During a prior massage consultation with my lovely friend Rebecca Grace last week, I told her about my Sleeping Paralysis. I don't often talk about it and don't share it with many. We had a chat about it and it made me think about the people out there that isn't familiar with it. So this blog post will be me sharing my experience with the very odd phenomena to hopefully help someone that might have experienced or are experiencing the same.
What is Sleeping Paralysis? Sleeping Paralysis is when you body falls asleep but your mind is awake. This happens when you're just about to enter or exit you REM sleep (when you start dreaming). It occurs when the body has trouble making the transitions in and out from the REM sleep. Between 8% and 50% of people experience sleep paralysis at some time. About 5% of people have regular episodes.
So what happens in general? Well, everyone experience it differently, of course. Every time it occurs it will be a completely different experience. The main symptom is that you can't move your body. Some people can hear imagined sounds such as humming and buzzing noises. Other sounds such as voices, whispers and roars are also experienced. These symptoms are usually combined with intense emotions: such as fear, and panic.
I've been having Sleeping Paralysis for about nine years now, and it's been such an incredible journey. So I'm going to tell you a little bit about it. It all started when I was a teenager and lived in Sweden. We've just moved into a new house and I struggled to settle in with things. That, combined with a lot of other events led me into a depression. I can't remember what my first experience with Sleeping Paralysis was like. But I very clearly remember how it was for me in the beginning in general. I have always been, and are still, afraid of horror movies and 'scary things' etc (I'm scary movie free since 2008 yey). As a kid I believed in ghosts, demons and creatures in the woods ha ha #swedishmythology. We lived in a house with old floors and it was placed just by a beautiful but dark woodland. With my very intense imagination, I created 'scary' scenarios in my head before I went to bed, and that's was how it all started. Due to the intense mind action that was constantly going on in the evenings, I wouldn't be able to fall asleep. Instead I would be there listening to the noises or checking the hallway. What would happened was that my body would get really really tired, but my mind just didn't want to relax. So sleeping paralysis araised - And it freaked me out! My body fell asleep, but I was still awake! I wouldn't be able to move, I would hallucinate and imagine 'people' standing by my bed, hearing weird noises along with other things. I immediately thought I was possessed (lol) and was repeatedly afraid of falling asleep. So this would happen night after night after night. To this day I struggle to sleep in my room whenever I'm in Sweden. Throughout the years I have explored this and seen it as a practice. Today I feel soooo blessed to have had this experience.
When I fall into a sleeping paralysis today it all starts with this huge force of energy pressing me down towards the bed. I get big waves of shivering's throughout my body and a loud tinnitus sound arrises. I can't move my body and my breath slows down. Sometimes I believe I'm moving and I can feel my body being pulled in different directions through this 'energy' that's inside of me. This is obviously me hallucinating as I'm so close to my REM sleep. And if this was me 5 years ago I would panic. But today I stay. And I breathe. I just allow everything to happen. Because I'm not asleep yet, I'm very aware of what's going on and it keeps me calm as I'm exploring the sensations and feelings that comes up. Sometimes it will get a bit too intense and I choose to get out of it. This is a point where a lot of people would panic. How do you "wake up"? Yes it's pretty intense to wake your body up, especially as your mind is shifting between being asleep and awake. I bring all my awareness and focus to one fingertip. And I would concentrate on that point so intensely, until I can bring movement there. And as soon as you've started to move one tiny part of your body, the movement will grow and we will wake up. I've experienced waking up and then waking up several times this way. It's not some kind of Inception stuff going on. It's just your mind making it's way back to the body and the current moment. So if you ever feel that you are about to fall into a Sleeping Paralysis I find that laying on my side instead of my back helps massively along with drinking some water. Why? don't know, it just works. Then again. This will be different for everyone! This is just me charing my experiences.
So if this is something that has happened to you
Try to approach it with curiosity rather than fear. I know it's hard when all you want to do is to fall asleep. But to push your body towards that it will just make it worse. Just give in and explore it.
Sleeping Paralysis have showed me evidence that there is a physical body as well as a spiritual body. And life is about balancing them. We're so fixed with our physical body as that's the only thing we physically can see. But that's one half of what it is. So let's explore both sides of life. Physical and spiritual. And remember, that growth happens at the end of your comfort zone.