Last month, I was fast asleep at night. At around 2 am, I suddenly woke up. There was a featureless figure sitting right in front of me, on my bed, eating something. I went into hysteria. I tried to move. I tried to scream. But nothing. I was only able to move my eyeballs. It was as if I was chained to my bed, with a tape over my mouth. After about 5-10 minutes, it all went back to normal. I got up and switched on the lights. There was no one. I drank some water and slept with the lights on.
A good number of the population have had similar experiences. I’ve been recently told that it is not something uncommon or unheard of. This is known as sleep paralysis. But what is this demon? Why does it appear to only a few, and disappears in a while. And most importantly, is it Real?
What Is Sleep Paralysis?
Sleep Paralysis is something nearly inexplicable. It is some sort of a paralyzing experience or a feeling of an evil presence on your body. One usually wakes up from a deep slumber and find themselves trapped. They try to move their hands, their limbs, they try to get up and run but all in vain. Even the lungs are useless as they can not even shout.
The only sensory organs that work are your eyes and ears. It is a kind of helplessness in the presence of an ominous creature.
Who Are These Evil Creatures?
Sleep Paralysis Demons look different depending on people who experience them. Based on the experiences of quite a good number of people, it can be a faceless, featureless figure. It can be lurking over your body or be seated.
People have also experienced it as a weird, creepy fog-like substance with claws or an alien. In the cases of aliens, they think that it’s an alien invasion and they’re being taken in by a UFO. It can be in the form of a dead relative or a close one too. It can be a distorted version of the pile of clothes sitting upon your chair for ages now. Or, it can simply be a feeling of a bad presence.
These are all known as sleep paralysis demons and are capable of causing the helplessness.
Are Sleep Paralysis Demon Real?
The answer to this question can not be a simple yes or no. While the paralysis or the experience is real, the demons are more or less a figment of our imagination. Those things are not there with you. However, the “seeing” of these things or visualizing these creatures is 100% real and indicates a psychological condition, known as hypnagogic or hypnopompic hallucinations. It can happen to anyone. And it might not be repetitive.
However, the above mentioned conditions are pretty different from Sleep Paralysis. They tend to happen simultaneously, more often than not.
Hypnagogic hallucinations are the visualization of any scene or any figure when you are awake. It is not a nightmare. It is not a reality. You’re just seeing something which is really not present there. It can also happen while you are asleep or partially conscious.
If you’re in a dream phase and you suddenly wake up or you become conscious, your body turns off signals so that you can not move in order to prevent you from hurting yourself. This is sleep paralysis. And if alongside these, you are hallucinating something, sleep paralysis demons come to play.
Cultural Theories About Sleep Paralysis Demon
Given that people see demons in a state where their are immobile, it was obvious for various theories to come up. In the older times, when man did not have the internet at their finger tips, or when they did not have science to explain them how our brain works, they turned to the supernatural. (The term Sleep Paralysis was coined in 1928) It was a time when anything that caused fear and was unexplainable was reasoned to be supernatural or evil.
Canadians think that the Sleep Paralysis Demon is the work of Shamans. Shamans are practitioners who are believed to interact with spirits out of this world and bring them to our physical world.
People who experience Sleep Paralysis and see these demons are according to legends, under the spell of these Shamans. Japanese believe that the demon is actually the spirit of the dead, who have returned to take their revenge from their enemies.
In Brazil it is believed that the demon is a ghost or a witch who lurks on the rooftops and visits anyone sleeping with their stomach full on their back. It is even given a name in the culture, “Pisadeira” meaning “she who steps”.
What Causes Sleep Paralysis?
After reading all about what this Sleep Paralysis Demon is we should talk about causes some people to experience this nightmare while awake. Although there is no specific scientific reason as to why and how the paralysis happens, scientists have been successful in drawing out the most likely cases.
The consumption of substance that causes one to lose their senses like alcohol, cigarettes and drugs has been speculated to be one of the reasons. Other phenomena that a body experiences like Jet Lag and Heartburn-which can happen due to underlying disease or overeating, tight clothing, alcohol and spicy food-can also be causes of experiencing Sleep Paralysis Demon.
Various mental disorders and illnesses are also possible causes of Sleep Paralysis. Anxiety, stress, sleep deprivation, depression and PTSD can give one a disturbed sleep and end up with sleep paralysis.
A rare chronic condition called Narcolepsy, in which people get daytime drowsiness and sleep attacks, can also lead to sleep paralysis. This condition hampers ones routine and gives abnormal sleep.
How To Manage These Demons?
As these are not things that actually exist, but just an image that the brain creates there is no medication that can be prescribed for Sleep Paralysis. If there is a cause that is deducted for it, however, by curing it, one can get rid of the sleep paralysis as well.
However, there are a few lifestyle changes that one can make to make the demons go away. A healthy routine will do wonders. From not drinking coffee at night to get a full night’s sleep can change one’s life for the better.
As the real cause of these Demons is still quite ambiguous, we do not know how to stop them, or protect ourselves from them. Are they just a figment of our imaginations or are they something humans should be more worried about?