WO students’ sleep paralysis experiences

WO students' sleep paralysis experiences

Laisa Salas

“It felt like I couldn’t breathe, and it was like I was stuck in a dream, but I also knew I was awake. I yelled my brother’s name, but once it stopped, I wasn’t yelling his name at all. It feels like you can’t get up. There’s a lot of pressure on you, and the more you try to get up, it feels like you’re running out of breath. Another time this happened to me, I got dragged out of bed and it was blurry, and I felt numb, and the next morning I woke up on the floor,” Soph. Jennifer Cortez said.                   

  Sleep paralysis is scary. A person experiences this while sleeping, but suddenly wakes up and is unable to move, speak, or comprehend what is happening to them. This most often occurs in people who have narcolepsy,a sleeping disorder, or sleep apnea, also a sleeping disorder, but it can affect anyone.

  Even though many WO students have experienced sleep paralysis, these specific students have experienced sleep paralysis more than once. Soph. Maria Garcia has experienced sleep paralysis more than three times. “I knew that I was sleeping, but my eyes were wide open. I felt like I couldn’t move at all, like I was paralyzed. Then, suddenly I see like this shadow come towards me and I tried to scream for help but I just couldn’t. So, it kind of felt like I was in a dream, but, then again, I knew that I wasn’t. This was probably the scariest situation that has ever happened to me.”

   Frightening presences and hallucinations vary each WO student who has experienced sleep paralysis. “One specific time I saw my eyes open slowly. I was staring at the ceiling, but I couldn’t move anything. I tried my hardest to move my limbs, but I could not. The scariest part is that I felt a presence in the room. I don’t know what it was, but I felt it approaching me. Then, I woke up. Another time, when I had sleep paralysis, the [presence] was an alien, and I thought I was being legitimately abducted. I felt myself falling out of my bed. However, when I woke up, I was just laying regularly on my bed. Sleep paralysis is very mysterious and no one really knows how to control it,” Sr. Austin Book said.

  Although these presences aren’t very realistic, these visions are necessarily “real” during sleep paralysis. “I knew I was in sleep paralysis because I had read about it and knew what it was supposed to be like. At first, I thought I was having a really bad dream, but then I realized that I was ‘awake’ and couldn’t move. My eyes were open, and I was seeing a bunch of moths surrounding me, but I couldn’t scream or move away. It was terrifying. The morning after I woke up, I remember asking my mom why she didn’t come in my room even though I was screaming for her, and she said she didn’t hear me. It only happened to me once, and I really hope it doesn’t happen again because I felt like I had no control, and honestly I thought the moths were going to kill me,” Jr. Lexi Manning said.

  These phantom ghost like creatures upon you are no joke when experiencing sleep paralysis. “I suddenly opened my eyes, but I knew that I was still sleeping. I felt so scared. I could feel something come on to me like some type of dark shadow that sort of looked like an alien, and I had no idea what it was. I tried screaming for my dad, but it was like no one could hear me. I then felt something slowly take my blanket off of me. It sounds like a dream, but I knew I wasn’t in a dream. I finally woke up in the morning with my blanket by my closet door, and I had asked my dad if he heard me calling him and he said no. I don’t think this is diagnosable. I think whoever gets it, gets it. But, it really is a scary thing to experience,” Jr. Amy Velazquez said.

  When you call for help but no sound comes out of your mouth, no one can hear you, your limbs are paralyzed, and you can’t move at all. This is called Sleep Paralysis, and many students here at West Ottawa have experienced it.