Bad Dreams Gone Bad


Olga Kuevda

waking up from nightmare – cartoon of person having bad dreams

Evan Mackey

“Sleep paralysis most often occurs in people who have narcolepsy or sleep apnea, but it can affect anyone. Episodes involve not being able to speak or move while falling asleep or upon waking. This usually lasts one or two minutes and is often frightening. The main treatment is improved sleep habits (sleep hygiene) including going to bed at the same time every night, ensuring a comfortable sleep environment free of distractions, and avoiding caffeine before sleeping.” It is prevalent, with more than 3 million cases per year for people that have reported it. Sleep paralysis can cause many other disorders, but it can be self-treated and is more mentally fighting than physically frightening. 

“The sensation of being unable to move at the moment of going to sleep or when waking up. The experience may be accompanied by hallucinations, which often are fighting. Sleep paralysis most often occurs in people with narcolepsy, but occasionally it affects otherwise healthy people. Although alarming, the sensation rarely lasts for more than a few seconds.” -The American Medical Association, Home Medical Encyclopedia. “Although there is no denying that sleep paralysis can be a horrifying experience, the truth is there is nothing to be worried about. It doesn’t cause any physical harm to the body, and there have been no clinical deaths known till date.”

Over the centuries, symptoms of sleep paralysis have been described in many ways and often attributed to an “evil” presence: unseen night demons in ancient times, the old hag in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and alien abductors. Almost every culture throughout history has had stories of shadowy evil creatures that terrify helpless humans at night. People have long sought explanations for this mysterious sleep-time paralysis and the accompanying feelings of terror.” Think of sleep paralysis as a scene in a horror movie where the person is stuck or hiding, unable to move, and the killer is right around them, building up suspense slowly getting closer until he unveils the wrong hiding spot. Many people feel like there within this sense instead of the one lazy on a couch watching it. Many people don’t know about this mental phenomenon that occurs regularly with troubled sleepers. It can be a living nightmare, but the person trapped can’t move/speak; they can’t get any help, and you have to toughen it out.

I have experienced sleep paralysis several times but only two actual times. One night, I watched one of my favorite YouTubers (Ordinary Gamers) that explores the internet, and he has one of the worst cases of this I have ever seen. His eye bags are purple, and he has gotten to the point of being scared to sleep. He shared several terrifying stories. I went to put down my phone, nervous, wondering if that would ever happen to me, thinking it was rare. I should’ve never put those words into existence because the following day it occurred, I woke up and took my dog outside (still feeling drowsy). I crawled back into bed and too only woke up to only my eyes being able to open, I tried to move, but it felt pointless; I was only moving centimeters at a time no matter how hard I tried. It felt like a living dream. It’s hard to remember and feels blurry. I turned my head, and my heart dropped. I thought my black hoodie was the “dark figure” some people see when they experience this. They call it to sleep paralysis demons. I was petrified to go to sleep, but the following two cases with myself weren’t bad and felt like it was a flash. I made sure I had a better sleep schedule, and  I don’t have to deal with that anymore.

 In India, it is linked with death from sleep. It is a legend that a demon claims people’s lives and dies from their nightmares. It’s depicted as a reaper-looking Japanese demon that kills you in your nightmare, and when you die, your face is in shock. There were several cases in India, and it was in an episode on the Travel Channel. It is a living nightmare, and their heart rate has skyrocketed, tested for heart attacks, and found nothing. They did not solve the mystery on the Travel Channel.   The death toll went down; however, there is still a folk tale related to this mysterious disorder.