A Firsthand Experience with Sleep Paralysis (An Interview)

Hey everyone! Do I have a post for you today! This is a subject I’ve been wanting to talk about for a while, and I feel it’s pretty fitting for this spooky season. Sleep paralysis is experienced by so many people, and since someone very close to me has gone through it multiple times, I’ve been very interested to get into the details and share them with you guys. I decided to sit down with my sister and ask her a few questions about her sleep paralysis experiences. I don’t doubt her in the slightest and believe that this is all very real. If you’d like to check her out, you can follow all her adventures on Instagram @skyepetersen! So, to kick off this interview, I’ll give a brief definition of what exactly sleep paralysis is:

According to Google, sleep paralysis is defined as: a feeling of being conscious but unable to move. It occurs when a person passes between stages of wakefulness and sleep. During these transitions, you may be unable to move or speak for a few seconds up to a few minutes. Some people may also feel pressure or a sense of choking.

Scary, right?! When I was in college, I fell down a YouTube hole all about sleep paralysis and lucid dreaming. Personally, I think they’re very intriguing topics. So having someone tell me about their firsthand experience was very cool, although I wouldn’t want to experience it myself. So let’s get right on into the questions!

When was your first experience with sleep paralysis?

I believe one of my first experiences was in high school, possibly senior year. (About 18 years old)

Can you tell me what happened during one of your sleep paralysis experiences?

So I remember having one major experience that happened during the summer, at about 2 a.m. in the morning. I woke up very suddenly out of a dream, and I was laying on my back. I was telling myself to roll over and go back to sleep…but it didn’t work. I remember wanting my arm to move, but it was stuck. The best way to describe it is my body felt really heavy, like someone was sitting on me, as if something was holding my entire body down. I started to panic and opened my eyes. At this point, I was fully awake but couldn’t move. I told myself to just go back to sleep! I took a few deep breaths and eventually I fell back asleep.

What was your initial reaction when you were experiencing this and couldn’t move? 

Initially I had panicky feelings and it was scary feeling that pressure. It probably only happened within a minute, but it didn’t go away until I fell back asleep. I remember feeling a pressure in my neck as well.

Has it happened on more than one occasion?

It’s definitely happened once or twice before this specific experience. However, I don’t remember them being as bad or to this extent. The first couple times it happened I shook myself out of it.

How do you cope with it currently? 

Honestly, it hasn’t happened since that one extreme instance. I’m aware of what lucid dreaming is and I avoid doing that.

Has it altered your life in any way? Has it affected your daily routines?

I actually almost forgot it happened! I haven’t had any anxiety or felt sleep deprived during the day. It was definitely scary when it happened, but it hasn’t affected my day to day life, fortunately!

Do you have any final thoughts or advice for my readers?

To anyone who experiences this, don’t panic. Take a deep breath and try not to force yourself to move. Stay very calm and know you’ll get through this experience. For anyone who hasn’t experienced it, don’t try to trigger it to happen.

So to sum up this interview, sleep paralysis sounds like a terrifying experience. I personally have never gone through it but after my research and this interview, I truly hope it never happens. Especially on the topic of lucid dreaming, it’s not something I want to try or get involved with. Sleep is meant to refresh your body and mind, so sleeping through the night without disturbance is ideal and what you should aim for. Thank you to my sister for taking some time to answer my questions, being honest about her experience and how she felt! Let me know down in the comments if you’ve had any similar happenings or if you’ve experienced a lucid dream. I’d love to hear about them! Happy Monday and hope you guys have a great start to your week! xx


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  1. October 22, 2018 / 4:44 pm

    I used to frequently experience sleep paralysis especially if I sleep on my back. It is the scariest thing ever and it feels so real – which add to the scare factor. Whenever I have it, a see a spirit or someone watching me and walking towards me. Then I try to scream as loud as I can but it’s like I have lost my voice no matter how hard I try. I wake up puffing and panting because it really does feel real. At first, I thought I was possessed or something but after researching about it, I felt so relieved that it happens to other people too. So I nod a lot whilst reading this because I can totally relate!!

    • October 22, 2018 / 9:05 pm

      wow, this sounds so intense!! I’m sorry you go through this! I honestly don’t know how I would handle that situation. especially as someone who goes through anxiety, I think I would honestly freak out

  2. October 22, 2018 / 8:54 pm

    I’ve never experienced sleep paralysis before, but I’ve experienced hypnopompic hallucinations several times before. It was terrifying. Hypnopompia can be accompanied by sleep paralysis, but thankfully that wasn’t the case for me.

    • October 22, 2018 / 9:04 pm

      wait I’ve never heard about this before! it sounds intriguing yet terrifying. could you tell me more about it??

      • October 22, 2018 / 9:10 pm

        It’s when you hallucinate as you’re coming out of sleep. You can still move and scream and everything (unless it’s accompanied by sleep paralysis), but the hallucinations look so real. Every time it happened to me, I saw spiders. Apparently spiders is a common thing for people with these hallucinations for some reason. The first time it happened, I saw a spider dangling down from my ceiling and coming straight for me. I screamed and my mom came in and I told her to get the spider, and she’s like “there’s nothing there”, and that’s when I saw it just fade away. The second time it happened, I saw a gigantic spider that was the size of my bedroom door. It was literally just hanging onto my door. It was scary looking, but at least I realized it was a hallucination which helped. Then it faded away too. I haven’t had this happen in years, thankfully. It’s scary but quite fascinating.

        • October 23, 2018 / 9:50 pm

          wow this is fascinating. never heard of it before! a couple months ago i think something similar might have happened to me. i woke up in the middle of the night and saw a spider dangling beside me. i flipped out and thought it was so real. looking back i was definitely dreaming…i think😂

          • October 23, 2018 / 11:08 pm

            Oh my gosh, maybe it did happen to you too then!

  3. October 23, 2018 / 5:39 am

    I remember reading a blog post about sleep paralysis earlier this week so it is so weird that you decided to upload one in the same week! The idea of sleep paralysis is terrifying to me – I remember falling off a swing when I was younger and not being able to breathe for what felt like a few minutes and it terrified me so sleep paralysis sounds like a nightmare. I am sympathetic to anyone who experiences it. Thank you to both you and your sister for sharing. xx

    • October 23, 2018 / 9:48 pm

      omg no way?! how funny!! i’ve been meaning to do this with her for a while but never got around to it! thanks for sharing your experience, that sounds terrifying! hoping my sis never has to experience it again! xx

  4. October 26, 2018 / 10:33 am

    Oh my goodness girl!! I suffer from sleep paralysis. I used to have it worse in high school and college- but the way this person described it is very similar to my own experience. This makes me want to write a post about it now!! A trick I’ve learned is in the midst of it, focus on just moving your pinky finger. That has helped me! It usually sparks that physiological/mind connection and wakes me up. It is SO terrifying though.

    • October 28, 2018 / 12:28 pm

      omg wow that sounds like a good trick, I’ll have to tell my sister! it honestly sounds so scary so I’m glad it’s gotten a little better for you. hope it doesn’t happen in the future!! xx

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