The Main 5 Sleep Paralysis Symptoms

You may have experienced sleep paralysis symptoms and not even realized what it was.

The basic definition of sleep paralysis is being temporarily paralyzed in a state somewhere between being asleep and awake.

For a deeper look into sleep paralysis check out our comprehensive article What is Sleep Paralysis: The Ultimate Guide

Not everyone will have the same symptoms, and each time it can be a little different. You may only have one these during an episode of sleep paralysis, or you might experience them all.

Here are the main 5 sleep paralysis symptoms…

1. Paralysis (Partial or Complete)

As you might have guessed, the most common of the sleep paralysis symptoms is a form of paralysis.

Your brain typically signals the body to go into a state of temporary paralysis while you sleep. This is for your own safety.

The part that can be unnerving part about sleep paralysis is that you are waking up, but still not able to move.

You may feel as though you really need to get up but you can’t. However, moments later you can exert enough energy to end it, or it just ends by itself.

Sleep paralysis is not fully understood, however, many experts do agree that main cause of sleep paralysis seems to be an interruption or rough transition through your normal sleep cycles.

2. A Sense or Feeling of Pressure on the Chest

Sleep Paralysis Demon

Another commonly associated symptom of sleep paralysis is some degree of chest pressure.

Some describe it as just that, an uncomfortable pressure. It is a belief in some cultures that some sort of sleep paralysis demon may sit on the chest of the victim during sleep paralysis.

Others feel as if someone or something is actually pressing on their chest. Some also described as if something is actually sitting on their chest.

Whatever the case, sleep paralysis it is typically an uncomfortable sensation.

3. Mild to Extreme Fear or Panic

This is usually caused by experiencing one or more of the other symptoms. It mostly seems to be the fear of the unknown that creates the chaos.

It is probably viewed by most as some crazy dream. First timers may feel like this is the end and that they are gonna die. After it happens several

times, most get used to it and don’t thing of it as a big deal.


One big reason that some continue to fear sleep paralysis is because of the belief that it is somehow demon related.

There are many cultures who certainly believe that sleep paralysis demons are real. Either that or demons just use it as a means of fulfilling their purpose. It can sound silly, but it is true.

Check out this article on this strange phenomenon –  Sleep Paralysis Demons Around the World.

An obvious symptom of sleep paralysis is fear, as many have no idea what is actually happening. However, fear in this case is a double whammy as stress can often make matters worse.

Understanding the symptoms and causes is your best weapon against fear and stress.

4. Feeling an Unseen Spirit or Presence

It can be hard to explain the feeling of evil presence that is experienced or described. This is obviously very hard to prove or disprove.

Here are some questions to ponder as we try to wrap our heads around this:

  • How do you know what evil feels like?
  • Does evil feel the same way for everyone?
  • Could it just be fear from the unknown that snowballs and magnifies?
  • What else could it be? 

Some swear that they just feel or “know” someone is watching or lurking near by during sleep paralysis. Who knows what really causes this, but it could be a reaction to the feeling of being restrained in paralysis.

It can feel like someone is holding you down, so some may just assume that is the actual case. Your mind may just come to the conclusion there has to be someone there if you can’t move.

In other cases, as we will discuss, there are some who claim to actually see demons or spirits.

5. A Disturbing Sensation Through Sight, Hearing, or Touch


These are usually described as hallucinations. Lets face it, a lot of weird stuff can happen at night. Weird sounds, weird shadows, and even weird feelings.

While sleep paralysis is a totally real thing, what people claim to experience therein may not be. It is hard to know what is real.

Many claim and stand by the fact that sleep paralysis has a darker cause. They believe that sleep paralysis is demon related. If you have not heard about this before now, do not to let it bother you.

While the unknown can be scary, experts consider sleep paralysis not to be a dangerous affair.

Nevertheless, people report shadowy figures watching or hovering over them.

The most common audible noise or hallucination is probably a buzzing or popping sound.

This is just an opinion but, one explanation could be these are effects of the struggle to get out of the paralysis. It could literally be the effects of your senses slowly coming back to reality.

Is Sleep Paralysis Serious?

I experienced sleep paralysis off and on for several years in my early twenties. At times I felt like I had experienced all of these sleep paralysis symptoms.

I thought I felt something at times, and even thought I saw things. The more it happened to me, however, the less I actually feared. I’ll explain.

The lines between what is real and what is not can really get blurred. This can be especially true during sleep paralysis. It gets dark, we get sleepy, and sometimes the imagination can run wild.

Your sleep cycle gets disrupted and you are partially waking while still being in the state of paralysis. It is a crazy thing to get caught somewhere in the cycle where you normally dream and trying to wake.

I soon realized fear and worry just amplified the issue. When I sat back and looked at the problem, I was never hurt in anyway.

While it can seem scary, there is really nothing to fear.  I believe sleep paralysis, in most cases, can easily be taken care of.

Need more help? Start Here – 7 Great Ways to Stop Sleep Paralysis

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