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Sleep Paralysis


Does Sleep Paralysis affect teens? 

Sleep paralysis does affect teens just as much as it affects adults. Although sleep paralysis is very rare, it can happen to anyone. Sleep paralysis can begin happening at any age. However, initial symptoms typically begin showing up in early childhood or young adulthood. After starting in the teenage years, episodes are more likely to occur more frequently in later years. 


What is Sleep Paralysis?

Sleep paralysis is a temporary loss of muscle control either just after falling asleep or right before waking up. During your sleep, you cannot move any muscles until you wake up. This is because you are in “sleep mode” but your brain is active. Sleep paralysis often involves hallucinations, or even a feeling of suffocation. No one really knows what sleep paralysis is caused by, but it’s known to be  linked to sleep disorders and certain mental health conditions. 


Hypnagogic and Hypnopompic Hallucinations 

Hypnagogic hallucinations happen right as you’re falling asleep. These hallucinations are common and usually not a cause for concern. Hypnopompic hallucinations can be visual, auditory, or tactile. In most cases, visual hallucinations are more common. They often involve seeing moving colors and shapes, or images of people and animals. 

During these hallucinations, you may experience seeing scary people near you, or even laying next to you in your bed. These “scary people” are called “Sleep Paralysis Demons.” 


Sleep Paralysis Demons 

Sleep demons commonly involve temporary paralysis while falling asleep or while waking up. Sensations may include hallucinations, intense chest pressure, and perceiving a presence in the room. This includes feeling, hearing, seeing, or sense that something is in their bedroom that isn’t actually there. Sleep demon hallucinations are different from nightmares because individuals are semi-awake during the episode. Sleep demons are frightening phenomena that are all too real for people who do experience them. Roughly, 20% of people have an episode of sleep paralysis occasionally. In 75% of these episodes, the sleeper has a hallucination. 


Can you wake someone up from sleep paralysis?

You cannot wake someone up from sleep paralysis. A person will naturally wake up. While the occurrence can be extremely frightening, it will pass over time. There’s no possible way that a person can force their body to move out of a paralysis state. 


OHS Interviews 
Sophomore Michelle Trujillo-Macias says,  “I felt like I was chained down to my bed and I could only move my eyes. Even though I didn’t fall asleep in the middle of my bed facing up, that’s how I was positioned. My back was facing towards the wall. Michael Jackson was just pacing around my bed. This specifically happened from the Thriller music video because I was scared of it. I remember feeling like this was happening for forever. I felt sweaty, a fast heartbeat, and I woke up hyperventilating.” 

Freshman Andrew Burchfield says, “I woke up and I really had to go to the bathroom. I couldn’t get up and I heard banging. I saw something in my closet door and the door swung open. And then, I couldn’t go out. I just couldn’t move my body. A tall, skinny, black figure walked up to my bed and it was just leaning over me. It was like 7ft tall. It was watching me for 15 minutes. When I finally woke up, my door was closed and I was good.” 

Spanish Teacher Jose Burgos says, “I was on my bed. I couldn’t move at all. I was not awake, I could see around me, but I wasn’t awake. I remember it sounded loud like owl-like sounds. I’ve only had it one time, but it was so scary! The noise sounded loud, it was like whooshing, whistling, or a gust of wind.” 

Senior Owen Pfannenstiel says, “I was laying in my bed for like 15 minutes straight, it was like I felt breathing on the back of my neck. I kept my eyes closed, and I was very scared. Who wouldn’t be? Imagine being in your room and you can just feel breathing on your neck, but you can’t move away from it or even help yourself.” 

Sophomore Theadosia Seys says, “I fell asleep, then I got sunk under my bed by a demon. A demon was talking to me in its demon language and then somehow I teleported into the bathroom. I looked in the mirror and there was a demon looking at me with red glowing eyes. It said, “You’re going to die tonight.” Then, it disappeared and it was just me again. I was back in my bed. I felt like there was television static going through my body. I woke up and it was over finally. It felt like it was happening for a really long time. I was so scared that I went and slept on my couch. “

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