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by Ron

One night I was sleeping in at a relatives house. Since there wasn't an extra bed, I slept in the living room beside the kitchen and the balcony. In other words, it was very open space. I don't know if its because I was sleeping somewhere I wasn't used to, or just because I was feeling a little bit cold, but that night I experienced something that I've never experienced before.

Before I begin describing how it felt, I can say that it would have been much different had I known about this before hand. Somewhere in the middle of the night between my sleep, something caused me to wake up. But the problem was that I couldn't open my eyes. I can tell you that I was fully conscious and was not dreaming. I tried to open my eyes, and I put a lot of force to it but again they wouldn't open, as if something was forcefully keeping them shut. I recall at a point even seeing a yellow like ring in each eye, which now I can say was probably cause by the pressure I put on them. Even worse, I tried to talk but nothing would come out of my mouth. I wanted to scream, but again, nothing. I couldn't even breathe. I was able to move, but by the time I was free of this 'force,' I remember to have let out a small scream. I was shaking and was sweating. What just happened to me?

I experienced this once more later on that week. I'm still not sure what exactly caused it to happen. I could tell you however, that I don't remember doing anything differently that week to what I do usually. Our body works in very mysterious way, but it is certainly very intriguing.

Kevin: Thanks for writing in Ron. Sleep paralysis can be a terrifying thing, and it happens to so many people quite often. In regards to what it is caused by, you can read about why sleep paralysis happens here.


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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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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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