9 Efficient Methods To Get Out Of Sleep Paralysis

get out of sleep paralysis

To get out of sleep paralysis, you need to know what it is first.

Imagine that you are starting to doze off to sleep, but all of a sudden, you feel a sense of doom taking over. You can’t move any part of your body because it seems paralyzed.

You know you are awake, but your muscles refuse to obey your command. Maybe you even open your eyes, sometimes you can see everything in your room, other times you see scary shadows.

Sleep paralysis is a momentary loss of muscle movement, yet you are still alert to what is happening around you.  It can last anywhere from 10 seconds to a few minutes.

Fear plays a huge role here. When we start fearing something, it starts to take control. As soon as the fear is overcome the control is lost. I lived in fear of this for 20 years, until I finally learned what it was.

This sleep disorder no longer has a hold on me!

This sleep condition affects at least 62% of the population, myself included.

I remember the first time I experienced sleep paralysis; I was five years old. It was the scariest thing which had ever happened to me. At that time, no one understood this phenomenon; most people thought it was demons out to get us.

But now that I know better, I have to say I still haven’t able to shake it, but I do know how to deal with it without being paralyzed with fear. 

Sleep paralysis takes place when going into or coming out of REM sleep cycle. It’s during this stage when we dream; our brain paralyzes our muscles so that we do not act out our dreams.

One thing to keep in mind is that it is preventable and will not harm you.

What Causes Sleep Paralysis

  • Stress/Anxiety – people who have PTSD usually show a significantly higher rate of sleep paralysis. When we’re anxious or stressed out, our body doesn’t exactly react to our environment the way it should. Sometimes our mind starts to act out – this leads to sleep paralysis.
  • Lack of sleep – whenever I suffer from lack of sleep, which sometimes happens due to chemotherapy, I notice that sleep paralysis starts to happen quite quickly. Sleep paralysis happens because our brain becomes sleep deprived. This causes the neurons to fire off in unknown ways; the firing of these neurons leads to frozen muscles.
  • Sleeping on Your Back – when we sleep on our back, this can cause breathing issues, which can lead to stress for our brain, which then leads to sleep paralysis. 
  • Narcolepsy – Narcolepsy is when people experience hallucinations which are very vivid and usually happen as they are falling asleep. During episodes, these visions can seem real, but because we are in a state of fear or stress, it leads to experiencing sleep problems.
  • Use of medications – some medications can cause havoc with our brain chemicals. When we are falling asleep at night, if our chemicals are not balanced our brain once again fires off misinterpreted neurons, this then leads to an episode of paralyzed muscles during sleep.

Symptoms Of An Oncoming Sleep Paralysis Episode

  • Buzzing in earsbuzzing in ears
  • Exploding head syndrome
  • Body vibrations
  • Loud ringing in ears
  • Rushing wind noise
  • Pounding in the head

How You Can Prevent Sleep Paralysis From Taking Place

Splash Your Face With Cold Water

This method works really for me. When I know that I’m overly tired or stressed out, I splash my face with cold water before going to bed.

I dry my face lightly with a towel. I leave a few droplets of water running down my face. You will have to get used to this method for it to work.

When sleep paralysis is happening, you always have to have some type of muscle movement in order to come out of sleep paralysis. When the droplets are running down my face, my face muscles are still active. This prevents me from falling into a paralyzed muscle situation.

I’m usually able to drift off to a night of natural sleep.

Change your sleeping positions

As I said sleeping on the back is not the best position to sleep if you have sleep paralysis disorder. I find that sleeping on the side is often the best.

Stomach sleepers may also experience this sleeping disorder. So stay away from that sleeping position as well.

Get Up And Walk Around If You Feel An Episode Coming On

Not everyone can splash their face with cold water and then go to bed. Another method you can use is if you feel an episode coming on, get up, and walk around. This puts your muscles into active mode, that when you go to bed, you’ll be able to nod off without experiencing frozen muscles.

Get The Proper Amount Of Sleep

It’s essential for us to get the right amount of sleep. If you read my article on signs of not getting enough sleep, you know that our mind can create hallucinations as well as act drunk, which causes undue stress on the brain. Brain stress leads to experiencing sleep paralysis.

Get Treatment For Sleeping Disorders

Some people experience this sleeping disorder every night. My suggestion to these individuals is getting some proper medical treatment from a doctor who specializes in sleep disorders.

How to get out of sleep paralysis

1. Wriggle Your Fingers and Toes

These are tiny movements that will let your brain know that your body is awake. This will encourage your mind to stop the episode from going any further.

2. Relax Your Body To Get Into Lucid Dreaminghow to get out of sleep paralysis

Another thing I found is that when I relax my body, it can lead to lucid dreaming. Many people have placed weird and evil connotations on lucid dreaming. It’s really none of those, at least not for me.

When I allow myself to move past the sleep paralysis into lucid dreaming, it becomes easier for me to wake up.

3. Click Your Tongue

This is a method I learned when I was in my early 20s. It was one of my chosen ways to get out of sleep paralysis. It just involves clicking your tongue; this will encourage your brain to release the hold on the frozen muscles.

4. Never Open Your Eyes

This method is not to get out of sleep paralysis, but when we open our eyes, we actually start resisting what is happening to us. It actually creates more fear, which leads to stress, then this stops our brain from reacting, hence keeping the muscles in a frozen state.

At least in my experience, opening my eyes has never help me to get out of sleep paralysis. It’s actually deepened the process.

5. Create An Anchor Word

When I was learning to do meditation, one thing I learned is that our subconscious is always the trigger to our conscious thinking. What I did during one of these meditation sessions was to create an anchor word that would encourage releasing of my muscles.

This anchor word can be any word that you feel you can use. But remember when our body goes into stress or fear mode, everything slips our mind. It is during this time you’re going to need to relax your body and repeat your anchor word in order to release the hold on your muscles.

6. Focus on Your Breathing

Knowing that when we experience an attack, our breathing usually which gets affected the most. Most often, I know that I start hyperventilating, it deepens the episode further.

By focusing on deep breathing, it often leads to lucid dreaming, which then makes it possible to come out of the episode even faster.

7. Make Yourself Cough

Coughing can be a little difficult, but not impossible to happen. What you really need to do is think about clearing your throat as you are undergoing the episode of sleep paralysis.

As you are clearing your throat, imagine yourself coughing which will then move your throat muscles and have you pop out of the scary session.

8. Tense Up Your Face

Tensing up your face works really well too. Although my sleep paralysis episodes have become very rare as I’ve gotten older, probably because I know how to deal with them, tensing my face has helped.

Soon as my face muscles twitch in any which way, instantly, my brain releases the hold it has over my muscles in my body.

9. Stop Resisting

Another great technique I learned is to quit resisting when it is happening. the more we fight, the harder it is to get out of.

This can lead to a period of resistance. The more I resist, the more my brain takes hold of my muscles to make sure they stay frozen.

Final Words

These are just some of the sleep techniques I use to get out of sleep paralysis. I’m sure there are many more ways others use, which they consider their top methods.

Our brain gets used to repetition, so never try to use the same method over and over, your mind recognizes that and it will refuse to release the frozen muscles.

Share in comments below what methods you use to get out of sleep paralysis.

jagi

Reading is my favorite thing to do. But other than reading, I enjoy discovering new techniques on how to do something in simpler methods. My daughter likes to call me the Renaissance woman. So I do have to live up to the name. One of my main issues is sleeping, so I'm always searching for new ways to get a good night sleep, I'm more than happy to share them with you. My posts are either geared towards pain or self-help. Pain posts because I suffer from ongoing cancer pain. In the past 6 years of my fight with cancer, I have learned many ways to deal with pain, especially when going to bed. The self-help posts come from my work as a mental health counselor for over 15+ years. My background in counseling training is from UFV and RRU. I also have personal trainer certification from IFA, so I might throw in some exercise posts as well.

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24 thoughts on “9 Efficient Methods To Get Out Of Sleep Paralysis

  1. Hi Jagi,

    This blog has some awesome information about the cause and how to help the sleep paralysis with different techniques.

     It really helped me a lot to understand a bit more about the difficulty to sleep which can have the paramount effect of on body and mind. I love your face-washing method. It has helped me personally.

    I was wondering about any prescribed medications one can take advantage of? Can you visit a doctor to take help?

    Few things I know may benefit people having sleep paralysis.

    1.  Heavy meals at night right before sleep. Eat 2-3 h before sleep may help sleep better.

    2. Journaling before bed and after you wake may help. It clears up your mind before you go to bed and you can track if you episodes at night in the morning. If it becomes too many, maybe you talk to your doctor with your data that will help.

    3. Changing breath speed and blicking your eyes can impact the frozen muscles and help you.

    This blog will help people with sleep paralysis.

    1. Wow! Thank you for sharing your methods. If the sleep paralysis is an ongoing issue, then a Drs visit may be in order. 

      I can’t comment on any meds, but since the episodes are brought on by stress or anxiety, maybe finding a way to deal with those would be a good idea. 

  2. Jordan Smith says:

    I used to get Sleep Paralysis a lot as a child and occasionally when I was stressed out in college. What I did to get out of it was focus on an external sound such as a fridge turning on, as in the case of in my dorm room, or outside traffic. I admit that this may not work out for another person but that was what worked for me then. It has been years since I experienced Sleep Paralysis but I will try the “Focus on Your Breathing” and “Click Your Tongue” method should it ever happen again.

    Thanks for this insightful post.

    Jordan

    1. Glad you got over them. Once I learned what it was, made it much easier to come out of the episode. Thank you for sharing your method. Might help someone else.

  3. This is one very common issue in my family. It happens to my son alot and leaves me and the mom confused. I’m glad I came across such educating post. Now I know what and what to do when I’m faced with this sad situation. Hopefully I’ll come and give testimony on how this post has helped me. 

    1. Please do return and let me know how you fare with these tips. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Pentrental says:

    Sleep paralysis is a scary thing. Though I haven’t experienced paralysis before falling asleep, there have been times when I have awoken with both of my arms having fallen asleep, so I understand the feeling of physiological hopelessness. I didn’t realize that sleep paralysis affects 65% of the population. That’s a significant percentage. Thus this information is very helpful to a lot of people. The 9 techniques are important to remember, maybe even to print out and keep near the bedside. I think that giving up resistance is very sound, tried and true advice. I’ll definitely share your post with some friends who suffer from sleep paralysis. Great post, thank you for sharing your experience and insights. It’s really beneficial.

    1. It’s incredible when I researched this topic. At one time, I thought it was just me, but when I found out, others were experiencing it as well. 

      What a relief!

      Now I know I’m not alone; it just my brain playing tricks on me. It makes it easier to deal with. 

  5. AmDetermined says:

    Hi, your post is really unique and helpful, I have never met a post that discuss in details about sleep paralysis.

    i use to experience sleep paralysis when I used to masturbate before going to sleep can you tell me what cause it to happen ?

    i don’t like the sleep paralysis I stop the masturbation thinking its evil spirit but when I don’t masturbate I don’t have the sleep paralysis.

    i appreciate all the solutions to the problem of sleep paralysis I will be sharing your post on my social media for people who are exoeeincing it to learn from your post.

    1. Maybe you were tensed, forcing something to happen which can cause stress. Stress leads to experiencing sleep paralysis. 

  6. Oh wow.  So, sleep paralysis is a real thing?   I must admit that a friend of mine was telling me that he had this condition.  Since he tends to be a drama king, I didn’t believe him.   

    Your post, clearly proved to me that I was wrong.  So, I suppose I feel a little bit guilty.    I will share your website with him in case that you have some tips that he has not tried.   (Your tips made a lot of sense.)   I predict he will book mark your site because it may be helpful for him as he explores different ways to sleep better at night.  

    1. It’s definitely real. Having experienced it for many years, I can vouch for it. Scary too, many people still don’t know about this sleeping condition. Thank you for sharing this article; hopefully your friends find some help from it. 

  7. Feochadan says:

    This article is so very informative and gives great, workable tips to overcome this problem.  I am very fortunate to not have it but can imagine how horrible it must be for the 65% of people that go through it.

    I do have anxiety issues, however.  I notice that periodically in the middle of the night or upon waking it feels like I have electric shocks going through my body.  I think this may be similar as it all has to do with the way the body deals with fear.  Your advice about not sleeping on your back or tummy is good as when I sleep on my side this is much less likely to happen.

    1. Glad you have never experienced this, hope you never do. Anxiety comes with its own sleep issues. 

  8. Hi Jagi: Thank you for this article. I will never forget the first time I experienced sleep paralysis. I was much younger and it was frightening. I still experience this from time to time and I think it’s because my job is very stressful and I don’t get much sleep. I have just been dealing with it and never knew that there was a way to prevent it. I will definitely try your recommended tips and techniques to overcome this disorder. Thanks for sharing!

    1. My memory goes back to the first time in my knowledge, but my Mom says I used to experience them before as well. Thanks for stopping by. 

  9. Henderson says:

    Thanks jagi. This is a really helpful post right here. My younger sister just told me about having sleep paralysis. She didn’t know what it’s called exactly but she said she felt numb in her sleep and she couldn’t move for a while. You also said it happened to you when you were young. Does this mean that younger kids are more prone to this issue. Thanks for the tips by the way. I’ll explain them to her and share your post as well.

    1. Must have been scary for your sister, I know it was for me. Yes, young children can get them. Three of my young children have experienced this syndrome, as well. Because of my experience of getting out of sleep paralysis, my children have learned it as well. 

  10. RoDarrick says:

    Wow! I do not know the process of getting out of a sleep paralysis could be this much easy. It was a battle for survival when it gripped me two nights ago all alone in my house. I just couldn’t move at all that’s the reason I decided to check for ways to get out of it should in case it occurs again and how to prevent it from happening. Glad that this post was able to cover the reasons for it and how best to wiggle one’s way out of it against next time. I’m very grateful for this information in this post

    1. It’s scary when it happens, but all tips help when needing them to get out it. 

  11. Hi there,

    I am pleased to come across your post and learn about Sleep Paralysis. I am having issues of sleeping, but I never heard of the condition call Sleep Paralysis, so thank you for educating me.

    My insomnia is mainly due to sleep apnea as my doctors suggest, but my concern is now if it got anything to do with Sleep Paralysis too? I should try your tips on How to get out of sleep paralysis to see if my condition improves any way.

    Thanks again for the great article.

    1. Hope the tips work for you. Thanks for stopping by. 

  12. Thanks for this article. I got into sleep paralysis and learning about it when I wanted to learn lucid dreaming. With lucid dreaming, sleep paralysis was sometimes part of it because I was being more conscious in my sleep States. I used to get really scared when sleep paralysis would happen and try to fight it and sometimes it wouldn’t work and I couldn’t make any sound with my voice. Definitely the tip about wiggling your fingers and toes is a good one. But for me I eventually decided not to fight it, and I would just relax. Then I would actually transition into a lucid dream. A lot of times they were very Vivid and a lot of fun. It hasn’t happened as much lately and I’m not sure why, maybe because I started weight lifting and I’m sleeping more like a log. I would certainly welcome it if it were to happen again so thank you for the reminder. Nice article and I hope that people find it and read it. You explain everything very well very easy to understand.

    1. Glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for stopping by. 

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