It has been said that you don’t know true fear until you’ve experienced sleep paralysis, and in my experience that may well be the case.
However sleep paralysis is simply the natural mechanism the body uses to keep us from acting out our dreams, this is to keep us safe through the night.
However it’s a completely different story when you become conscious during your sleep paralysis, you are completely aware and your mind is active but you cannot move a muscle. This can be absolutely terrifying even if you logically know what is going on.
For many people these conscious sleep paralysis episodes make going to sleep at night…a literal nightmare. Others are afraid that sleep paralysis signifies some form of demonic attack or possession attempt.
In this post I want to clear some of the common fears and misconceptions, and talk about the spiritual meaning and use of sleep paralysis. How does sleep paralysis relate to lucid dream and astral projection, and can we use it to our benefit?
Why Do We Have Sleep Paralysis?
Sleep paralysis is a fairly common experience with around 50% of people reporting experiencing it at least once in their life, with a further 5-10% reporting common sleep paralysis episodes.
For the average person sleep paralysis occurs for a variety of reasons such as: a long term sleep disorder, bad sleep hygiene and stress. On the other hand experiencing sleep paralysis regularly can have a lot to do with your level of consciousness (which we will talk about later).
Other people are scared that sleep paralysis may signify a type of demon possession or threat from lower vibrational entities who wish to suck on their energy.
When I was a child I had numerous frightening sleep paralysis episodes. I would wake up in bed completely frozen, see dark beings out of the corner of my eye and become so terrified I would eventually wake up.
My parents who were religious thought that I was under a demonic attack but this assumption sure didn’t help put my mind at ease. his carried on for so long that at one point I was afraid to go to sleep at all!
It was only during my teenage years that I had the consciousness to begin tackling this fear head on, and found that sleep paralysis wasn’t nearly as scary as it seemed. With some knowledge of what was going on, and a calm mind I was able to overcome these episodes.
Spiritual Interpretations of Sleep Paralysis
The most common sleep paralysis anecdote is that of feeling as if someone if sitting on top of you, or deliberately restricting your breathing. If you ask ten different people about their experiences with sleep paralysis, you’ll likely hear ten totally different bit equally terrifying stories.
The ‘old hag’ is the name given to a supernatural creature that is used to explain the phenomenon of sleep paralysis. This is explained as a malevolent being that sits upon sleeping humans and immobilizes them.
Other common sightings include hat people or shadow people. These are beings that are lower vibrational in nature that may lurk outside of your room, or watch you from inside during an episode.
In general what we experience during sleep paralysis is shaped by personal and cultural beliefs. In cultures where there are legends surrounding the demons or beings that may be present, this is more likely to be experienced. In America it is common for sleep paralysis to be mischaracterized as an alien abduction as it covers many of the same symptoms.
There are some physical explanations to this phenomenon too. During sleep paralysis it is common to have auditory and visual hallucinations as we are in the space between waking and dreaming, this is called the hypnagogic state. This is where we get a mishmash of dream imagery and physical imagery which confuses the mind.
Therefore what may be a completely ordinary noise in your room gets translated as a scream, your bed sheets being wrapped around you may translate to a weight on top of you, and a pillow restricting your breathing may be translated as a being suffocating you.
So we can see that it is largely our beliefs that shape what exactly we see or experience in the sleep paralysis state. With this knowledge we can start to see this state as something we do not need to fear, but can use to explore our consciousness…
Sleep Paralysis and Lucid Dreaming
Sleep paralysis has long been associated with the lucid dreaming and astral projection states. When we begin doing either our awake mind is more likely to find itself in this in-between state of consciousness.
For many this is enough to ward them off attempting either, however sleep paralysis can be used as a tool to induce deeper states of consciousness. The key is to stay calm while you’re in the them in order to shift them to something more pleasant.
The next time you find yourself in a sleep paralysis episode try staying calm and diverting your imagination to a dream scene. Think of a peaceful place such as a beach or forest and sink into this visualization. You may find yourself conscious in this space fairly quickly where you can start lucid dreaming.
Sleep Paralysis and Astral Projection
Sleep paralysis is also associated with out of body experiences with many advising to use the sleep paralysis state as a way to astral project. When we induce an astral projection it is common to go through sleep paralysis first.
I do not believe that inducing sleep paralysis or experiencing it as a result of astral projection summons demons/low vibrational beings in itself. Instead because we fear the sleep paralysis state and there is so much ignorance around it, when we do experience it our instant reaction is fear.
This fear causes your astral body to ‘light up’ to all sorts of beings around you, and because you are in a low vibration emotional state these beings are also low vibration. As you get comfortable with the sleep paralysis state this becomes less of a problem, and you may even find you quite enjoy it.
Practicing astral projection will most likely increase your chances of experiencing sleep paralysis and so if this is something you are afraid of or simply not ready for, I would advice to hold off for now.
However if you do find yourself in this state and want to astral project simply stay calm and revert your attention back to exiting. You can feel yourself floating up out of body, climbing a rope ladder, or getting lighter and lighter until you pop out.
Overcoming Fear Of Sleep Paralysis
The first thing you can do to overcome the fear of sleep paralysis is to make your bedroom a high vibe place. Add whatever items bring you calm and peace such as an oil diffuser, salt lamps, crystal, a spiritual text.
As you are falling asleep each night visualize your room being filled with white light creating a protecting field around you. The more you reinforce that your bedroom is a safe place to be the more it will become so in your mind.
During sleep paralysis you can:
- Focus on your breathing
- Repeat a calming mantra in your mind
- Recite a prayer
- Affirm that you are safe
If the sleep paralysis is becoming too much for you too handle try moving a digit such as a finger or toe. During sleep paralysis our extremities can still move and this movement will signal your brain to wake.
The best thing you can do is to stay as calm as possible, nothing can harm you in this state if you do not allow it. Meditating in the evenings will also help cultivate a resilient mind so when this does occur you have the inner strength to deal with the fear.
Sleep paralysis really doesn’t need to be a scary experience, in fact it can be used to induce fun lucid dreams and mind-blowing astral projections. With the right knowledge and tools to navigate the experience you may even start to look forward to it!
What has your experience been with sleep paralysis?