The following is a visitor-submitted question or story. For more, you can submit your own sleep story here, or browse the collection of experiences and questions other visitors have shared here.

Afraid To Sleep - But Is It All Just In My Head?

by Kylie
(Brisbane, QLD, Australia)

Well where to begin.......I am a 39 year old woman, with kids, and married - I believe I am rational, clever, happy with life, but in the sleeping hours I am left feeling like a frigging nut job.


Since I was about 13 I have had these episodes where I feel like I am awake, but of course can't move, just like all the other stories, no matter how hard I try to move or scream nothing works. Coming from a Christian background of course it was labeled evil spirits, and to be honest I would as an adult still put it into that category, cause if it's scary it's bad and if it of good then its not meant to be scary...right!!!

Anyway, it happens occasionally (a few times a year), and even though I am married and sleep with my husband, almost entwined at night, I can't move to wake him to get him to help me......mind you he snores so loud he wouldn't hear anyway!!

However 3 times in a row over the last 24 hours it has happened to me - the first time I could feel someones hands on me, moving up my legs, touching bits, which admittedly felt good (I thought it was my husband, so wasn't too stressed), but then when I tried to reach down and move his hand, as I was too tired for any fun, I couldn't move. Then I heard my husband snoring and realised, shit here we go again. This is the first time it has been sexual, normally it's a feeling of an evil presence and a crushing feeling on my chest and can't breathe etc.

Anwyay, I tried moving, screaming, nothing was coming out of my mouth, but then I must have made just enough noise for my husband to wake, and he said, "Kylie, was that you", cause he reckoned it sounded like a ghost going, whoooo...I then woke and told him what happened - he knows this shit happens sometimes. We just watched tv in bed for about 2 hours before I feel asleep again.

But, last night was different. This time whatever it was, actually managed to have sex with me and I could hear faint laughing like it was coming from the other side of the room. Again couldn't wake, had to suffer, but there was no pressure on my chest like normal, just couldn't move. When I finally awoke, I grabbed my husband and had a good cry, and we slept with the light on, figuring it has never happened in the dark.

And then again at about 5am I was lying on my side, facing in towards my husband and I felt someone/something come and lay down beside me and spoon me and nussle my neck - wasn't a bad thing, but again realised it wasn't my husband as he was again snoring, but I couldn't move to wake him. Again, I heard a faint laugh and slight scratching at my neck and then it was gone.

Needless to say I am exhausted, scared to go to sleep, but after reading about this sleep paralysis, it kinda makes sense, but why the evil presence, and why the sex - does anyone think it's just because it's whatever is going through one's mind at the time - (mind you I wasn't consciously thinking of sex at all). Just weird shit - scary, and kinda concerned if it's a spirit wanting to just have a good time - but why me, nothing fancy, married 4 kids, surely there's got to be better options out there - unless of course I am determined to be vunerable, weak, blah, blah, blah. Just make it stop for good - please.............


Kevin: Hey Kylie, Thanks for sharing your story. The sexual and evil themes sleep paralysis episodes often take is really mysterious, but I've come to a mostly unsatisfying hypothesis. I'll give you the gist of it in case it's insightful.

SP brings out fearful projections perhaps because of the intense activation of the brain, including the amygdala (in charge of emotions) associated with REM sleep. SP is fundamentally tied to REM sleep, the stage of sleep associated with dreaming. Combine unusual feelings of paralysis (associated with helplessness) with dreaming and maybe we have a tendency to project a nightmare into our environment. This is super speculative, but the tie with sexuality is more wholesome.

REM sleep is a sexually charged period of the night. Men naturally get penile erections and women experience processes related to clitoral stimulation. This happens every night during normal REM. Combine that with wakefulness and fear-generating paralysis, and the results can be truly freaky and genuinely scary.

With where my knowledge is right now, that's my best explanation. It may not be satisfying, but feel free to tell me what you think.

Also, in terms of making your sleep paralysis stop, this is the best treatment suggesting book I've come across.

Warmly,
Kevin

Comments for Afraid To Sleep - But Is It All Just In My Head?

Click here to add your own comments

Sep 09, 2011
Thanks
by: Eileen

thanks for sharing that, I have had very similar dreams, and now do not feel alone, as they seem very real, and very upsetting, I think only recently I have realised it was a dream as for years, I thought i had an incubus (a word I have only recently heard of, (think thats how you spell it, basically a male spirit but wont go on about that as I feel its a bit over the top.)

Nov 22, 2011
Scared to sleep NEW
by: Danielle

Im 11 years old, and im quiet happy with life, i love getting out of bed AKA hell bed. I get so scared i sleep with my mom, i read lots of chain mails, and i feel like the things are real im scared to sleep. i wake up in the middle of the night not knowing what to do, i sweat cuz im so scared. my mom doesnt listen to me and thinks its childish, can you help me?

Dec 02, 2013
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGhpyPIQiO0 NEW
by: Anonymous

the sexual part of the brain is very close to the fear part so its just misfiring synapsis. i get them all the time the most lucid sexual dreams and the other extreme i get attacked by a witch. watch this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGhpyPIQiO0

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Sleep Stories.




Enjoy this page? Please help us pay it forward to others who would find it valuable by Liking, Sharing, Tweeting, Stumbling, and/or Voting below.

About This Site

Welcome! This site is continuously being created by students of Dr. William C. Dement's Sleep And Dreams course at Stanford University.

We made this site as a call to action for people all over the world to live healthier, happier, safer, and more productive lives by learning about their own sleep. We have faith that reading the information provided on this site will motivate you to be smart about your sleep deprivation and strategic about your alertness in order to live life to your fullest, most energetic potential.

In fact, we challenge you to do so! What do you say, are you up for the challenge?


A Note On Visitor-Submitted Questions:

Publishing sleep stories and questions from our visitors is meant to create a forum for open and proactive dialogue about an extremely important portion of our lives (one that occupies 1/3 of it and affects the other 2/3) that isn't talked about enough. It is not meant to substitute a trip to the doctor or the advice of a specialist. It's good to talk; it is not good to avoid consulting someone who's profession it is to help you with this kind of stuff.

If you are in any way concerned about your sleep health, don't wait for an answer on here, and don't necessarily rely on them. See a sleep specialist in your area as soon as possible.

More Questions:

Ask | Answer

The Stanford Sleep Book

Stanford Sleep Book Picture

Dr. Dement's pioneering textbook has been the core text for Sleep and Dreams since 1980, but it has just recently been made available to the wider public for the first time.

In it you'll find a more detailed account of the most important things you need to know about sleep, alertness, dreams, and sleep disorders. Studies, statistics, plus plenty of Dr. Dement's classic anecdotes painting the history of sleep medicine.

Preface | Intro | Contents | Get A Copy

More Sleep Resources

The Zeo

A revolution in personal sleep tracking, the Zeo is a wireless headband that transmits your brainwaves in realtime to a dock (pictured here) or your smartphone. The result? You can wake up and see exactly what stages of sleep you were in during the night! Unprecedented personalized sleep knowledge.

Sleep Paralysis: A Dreamer's Guide

Sleep Paralysis Treatment Book

Ever woken up paralyzed? A surprising number of us have, believe it or not. But few know the actual causes of this phenomenon, and fewer still how to exert control over it. Dream researcher and sleep paralysis expert Ryan Hurd shares breakthrough insights into how to do just that.

Important Disclaimer

Please Note:

The information found on this page and throughout this site is intended for general information purposes only. While it may prove useful and empowering, it is NOT intended as a substitute for the expertise and judgments of healthcare practitioners.

For more info, see our
Terms of Use.