Sleep paralysis can be a terrifying experience. It is a condition that occurs upon waking where a person finds themselves paralyzed and unable to move. They are aware that they are in the process of waking up, but they can’t move a muscle. It’s a transition state between sleep and wakefulness, characterized by muscle weakness. But by far, the worst part of sleep paralysis is the terrifying hallucinations that sometimes accompany the condition.
Being Ridden by the Witch
In ancient times, this condition was sometimes referred to as “Being ridden by the witch.” They believed that a witch or demon or incubus was sitting on the victim’s chest, paralyzing them. This is a universal dream that has affected millions of people around the world, myself included. Most often it occurs when someone sleeps in the supine position (sleeping on your back). I suffered this dream many times a year for several decades. Not much fun. I’m going to share with you my experience with these dreams and how I was able to overcome them.
I can’t even recall when they first began. But I’m pretty sure I had a few of the dreams when I was a teenager. My sleep paralysis dreams were very similar. I’d be sleeping on my back and I’d start to awaken but found I couldn’t move. I also couldn’t quite open my eyes. But even though I was unable to open my eyes, I was aware of a dark presence in the room. It moved slowly, stealthily toward my bed. I caught glimpses of it as it moved toward me. I never really had a clear vision of it. But I imagined it to be a hooded figure seemingly dressed in a black robe. I could never quite make out his/its face. I struggled to move as he moved ever closer to my bedside and I felt terrifyingly helpless. I tried desperately to open my eyes, believing if I could open my eyes all the way, I’d awaken and be fine. But again, I couldn’t even move my eyelids. Then he was at my side, standing next to the bed. He raised a large knife or scythe high in the air above me and held it momentarily before bringing it down toward me. That’s when I would wake up. Each of these dreams frightened me to the bone. And about fifteen years ago, I’d had enough.
I’d been a hypnotherapist for a few years at that point and decided I could use some self-hypnosis to deal with my problem. Since all of my sleep paralysis episodes occurred while I was sleeping on my back, I decided I needed to change that. That would be the first step, and it was surprisingly simple.
Step 1: For a few weeks, as I went to sleep and whenever I would wake up in the middle of the night, I repeated the same phrase over and over again before I went to sleep or back to sleep: “I always sleep on my side.” I obeyed the simple command and trained myself to always sleep on my side. I would repeat my little mantra anytime I would find myself sleeping on my back. And in the last fifteen years, I can only recall 2 or 3 times that I’ve awakened on my back.
At the same time, I used another fairly simple technique to repel my dark oppressor.
Step 2: I used a simple self-hypnosis visualization technique to forever vanquish my tormentor. Before I would go to sleep at night, I would lie on my back with my eyes closed and invite my dark oppressor into my room. And then I would imagine him walking slowly toward my bed (keep in mind, he was always a creation of my fearful imagination). Then I would greet him with a smile and send a brilliant white beam of love-light at him. I did this over and over again for two solid weeks. And he has never returned. How did this work? When I smiled at him and sent him some love, it signaled my subconscious mind that I was no longer afraid of him. I changed the way in which I reacted to his presence, and my fear dissipated completely.
Some After Notes: These simple steps worked for me and I hope you might find them useful if you suffer from sleep paralysis. I used the “brilliant white beam of love-light” (in conjunction with EFT) to also deal with fearful dreams of attack. For me, it’s proven to be a very effective technique.
Also, since it was fairly easy to learn to always sleep on my side, I decided years ago to teach myself to sleep with my mouth closed and breathe through my nostrils. I did this for two reasons: First, it helped me to stop snoring; and second, it kept me from getting sore throats when the weather first turned cold. After years of getting sore throats every year in the fall, I finally figured out that I was getting the sore throats because I was sleeping with my mouth open. The recipe for change was quite simple. Again, any time I became aware that I was breathing through my mouth at night, I would remind myself to sleep with my mouth closed and to breathe through my nose. It took about 2-3 weeks to train myself to sleep with my mouth closed and to breathe through my nose. Results–I almost never snore and I rarely, if ever, get sore throats. Simple, yet effective self-hypnosis techniques.