We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are the Different Sleeping Paralysis Symptoms?

Anna T.
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Sleeping paralysis symptoms typically occur just as a person is either waking up or falling asleep. People who experience sleep paralysis normally report being conscious but unable to move or speak, just as if they were paralyzed. There are also people who report feeling as though they are in great danger during sleep paralysis episodes, often from some unseen evil force that they feel certain is in the room with them. This sense of evil people describe feeling is most likely a panic response to not being able to move or speak. Most people experience sleeping paralysis symptoms for no more than a few seconds to a few minutes before the sensation ends.

Statistics state that approximately four out of every ten people will experience sleep paralysis symptoms at some point in their lives. The problem is rarely ever a chronic one, and most people experience it only occasionally. Sleep paralysis is also not considered to be either dangerous or life-threatening. Doctors say that sleep paralysis most likely occurs when people are not passing through the various stages of sleep properly and their minds become alert before their bodies do. People almost never need medical help for sleep paralysis, although a doctor should be consulted if sleeping paralysis symptoms are occurring so often that a person's sleep is continually interrupted.

There are two different types of sleep paralysis. The first type, called hypnagogic, occurs during the process of falling asleep. Hypnopompic sleep paralysis occurs when the body is waking itself up from sleep. The sleeping paralysis symptoms of both types of sleep paralysis are identical. People who have narcolepsy, which is a disorder that prevents the brain from being able to regulate sleep, tend to experience both types of sleep paralysis more often than people who are not affected by narcolepsy.

Even though sleep paralysis is rarely ever a serious problem, there are some things that may prevent it from occurring. Research suggests that people who regularly sleep on their backs tend to experience sleep paralysis more often than people who sleep in other positions. Sleep paralysis might also occur more often in people who do not get enough sleep. A person who frequently experiences sleep paralysis may want to try sleeping in different positions along with making an effort to get more sleep to help avoid the problem. Anyone who often experiences sleep paralysis in addition to finding himself or herself going to sleep at odd times throughout the day with no warning might be narcoleptic and should seek medical attention.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Anna T.
By Anna T.
Anna Thurman is a skilled writer who lends her talents to WiseGeek. Her ability to research and present information in an engaging and accessible manner allows her to create content that resonates with readers across a wide range of subjects.

Discussion Comments

By Animandel — On Oct 20, 2014

@Feryll - When I read this article I get the understanding that the sleep disorder that causes sleep paralysis is rooted in some physical action in the body. However, the paralysis dreams where you can't move are believed to be associated with a fear you have in your real life.

For example, you may be trying to make a decision, choose between two options, and you are afraid to choose. This inability to choose is a form of figurative paralysis that is played out in your dreams.

By mobilian33 — On Oct 20, 2014

This happens to me all of the time, but I didn't know sleep disorder paralysis was the name for this condition. The article says that sleeping on your back could be one thing that causes this to happen. For me, that might be the problem because I sleep on my back most of the time.

When this happens, I wake up, and it seems like maybe something or someone is in my room and made a noise and woke me. Even after I am physically able to move, I lie there for a couple of minutes without moving to make sure nothing is in the room with me.

This has happened enough to me that it doesn't bother me too much now, but I am going to try to sleep on my stomach or side and see if that makes a difference.

By Feryll — On Oct 19, 2014

I have never experienced sleep paralysis, but I overheard some people at work talking about this the other day. This seems to be a relatively common thing for people to have happen to them at least once in a lifetime.

The closest situation that compares to sleeping paralysis that I can think of that has happened to me is I sometimes have dreams where I am trying to run away from some danger, and I can't move. This is frightening enough. If I knew I was awake and I could not move my body then I think that would be even more frightening than the dream.

Anna T.

Anna T.

Anna Thurman is a skilled writer who lends her talents to WiseGeek. Her ability to research and present information in an engaging and accessible manner allows her to create content that resonates with readers across a wide range of subjects.
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.