This post is a part of A-Z Challenge for bloggers, that takes place every year in the month of April. Bloggers take part in this challenge for self improvement and to overcome the “writer’s block”. Each one of us writes one article everyday, starting from the alphabet ‘A’, right up to ‘Z’. My theme for this year’s challenge is – mind-blowing facts and theories.
This was around three years ago when my husband, Neelesh and I were preparing to move from Mumbai to Delhi. My in-laws and I had been packing for six hours straight after which we soon crashed into our beds and I slipped into a deep sleep. I was sleeping alone in my room and Neelesh was on a work call in the other room.
That’s when it happened for the first time!
I felt someone walking in circles on the bed around me. I initially thought it to be Neelesh cause he keeps coming up with random stuff to annoy me sometimes. So, I decided to remove the blanket from my face and sit up, BUT I JUST COULDN’T! I soon felt as if someone was pinning me down and draining my energy just like the Dementors from Harry Potter and I was at a loss of breath. I started screaming out loud to call my mother-in-law but absolutely no words came out of me. This must have lasted for almost 10 minutes. The most frightening 10 minutes of my life!
Then suddenly, something in me told me to relax my body completely. It was very difficult to relax in the situation, but something in me kept telling me it was not real. My body soon reached in a state of relaxation and then I sat up in a second with a jerk. Thank god I was able to sit up for real this time.
I was breathless and drenched in sweat. I looked around the room to check if someone had entered but I found myself sitting there all by myself. It took me another 2 minutes to realize I was fully awake and conscious and no one was hovering over me. I rushed to the other room and asked my husband if he’d come in to my room recently, and he with a confused look only said ‘No’.
It soon hit me that I had experienced a sleep paralysis. I had vaguely heard about it earlier. Thanks to search engines, I was able to read up on it within minutes. I mentally jotted down the do’s and don’ts during a sleep paralysis. However, no matter how prepared you are, they always seem more real and petrifying than earlier. The next time I was stuck in a sleep paralysis, it was in Mumbai Rajdhani (a train that runs overnight between Mumbai & Delhi).
I was sleeping on the lower berth, while Neelesh was on the middle berth just above me. Still scared from the past events, I had stopped covering my head while sleeping. I soon sensed a shadowy figure creep up right from under Neelesh’s berth and it felt freakishly real. The earlier events repeated and I relaxed my self and sat up with a jerk. That terrible feeling is ineffable. As I was tired from the past week’s packing, I quickly slipped into another deep slumber. But, that creepy shadow came back to haunt me. I ended up sitting for the rest of that night, and took naps of no longer than 2-3 minutes.
Approximately 4 out of 10 people experience sleep paralysis. Those who experience this, usually remember seeing paranormal beings or strangers and wake up in a terrified state. Some even claim to have been carried into another space by aliens. However, some even feel the presence of their loved ones, but find nothing similar around them upon waking up. Sleep paralysis occurs either just after falling asleep or upon awakening in the morning, i.e. the transition between awakening or sleeping. In general, while sleeping, the body relaxes & the voluntary muscles do not move. This prevents us from getting injured due to acting out our dreams. Our body undergoes various sleep cycle stages. Disruption or fragmentation of one of the stages, known as REM: Rapid Eye Movement sleep cycle causes people to witness sleep paralysis.
So, basically you feel you are awake but you can’t move because your intelligent brain has switched off your body movement. So you feel paralysed. However, Science hasn’t yet been able to explain the haunting experiences that people have witnessed while being trapped in it.
Doctors claim stress, jet lag, sleep deprivation, anxiety & panic disorder may trigger this phenomenon. I too have found myself caught in one while being stressed or under anxiety.
Comment below to share if you’ve experienced such paralysing dreams.