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My Scary Sleep Happenings

by Claire

I have been having these dreams for a long time but can't really remember when they started.

They are always scary. I fall asleep and wake up around 2 or 3 although I dont know definitely what the time is. I'm awake but can't move and I hear scary noises. The other night I heard a baby crying and I saw different shadows or outlines of what looked like people.

I try to move or call out to someone but I can't. One dream I had I got up and tried banging on walls and smashing things to wake someone else up but no one ever comes. The scary part is it feels so real and the dreams are extremely vivid.

I've started to move my arms or fingers slowly when it happens and that usually brings me around, but then when I try to fall back to sleep it happens again so I try and stay awake for a while, then I can usually get to sleep normally. I'm wondering if maybe I should see a doctor about it or counselor? Please help!

Hi Claire,

Thanks for sharing with us. Your descriptions of being frozen upon awakening seem to match up pretty well with sleep paralysis.

Here's how it works: your body is paralyzed while you sleep to keep you from acting out your dreams, and sometimes the paralysis can extend to the first few moments of wakefulness. This can also result in you seeing and hearing dream images and sounds.

That's a very brief explanation, but if you want to learn a bit more you can check out more information on the causes of sleep paralysis.

I encourage you to read up and let us know if you have additional questions.



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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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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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