I keep having a dream that something is trying to possess me. Every time it tries to get inside me, and once it just laid on top of me and I couldn’t move or speak. I can just scream in my head to go away or to get off of me. This dream scares me so bad, and I have had it three times. Please help! -Amber, 25, Salt Lake City, UT
Lauri: This is not a dream … nor is it a demonic possession. It is actually a fascinating physiological experience called Sleep Paralysis, or The Old Hag Syndrome! Here’s the deal: when we sleep and enter the REM state, which is when dreaming takes place, our brains release a chemical that literally paralyzes our skeletal muscles so that we don’t act out our dreams. When we’ve had a fitful night of sleep or haven’t slept long enough, we will start to wake up before our brain can re-activate our muscle control, which causes us to get “stuck” in that in-between state of sleep and wakefulness, called Hypnogogia. Cool name, huh? In this state you are asleep and awake at the same time, which is why you are aware that you are in your room and in your bed. This is also why you can’t move, speak or scream … because you are still paralyzed! It is mostly physiological and will subside in a moment or two. It is not harmful in any way and does not mean there is anything wrong with you. The cure is to try to simply get more sleep and get negative issues off your mind before bedtime.
Amber replies: That sounds exactly like what is happening to me! I will definitely try to write out my negative thoughts before bed and hope that it helps! Thank you!!