out.
A couple of nights ago I had an extremely weird experience. I had a somewhat similar one a few years ago in college. I’ll start with the college story:
(image source on Corbis)
It was possibly near ﬁnals and I out because of deadlines, not eating right and was sleep deprived. I ﬁnally had the opportunity at that time to nap between classes so I went home and passed out on my futon. I had hardly rested for 5 minutes when a woman opened my bedroom door. My roommate wasn’t home so I wasn’t sure how she got in.
“How did you get in?”
She continued to walk towards me. I tried to get off the futon and my body remained immobile.
“Get the fuck out of my room!” I started panicking but I couldn’t move my arms to push myself off the futon. My legs wouldn’t move either.
Then I woke up. The woman was nowhere to be found.
Ok, that was weird.
Story number two:
I started sleeping upside down on my king-sized bed because there’s a draft near my
window where my head usually is (I’ve moved my bed after this occurrence). I was exhausted. I had run 11 miles over the
weekend and worked out like a madwoman at the gym. I had two boot camp sessions
where I was proactive and ran 2 miles to get to each morning. Not only that, I had
changed my diet and I’m still getting used to it. Needless to say, I was knocked out immediately after getting cozy within my blankets.
There was a presence in my room. For some reason, I interacted with it. I found it odd but I wasn’t afraid. I don’t remember what it did but I didn’t trust it after a few minutes so I tried to wake up. I did but I realized the presence was still there. I wasn’t awake yet. I tried waking up again.
“That was weird.”
I was exhausted so I tried falling back to sleep. I was knocked out again.
The presence was waiting for me. There was some interaction again that I couldn’t remember. I realize that it wasn’t going away.
“Ugh you’re not real!”
I woke up. It was still there. I tried waking again.
Ok something was extremely bizarre. Well, three times a charm. I tried snoozing one more time.
It got worse.
As soon as I got back into the deep sleep, I was whisked away in a complicated scene worse than the prior experiences. However, I was immobile. I noticed that I was still in
my bed. I heard footsteps in the darkness and a voice called out: “Is anyone in here?”
Beams of light started the appear. Seemed like a ﬁre it was really bright but not as bright as my bedroom light.
I tried to wake up. It didn’t work.
I tried again. Back in reality. I reached over, grabbed my phone and called Noel.
Next day, I retold the story to my friend Emily. She said she had experienced sleep paralysis before. I researched it. Seems like my crazy activities over the weekend including visiting the planetarium where I theorized that there might be another earth somewhere in the galaxy might have triggered my nightmare. Mystery solved.
Have you ever experienced sleep paralysis?
What is sleep paralysis?
Sleep paralysis consists of a period of inability to perform voluntary movements either at sleep onset (called hypnogogic or predormital form) or upon awakening (called hypnopompic or postdormtal form).
Sleep paralysis may also be referred to as isolated sleep paralysis, familial sleep paralysis, hynogogic or hypnopompic paralysis, predormital or postdormital paralysis
What are the symptoms?
- A complaint of inability to move the trunk or limbs at sleep onset or upon awakening
- Presence of brief episodes of partial or complete skeletal muscle paralysis
- Episodes can be associated with hypnagogic hallucinations or dream-like mentation (act or use of the brain)
In some cases, when hypnogogic hallucinations are present, people feel that someone is in the room with them, some experience the feeling that someone or something is sitting on their chest and they feel impending death and suffocation. That has been called the “Hag Phenomena” and has been happening to people over the centuries. These things cause people much anxiety and terror, but there is no physical harm.
You may be able to minimize the episodes by following good sleep hygiene:
- getting enough sleep
- reduce stress
- exercise regularly (but not too close to bedtime)
- keep a regular sleep schedule
This also seems to be hereditary… that explains the folklore I’ve heard while growing up.