We want to show you how to get out of a scary sleep paralysis episode and even transform it into an exciting and vivid lucid dream.
Did you ever wake up from sleep but couldn’t turn your head or move your body? You could clearly see the four walls of your bedroom and perceive your surroundings but experienced a feeling of being held down and were not able to speak? Perhaps you even saw a creepy presence in the corner of your room, had difficulties breathing and heard weird noises. Having experienced this scary scenario, makes you part of 7.6 percent of the world’s population that have had at least one episode of sleep paralysis.
What exactly is sleep paralysis?
During sleep paralysis, your mind is awake but your body is not. It occurs when certain areas of your brain wake up before others. Some people experience seeing weird shadows or even demons sitting on their chest who are trying to choke them. An episode can last for a few seconds or even up to a couple of minutes, however it might feel longer due to the stress and panic that comes with it. Sleep paralysis usually occurs naturally, but there are certain ways to induce it.
When the paralysis happens during the process of waking up, your mind becomes conscious before your cycle of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep is finished. You are going through 4 non-REM stages in your sleep. After that, you enter REM sleep, which lasts about 10 minutes. In this stage, your brain activity increases, but your body and muscles remain relaxed so that you are not able to physically act out your vivid dreams.
This frightening experience can literally happen to anyone. On average, it occurs to 7.6 percent of the world’s population. For an interesting fact, a study found that 28.3 percent of students and 31.9 percent of psychiatric patients experience this scenario at least once in their lives. There is unfortunately no treatment for it, but you can prevent it by making sure that you are getting enough sleep and follow a consistent sleep routine.
How to get out of sleep paralysis?
Don’t freak out and stay calm. This is definitely easier said than done, but try to relax your body and focus on deep and slow breathing. Tell yourself that “this is not real”, “nothing can happen”, “I am safe and this is only a dream”. If you happen to see demons, try to close your eyes and remind yourself that you are sleeping. A trick to wakeup is to try to move small parts of your body such as wiggling your toes or fingers. Once your brain understands that you are not sleeping anymore, you will be able to move and the strange hallucinations will disappear immediately.
Here comes the fun part. An episode can be broken by either waking up completely or going back to sleep. It is possible to turn your frightening sleep paralysis into an exciting lucid dream or an out-of-body experience.
What is lucid dreaming?
Lucid dreaming is when you are aware that you are dreaming during a dream and even manage to control your dream’s storyline. It typically occurs during the REM sleep stage. So what is so special about it, that millions of people train themselves to be able to dream lucidly?
Having full control over your dreams and being able to escape in your very own fantasy world in which you can live freely and do absolutely anything you want to is simply big fun! Imagine meeting and interacting with your idol, exploring and flying through the universe, experience time travel or having sex with your celebrity crush. All of this is possible in your alternative reality.
However, lucid dreams offer much more opportunities than just fun. It is said to reduce nightmares, relieve anxiety and improve creativity. Consider dreams as a safe place for you to experiment. You can use it for personal reflection and deep meditation. It can become a place to have a deep talk with your true self and think about big life decisions without being distracted from the real world. You can also take advantage of dreams to go through big presentations for work to practice public speaking. For artists, it can become an endless source of inspiration, since you have no limits in creating.
How to transform your sleep paralysis into a lucid dream?
It is important that you don’t try to wake up from your sleep paralysis. Instead of fighting it, you should see your episode as a “gift” to enter the lucid dream.
Ignore all the negative that comes with your paralysis. Be fearless, stay calm and convince yourself that this is only a sleep paralysis and you can go anywhere from here.
Close your eyes and visualize a beautiful place where you would like to go next. Try to imagine as many details as possible. With who are you there? Is it sunny? Is it day or nighttime? Can you hear the ocean waves?
Focus on really positive thoughts and your amazing upcoming lucid dream.
Finger’s crossed that you don’t have to go through (another) sleep paralysis, but if you do so, at least you know now how to get out of it and enter a lucid dream.