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    1. #1
      Master of minds.. Rainman's Avatar
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      Exclamation Overcoming fear of sleep paralysis.

      I originally posted a rather scatterbrained, and largely inaccurate interpretation of sleep paralysis earlier on in the week. This is the revised version of a tutorial on how to overcome the potentially traumatic fear of sleep paralysis.

      I've decided to write this from standpoint that assumes the reader has a general understanding of sleep paralysis, what it is, and why it happens. It is not my intention to confuse anyone, and if there are any questions, feel free to ask.

      Before I begin, I'd like to say that a lot of people have a lot of different definitions for sleep paralysis. Sleep paralysis REM atonia. They are both simply the paralysis of your body, via the same mechanisms, but occurring at critically different times. REM atonia is the natural, normal paralysis that you are typically unaware of because you are already asleep. It serves the purpose of preventing you from acting out your REM dreams. Sleep paralysis is when this same paralysis occurs, but at the wrong time! By definition it is strictly paralysis, but is often accompanied by hallucinations.

      I will be using the term "sleep paralysis" to mean- this state paralysis occurring while you are not in REM sleep. So, occurring before and after sleep, and accompanied by auditory, visual, and varying other types of hallucinations. REM atonia is only the physical paralysis of your body during your REM dreams. Sleep paralysis is this same paralysis occurring outside of REM sleep- namely just as you are falling asleep and immediately upon awakening; they are NOT the same thing.

      If you're like me (how I was), and have regular episodes of sleep paralysis, it's possible that you feel silly talking about it, because there are not many people around you that can relate to it, or even know what it is. There are various interpretations of sleep paralysis, and it is important to understand that hypnagogic hallucinations and sleep paralysis are entirely different things.

      During hypnagogic hallucinations, which are associated with early sleep stages, you may see things in your mind, and seemingly with your physical eyes. In the event of HH that are not visual, your body may undergo a sort of slow "wave" transformation, during which you experience a heavy tingling or vibrating sensation traveling along your entire body. However, this is not sleep paralysis, as commonly misconceived. Fact of the matter is, even with all of this activity happening, you are still fully capable of moving, you just may experience more of a feeling of exhaustion to the point where it is perhaps difficult to move, but should there be an emergency of some sort, you would be able to get out of bed immediately. This is the same point in time when sleep paralysis occurs, but the simple experience of HH does not mean that you are in SP.

      Most people (also mistakenly) speculate that it is necessary to have HH in order to WILD for a lucid dream. This is not the case, but that is for a different tutorial, perhaps later to come. HH, generally speaking, is pleasaent, fascinating, and interesting. It is an overall "fun" experience. For that reason, it is important to understand that HI, HS, HH, or whatever you'd like to refer to it as, is NOT sleep paralysis.

      During actual sleep paralysis, you are physically completely and literally incapable of voluntarily moving any part of your body apart from your eyes and your diaphragm. Unlike the hypnagogic state, there is nothing pleasant about this experience. No matter how many times it has happened to you, it's always some degree of terrifying or unpleasant. The sleep paralysis that can occur as you are entering or exiting sleep is almost always accompanied by auditory and visual hallucinations. When it happened to me, I would frequently hear a dull roaring, that slowly made its way inside of my ear, that sounded a lot like thunder, or a tornado. Many people report hearing creepy voices, smelling strange odors, seeing terrifying creatures of evil, and in general, just an overall feeling of impending doom.

      Hopefully at this point, readers have begun to see the difference between the hypnagogic state, and sleep paralysis. So for those of you who do regularly experience the actual state of sleep paralysis, and even if you've never experienced it, you may be wondering how it can be turned into something positive. How can you overcome the fear of it?

      Well, the first thing to understand is that rationality and logic are two things that are severely distorted when entering this state. The more you panic during sleep paralysis, the more terrifying the experience becomes.

      So the first point I'd like to make is that if this happens to you, it is important to remain calm. Understand that the actual paralysis during sleep paralysis is the same mechanism that occurs multiple times every night during REM atonia of REM sleep. It is not a permanent state but rarely lasts longer than a few minutes maximum. Your body is perfectly fine, normal, and healthy, and the experience is harmless.

      1. It will make you panic, because especially if you've never experienced actually paralysis while conscious, your conscious mind cannot comprehend why your limbs will not respond to your Will. The natural human response in such a case is panic.

      However it is critical that you remain calm upon realizing the paralysis. Sleep paralysis WILL entirely go away in a matter of minutes, if not seconds. The reason it is important to stay calm, is that panic will heighten the terror of the experience. The paralysis is usually accompanied by hallucinations. Most people report seeing a dark, evil figure, and an overall feeling of impending doom.

      Panic may cause you to attempt to yell out. In some cases, you will yell and yell, and may or may not realize that although you feel and hear yourself yelling, your mouth never opened. One of two things may happen with this realization, the latter of which is more likely to happen. You could realize that it is really your dream body yelling, and turn the experience into an impromptu WILD, or the more likely scenario- the realization that no one can hear your screams makes you feel like no one is around, and that you're entirely alone. Which doesn't sound like a lot, but during this state, your emotions are magnified 100 fold.

      However, everyone's mind is different. My cousin still suffers from nearly nightly sleep paralysis, he panics, and he says he feels adrenaline kick in and he's out of it before he knows it. This technique, however, is not advised. In general, panic WILL make the experience much worse than it needs to be.

      So to reiterate, just stay calm. Realize this will all be over in just moments. The more you relax, the quicker the hallucinations fade away, in my experience. Understand that what you are seeing is not real at all. No physical harm of any kind can come to you from this experience. Keep in mind, this is much easier said than done.

      Another method of escaping the experience, (and my personal favourite), is to use the circumstances to your advantage. If you are an oneironaut, close your eyes, remain calm, and smile on the inside, because this is a flawless opportunity for an impromptu WILD. Unfortunately for me, probably 70 percent of the time I try to WILD anyway, I end up with sleep paralysis.

      Since you're already paralyzed and experiencing hallucinations, close your eyes, feel for your dream body. You should be able to move it without even trying. Some people report being able to OBE out of the experience.. however in this case, you would likely still see the terrifying hallucinations. That said, let us leave all OBE discussion in the beyond dreaming forum, please.

      Once you have successfully entered your WILD, you have two options- get away from that creepy scene as fast as possible and go someplace nice, or you can stay right where you are in your dream body. Why would you want to do that? I think a critical part of overcoming the terror associated with sleep paralysis is OVERCOMING your fear, not just running from it. It worked like magic for me. In your dream self, approach whatever dark shadowy figure you see, and give it a big hug. It sounds silly, but it will do wonders. Why? Because it will show you that what you are seeing can't hurt you. It's no different than dream scenes- they are all fabrications of your own mind.

      You can always choose to WILD away from the experience, but it will never stop being scary. Face your fears. This is a very very difficult thing to do, I understand, because I have done it. And believe me, if a chicken like me can do it, anyone can.

      Back when I had regular episodes of SP, it made me develop an overwhelming fear of the dark. Even while I was fully awake. I would always have every light on in the house. The idea of something being dark petrified me. If this is you, make a point to yourself to spend a lot of time in the dark. It's scary. Do it anyway. You will familiarize yourself with shadows, eerie feelings, and you will get used to them, and learn how to genuinely laugh them away, blowing them off as ridiculous, WITHOUT masking them. Spend time intentionally doing things ALONE that scare you. Facing your fears, even your waking life fears unrelated to darkness and evil will help you develop the mentality to look at sleep paralysis as something that doesn't have to be scary.

      I still have episodes of SP, but to me they are not scary. I mean, they do still give me that eerie vibe, but while I feel the chilling down my spine, I also take a step back (mentally) from the situation and look at the wonders the brilliant human mind can create! It is so brilliant, it can trick itself into making things appear that aren't there. A good way to suck the fear out of the situation is to really think about what is happening, and take time to appreciate the brilliance of it all! It's really quite amazing.

      That coupled with the fact that it's a great opportunity for a quick WILD, and you've got a lot to consider. If regularly occurring sleep paralysis happens to you, you can take meds for it, or you can accept that for the time being, it happens, and is going to happen, and find a way to make the best of a terrifying thing. It doesn't have to be scary anymore.

      Quick recap- Stay calm, use it to WILD and run away, use it to WILD and stay, face your fears, learn how to be comfortable with darkness and things that frighten you, appreciate the beauty of what the human mind is capable of making!

      I hope this helps those of you who suffer from actual sleep paralysis learn to take the terror out of it, and turn it into a perhaps more positive experience, so that you no longer fear the pillow at night. I also hope that those of you who didn't fully understand what sleep paralysis actually is, have a much better understanding that hypnagogia and sleep paralysis are not the same thing.



      If any parts of this writing were inaccurate, please feel free to correct them. Brain chemistry is not my area of expertise by a LONG SHOT, so I imagine there are some inaccuracies present in my tutorial.


      Edit- holy shit, this is much longer than I expected it would be. Sorry

      Spoiler for Original Post- Has been edited to above.:
      Hello everyone. Before I begin, let me state that this post contains primarily my opinions. While much of what I say is based on what I and others know to be true based on their, and my experiences, this is merely my interpretation of sleep paralysis, and how to overcome it.

      A lot of my friends, and some of you who are new to lucid dreaming have asked me about sleep paralysis, and how to overcome its frequently terrifying effects. First we should take a deeper look at what it is, although most of you already understand it quite well.

      Sleep paralysis occurs when your brain gives the signal for your body to fall asleep, because it believes that you are unconscious. You experience this during a WILD, because you're not moving, nor are you (or at least you shouldn't be) responding to the "test" signals (such as itches, or discomforts) that your brain sends out to various parts of your body.

      Once your brain determines that you are asleep, your body undergoes sleep paralysis. This happens to the average person every single night, several times in order to prevent you from acting out your dreams. It occurs during the periods of sleep in which you dream.

      The panic that is associated with sleep paralysis, (which will hereby be referred to as "SP") is usually not the SP itself, but rather the hallucinations that come with it. SP itself can be scary enough, because you are not used to physically not being able to move. You may find that you experience a feeling of terrible dread, or overwhelming sense of impending doom. This is quite normal.

      Just before losing consciousness, you are not capable of thinking logically, even if you think you can prove otherwise to yourself. If you feel as though you are moving, shouting, etc, it is because you are- in a dream. Typically at this point you are transitioning into the dreamstate, and don't realize it, which is why the terror of SP can occur to such an extreme in some people. One of the most common things people see is a "hooded figure" or some other dark and mysterious figure at the foot of their bed or next to them.

      Sometimes called the "old hag" or the "dweller on the threshold", it can be quite scary, and it turns a lot of newcomers away from lucid dreaming. On only my second attempt at a WILD, I experienced the dweller on the threshold, and it terrified me to the point of not even wanting to return to sleep that night. However, there are different ways to overcome it.

      Being that all minds work differently, different things will work for different people. For me, my fear of the SP terror came from approaching the scary figure and giving it a hug! Ever since then, I have not felt afraid of it at all. Another way is to understand exactly what it is you are seeing- nothing at all. What you are looking at is quite literally 100% in your head, and you created it. When some people simply look at it that logically, they think nothing of this figure.

      If you are religious, perhaps it would help you to say a prayer for protection in your respective religions before you go to bed, and be certain that your deity will protect you from any harm. The difficult about all of these techniques is that they require looking at SP from a logical standpoint, and as I said earlier, conscious logic that you have now is a very difficult place to reach while you are transitioning. Every sense and reflex and even emotion is multiplied during this time. Things that would normally seem moderately frightening, or perhaps not frightening at all, will seem MUCH more scary when they are happening in this semi-dreamstate.

      Make a habit of questioning things that you are afraid of, and find ways to make them smaller than they are. Auto-hypnosis is a great tactic for overcoming THIS particular type of fear, because it is fear of something that was fabricated entirely by your own mind. Find ways to tell yourself something like "I remember that this is my wonderful creation" or something to that effect. Turn the experience into something positive.

      If all else fails, just understand that you can make it all disappear! If you see the old hag, you've already made it!

      (Sorry this was so damn long, I tend to ramble.)

      -Rain
      Last edited by Shift; 01-19-2009 at 01:30 AM.

    2. #2
      Sassy pants Fale55's Avatar
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      Good post with great info. Never really occured to me how many people actually freak out about SP. But now really thinking about it, I couldn't imagine the people that run into this on accident.

    3. #3
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      This is so inaccurate that I am locking it.

      Sleep paralysis is the paralysis of your body by the same mechanisms as REM atonia outside of REM sleep. No more, no less. It can be accompanied by a range of hypnagogic hallucinations, or hypnopompic hallucinations, depending on when it occurs (before or after sleep).

      REM atonia is the paralysis of your body during REM sleep, and typically happens in REM sleep stages except in those with a disorder which prevents the body from being paralyzed, causing these people to act out their dreams (pretty dramatic and intense).

      If you don't even know what sleep paralysis or rem atonia are, or when they occur, and have false ideas of what they mean or what sensations and cognitive functions accompany them, please just don't post stuff like this. There is already enough inaccurate information about REM atonia and SP floating around. It doesn't need to be contributed to.

      For those who wish to read more about and become educated about Sleep Paralysis, I highly recommend this thread What Every Lucid Dreamer Should Know About Sleep Paralysis

      And these journal articles:
      Hypnagogic and Hypnopompic Hallucinations during Sleep - J. Allan Cheyne, Steve D. Rueffer, and Ian R. Newby-Clark (1999)
      Hypnagogic and Hypnopompic Hallucinations during Sleep Paralysis: Neurological and Cultural Construction of the Night-Mare - J. Allan Cheyne, Steve D. Rueffer, and Ian R. Newby-Clark (1999)
      Physiology and Neurochemistry of Sleep - Martha S. Rosenthal (1998)
      Relations among hypnagogic and hypnopompic experiences associated with sleep paralysis - J, ALLAN CHEYNE, IAN R. NEWBY-CLARK andSTEVE D, RUEFFER (1998)
      Sleep Paralysis–Associated Sensed Presence as a Possible Manifestation of Social Anxiety - Valerie Simard and Tore A. Nielsen (2005)
      Last edited by Shift; 01-18-2009 at 07:31 AM.

    4. #4
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      You're right, I should not have locked this. By keeping it open we can engage in discussion and clear up misunderstandings about the drastic differences between REM atonia and Sleep Paralysis. My apologies, though yes, such rudeness is certainly uncalled for. Sorry to see I apparently hit quite a nerve.

      The reason I locked it to begin with is because DV has a policy of locking tutorials and other threads that provide information that is false, inaccurate, or mere speculation to prevent the confusion of the knowledge of lucid dreaming and related phenomena. When I see something this confusing and/or misleading, I believe the same approach should be taken if the facts cannot be straightened out and presented clearly.

    5. #5
      Master of minds.. Rainman's Avatar
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      Thank you, Shift. Again, I apologize for my earlier rudeness. It was completely unnecessary.

      Allow me to clarify to everyone, the actual brain chemistry faults that cause REM atonia (frequently known as sleep paralysis in this forum) is something that I know absolutely nothing about.

      My area of expertise as pertains to the topics discussed in DV, is pyschology. I have only experienced REM atonia, that does not necessarily make me an expert on it. However, my tutorial was originally about how to overcome the fear that comes with it, and that much of it, is something that I can say, "I know what I"m talking about".

      Sleep paralysis used to happen to me regularly a long time ago, though it was only for about a year. I suppose I should re-write some of that tutorial to exclude certain inaccuracies I have about sleep paralysis.

    6. #6
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      Quote Originally Posted by Rainman View Post
      Thank you, Shift. Again, I apologize for my earlier rudeness. It was completely unnecessary.

      Allow me to clarify to everyone, the actual brain chemistry faults that cause REM atonia (frequently known as sleep paralysis in this forum) is something that I know absolutely nothing about.

      My area of expertise as pertains to the topics discussed in DV, is pyschology. I have only experienced REM atonia, that does not necessarily make me an expert on it. However, my tutorial was originally about how to overcome the fear that comes with it, and that much of it, is something that I can say, "I know what I"m talking about".

      Sleep paralysis used to happen to me regularly a long time ago, though it was only for about a year. I suppose I should re-write some of that tutorial to exclude certain inaccuracies I have about sleep paralysis.
      Quote Originally Posted by Rainman View Post
      Edit*

      I just wrote a rather rude and condescending response, and determined that it would have been counter productive. I apologize if you misinterpreted my thoughts on sleep paralysis. For the record, my "tutorial" was about how to get past the fear of sleep paralysis. It was not called "Hey this is what the definition of sleep paralysis is." If there were inaccuracies, which I'm sure there were, sorry. Either way the point was to teach people how to get past the fear of it like I did. I didn't mean to convey that my area of expertise is sleep paralysis.. it's certainly not.
      I propose then that we work together rather than against or separately from one another. If you do re-write it, you can leave out most of the confusing bits and just focus on your methods to overcome the fear. If you'd like, I can help you smooth out the inaccuracies so that you're just delivering a ton of awesome information all at once, adding to your good tips on avoiding fear. Let me know if that sounds interesting to you!
      Last edited by Shift; 01-18-2009 at 11:11 PM.

    7. #7
      Master of minds.. Rainman's Avatar
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      This sounds quite interesting to me I appreciate your willingness to work with me, and your patience with me. I'll start working on the fear aspect of it right away, and I'll post it as a new thread, so you can delete this one.

    8. #8
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      Likewise If you'd like, you can just post it here and I can update the original post.

    9. #9
      Master of minds.. Rainman's Avatar
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      Will do

    10. #10
      Dreamscape Ambler shannyball's Avatar
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      I'm glad this topic is open again I think it is very interesting and people are curious especially if they have bouts of SP which really can seem very frightening.

      I think really the only thing that has worked for me in quelling the fear is to find acceptance in what is happening when I am experiencing it. I have to accept at that time - that right now I cannot move, which is frightening, however I am safe and my body will level out eventually. I am spiritual and if I feel that I am threatened I must basically pray even though no one can hear me when I try to speak because I think I am basically paralyzed. Sometimes however the harder I try to speak out loud and the more persistent I am this can sometimes bring me around. Also I noticed that just concentrating on moving something small such as your big toe can bring you out of it too. If I stop struggling and accept it though I usually fall asleep soon and drift into a dream state which then I can easily awake from more naturally. I hope this helps anyone who has this happen to them too. I don't know anything about the brain or the chemicals that are present during this or really anything scientific about it all I know is what I have experienced.

      Another thing that helps is changing your lifestyle if you are using any type of mind altering substances, and I used too. The kind that kept you awake that really screws up your chemicals and sleep patterns and is basically horrible for you. I've been clean for a year. Most of my episodes however were at times I was trying to catch up on missed sleep (or was crashing if we want to get technical) I think it may have been my bodies way of saying 1. You finally are resting now we are making sure you stay down long enough to heal up a bit and 2. Hey STUPID! Your really screwing me up. That is when I use to hear the mechanical buzzing noise in my head - it was so weird and unpleasant and was basically present at the onset of every episode I had. Then I cut out the substances and I cut down on the coffee because I wasn't trying to replenish energy I didn't have and I started eating healthier- it has calmed WAY down. I had one a month ago and I gave into it- with in minutes I was dreaming instead of struggling to move or breath. I told myself that even if something bad was right out of my sight that I was protected by my higher power, guardian, angel, god what ever you want to call it. I let go and it was over almost as fast as it started.
      I know that some people find it completely annoying that SP and the occult is sometimes grouped together- but to be honest if you don't know what is happening it can feel very much like some sort of spiritual attack because of the inability to move, sometimes breath, and the weird hallucinations that can be present. I found a forum 2 yrs ago when it was the worst that stated that it was an occult problem. So misinformation seems to be easier to find than the truth especially when someone is frightened and exhausted because they are too scared to fall asleep and looking for any sort of resolution that they aren't losing their minds. I don't know a lot about science, theories or brainwaves. I do know what I have experienced and how I have been able to come to terms with it and control it somewhat and I hope that helps others who are looking for these kinds of answers.
      “If you ever drop your keys into a river of molten lava, let 'em go, because man, they're gone.”
      Jack Handy

    11. #11
      Master of minds.. Rainman's Avatar
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      I originally posted a rather scatterbrained, and largely inaccurate interpretation of sleep paralysis earlier on in the week. This is the revised version of a tutorial on how to overcome the potentially traumatic fear of sleep paralysis.

      I've decided to write this from standpoint that assumes the reader has a general understanding of sleep paralysis, what it is, and why it happens. It is not my intention to confuse anyone, and if there are any questions, feel free to ask.

      Before I begin, I'd like to say that a lot of people have a lot of different definitions for sleep paralysis. Sleep paralysis ≠ REM atonia. I will be using the term "sleep paralysis" to mean- the state of REM atonia occuring while you are not sleeping, accompanied by auditory, visual, and varying other types of hallucinations, and pyschological night terrors. REM atonia is only the physical paralysis, and is a part of what happens during sleep paralysis but they are NOT the same thing.

      If you're like me (how I was), and have regular episodes of sleep paralysis, it's possible that you feel silly talking about it, because there are not many people around you that can relate to it, or even know what it is. There are various interpretations of sleep paralysis, and it is important to understand that hypnagogic imagery and sleep paralysis, are entirely different things.

      During hypnagogic imagery phases of falling asleep (or entering a WILD, if HI occurs,), you see things in your mind, and seemingly with your physical eyes. In intense HI stages, your body undergoes a sort of slow "wave" transformation, during which you experience a heavy tingly sensation traveling along your entire body, seemingly making you unable to move. However, this is not sleep paralysis, as commonly misconceived. Fact of the matter is, even with all of this activity happening, you are still fully capable of moving, it's just more of a feeling of exhaustion to a point where it is perhaps difficult to move, but should there be an emergency of some sort, you would be able to get out of bed immediately. To clarify, actual paralysis during the hypnagogic state, DOES happen, but that is not sleep paralysis, it is simply atonia. Atonia, and REM atonia can happen on their own without the actual effects of sleep paralysis, but if they do, it is not sleep paralysis. Others can explain that better than I can.

      Most people (also mistakenly) speculate that it is necessary to have HI in order to lucid dream. This is not the case, but that is for a different tutorial, perhaps later to come. HI, generally speaking, is pleasent, fascinating, and interesting. It is an overall "fun" experience. For that reason, it is important to understand that HI, HS, HH, or whatever you'd like to refer to it as, is NOT sleep paralysis.

      During actual sleep paralysis, REM atonia occurs, meaning that you are physically completely and literally incapable of voluntarily moving any part of your body apart from your eyes and your diaphragm. Unlike the hypnagogic state, there is nothing pleasent about this experience. No matter how many times it has happened to you, it's always some degree of terrifying or unpleasent. The REM atonia that occurs as you are entering sleep, or exiting sleep is almost always occompanied by auditory and visual hallucinations. When it happened to me, I would frequently hear a dull roaring, that slowly made its way inside of my ear, that sounded a lot like thunder, or a tornado. Many people report hearing creepy voices, smelling strange odors, seeing terrifying creatures of evil, and in general, just an overall feeling of impending doom.

      Hopefully at this point, readers have begun to see the difference between the hypnagogic state, and sleep paralysis. So for those of you who do regularly experience the actual state of sleep paralysis, and even if you've never experienced it, you may be wondering how it can be turned into something positive. How can you overcome the fear of it?
      Well, the first thing to understand is that rationality and logic are two things that are severely distorted when entering this state. Typically, for the first minute or so of being awake even after a normal night's sleep, the average person isn't in their right mind. A state of sleep paralysis is no different in that aspect. However, there is a difference, and that is, the more you panic during sleep paralysis, the more terrifying the experience becomes.

      So the first point I'd like to make is that if this happens to you, it is important to remain calm. Understand that the REM atonia, (or the actual paralysis part of sleep paralysis) is something that happens to the chemically normal person every single night that you enter REM sleep. It's occurance while you are not sleeping does sevaral things to the not-fully-aware person.

      1. It will make you panic, because especially if you've never experienced actually paralysis while conscious, your conscious mind cannot comprehend why your limbs will not respond to your Will. The natural human response in such a case is panic.

      However it is critical that you remain calm upon realizing the paralysis. Sleep paralysis WILL entirely go away in a matter of minutes, if not seconds. The reason it is important to stay calm, is that panic will heighten the terror of the experience. The paralysis is usually accompanied by hallucinations. Most people report seeing a dark, evil figure, and an overall feeling of impending doom. For those of you who have done drugs, this entire process is quite like a really bad drug trip, in the sense that you are not able to follow common logic- that these things are all in your head.

      Panic, may cause you to yell out. You will yell and yell, and may or may not realize that although you feel and hear yourself yelling, your mouth never opened. One of two things may happen with this realization, the latter of which is more likely to happen. You could realize that it is really your dream body yelling, and turn the experience into an impromptu WILD, or the more likely scenario- the realization that no one can hear your screams makes you feel like no one is around, and that you're entirely alone. Which doesn't sound like a lot, but during this state, your emotions are magnified 100 fold.

      However, everyone's mind is different. My cousin still suffers from nearly nightly sleep paralysis, he panics, and he says he feels adrenaline kick in and he's out of it before he knows it. This technique, however, is not advised. In general, panic WILL make the experience much worse than it needs to be.

      So to reiterate, just stay calm. Realize this will all be over in just moments. The more you relax, the quicker the hallucinations fade away, in my experience. Understand that what you are seeing is not real at all. No physical harm of any kind can come to you from this experience. Keep in mind, this is much easier said than done.

      Another method of escaping the experience, (and my personal favourite), is to use the circumstances to your advantage. If you are a gifted oneironaut, close your eyes, remain calm, and smile on the inside, because this is a flawless opportunity for an impromptu WILD. Unfortunately for me, probably 70 percent of the time I try to WILD anyway, I end up with sleep paralysis.

      Since you're already paralyized, and experiencing hallucinations, close your eyes, feel for your dream body. You should be able to move it without even trying. Some people report being able to OBE out of the experience.. however in this case, you would likely still see the terrifying hallucinations. That said, let us leave all OBE discussion in the beyond dreaming forum, please.

      Once you have successfully entered your WILD, you have two options- get away from that creepy scene as fast as possible and go someplace nice, or you can stay right where you are in your dream body. Why would you want to do that? I think a critical part of overcoming the terror associated with sleep paralysis is OVERCOMING your fear, not just running from it. It worked like magic for me. In your dream self, approach whatever dark shadowy figure you see, and give it a big hug. It sounds silly, but it will do wonders. Why? Because it will show you that what you are seeing can't hurt you. It's no different than dream scenes- they are all fabrications of your own mind.

      You can always choose to WILD away from the experience, but it will never stop being scary. Face your fears. This is a very very difficult thing to do, I understand, because I have done it. And believe me, if a chicken like me can do it, anyone can.

      Back when I had regular episodes of SP, it made me devolop an overwhelming fear of the dark. Even while I was fully awake. I would always have every light on in the house. The idea of something being dark petrified me. If this is you, make a point to yourself to spend a lot of time in the dark. It's scary. Do it anyway. You will familiarize yourself with shadows, eerie feelings, and you will get used to them, and learn how to genuinely laugh them away, blowing them off as ridiculous, WITHOUT masking them. Spend time intentionally doing things ALONE that scare you. Facing your fears, even your waking life fears unrelated to darkness and evil will help you develop the mentality to look at sleep paralysis as something that doesn't have to be scary.

      I still have episodes of SP, but to me they are not scary. I mean, they do still give me that eerie vibe, but while I feel the chilling down my spine, I also take a step back (mentally) from the situation and look at the wonders the brilliant human mind can create! It is so brilliant, it can trick itself into making things appear that aren't there. A good way to suck the fear out of the situation is to really think about what is happening, and take time to appreciate the brilliance of it all! It's really quite amazing.

      That coupled with the fact that it's a great opportunity for a quick WILD, and you've got a lot to consider. If regularly occuring sleep paralysis happens to you, you can take meds for it, or you can accept that for the time being, it happens, and is going to happen, and find a way to make the best of a terrifying thing. It doesn't have to be scary anymore.

      Quick recap- Stay calm, use it to WILD and run away, use it to WILD and stay, face your fears, learn how to be comfortable with darkness and things that frighten you, appreciate the beauty of what the human mind is capable of making!

      I hope this helps those of you who suffer from actual sleep paralysis learn to take the terror out of it, and turn it into a perhaps more positive experience, so that you no longer fear the pillow at night. I also hope that those of you who didn't fully understand what sleep paralysis actually is, have a much better understanding that hypnagogia and sleep paralysis are not the same thing.



      If any parts of this writing were inaccurate, please feel free to correct them. Brain chemistry is not my area of expertise by a LONG SHOT, so I imagine there are some inaccuracies present in my tutorial.


      Edit- holy shit, this is much longer than I expected it would be. Sorry

    12. #12
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      I originally posted a rather scatterbrained, and largely inaccurate interpretation of sleep paralysis earlier on in the week. This is the revised version of a tutorial on how to overcome the potentially traumatic fear of sleep paralysis.

      I've decided to write this from standpoint that assumes the reader has a general understanding of sleep paralysis, what it is, and why it happens. It is not my intention to confuse anyone, and if there are any questions, feel free to ask.

      Before I begin, I'd like to say that a lot of people have a lot of different definitions for sleep paralysis. Sleep paralysis REM atonia. They are both simply the paralysis of your body, via the same mechanisms, but occurring at critically different times. REM atonia is the natural, normal paralysis that you are typically unaware of because you are already asleep. It serves the purpose of preventing you from acting out your REM dreams. Sleep paralysis is when this same paralysis occurs, but at the wrong time! By definition it is strictly paralysis, but is often accompanied by hallucinations.

      I will be using the term "sleep paralysis" to mean- this state paralysis occurring while you are not in REM sleep. So, occurring before and after sleep, and accompanied by auditory, visual, and varying other types of hallucinations. REM atonia is only the physical paralysis of your body during your REM dreams. Sleep paralysis is this same paralysis occurring outside of REM sleep- namely just as you are falling asleep and immediately upon awakening; they are NOT the same thing.

      If you're like me (how I was), and have regular episodes of sleep paralysis, it's possible that you feel silly talking about it, because there are not many people around you that can relate to it, or even know what it is. There are various interpretations of sleep paralysis, and it is important to understand that hypnagogic hallucinations and sleep paralysis are entirely different things.

      During hypnagogic hallucinations, which are associated with early sleep stages, you may see things in your mind, and seemingly with your physical eyes. In the event of HH that are not visual, your body may undergo a sort of slow "wave" transformation, during which you experience a heavy tingling or vibrating sensation traveling along your entire body. However, this is not sleep paralysis, as commonly misconceived. Fact of the matter is, even with all of this activity happening, you are still fully capable of moving, you just may experience more of a feeling of exhaustion to the point where it is perhaps difficult to move, but should there be an emergency of some sort, you would be able to get out of bed immediately. This is the same point in time when sleep paralysis occurs, but the simple experience of HH does not mean that you are in SP.

      Most people (also mistakenly) speculate that it is necessary to have HH in order to WILD for a lucid dream. This is not the case, but that is for a different tutorial, perhaps later to come. HH, generally speaking, is pleasaent, fascinating, and interesting. It is an overall "fun" experience. For that reason, it is important to understand that HI, HS, HH, or whatever you'd like to refer to it as, is NOT sleep paralysis.

      During actual sleep paralysis, you are physically completely and literally incapable of voluntarily moving any part of your body apart from your eyes and your diaphragm. Unlike the hypnagogic state, there is nothing pleasant about this experience. No matter how many times it has happened to you, it's always some degree of terrifying or unpleasant. The sleep paralysis that can occur as you are entering or exiting sleep is almost always accompanied by auditory and visual hallucinations. When it happened to me, I would frequently hear a dull roaring, that slowly made its way inside of my ear, that sounded a lot like thunder, or a tornado. Many people report hearing creepy voices, smelling strange odors, seeing terrifying creatures of evil, and in general, just an overall feeling of impending doom.

      Hopefully at this point, readers have begun to see the difference between the hypnagogic state, and sleep paralysis. So for those of you who do regularly experience the actual state of sleep paralysis, and even if you've never experienced it, you may be wondering how it can be turned into something positive. How can you overcome the fear of it?

      Well, the first thing to understand is that rationality and logic are two things that are severely distorted when entering this state. The more you panic during sleep paralysis, the more terrifying the experience becomes. (Do you have any sources for this? I don't think there is anything supporting these assertions)

      So the first point I'd like to make is that if this happens to you, it is important to remain calm. Understand that the actual paralysis during sleep paralysis is the same mechanism that occurs multiple times every night during REM atonia of REM sleep. It is not a permanent state but rarely lasts longer than a few minutes maximum. Your body is perfectly fine, normal, and healthy, and the experience is harmless.

      1. It will make you panic, because especially if you've never experienced actually paralysis while conscious, your conscious mind cannot comprehend why your limbs will not respond to your Will. The natural human response in such a case is panic.

      However it is critical that you remain calm upon realizing the paralysis. Sleep paralysis WILL entirely go away in a matter of minutes, if not seconds. The reason it is important to stay calm, is that panic will heighten the terror of the experience. The paralysis is usually accompanied by hallucinations. Most people report seeing a dark, evil figure, and an overall feeling of impending doom.

      Panic may cause you to attempt to yell out. In some cases, you will yell and yell, and may or may not realize that although you feel and hear yourself yelling, your mouth never opened. One of two things may happen with this realization, the latter of which is more likely to happen. You could realize that it is really your dream body yelling, and turn the experience into an impromptu WILD, or the more likely scenario- the realization that no one can hear your screams makes you feel like no one is around, and that you're entirely alone. Which doesn't sound like a lot, but during this state, your emotions are magnified 100 fold. (again, sources?)

      However, everyone's mind is different. My cousin still suffers from nearly nightly sleep paralysis, he panics, and he says he feels adrenaline kick in and he's out of it before he knows it. This technique, however, is not advised. In general, panic WILL make the experience much worse than it needs to be.

      So to reiterate, just stay calm. Realize this will all be over in just moments. The more you relax, the quicker the hallucinations fade away, in my experience. Understand that what you are seeing is not real at all. No physical harm of any kind can come to you from this experience. Keep in mind, this is much easier said than done.

      Another method of escaping the experience, (and my personal favourite), is to use the circumstances to your advantage. If you are an oneironaut, close your eyes, remain calm, and smile on the inside, because this is a flawless opportunity for an impromptu WILD. Unfortunately for me, probably 70 percent of the time I try to WILD anyway, I end up with sleep paralysis.

      Since you're already paralyzed and experiencing hallucinations, close your eyes, feel for your dream body. You should be able to move it without even trying. Some people report being able to OBE out of the experience.. however in this case, you would likely still see the terrifying hallucinations. That said, let us leave all OBE discussion in the beyond dreaming forum, please.

      Once you have successfully entered your WILD, you have two options- get away from that creepy scene as fast as possible and go someplace nice, or you can stay right where you are in your dream body. Why would you want to do that? I think a critical part of overcoming the terror associated with sleep paralysis is OVERCOMING your fear, not just running from it. It worked like magic for me. In your dream self, approach whatever dark shadowy figure you see, and give it a big hug. It sounds silly, but it will do wonders. Why? Because it will show you that what you are seeing can't hurt you. It's no different than dream scenes- they are all fabrications of your own mind.

      You can always choose to WILD away from the experience, but it will never stop being scary. Face your fears. This is a very very difficult thing to do, I understand, because I have done it. And believe me, if a chicken like me can do it, anyone can.

      Back when I had regular episodes of SP, it made me develop an overwhelming fear of the dark. Even while I was fully awake. I would always have every light on in the house. The idea of something being dark petrified me. If this is you, make a point to yourself to spend a lot of time in the dark. It's scary. Do it anyway. You will familiarize yourself with shadows, eerie feelings, and you will get used to them, and learn how to genuinely laugh them away, blowing them off as ridiculous, WITHOUT masking them. Spend time intentionally doing things ALONE that scare you. Facing your fears, even your waking life fears unrelated to darkness and evil will help you develop the mentality to look at sleep paralysis as something that doesn't have to be scary.

      I still have episodes of SP, but to me they are not scary. I mean, they do still give me that eerie vibe, but while I feel the chilling down my spine, I also take a step back (mentally) from the situation and look at the wonders the brilliant human mind can create! It is so brilliant, it can trick itself into making things appear that aren't there. A good way to suck the fear out of the situation is to really think about what is happening, and take time to appreciate the brilliance of it all! It's really quite amazing.

      That coupled with the fact that it's a great opportunity for a quick WILD, and you've got a lot to consider. If regularly occurring sleep paralysis happens to you, you can take meds for it, or you can accept that for the time being, it happens, and is going to happen, and find a way to make the best of a terrifying thing. It doesn't have to be scary anymore.

      Quick recap- Stay calm, use it to WILD and run away, use it to WILD and stay, face your fears, learn how to be comfortable with darkness and things that frighten you, appreciate the beauty of what the human mind is capable of making!

      I hope this helps those of you who suffer from actual sleep paralysis learn to take the terror out of it, and turn it into a perhaps more positive experience, so that you no longer fear the pillow at night. I also hope that those of you who didn't fully understand what sleep paralysis actually is, have a much better understanding that hypnagogia and sleep paralysis are not the same thing.



      If any parts of this writing were inaccurate, please feel free to correct them. Brain chemistry is not my area of expertise by a LONG SHOT, so I imagine there are some inaccuracies present in my tutorial.


      Edit- holy shit, this is much longer than I expected it would be. Sorry

      I cleaned up most of the inaccuracies. I'd say the main thing is to avoid making statements based upon your own experiences or perceptions. A lot of these things, if you learn to avoid them, make such an article much more digestible because they are not just the statement of false facts, but rather a sincere presentation of your experiences and suggestions to help others.

    13. #13
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      No, I don't have sources, but I'm absolutely certain that is not true for only me. Everything you corrected is beyond my knowledge. However, I am very familiar with the onset of panic, and how consciousness shifts while in a sleep state, even if you are conscious. Psychology and consciousness are sorta my thing

      It is the same reason something could make perfect sense to you when you're dreaming, or even meditating, and then when you snap out of it, returning to a fully wakeful state, it will be complete rubbish to you. (Wow, I just realized how many commas I use. Heh.)

      Just as logic shifts with different types of consciousness, so does emotion. Because of the lack of logic present in the thought process, a person will typically take what they see for much more than what it is. I should have been more clear with my wording, and said that panic CAN and PROBABLY will heighten the intensity of the experience. Even if it doesn't, it will at the very least, make you feel worse. I was wrong perhaps for not stating it as clearly as above, but nonetheless, about that fact, I am absolutely right.

      For example, as I mentioned before, a bad drug trip. Even on something mild and a non-hallucinogen such as marijuana. A negative thought is introduced, the person panics, then suddenly every following thought becomes negative, and the feeling over overwhelming negativity is increasingly heightened. That's true of many drugs, and is also true (though in a slightly different way) with hallucinations during sleep paralysis, as you are not in a normal state of consciousness, although you'd be conscious.

      I could go and research all of the chemistry behind altered states of awareness, and what glands secrete, etc, but that would take me hours and maybe a few days, and I don't see the point. I'm not going to spend that much time backing up a very small, incredibly unimportant, and completely irrelevent detail of a tutorial that no one is likely to read anyway.

      Other than that, nice editing Maybe this should be a new thread, since the first thing people will see when they open this one is the old post.
      Last edited by Rainman; 01-19-2009 at 01:31 AM.

    14. #14
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      Quote Originally Posted by Rainman View Post
      No, I don't have sources, but I'm absolutely certain that is not true for only me. Everything you corrected is beyond my knowledge. However, I am very familiar with the onset of panic, and how consciousness shifts while in a sleep state, even if you are conscious. Psychology and consciousness are sorta my thing

      It is the same reason something could make perfect sense to you when you're dreaming, or even meditating, and then when you snap out of it, returning to a fully wakeful state, it will be complete rubbish to you. (Wow, I just realized how many commas I use. Heh.)

      Just as logic shifts with different types of consciousness, so does emotion. Because of the lack of logic present in the thought process, a person will typically take what they see for what it is. I should have been more clear with my wording, and said that panic CAN and PROBABLY will heighten the intensity of the experience. Even if it doesn't, it will at the very least, make you feel worse. I was wrong perhaps for not stating it as clearly as above, but nonetheless, about that fact, I am absolutely right.

      For example, as I mentioned before, a bad drug trip. Even on something mild and a non-hallucinogen such as marijuana. A negative thought is introduced, the person panics, then suddenly every following thought becomes negative, and the feeling over overwhelming negativity is increasingly heightened. That's true of many drugs, and is also true (though in a slightly different way) with hallucinations during sleep paralysis, as you are not in a normal state of consciousness, although you'd be conscious.

      I could go and research all of the chemistry behind altered states of awareness, and what glands secrete, etc, but that would take me hours and maybe a few days, and I don't see the point. I'm not going to spend that much time backing up a very small, incredibly unimportant, and completely irrelevent detail of a tutorial that no one is likely to read anyway.

      Other than that, nice editing Maybe this should be a new thread, since the first thing people will see when they open this one is the old post.
      No worries, it's not like everyone else here uses them anyway I just expected someone so trained in the science of psychology to cite so that others can peer review or research to their content. I have so many articles saved onto my computer now its ridiculous, but usually I try to cite or provide haha

    15. #15
      Master of minds.. Rainman's Avatar
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      Well you've got a much better work ethic than I, I'm afraid I'm a lazy bum who only does what interests him. Generally, when I'm making a point about something I'm truly passionate about, I'll cite my information, or just prove it myself. Then again, it's really really fascinating to think about how to "prove" something, isn't it? But I'll save that for the philosophy board, where I'll get flamed.

    16. #16
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      Quote Originally Posted by Rainman View Post
      Well you've got a much better work ethic than I, I'm afraid I'm a lazy bum who only does what interests him. Generally, when I'm making a point about something I'm truly passionate about, I'll cite my information, or just prove it myself. Then again, it's really really fascinating to think about how to "prove" something, isn't it? But I'll save that for the philosophy board, where I'll get flamed.
      Every scientist knows that you don't prove things.

    17. #17
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      Thaaaaaank you for saying that. No body here seems to understand it!

    18. #18
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      Quote Originally Posted by Rainman View Post
      I could go and research all of the chemistry behind altered states of awareness, and what glands secrete, etc, but that would take me hours and maybe a few days, and I don't see the point. I'm not going to spend that much time backing up a very small, incredibly unimportant, and completely irrelevent detail of a tutorial that no one is likely to read anyway.
      I can't stop thinking about this. As much as I hate chemistry, I'm fascinated by what you have brought up. Could you shed some light on the different chemical and physiological states during a normal person's waking life, dream, SP, hypnagogia, etc? That is some very good information to know! I can't imagine studying it all, though!

    19. #19
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      Oh heavens no. I'm terrible with chemistry. Don't know a thing about it I'd be happy to look some of it up eventually though. I don't know how to explain the chemical states during altered states of consciousness, I am just rather good with the understanding of how they make a typical person think and react. Granted, this is indeed largely due to my own experiences, however it's moreso based on my observations of other people under certain circumstances.

      See a while back, a buddy and I were so obsessed with lucid dreaming, we wanted to see what changes when a person enters hypnagogic trance... with many people. So we copied Stephen LaBerge (except we had 0% of the lab equipment and science base he has) and got some of our veteran lucid dreaming friends and family and got them to do different things and just noted them. While it helped us a small amount with lucid dreaming, it greatly expanded out UNDERSTANDING of consciousness. Knowledge and understanding can be different..

      It's actually quite fascinating to see. For a few of the days, we just had people meditate their way into a hypnagogic trance, and then we would abruptly wake them out of their trance without warning to see how they would react. Generally, they all reacted how anyone would react to being snapped out of sleep- they were startled and they got very irritable. But we also got a couple people into what they said was sleep paralysis by listening to binaural beat preset loops and subliminal audio that was designed to keep the listener awake while tricking the mind into going into deep sleep.

      Unfortunately, we couldn't so easily trigger the fear effects, because we were typically in the room while this was happening. However on a few occasions we were able to induce "the fear" by hiding, etc. We can't measure brain activity, I have no idea how that's done. We just asked what happened. A few of our friends new what to expect with SP, so it wasn't that big of a deal. others were inexperienced and freaked out. One of them described it as a "perpetual downward spiral of terror." The more freaked out she got, the more it hit her as scary. A viscious circle. I know this to be true of myself, and many many others.

      Really the most solid evidence is drug trips that go really bad. Once they are bad, it makes you think negatively, and any negative thoughts make it worse. it's like a math equation. I'm horrible at math, but you get the idea. So, very long story short, my only real evidence of the concept of panicking worsening the experience in sleep paralysis, is the fact that it happens in a bad drug trip, and there are endless similarities between those two TYPES of consciousnesses. That's really all I can "prove".

      *looks up at long post*, bloody hell I always ramble don't i?

    20. #20
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      Quote Originally Posted by Rainman View Post
      Oh heavens no. I'm terrible with chemistry. Don't know a thing about it I'd be happy to look some of it up eventually though. I don't know how to explain the chemical states during altered states of consciousness, I am just rather good with the understanding of how they make a typical person think and react. Granted, this is indeed largely due to my own experiences, however it's moreso based on my observations of other people under certain circumstances.

      See a while back, a buddy and I were so obsessed with lucid dreaming, we wanted to see what changes when a person enters hypnagogic trance... with many people. So we copied Stephen LaBerge (except we had 0% of the lab equipment and science base he has) and got some of our veteran lucid dreaming friends and family and got them to do different things and just noted them. While it helped us a small amount with lucid dreaming, it greatly expanded out UNDERSTANDING of consciousness. Knowledge and understanding can be different..

      It's actually quite fascinating to see. For a few of the days, we just had people meditate their way into a hypnagogic trance, and then we would abruptly wake them out of their trance without warning to see how they would react. Generally, they all reacted how anyone would react to being snapped out of sleep- they were startled and they got very irritable. But we also got a couple people into what they said was sleep paralysis by listening to binaural beat preset loops and subliminal audio that was designed to keep the listener awake while tricking the mind into going into deep sleep.

      Unfortunately, we couldn't so easily trigger the fear effects, because we were typically in the room while this was happening. However on a few occasions we were able to induce "the fear" by hiding, etc. We can't measure brain activity, I have no idea how that's done. We just asked what happened. A few of our friends new what to expect with SP, so it wasn't that big of a deal. others were inexperienced and freaked out. One of them described it as a "perpetual downward spiral of terror." The more freaked out she got, the more it hit her as scary. A viscious circle. I know this to be true of myself, and many many others.

      Really the most solid evidence is drug trips that go really bad. Once they are bad, it makes you think negatively, and any negative thoughts make it worse. it's like a math equation. I'm horrible at math, but you get the idea. So, very long story short, my only real evidence of the concept of panicking worsening the experience in sleep paralysis, is the fact that it happens in a bad drug trip, and there are endless similarities between those two TYPES of consciousnesses. That's really all I can "prove".

      *looks up at long post*, bloody hell I always ramble don't i?
      Ah ok, that explains a lot. Thank you Sounds like fun, too

    21. #21
      Master of minds.. Rainman's Avatar
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      You're quite welcome. This is the kind of thing I could talk about for hours... as I'm sure you can see

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