Have you ever experienced a terrifying feeling of being held down after just waking up or going to sleep?.. either in the middle of the day or night, or you awaken but cannot move. Your eyelids will not open, and you cannot move your arms and legs. You cannot even move your fingers and toes.
You can’t move or scream, breathe or move you body… And sometimes its accompanied with the certainty that someone –or something — is in the room .. If feels like there is something sitting on your chest and you are certain there is someone sitting on you. This horror lasts for minutes, but it seems like hours. Sleeping isn’t restful anymore. It’s horrifying
Quite simply, sleep paralysis is one of the most horrifying experiences in life. We feel awake but can’t believe what is happening to us.
Sleep paralysis can have a medical cause or a spiritual cause. Medically, it has something to do with imbalance in brain activity. Spiritually, it can be caused by the an external jinn- meaning a jinn that is not inside the body but outside of the body.
Ibn Seena said:
It is called the suffocator and it can be called in Arabic Al-Jaathoom, ….. it is a disorder in which a person feels when he is in the first stage of sleep that a heavy imaginary thing falls on him, squeezes him and constricts his breathing, so one loses his ability to speak or move. He almost suffocates due to the blocking of the pores of his body, and when it leaves the person, he suddenly becomes attentive, and it is an introduction to one of the three illnesses: either epilepsy or stroke, or mania. That is if it was due to congested matters and not due to other non-physical reasons…” [End quote]
Recurrent sleep paralysis can often be prevented by attending to lifestyle choices, but making new habits can take time.
So how do you wake up from sleep paralysis tonight?
1. Don’t Fight
If you feel like you are being held down and you can’t move, do not fight back. This actually will intensify the experience. Not only is fighting back likely to increase the feelings of being held down (so much that it may seem like you are being crushed), but fighting back will also increase the fear, thus triggering the emotional centers of the brain and strengthening this lucid nightmare. Controlling fear is the most important skill during these moments.
2. Surrender and Go with the Flow
Instead, try to relax when you notice its about starting to happen. Prepare an affirmation like “This is Sleep Paralysis and I am okay.” If you feel pressure on your chest, see if you can “go with” the pressure rather than against it. It’s like winning a fight by having no resistance.
3. Wiggle your Toe
Another excellent tactic that works for many people is to try to move an extremity, such as a finger or a toe. Most of the feelings of paralysis are in the belly, chest, and throat. So focus all you attention on the toe and try to move it back and forth. In many cases, this will break the paralysis.
4. Clench your Fist
This is a variation of the toe wiggle method. Clench and unclench your fist.
5. Focus on your Breath
An easy way to stop these nightmares is to do some controlled breathing. Controlled breathing does several things at once. If you can control your breath, you can control your fear. Simply draw your breath in at a normal rate, and exhale fully, using all of your lung capacity. Notice that you can breathe fully without obstruction. This technique will keep you calm as the paralysis runs its course and then you will wake up without any trouble. A few moments of focused breathing with a strong intention to wake up is effective.
6. Lean into Love to Find Courage
For many, the surest path is in religious or spiritual beliefs. Regardless, focus on a figure that you admire and love. Think of someone who calms you down—someone who you associate with peace, love and safety. This could someone you know personally. In my first paralysis nightmare when I was 5 years old, I thought about the love I had for my mum and how I wish to make her proud in future. I prayed to God to spare my life and pledged to be a good servant. Truly! It worked: the feelings of oppression and evil dissipated immediately. In this case, true love really does conquer all.
7. Getting Help from your Sleep Partner
If someone shares your bed, you can tell them about your attacks and what to look for when you are having a nightmare. For example, your wife/husband can shake you awake whenever you begin to breath heavily and irregularly in your sleep. You could also have your partner respond to a verbal request. This only works some of the time, because some people cannot speak in paralysis. But some can. Choose a short word that is easy to say. “Help” is a good choice. When you’re in paralysis, focus your attention on your throat and say “Help.” Don’t try to say it as loud as you can; what may happen is that your imagination will take over and you will only say the word in your dream. Instead, say it forcefully but without screaming.
8. Coughing for Help
A variation of using your voice is to try to cough into wakefulness. Like breathing, coughing can be autonomic or consciously regulated. By coughing on purpose, you can jar yourself awake.
9. Consult a spiritualist or physician
The suggestions above all have helped hundreds of people get out of the paralysis and get some sleep. Not every tactic will work with you. But having too many tactics in your mind can actually be counterproductive. but if you encounter sleep paralysis intermittently or its becoming very frequently, then you’ll have to consult either a Physician or a Spiritualist to know whether you have any mental disorder or possessed by Jinns.
After you wake up, get out of bed immediately and turn on a light. Wash your face with cold water. If you just stay in bed, the chance of sliding right back into sleep paralysis is pretty high.
I don’t know much about the Christians, but for a Muslim, is it advised that: When retiring to his bed every night, the Prophet would have an ablusion, perform least of two Rakats, hold his palms together, spit (A form of spitting comprising mainly of air with little spittle) in them, recite the last three chapters (Al-Ikhlaas, Al-Falaq, An-Naas) of the Quran and then wipe over his entire body as much as possible with his hands, beginning with his head and face and then all parts of the body, he would do this 3 times.’ (Tirmidhi)
It is also advised: To sleep on the right facing the Qibla with the right hand underneath the head like a pillow and with the knees slightly bent (Like in the recovery position). (Bukhari)
If one experiences an unpleasant dream then one should spittle (A form of spitting comprising mainly of air with little spit) three times on the left side and then recite three times: “Audhobillaahi Minashaythaanirajeem”.
“I seek refuge with Allah from the evil of shaythan”
Also change one’s position to the other side and sleep. The dream should NOT be revealed to anyone then it will bring no harm to the person (Bukhari, Muslim)
Prophet Mohamed said:
The good dream is from Allaah while the bad dream is from the devil. So, if any of you has a dream that he fears, he should spit on his left and seek refuge with Allaah from its evil, for it will not cause him any harm.” [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]