What is Sleep Paralysis?
Many of you reading this probably have experienced it at least once in your lifetime or know someone who has experienced it. You wake up suddenly from sleep and you try to move but can’t no matter how much you exert yourself. You may manage to slightly move your toes or some other body part but it is a struggle and you still can’t move your body. During an episode you may perceive an evil, malicious presence. You may feel utter dread. You may also have actually seen a shadow person or a shadow person wearing a hat or some other evil, demonic looking entity. You may have experienced some entity sitting on your chest or had an episode accompanied by an entity doing sexual things to your body. Some people have reported having someone’s hands over their neck choking them; others have had heard mocking laughter during an episode.
Lately, it has received more mainstream attention with a recent Netflix documentary and with so-called celebrity Kendall Jenner mentioning it. The phenomena is called Sleep Paralysis. If you haven’t experienced it I can imagine the difficulty of trying to understand what it is like to experience it. Verily, it can be one of the most frightening experiences for a person and it feels very real to the experiencer.
Is it a spiritual attack or does science have a credible explanation for it?
The Christian website GotQuestion.Org always seems to come up on a Google search when you ask a question related to Christianity. Sadly, they deny sleep paralysis is a spiritual phenomenon:
….there is an entirely physiological explanation for the phenomenon known as sleep paralysis. As we fall asleep, our minds may enter a hypnagogic state. It’s what happens when the sleeper’s still-aware mind is faced with dream images. As some people wake up, they experience a hypnopompic state, which is the dreaming mind faced with stimuli from the real world. In both cases, the dreams can seem very real, taking on a vivid, hallucinatory feeling. Often these images are of black smudges, which the confused mind interprets as human figures, sometimes called “shadow people.” The hallucinations can also take the form of sounds like a loud bang or a child’s cry. These episodes frequently begin with a falling feeling followed by a “hypnic jerk” where the body’s muscles violently contract…..
Muscle paralysis in sleep is a necessary thing. People who act out their dreams on a regular basis are prone to accidental injury—even jumping out of windows. Knowing that you’re asleep and paralyzed, however, can be frightening. You tell yourself to open your eyes, just to get caught in another false awakening. One theory is that sleep paralysis affects the larger parts of the body more completely. You can try to wake up by wiggling your toes or fingers. It’s also possible to pray during this time. This will often give comfort that lets you fall back into unconsciousness. You may be able to avoid sleep paralysis by getting sufficient rest and avoiding drugs and alcohol.
In probably the vast majority of cases, sleep paralysis is just a quirk in a person’s REM cycle, not a spiritual attack.
Huh, really? I have read statistics or studies that shows many Christians actually don’t believe in a real, tangible devil exists. What an utter joke. Satan and his angels must be laughing their butts off at such professing Christians. It’s a much more effective way for the enemy to attack and operate. It is apparent in the Bible Satan and his demons are presented as real entities.
Guys, sleep paralysis is totally a demonic attack! I am 100% certain that it is. It’s not a hallucination like the secular scientists or even some self proclaimed Christians try to rationalize it. It’s a disservice to many Christians looking for answers and solutions who happen to go on that site to read such nonsense. Scientists try to explain it away by saying sleep paralysis is merely the brain delaying to alert the body to wake up – our brains shut down our body so it won’t act out while we are dreaming.
But just think about it, if it was merely a hallucination then how come people don’t see Mickey Mouse or Hello Kitty or Super Mario? Or how come people don’t report seeing a very beautiful woman or a handsome man? There are a zillion things a person can hallucinate but instead it is something almost always sinister such as a shadow humanoid figure or aliens. And if you don’t know the “aliens” people have reported seeing come from the same source. More on that later.
If it was merely a hallucination then why do just about all cultures throughout the world associate it with a spiritual attack? This phenomena is worldwide and not just a modern western phenomena.
In China it is known as guǐ yā chuáng which literally means “ghost pressing on body.” In Korean culture it is called gawi nulim which means “being pressed down by something scary in a dream. In Thailand it is called Phi Am and believed to be caused by a ghost and can even inflict bruises. In Hmong culture, sleep paralysis is understood to be caused by a nocturnal pressing spirit, dab tsog. Dab tsog attacks “sleepers” by sitting on their chests, sometimes attempting to strangle them. Some believe that dab tsog is responsible for sudden unexpected nocturnal death syndrome (SUNDS). In Vietnamese culture, sleep paralysis is called ma đè, meaning “held down by a ghost,” or bóng đè, meaning “held down by a shadow.”
There are more examples. In Arabic culture it is referred to as Ja-thoom which literally means “what sits heavily on something.” In southeast Africa it is known as jinamizi which means “strangled by jinn.” In Pakistan, sleep paralysis is considered an encounter with Shaitan (Satan), evil jinns or demons who have taken over one’s body.
In Turkish culture, sleep paralysis is often referred to as karabasan(“the dark presser/assailer”). It is believed to be a creature that attacks people in their sleep, pressing on their chest and stealing their breath. However, folk legends do not provide a reason why the devil or ifrit does that.
In Persian culture it is known as bakhtak, which is a ghost-like creature that sits on the dreamer’s chest, making breathing hard for them.
In Kurdish culture, sleep paralysis is often referred to as motakka. It is believed to be a demon that attacks people in their sleep, and particularly children of young age, and steals their breath away as they breathe heavily and keeps it out of reach.
In Nigeria it is called “the devil on your back”. In Mexico it is believed that it is the spirit of a dead person they call it “subirse el muerto.”
In Greece and Cyprus, it is believed that sleep paralysis occurs when a ghost-like creature or Demon named Mora, Vrahnas or Varypnas tries to steal the victim’s speech or sits on the victim’s chest causing asphyxiation.
In many parts of the Southern United States, the phenomenon is known as a hag or “witch riding,” and the event is said to portend an approaching tragedy or accident.
My Sleep Paralysis Experiences
I will try to explain my experiences the best way I can for it is difficult to articulate spiritual experiences. Also, a lot of my experiences occurred over several years so my retelling of it may be disjointed or lack cohesiveness because it all seems like a blur to me now. My apologies.
I have had sleep paralysis since I was a teenager. I think my first memory of sleep paralysis was when I went to visit my grandparents house in Panama in central America. I remember I woke up paralyzed and saw flashes of light all through out the room and it made a strange noise while it was happening. Very strange. Part of me knew it was demonic but another part of me didn’t know what in the world was going on.
I have had an experience when during sleep paralysis an “alien” would act like it would was implanting something into my ear. They knew I was interested in aliens at that time and tried to use it to ruin my faith in Jesus Christ. I remember expecting my physician to find something inside of my ear using an otoscope but wouldn’t find anything. I thought it was weird but I didn’t make the connection that it was really demons messing with me until I realized that aliens were really just demons masquerading.
A lot of times after a sleep paralysis attacked I would be baffled about what just happened. It was until I did research on the internet I found out it was a phenomenon that a lot of people have experienced so much so it even had a name: sleep paralysis. To my surprise I discovered it’s a common occurrence. I read testimonies online where people experienced things similar to what I experienced especially the old hag attack. I don’t think I will ever forget this experience where I woke up with what I perceived to be a witch sitting on my chest trying to choke me to death. Even after I broke out of the paralysis I could perceive the witch flying around my room.
Then about About 5 years ago the sleep paralysis attacked reached a crescendo – meaning it ramped up in frequency and intensity. This fiery trial or ordeal went on for a period of about 4+ years. I believe it was because I repented of all my sins and totally recommitted and gave my whole to the Lord and GOD Jesus Christ. I remember when I turned back to God I felt the Holy Spirit strong in me again. I was pretty shocked that God would forgive me of my sins because I did a lot of wickedness in God’s eyes. From then I actually thought everything from that point on was going to be smooth sailing for me. Little did I know the enemy was right there ready to retaliate. It was like he pointed his infrared beam on me ready to take me out. From that point on all hell broke loose against me. Soon after I felt a threatening, evil entity stalking me but initially I would try to dismiss it as my mind imagining things. It felt like it desired worship from me. I know, strange. I remember soon after I took a nap and then it happened: the sleep paralysis attack. I woke up unable to move my body no matter how much effort I exerted to try to move. I felt this dark, sinister shadow envelope my being. I thought in my head I am dead man. I knew this thing was going to kill me right then and there. But as it was about to “swallow me up” completely I thought in my head “Ah, don’t worry I have Jesus,” then immediately the darkness lifted off of me. Most people would probably be freaked out by it. But I was more rejoicing in the fact that I trusted Jesus even to the point of death.
You thought that was strange it gets stranger. I remember the next day or several days after that I took a nap and again I experienced sleep paralysis. I barely closed my eyes to take a nap and I woke up hearing a static noise one would hear on a TV on the channel 3. I broke out of the paralysis and I thought it was weird because my TV wasn’t on. I thought perhaps my brain is malfunctioning. I went back to take a nap and I barely closed my eyes then it happened again, the sleep paralysis with the same TV static sound but this time one of the most bizarre experiences I ever had (and I have had a lot of them) occurred. An evil spirit tried to enter my body through my chest while I was in paralysis. One may ask how do I know it was an evil spirit? Because it felt like the dirtiest, most unclean, evil, wicked thing. Now I know why Jesus called them some spirits unclean when He expelled demons out of people. In Mark ch. 5, Jesus met a demoniac and Jesus said “Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit.” That’s what it exactly felt like. Very, very, very unclean. It feel all yucky and disgusted as if you see someone covered with bugs. When it tried to enter my body I “read” its thoughts or “inner voice”. It had an animal-like snarl I have never heard before and knew the type of spirit it was. It was a spirit behind a sin that had a stronghold over my life for many years that I repented for. I knew the assignment the spirit had on me. I resisted the spirit and it left.
Afterwards I naturally got up out of my bed stunned, shocked, and disoriented. I then got out of my house and went to the gym. I walked around like I just went through trauma and as I was walking through the gym I literally wanted to scream out “the devil is real, repent and turn to the Lord Jesus Christ.” I can kind of chuckle about it thinking back but it was a very serious situation for me at that time.
From that point on I had sleep paralysis attacks every night and even multiple times a night for a long time. A lot of times I wouldn’t even sleep, I would just barely close my eyes I and would have a sleep paralysis attack. God allowed me to actually see into the spirit realm. I can recall one time where I was about to go to sleep I “saw” in the spirit realm somehow a demon running at a very fast speed to my bedroom. I saw in the spirit realm that it stuck its head through the wall to scope me out. It was targeting me because it knew I was about to go asleep.
During this period with my many experiences with sleep paralysis I had a particular demon harass me. Even when I wasn’t sleeping I would perceive it was in my room and I would feel the most intense hatred and evil emanating from it and at times I couldn’t even stand it. I would tell it to leave in the name of Jesus Christ but it would continuously return. I resorted to fasting against this evil spirit in the name of Jesus. In Mark 9:29 and Matthew 17:21 Jesus said some spirits will not come out unless you pray and fast. This spirit wasn’t in my body but attacking me externally but I thought it was a worth a try to fast. I had nothing to lose to give it a try. This is when I first started getting into fasting so I really didn’t know what to do. I didn’t eat for about 4-5 days and I just said a simple short prayer to Jesus to have this fast be against that spirit. The day I ended my fast the spirit entered my bedroom and I felt the most intense anger and rage coming from the spirit. The atmosphere in the room was so thick with evil and anger that you cut it with a butterknife. Then I perceived this evil spirit communicating to me saying angrily “why did you fast against me?” I was like “wow, so you hate fasting so then I am going to keep doing it then.” I incorporated fasting as part of my spiritual warfare arsenal. Eventually the spirit left but the sleep paralysis attacks continued. I believe there are a hosts of evil spirits assigned to Christians.
I also experienced demons literally hold me down while paralyzed. I can feel their hands on my body holding me down. I had experienced a demon trying to pierce me with something very sharp while in sleep paralysis. I once experienced demon or demons trying to pull me out of my body while in sleep paralysis. Even when I wasn’t asleep demons would show up. My heart would start racing and you would feel the most utter oppression, dread, fear, and evil in the atmosphere and I would feel this entity wanting to literally kill me right then and there.
I can recall a demon that entered my my room while I was asleep somehow managed to show up in my dream. The dream was pretty random but it involved music and I heard someone in the dream say to me “dance.” I said assertively “no, I only dance for Jesus.” Immediately I woke up in a sleep paralysis state. Apparently the demon got angry I proclaimed my loyalty to Lord Jesus and retaliated.
One time I fasted for several weeks petitioning something from the Lord. After several weeks when I prayed I felt oil dripping down my head. I had a sleep paralysis attack where a demon actually took out a vacuum to try to suck it up. I know, weird.
It would happen so frequently that I would think in my head before it happens “and here we go again.” But one night I did something different and prayed to Jesus to send an angel to protect me. I saw in the spirit an angel standing outside my bedroom window and I didn’t get attacked that night. I never asked because I would think who am I to ask God to send an angel on my behalf? Thanks be to God that He would dispatch an angel for believers especially if you ask.
I can recall one night when I woke up from a dead sleep and I perceived a demon in my closet peeking at me. And it was my inner voice rebuking it in my head but it wasn’t me who was doing it (I believe it was the Holy Spirit in me doing it). Then the demon flew right past my head as it fled. Strange.
As a person who refrains from any sexual activity (which includes masturbation) as every Christian should be doing if he or she is not married, the enemy knows at times I get tempted. I would have sleep paralysis attacks where demons would hold my body down and try to sexually stimulate my private parts. This has actually happened to me many times. It is very invasive and violating to go through this. I believe the enemy has demons observing every Christian and they study the person plotting to snare the person into sin. The enemy know lust is one of my weaknesses.
One time after a long time of prayer I accidentally fell asleep at a park in my car where a Mormon church (which is a cult) was located nearby. I don’t know if there was a connection with the Mormon church but a dark cloud that came from the direction the church was located came over me and I was paralyzed and I tried with all my strength to scream Jesus help me then it lifted off me.
It didn’t matter where I slept. If I slept in the car I got sleep paralysis. If I would sleep at work during my break it would happen. I have had multiple living in the same house and no one else experiences what I experience. Just about all the time I can feel or perceive the entity approaching me when I am lying down in my bed as if it is waiting for me to fall asleep to attack me.
I believe became a target because I turned back to God. Satan goes for the true born again Christians – those who truly seek God’s kingdom and His righteousness and to follow Jesus because they are a threat to Satan’s kingdom.
By the way, not one time I was horrified or scared throughout this whole ordeal. To tell the truth I was more fascinated than anything else. It can be really mind boggling to know with 100% certainty that demons exists. For a lot of people it’s difficult for the natural mind to accept there are spiritual entities. But after the fascination wore off and I developed a strong hatred against them and even more determined to cling on to God and do more for His kingdom.
Possible Door Openers to the Enemy And Solutions
You may ask why does sleep paralysis happen to some and not others? I believe there are several primary reasons why it routinely happens to some people. With my experience and observation with deliverance – that is, casting demons out of people – when you practice sin you break the hedge of protection that has around you and you unwittingly opened the passage for the enemy to come on in and attack you. I believe there are other ways that hedge protection can be broken such as your parents practicing witchcraft or occult.
New Age or eastern mysticism practices can open doorways. Not too many people are stupid enough to open doorways to the enemy by practicing satanism so the devil deceives people to open doorways through New Age spirituality or eastern mysticism. At the root of New Age is self centeredness. The originator of the modern New Age movement comes from Madame Blavatasky (Hitler was a fan of her) who admitted Lucifer was her god.
I think stepping into the enemy’s territory can open doors. I remember one time I reluctantly went to a nightclub with a couple of friends and that same night when I went to sleep I had sleep paralysis and I perceived demons hovering above me going around in circles. Several months ago I went a friend as he gave me a tour of some bars because he frequented. I was just curious to see what it was like inside and despite not even drinking or anything of the like that same night I got attacked.
The enemy hates when a Christian has a strong, consistent prayer life. I would tend to receive retaliation through sleep paralysis after I have engaged in heavy prayer. So it is possible that you are not necessarily doing anything wrong at all but you are just high on the enemy’s hit list because you are heavily engaged in spiritual warfare (whether it is through praying incessantly, fasting, evangelizing etc.).
Apparently the medical establishment has no solution for sleep paralysis because it is fundamentally a spiritual problem. The solution is to repent of your sins and give your life to the Lord and GOD Jesus Christ. The list of sins can include masturbation, porn watching and any other sexually immorality which is running rampant in the U.S. If you are involved with the New Age or the occult which is a huge demonic door opener. If you are practicing meditation, black or white magic, astral projection, energy crystals, tarot cards, reiki, seeing a psychic, a palm reader or watching horror movies please repent and renounce it in the name of Jesus Christ.
Having certain objects can have demonic attachments such as ouija boards, dream catchers, idols (which can include Buddhist objects) etc. If you have such objects get rid of it as soon possible. Get rid of any ungodly objects in your home, period. Please repent and renounce it in the name of Jesus Christ.
If you still happen to be under attack during an episode you can even call upon Jesus Christ even in your mind during an episode (yes, God knows all of your thoughts, He is God after all). God hears when anyone calls out to Him especially in urgency and in faith.
I have played an audio Bible (you can find many uploaded on Youtube) while sleeping to prevent attacks. The enemy hates to hear the word of God. This is what I know for certain from my experience with doing deliverance on people.
Just know Jesus Christ is infinitely more powerful than the devil and his minions. In fact, when Jesus was walking on the earth about 2,000 years ago demons were terrified of Him and would cry out not to send them to hell. In Luke 4:34 it reads “Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art; the Holy One of God.” and in Matthew 8:29 it reads “And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?”
The Spiritual War We Are All In
If you are a believer the devil doesn’t want you to know Jesus said in Luke 10:19 “Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you…“. Did you catch that? He gives AUTHORITY OVER ALL THE POWER OF THE ENEMY.
The enemy uses intimidation through deception. He’s not so scary if you have Jesus Christ and stand on His word. The enemy is not as strong as he presents himself to be. If he was so powerful then all of us would be killed right now. God has the enemy on a leash. He can only do what God allows him to do. The reason most people are not killed during a sleep paralysis attack is because God’s protective hand preventing the enemy from doing so. Satan could only do to Job what God allowed him to.
When I was going through my ordeal or fiery trial I visited numerous churches and told them about my problem and sadly they didn’t know what to say or do. Most Christians have no clue about spiritual warfare which is sad because they should be the ones who should have the remedy for spiritual issues, at least that is what I assumed. The vast majority of Christians are what I call religious or nominal Christians – they never repented of their sins and denied themselves, fast, give up the vain things of the world etc. They are not a threat to Satan’s kingdom . It seems like Satan has done a number on a lot of Christian churches in America. Sadly, many of our churches are so filled with nonsensical, watered down messages. Many Christians don’t have discernment and thus are blind to the seriousness of the war we are all in. The whole world is in darkness and in bondage to Satan. There is a worldwide spiritual war going on for the souls of multitudes and yet the church is not equipped to address it. I looked up and found other Christians online who went through something similar I went through so know I wasn’t going crazy. Nevertheless the fiery trial on my own – well Jesus was there with me all along but you know what I mean.
The Bible reads in Ephesians 6:12 “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Basically satan and his demons and their mission is to kill, steal, destroy and deceive and ultimately drag you to the lake of fire where he is sentenced to go in the future. Whether you believe it or not we are born into a world with a spiritual dimension. The Bible reads satan is the god (lowercase “g”) of this age (2 Cor. 4:4). He is called the prince of the power of the air the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience (Eph. 2:2). Jesus called satan the ruler of the world (John 12:31 and John 14:30). Indeed the Bible reads the whole world lies in the power of the wicked one (1 John 5:19). The fact satan offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the world if Jesus worshipped him testifies satan really is the ruler of this world. Jesus never denied he owned the kingdoms. The gall of the devil to tempt the Creator to worship him.
I really hope skeptics or unbelievers in Christ realize there really is a real spiritual realm. I can’t emphasize it enough there is a spiritual battle going on for your soul. Satan’s job is to keep you to repent from your sins and turn to the Lord Jesus Christ so you won’t be sealed with the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of Truth.
To all those who are skeptical you are going to have to deal with the fact your favorite musicians or actor believes in the spirit realm. Elvis Presley, Beyonce, Jay Z, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Oprah Winfrey, Denzel Washington etc. They all admit to channeling spirits [Watch Demonic Spirit Channeling By Pop “Musicians” Exposed & The Spirit Behind Hollywood Exposed (Channeling, Possession, and Satanism)].
It is crazy we were dumped into Satan’s kingdom – born into darkness – a world filled with deception and lies. The Bible reads the whole world lies under the wicked one ( 1 John 5:19). But there is hope! A Savior, a Person who Satan nothing in Him. A Person who overcame the wold. A light. Jesus Christ of Nazareth. When He returns He’s going to put an end to Satan’s Kingdom. In Revelation it reads he gets thrown into the abyss and then ultimately into the lake of fire. So there will be no more sleep paralysis or any kind of demonic attacks then! Jesus’ kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom that will come to no end (Daniel 2:44). All of this should make you reevaluate your life. Who or what are you living for?
There is a pull on the whole world by Satan to do evil and to reject the real Jesus Christ of the Bible (I say the real Jesus Christ because many people have a false Jesus that can’t save). He’s not the Muslim Jesus who is merely a prophet and never died on a cross for the sins of the world. He’s not the Mormon Jesus who is the spirit brother of lucifer. He’s not the Jehovah’s Witness Jesus who is the archangel Michael. He is not the New Age Jesus who is a mere man who attained spiritual enlightenment through occult means. The real Jesus Christ is God manifested in the flesh!
In God’s Kingdom when a sinner repents and turns to the Lord and GOD Jesus Christ the angels in heaven actually rejoice over that one sinner according to Jesus. God actually grieves because of our sins. In Genesis ch. 6 it reads “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.” So I can easily imagine God being broken hearted when someone refuses to turn to Him (also read Ezekiel 6:9).
But on the opposite end, there is satan’s kingdom and I have no doubt satan rejoices when a sinner dies in his sin. Satan is like that guy at a pool party who is about to fall inside the pool and tries to hold onto other people to drag them down with him. Indeed, satan is trying to drag everybody down with him to the lake of fire. But I believe Satan gets furious when a sinner repents and turns to Jesus for salvation because he lost someone he held captive. In Luke 4:18 it reads: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed;”
All of us without Jesus are actually prisoners of the devil. In fact, we are all spiritually dead unto God until we are born again by the power of the Holy Spirit. Then we are reconciled to God.
Only by the power of Jesus can those shackles and prison bars can be broken. I have never witnessed anything but the power of God that can deliver anyone from drug, alcohol or sex addictions.
When a person turns to Jesus Christ Satan knows this and it makes him furious when they lose a soul from their darkness and when he or she comes into the Light, who is Jesus Christ. When a person turns to Jesus the person actually has their name in the Lamb’s Book of Life (Revelation 3:5). Is your name written there?
If you need someone to talk to about your sleep paralysis issue or need prayer feel free to reach out me. Also feel free to share your experiences with sleep paralysis in the comment section.
If you don’t know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior you can receive Him into your heart and He can deliver you from darkness and sin and have your name written in His Book of Life.
If you are sincere you can say this simple prayer to the Father (it doesn’t have to be word for word):
“God, I recognize that I have not lived my life for You up until now. I have been living for myself and that is wrong. Please forgive me of all of my sins just as I forgive others. I need You in my life; I want You in my life. I acknowledge the completed work of Your only begotten Son Jesus Christ in giving His life for me on the cross, I believe in my heart Jesus is Lord and was raised from the dead and I long to receive the forgiveness you have made freely available to me through this sacrifice. Come into my life now, Lord. Take up residence in my heart and be my king, my Lord, and my Savior. From this day forward, I will no longer be controlled by sin, or the desire to please myself, but I will follow You all the days of my life. Those days are in Your hands. I ask this in the Lord and GOD Jesus’ precious and holy name. Amen.”