Anonymous asked (edited for length):
What’s your attitude towards sleep paralysis and the supernatural/spiritual warfare involved with that? … Most nights I’m fine with the knowledge that the Holy Spirit is protecting me … but some nights (like tonight) it’s really hard to make myself sleep. … Do you think there’s a reason that it happens, aside from the fact that Satan pretty much likes attacking the children of God? Just thoughts.
It’s a bit crazy you’re asking me this since I’ve suffered from “sleep paralysis” for about twenty years. It’s the basis for the “Nightmare on Elm Street” movies and in the olden days was called the incubus or succubus, which are male and female demons. It’s also called night hag or night terrors, and in Korea it’s called gawi, which was also a Korean horror movie.
It’s apparently hereditary since family members are more likely to suffer together. I had a cousin I never met until I was 18, and her whole family has it. I only found out a few years ago that my brother has had it since he was little.
Recent studies have shown that your body in sleep-mode locks up so you don’t act out your dreams, so that sleep paralysis is your lock-up mechanism occurring early while you’re falling asleep. To get out of it, most people have to fight to move, breathe, or scream to reverse the lock-down.
I understand the psychological reasoning here, but it doesn’t explain the hallucinations, voices, and general feelings of terror. All which I’m sure some scientist will discover is “neurons firing randomly” or “oxygen intoxication” or something else.
But as always, I agree there’s a spiritual element here.
I won’t go into detail — you’ll call me crazy — but during sleep paralysis I’ve opened my eyes and have seen multiple times the thing sitting on my chest, or floating above me, or sitting in a chair across the room looking at me. He (or it) shows up in my dreams. A few times I feel his (its) presence during prayer or while I’m jogging outdoors, day or night.
When I move houses it doesn’t happen for a while, but eventually it finds me. I remember once this lady used to pick me up from school in a carpool and I’d take a nap in her guestroom. I constantly had sleep paralysis there for weeks, pretty much on cue when my head hit the pillow. Later she told me, “Oh yeah, that bed you’re napping in: my mom died in that bed.” After I showered for three hours, I never slept there again.
It also happens more when you’re extremely tired, spiritually vulnerable, burnt out, or emotional. I’ve found that turning on soft music (praise!) or leaving on a little light is helpful to ward it off.
Personally I believe this is spiritual warfare, and I hope I’m not freaking you out, or anyone else. I don’t talk about it much because I don’t want to inception ideas into anyone’s head. But it’s real, it happens, and we need to be praying the Ephesians 6 Warrior Prayer all over that.
Also, when it DOES happen, examine yourself, your life, your motives, your heart. That demon comes around when stuff is happening, and you should be encouraged to pray. I know that sounds like a general blanket statement (since we all sin quite regularly), but it could be a 2 Corinthians 12 thing where God has purposefully allowed a thorn to humble us and rely only on His grace. I know that’s exactly what it was for me every time. Pray hard, my friend. Press into Christ.