Study Finds Demon Sightings During Sleep Paralysis More Common Than Previously Thought

A recent study reveals that up to 58% of people who experience sleep paralysis sense the presence of a 'nonhuman' entity, with the 'incubus' experience being a common hallucination. Understanding the prevalence of these unsettling experiences can help destigmatize the condition and encourage those affected to seek support.

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Ayesha Mumtaz
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Study Finds Demon Sightings During Sleep Paralysis More Common Than Previously Thought

Study Finds Demon Sightings During Sleep Paralysis More Common Than Previously Thought

A recent study has revealed that hallucinations of shadowy figures or demons during episodes of sleep paralysis are more prevalent than previously believed. Sleep paralysis is a condition where a person wakes up but is temporarily unable to move or speak, often accompanied by vivid and frightening hallucinations.

The study found that up to 58% of people who experience sleep paralysis sense the presence of a 'nonhuman' entity in their room, while 22% report seeing what they believe to be a person. One of the most common hallucinations is the 'incubus' experience, where the individual feels a pressure on their chest and a sense of suffocation, as if a figure is pressing down on them.

Sleep paralysis occurs when the mind awakens before the body, leaving the person temporarily immobilized. It typically happens during the rapid-eye movement (REM) stage of sleep, causing the characteristic inability to move or speak. While episodes can last from several seconds to a few minutes and are generally not harmful, they can be extremely distressing for those who experience them.

Why this matters:

Throughout history, sleep paralysis has been documented in art, literature, and scientific studies. In the past, these experiences were sometimes interpreted as ghost visitations or demonic attacks. While there is no proven cause, research has identified factors that may contribute to sleep paralysis, such as stress, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and sleep disruptions.

Experts recommend developing a consistent sleep routine and avoiding sleeping on one's back as potential ways to prevent episodes of sleep paralysis. For those who experience persistent or severe cases, consulting a doctor about medication options may help manage the condition. "If you have occasional sleep paralysis, you can take steps at home to control this disorder," advises the Mayo Clinic. "Start by making sure you get enough sleep. Do what you can to relieve stress in your life — especially just before bedtime."

Key Takeaways

  • Up to 58% of sleep paralysis victims sense a 'nonhuman' entity presence.
  • The 'incubus' experience, with pressure on the chest, is a common hallucination.
  • Sleep paralysis occurs when the mind awakens before the body during REM sleep.
  • Factors like stress, anxiety, and PTSD may contribute to sleep paralysis.
  • Consistent sleep routine and avoiding back-sleeping can help prevent episodes.