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.

Can't Move Or Scream Or Cry

by Anna Pennington

Sleep paralysis has happened to me before...more than once...more than I want to remember and wish I could forget. I am terrified to sleep...more so to take a nap, which is when this seems to happen to me.

I can't move. I am awake but can not scream or yell out for help, though I know I am doing it. I see things...horrid visions of creatures coming at me...vicious dogs, dark creatures laughing evilly at me as their goal is to get me.

The last time I felt attacked by someone I couldn't see but knew they were there. I felt separated from my body. I was awake, telling myself to move, to get up, to do something but lay there and when I think I am able to move, I think I am getting out of this terrible situation, I realize I haven't moved at all.

I feel helpless and ashamed. I am afraid people will think me crazy. Sometimes I think I am going crazy. My ears ring or buzz to the point that its almost painful. I can hardly breathe. When I finally do wake, I feel anxious and scared. I feel lost and terrified to sleep. All I want to do is sleep but am so afraid to close my eyes. If I don't get some sleep I feel as if I shall indeed go crazy.

Kevin: Don't worry Anna, you are not crazy, and moreover, you are not alone in experiencing this. In fact, sleep paralysis episodes like the ones you have are even pretty common (case in point: the hundreds of visitor-submitted stories like yours we regularly receive on this site).

What to do about it? Arm yourself with knowledge that will guide and calm you during these events, and maybe even help you take control and put the ball back in your court. Where to find this knowledge? This book by dream researcher Ryan Hurd is the best source I've seen yet.

All the best,

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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.

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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.

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The Stanford Sleep Book

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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.

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