Advice to a Teen re: Sleep Paralysis [and rant]

I get frustrated, loves.

Suffering a sleep paralysis attack without knowing what the hell is going on can be one of the scariest experiences of your life.

You’re vulnerable. You feel helpless.

And then some motherfucker tells you it’s demons.

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Or, a whole slew of motherfuckers. On a Facebook group. In an avalanche of comments.

“You must draw an energetic WEDGE between you and the entity! Your third eye has been forced open!”

“You invited this possession by disturbing a rock in a forest somewhere. You must seek out a shaman or the spirit will suck out your soul!”

“Attack the demons with Jesus! The devil will not triumph!”

“Hat Man! It’s Hat Maaan!”

Like… ok. Yes, this is The Sleep WITCH blog and yes I believe there are unseen forces that impact and influence and create our world.

I also believe magic and science are two sides of the same coin.

However, in all my years of practicing witchcraft I’ve never encountered “evil spirits” or whatever. I’m not saying people haven’t or totally ruling it out but I’m sure most of it is self-created…

ANYWAY that’s not the point, THE POINT IS telling an exhausted mother that her teen daughter is being haunted by Satan is so, so wrong.

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The whole reason these hallucinations even happen is because of FEAR. And you, Armchair Van Helsing, are irresponsibly compounding the fear without knowing what the heavens you’re talking about. Shut up and sit down.

So, this mother came to our FB support group looking for answers and was met with the typical exorcist peanut gallery.

I was able to offer her some grounded advice:

“[Mom] here’s what I can tell you based upon the info provided— and I want to preface this: I am not a doctor. My knowledge comes from research and over 20 years personal experience.

I don’t personally subscribe to the supernatural ideas of actual demons harassing anyone. There are physiological and psychological explanations for what is happening, and the core of all the horrible things people experience is fear.

I would first tell your daughter this:

You’re not alone; this is common, especially at your age. The natural processes of your brain and body are working the way they need to, things are just a little mixed up right now. You have control and you can do something about this.

As hard as it is to believe it right now, the scary presences you’re encountering are coming from your very powerful mind. It feels so, so real, I know.

The best explanation I’ve found is that normally your brain paralyzes your muscles when you enter REM sleep so you don’t act out your dreams (a process called REM atonia.) Sleep paralysis happens when you become aware during atonia. You realize you are paralyzed and this causes a panic.

Because you’re half awake and half asleep, and very vulnerable, you have extremely vivid hallucinations coming from your deepest fears.

Understanding this is important.

No one has ever died or been physically injured or permanently paralyzed from sleep paralysis and you’re not going to be the first.

I would first and foremost avoid sleeping on your back as much as possible. Studies have shown a correlation and many people here report the same, including me. It’s going to take some retraining but it’ll help.

Keep up the meditation, yoga, and visualization as they’re going to help you strengthen your ability to relax under pressure.

Most importantly, you need to get on a solid sleep schedule. A no-excuses-even-during-the-weekend routine. No staying up late, no extra sleep during the day. Your sleep cycles are out of whack. This is almost certainly exactly what’s causing it. You can either stay up late on instagram or avoid SP episodes 😉

It’ll take some adjustment, but doing these three things should make a significant improvement.”

She thanked me profusely, saying she’d almost lost hope for her daughter. (I also recommended she get her the Snoogle as she’s a back sleeper.)

WTH is wrong with people? IT’S NOT DEMONS.


Do you agree? Or are you certain it’s demons? Comment below.

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