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.

I Try To SCREAM But Can't!

by Sara
(Southern Illinois)

I have experienced sleep paralysis from time to time since I was 13 years old, most often when I do not get enough sleep or am extremely tired when I go to bed.. I experienced it last night which is what made me search and read up some more on it today. I just recently figured out what it even was.

I often will hear, see, or feel things during the episodes. I will try to scream and move but cannot. I have thought I heard people talking, like family members only to wake up and realize no one was really there.
The scariest sleep paralysis episode I ever experienced was about 3 years ago when I fell asleep in a recliner one afternoon. I opened my eyes and could see my daughter watching Spongebob and could hear the TV. I tried to move but couldn't. I could look all around the room but could not move or speak.. Now that is scary.

I was diagnosed with panic disorder about 4 years ago but do not have many problems with anxiety or panic anymore. I do take an antidepressant. As long as I do not get too tired before bed I normally do not have any sleep paralysis.

Kevin's Response

Hi Sara, thanks so much for sharing your experiences on the site. You're so right in how frightening of an experience sleep paralysis can be, especially if you are not familiar with what it is and why it is happening. Did you see these stories yet from other people who can seriously relate to that fear? I'm glad you were able to find out more about sleep paralysis, and hope that that info will be helpful in calming your mind the next time you experience an episode.


Click here to post comments

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