Have you ever woken up from your sleep but not being able to move your body? And your chest hurts as if someone is sitting on it? If yes, then you may have experienced sleep paralysis.
Sleep paralysis is often associated with supernatural creatures. Those who experience sleep paralysis often see ghosts or other horrible things. Or maybe you are one of them who believes that sleep paralysis happens because there’s a demon sitting in your chest? Well, poor demons because it is not their fault.
According to science, sleep paralysis happens due to an overlap in Rapid Eye Movement (REM) between sleep and wakefulness. So, it is normal, for example, if you see Pennywise in the corner of your bedroom during sleep paralysis. Because one of the symptoms of sleep paralysis is hallucinations.
There are several things you have to do when you are experiencing sleep paralysis. And one of them is NOT to do these 9 following things.
The first rule when you wake up and find you can’t move your body is don’t panic. It would be difficult to stay calm especially if you experience this for the first time. But know that panicking will only make things worse.
When you panic, you’ll start to think negatively. And negative thoughts will bring you into hallucinations. Sleep paralysis happens between dream and reality. So, whatever negative thought you have, you will see it as if it is real.
One of the ways you can keep calm is to think that sleep paralysis is not dangerous. What happens only happens to your mind. It won’t hurt you physically. There is no case of someone dying because of sleep paralysis.
2. Using your imagination is a big NO during sleep paralysis
Using imagination when you are reading or doing other activities may be good. But trust me the second rule in dealing with sleep paralysis is NEVER ever use imagination.
When you break the first rule and start panicking, you will start to create negative thoughts. Your mind, for example, may start to imagine that the white clothes you hang behind the door as a ghost. Or there is a huge black shadow at the corner. That is because we tend to imagine negative things when we are panicked. That is why many people who have experienced sleep paralysis report that they see demons.
It is not easy not to think negatively, especially when you feel other symptoms. You may find it difficult to breathe. Your muscles ache. You are sweating and unable to speak. But keep in mind that if you listen to your negative thoughts, you’ll start hallucinating and see things you don’t want to see. The more you use your imagination, the more vivid your hallucination would be.
Instead of creating imagination, try to stay calm and take a deep breath. Think of any positive things and believe that this would pass.
3. Believing what you see
If you break rule number two and start hallucinating, rule number three is don’t believe what you see. If you see a ghost or something terrifying and think that it is real, you will be in a more chaotic situation.
There is no other terrifying thing than seeing a ghost but you are unable to move. When you are in this kind of position, try your best to believe that what you see is only imagination. It is not real. You can try it by speaking to yourself in your heart. “This is not real. It’s only my imagination.” Or try to think that you are in a dream and that you will wake up soon.
I also have a tip for you to beat your fear when you see something terrifying. Try to think that the ghost you see will get stronger when you’re scared. And think that it would be weaker and disappear when you’re not scared. This will make you braver.
4. Staring at the ghost
This is still related to rule number three. If you see a ghost of course you don’t want to stare at it for a long time. It’s like when you see a horror movie. You will look away when the ghost appears on the screen. Do the same thing this time.
But since you’re paralyzed, of course you won’t be able to move your head or cover your eyes with your hands. But you can look in another direction or you can close your eyes instead.
I won’t suggest your eyes wander around, especially if you have a large bedroom. Unless you want to know what it feels like to have hallucinations or you want to see a ghost or a dark figure, you can look at the dark spot in your room. I bet you don’t want that, do you?
See? The simple thing you can do that will make you safe from the demons is closing your eyes. Besides, if you close your eyes, you will focus more on creating positive thoughts that will make you calm.
5. Believing what you hear
Okay, now you have closed your eyes. But then you hear footsteps on the roof! Or the voice of a woman crying, or maybe laughing!
This is bad news for you. Besides seeing ghosts, hallucination during sleep paralysis can also be in the form of audio. The best thing you can do is don’t be curious about the sound you hear. You may have closed your eyes but then you want to open them again because you hear a strange voice calling your name? Don’t!
6. Trying to move
You are sleeping, and suddenly when you wake up, you are paralyzed. I bet the first thing you would do is try to move. And when you can’t, you’ll keep forcing yourself to move again.
Let’s go back to the first rule. You don’t want to panic. And when you are trying to move, you’ll set yourself in panicking mode. It is because when your attempts fail, you’ll feel stressed and trapped. This feeling will make you panic and causes more fear that can create negative thoughts.
Instead of moving your body, try to focus on a little part of your body, such as the tip of your finger or your toe. Try to wiggle it until slowly you can have control over your body again.
7. Trying to escape
This is actually an additional rule. When you have sleep paralysis you may not want to escape it because sleep paralysis can take you into lucid dreams.
If you don’t try to wake up, and if you are calm enough, you’ll go back to sleep mode, and you will have a lucid dream. According to Lauri Quinn Loewenberg, a professional dream analyst, Lucid dreaming is when you are dreaming and then suddenly aware that you are dreaming. The dream feels real, and usually, you can control it. Sounds fascinating, eh?
Many people have experienced lucid dreams, at least once in their lifetime. Passing sleep paralysis is one of the ways to get into lucid dreaming, so it is a good chance to try. But of course, don’t crave having sleep paralysis just because you want to have a taste of lucid dreaming.
- Keep it to yourself
If you have been experiencing sleep paralysis several times and it affects your sleep quality, don’t ever keep it to yourself.
Talking to someone in your house that you often get sleep paralysis will help. You will pass sleep paralysis usually when someone wakes you up.
If you have recurring sleep paralysis due to mental health conditions, you can take antidepressant before sleep to reduce anxiety.
Although sleep paralysis is not dangerous, it can be frustrating and affect your health if it keeps recurring.
How To Prevent Sleep Paralysis, Then?
- Sleep on the side
When you sleep on the back, it would be easier for you to have sleep paralysis. Experts have found that sleeping on your back is a vulnerable position.
Before you experience sleep paralysis, you better know how to prevent it. One of the ways is by sleeping on your side. Sleeping on your side will reduce the chance to have sleep paralysis.
- Reschedule your sleep
To prevent sleep paralysis, also avoid irregular sleep schedules. Priyanka Vaidya MD says that the key for you to escape from recurring sleep paralysis is to have a good quality sleep. Try to go back to your normal sleep schedule.
To have a good quality sleep, avoid blue light before you go to bed. This means that no phone before bedtime would be good for you. Turning off the lamp before you go to bed will also help.
- Do exercise
Reading articles on how to deal with sleep paralysis would be also helpful, but if you keep experiencing sleep paralysis, don’t hesitate to seek help from the doctor.
Well, I hope you don’t do the 8 things that I have mentioned when you have sleep paralysis. But of course I hope that you don’t have to experience one.