Sleep Paralysis: 9 Facts About Waking Up And Being Unable To Move

Sleep paralysis is a feeling of being conscious, but unable to move. It occurs when a person passes between stages of wakefulness and sleep. – WebMD


1. You feel like you’ve woken up dead.

Basically your mind wakes up but your body doesn’t, so you essentially feel trapped inside of your body unable to move. Many people wake up feeling like they’re dead.

2. It happens as you fall asleep and wake up.

Sleep paralysis can happen during either of the two transitions in your natural sleep cycle. Your body goes into (rapid eye movement) REM and must eventually come out, but sleep paralysis happens when your body has trouble making the transition.

3. Sleep paralysis often includes hallucinations.

People with sleep paralysis have reported nightmares, but while awake. The mind is alert and the eyes are open. Some of these hallucinations end up being terrifying ones that feel as real as any other waking moments.

4. You can’t wake your body up.

You just have to wait it out.

5. It’s natural and it can happen to you.

It can happen to anyone really. Most people will have at least one episode of it in their lives, but may not actually be aware it happened.

6. It’s more likely to happen if you’re sleep deprived.

Some research has shown that people who consistently don’t sleep enough are more likely to experience sleep paralysis.

7. People have tried explaining this phenomenon away for ages.

Persian medical texts wrote about sleep paralysis in the 10th century, and since then, people have considered demons, sleep palsy, aliens, and a variety of other things to be the cause.

8. It feels like there’s something on your chest.

Which explains this painting:


Combine weight on your chest with hallucinations and you’re bound for a scary experience. Many people have reported something sitting atop their chest, like a goblin or a witch.

9. It can’t kill you.

So at least there’s that.


Prevention is difficult with sleep paralysis. That is because it can be hereditary and because it is linked to the whole bunch of other sleeping and health issues. However, there are some things a person can do to help with the problem.

No Back Sleeping

Researchers have found that sleeping on the side can reduce the event of sleep paralysis. Some sufferers even wear special clothing so that it is uncomfortable for the body to position naturally onto the back during sleep.


If a person does wake up and find they cannot move, they need to concentrate on moving a digit. Try to move a finger or a toe and focus on that. Once a muscle moves, the paralysis is broken.