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April 25

A New Way to Look at Sleep Paralysis

Sleep paralysis—a phenomenon that affects slightly less than 8% of the population, with most people only experiencing it once or twice in their lifetime. 

Then, there are those ‘“lucky” few who are commonly plagued with this experience. I would be in that last group. 

What is sleep paralysis?

Scientists refer to the experience of rapid eye movement (REM) while you are awake as “sleep paralysis.” What does this mean? In layman's terms, your mind can wake from sleep before your body does, leaving your body paralyzed and unable to move, while your mind is awake and functioning. Sometimes, you may be able to open your eyes throughout the experience although I have never had this happen. Usually during sleep paralysis I have a full panoramic, spatial layout of everything in the room, without being able to open my eyes. Despite having my eyes closed, I know if my husband is next to me and if there is a pet in the room. 

Physical and mental symptoms may include

  • the perception of a dangerous person or presence in the room
  • a feeling of suffocation
  • feelings of movement (such as flying) or out-of-body sensations

While experiencing sleep paralysis, it’s common to feel your chest tightening, to feel what can be perceived as an “evil presence” around you, and to feel your heart racing and your breathing become faster. Although less than 8% of the population reports experiencing sleep paralysis, the number may actually be higher due to unreported cases. 

Gradually, I learned that by wiggling my fingers, I could start a bit of movement in my body.

I began experiencing sleep paralysis as a teenager any day that I didn’t have to wake up early for school. So, on weekends or summer days I would find myself trapped in my body. As my mother-in-law, who is a world-renowned psychic, told me, this happens to a lot of highly intuitive people as they begin to mature. Luckily, I learned tricks to get myself out of it. I quickly learned how to thrust myself to the side where, eventually, if I used enough force, I would roll over and wake up. Gradually, I learned that by wiggling my fingers, I could start a bit of movement in my body. Then, I could advance the experience to moving my full hand, which, in turn, could lead to me shaking my arm enough to wake myself up. 

After ten-plus years of experiencing this, sometimes daily, I realized that, perhaps, I could change my mindset on sleep paralysis. What do I mean? 

This phenomenon occurred into my adult life. I was lucky enough to train my husband to know when I was experiencing it so he could wake me up. My vocal cords easily become usable while experiencing sleep paralysis, so I learned how to make a strange grunting noise that he recognizes. 

After ten-plus years of experiencing this, sometimes daily, I realized that, perhaps, I could change my mindset on sleep paralysis. What do I mean? 

Sleep paralysis and the Out-of-Body Experience (OBE)

When I speak with people who regularly meditate or those who have a strong interest in the metaphysical world, they usually tell me that sleep paralysis is the springboard to having an OBE. Many believe that if you overcome your fears in sleep paralysis, and, instead of focusing on waking yourself up, you focus your mind on a location away from your body, you will be able to project out of your body. While I haven’t yet been able to train my mind not to panic when this happens, it is a new goal I set for myself. Perhaps I can change my mindset about my sleep paralysis episodes and, instead of panicking, I can think of it as an opportunity to leave my body and explore. After all, your mindset really does color any experience you have. And while I most definitely can’t call “sleep paralysis” a positive experience, perhaps I can learn to make the best of it. 

So, if you find yourself in sleep paralysis and you want to wake up, I recommend that you focus on moving just the tips of your fingers. Eventually, you can continue the movement of your fingers into the full movement of your hands, which can move up into your arms until you can shake yourself awake. 

Visualize yourself out of your body and in your room, and, in theory, you may be able to project yourself there.

But, if you’re looking to have an OBE, perhaps you can move through your fear and focus on the space around you in your bedroom. Visualize yourself out of your body and in your room, and, in theory, you may be able to project yourself there. From there, supposedly, if you focus on the space in front of you bit by bit, you can project your consciousness/awareness to move through your home and anywhere you’d like to go. 

I’ll be sure to update you if I’m able to accomplish this for myself. Either way, I hope I was able to enlighten you just a bit on sleep paralysis and the possibilities that can come from it.

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Malorie Mackey

Actress, author and adventurer

Malorie Mackey is an actress, host, and writer living in Los Angeles, CA. Malorie's first book was published in 2017 and her short story "What Love Has Taught Me" has been published in the anthology "Choices.” You can find Malorie’s travel content on dozens of digital media platforms. Check out www.maloriesadventures.com for more. Malorie's adventures don't just encompass physical adventures. She has been a student of intuition since she was a teenager, studying at Edgar Cayce’s A.R.E. In 2019, Malorie discovered the Monroe Institute while filming her travel show. Since then, she has been studying the art and science of consciousness through many different programs and life experiences.
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