Awareness of Sleep Paralysis


What is sleep paralysis (SP)? It is a natural mechanism which occurs in every night during sleep, but normally it is not perceived consciously. This paralysis has a function: to prevent the sleeping person from putting into practice the movements he is making in his dreams.
Awareness of sleep paralysis (ASP) is rare. Mostly this happens shortly before waking up, whereat the mind is already in day consciousness while the parts of the brain which are responsible for movement are still dormant.
It can occur at the end of out-of-body experiences (OBEs) that you find yourself in the state of sleep paralysis and then it still takes some seconds until you can move again. The more OBE states you have, the shorter this stage of sleep paralysis will become until it finally vanishes. It is even possible to move the physical body during this experience so as to immediately end the state.
Fearful people have frequently asked the question what they could do to end a state of ASP. It helps to breathe deeply a few times (breathing can still be controlled during this state), and then exhaling with a snoring sound. The vibration at the palate has a good waking effect.

A part from a letter:
That you can't open your eyes or utter a word is a simple sleep paralysis. It is something that everyone has every night (though not consciously as you). Sleep paralysis is an important body mechanism in order to prevent you from moving your arms and legs or from crying and speaking while dreaming – or would you like it if, when you wake up in the morning, everything around you has been smashed by yourself while you were dreaming? Or that your neighbours called the police because someone was screaming as if being murdered? Without sleep paralysis, everytime when waking up after the night could be a horror for you.

From another letter:
"… I am completely paralysed, I find it difficult to move. How can I manage to do anything when I am unable to move? Is there perhaps something that I can do to enable me to move? You see, once you sense that this thing is entering your room, you already can’t open your eyes, and you are paralysed. You feel so helpless!"


Yes, that's logical. Freeing yourself from paralysis can be managed by some exercises (in my first OBEs I was paralysed as well, but after some weeks the paralysis vanished and I never was paralysed later on in my OBEs and OBE pre-states.).
1) In the state: roll your eyeballs and take some deep breaths. Then try to move your fingers.
2) As a daily exercise: learn to feel the energy in your body and let the vital energy increase intensively. Let the energy and warmth circulate through your whole body – starting from the feet (up the back) to the head, and then down the front.

Well, I am living in a cold region, but you in a hot one – therefore it might be nonsense to imagine warmth; perhaps you better imagine white light – you have to decide this on your own.

Awareness of sleep paralysis in a dream

"In a dream I felt myself lying in bed. An unknown shadow-like person entered, hidden by a kind of screen. I wanted to leave the bed to be ready in case he’d attack. To my shock, I became aware that I was unable to move any limb. I wanted to call out to my wife, but I could only utter some guttural sounds (in the morning my wife told me that she had woke up in the night, hearing me uttering sounds).The intruder approached slowly, step by step. When the dark person already had reached the end of my bed, I had the idea that breathing was still under my control. Breathing in and simultaneously snoring as hard and loud as possible, I succeeded and immediately awoke." (Ballabene)

Comment: In this experience, the awareness of sleep paralysis was integrated into a dream. The presence of a body awareness in a dream and its integration into the dream action is not unusual, if we consider how often our urge to urinate is found in dream sequences. I want to emphasise that, though a rudimentary consciousness and logic thinking was present, the experience was no OBE but a dream. It is important to note this fact, because a great part of OBE horror trips which create so much fear and which have been interpreted as OBEs, in reality have been dramatic and OBE-like dreams.

"Often I fall back asleep after taking my boyfriend to work in the morning. I will dream a little bit, then a noise or something will wake me up, but I’m not awake. My mind is. I can’t move or scream, but I can see my room, the blanket I’m covered with, and even hear the phone ring. I get frightened and my whole body feels weak and my muscles hurt. I’ve read about OBE's but other peoples experiences and mine don’t match up. I never look down on my body, I’m always in the same place where I laid down. Please help me stop this, I don’t think my mind is strong enough. It’s almost like I know I’m going to have one before I fall asleep. Please help."


You wrote: "My whole body feels weak and my muscles hurt." I suppose this is simply caused by your inner tension because of your fear.

I accept that you want to stop this! I do not really know a method, except for reducing your fear. I have used a method for myself which worked very well, but I have no feedback from other persons: I used to do an imagination on the inner vital energy and warmth (as a side-effect of the vital energy). As soon as I had a good imagination of my vital energy (when I could feel the inner warmth), I started to let the inner energy circulate. With this, over time the paralysis ceased and I’ve never had it again.

Feeling very heavy

This feeling very often occurs in the late morning, in the short waking phases while still lying in bed. It is the same feeling that you try to achieve in hypnosis or autohypnosis. As I suppose, this is a kind of semi-sleep-paralysis.

OBE Letter 446

"… What do I experience? Well, I close my eyes, I see the ceiling through my eyelids, and fall 'in the OBE state'. I feel VERY heavy, and it is very hard for me to move … as if no gravity, but heavy. I usually lift my arm in front of my face, but I do not see it (I certainly feel it in front of me). I do not panic by these episodes at all. I actually try to investigate a little further, and try to move around, but this is impossible. Getting up from the bed is incredibly hard, because of how heavy I feel. Every movement is sloooooow, and almost against a force. Very strange, and frustrating. I want to go and move around … "

OBE Letter 436

"My question is: when I get the vibrations and feel myself lifting out of my body – once I'm out, I feel very heavy, like I can't move and I usually end up just feeling like I'm floating toward the ground and end up on the floor, and then I feel too heavy to move my ‘body’. Do you have any idea what would cause this problem?"


Your subtle body is linked with your physical, that's a basic fact. For that reason, an information exchange between subtle and physical body always takes place. That's a very important fact for safety, because if your physical body has problems the subtle body will return immediately, reflexively.

And now to your problem: Because of the above explained fact of information transfer, the status of relaxation of your physical body is brought to your subtle body. A typical symptom of deep relaxation is feeling very heavy (you certainly know that feeling very heavy is an often used suggestion when using induction methods, hypnosis and autohypnosis).

Well, your subtle body receives this message of heaviness. Because of misinterpretation, you project and identify this feeling with your subtle body and now you unconsciously make the subtle body behaving as if it was heavy.

Nightmare (HHE = Hypnagogic and Hypnopompic Experience)

Nightmares are neither OBEs nor OBE-pre-states. Because nightmares are experienced as real, people are confused and mistake them for OBEs. Such confusion discredits OBEs.
Medically, the ocurrence is seen as an awareness of the sleep paralysis, where panic reactions can be caused by dyspnea (in dorsal position, breath might become shallow). In the intermediate state between sleep and waking, the subconscious often interprets the paralysis as a result of influences from the outside. Thus, the subconscious sometimes illustrates these perceptions by dream-like (or rather nightmare-like) pictures.

A quote from: hypnagogic and hypnopompic experiences

"People frequently report feeling a "presence" that is often described as malevolent, threatening, or evil. An intense sense of dread and terror is very common. The presence is likely to be vaguely felt or sensed just out of sight but thought to be watching or monitoring, often with intense interest, sometimes standing by, or sitting on, the bed. On some occasions the presence may attack, strangling and exerting crushing pressure on the chest. People also report auditory, visual, proprioceptive, and tactile hallucinations […]."
- end of quote -

From a letter:
"The strangest thing happened to me a few nights ago … while I was sleeping, I heard somebody calling me, when I woke up there was nobody. It happend twice …

The third time someone sat on my bed, I could feel him/ her … I tried to open my eyes to see who it was and I tried to call someone to help me, but I was paralized … the next morning I told my friend and she told me that I might have been astral travelling … I have no idea what it is …

Two nights ago it happend again … it felt like someone was trying to suffocate me … I could not open my eyes or move eventhough I was wide awake …"


© Alfred Ballabene (Vienna)