Lately, when I go back to sleep after waking up, I have terrifying lucid dreams.
They’re vivid and I feel like I’m stuck and won’t ever escape. A few times, I’ve convinced myself I’m actually dead and will be trapped in a dream for eternity. I wake up covered in sweat, wanting to never go to sleep again.
But yesterday morning was different.
My alarm went off and, as usual, I reset it to give myself an extra 15 minutes sleep. What followed was my familiar experience of being trapped and desperately wanting to wake up. But then I did.
I was laying on my side in bed, so tired I could hardly keep my eyes open, when I heard someone open my front door. I knew I was home alone, so I had no idea who it could be. I was so exhausted I couldn’t move, and then I saw a man walk into my bedroom. He walked straight past my line of sight, until he was out of view. I expected to be attacked. This man was surely going to hurt me, and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t move.
I’m not sure how much time passed before I actually woke up. I looked to my right expecting someone to be there. But no one was.
What I had experienced was sleep paralysis – a feeling of being conscious without being able to speak or move. Historically, it’s been described as sensing an ‘evil’ presence, and many people report seeing demons or an intruder.