Seeing yourself sleeping in a dream can be a very confusing experience. It can have multiple interpretations and can mean different things depending on the context of the dream. In some cases, it can represent a period of rest and relaxation while in others, it can signify a lack of awareness or a desire to escape something.

To get a better understanding of what it means, let’s look at some of the possible reasons why you might have this type of dream:

Definition of Sleep Paralysis

Sleep paralysis is a temporary inability to move or speak that occurs when a person is waking up or falling asleep. It can be accompanied by vivid hallucinations, often of an intruder in the room. The experience usually lasts only a few minutes but can feel much longer. It is estimated to affect about 6-7% of people at least once in their lives.

Sleep paralysis occurs because the brain and body have not yet adjusted to wakefulness or sleep, respectively. Remaining partly “stuck” between these two states causes the paralysis, which can be frightening due to accompanying hallucinations and episodes of terror are known as sleep paralysis episodes or ‘waking nightmares’. These experiences typically involve vivid sensations, often of a threatening presence in the room, though hallucinations may also include other sensations such as:

  • being frozen in place and unable to escape
  • flying or floating above one’s bed
  • sexual assault
  • difficulty breathing
  • losing control of one’s limbs

In most cases, these symptoms are not serious and episodes generally end within several seconds or minutes. Medical attention should be sought if these symptoms persist for more than a few minutes or if they occur frequently.

Causes of Sleep Paralysis

Sleep paralysis can occur when there is a disconnect between different stages of sleep. It is a type of sleep disorder in which a person may experience a temporary inability to move or speak while falling asleep or waking up. This can be a very frightening experience for someone and can have many causes.

In this article, we will go into the various causes of sleep paralysis:


Stress is one of the leading causes of sleep paralysis. Stressful events can activate the flight-or-fight response, causing your body to produce adrenaline, cortisol, and other hormones that can interfere with deep REM sleep. Lack of good quality sleep due to prolonged bouts of stress can ultimately trigger episodes of sleep paralysis.

Additionally, feeling overwhelmed by pressing responsibilities or entanglements during the day can cause sleeping disturbances at night. When your REM cycle is disrupted during times of stress and confusion, you may experience a decrease in dream recall and an increase in wakefulness in the early morning hours when you should be dreaming. During this transition phase between dreaming and wakefulness, episodes of sleep paralysis may occur.

Sleep deprivation

Sleep deprivation is one of the most common causes of sleep paralysis. Not getting a sufficient amount of sleep (usually for several days in a row) can disrupt your circadian rhythm, leading to episodes of wakefulness during the night or early morning. Sleep deprivation can also interfere with the body’s ability to transition from wakefulness to dreaming and into deep REM sleep–a necessary stage for a restful and restorative night’s rest.

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Other causes of sleep paralysis include:

  • Drug and alcohol use
  • Certain medications
  • Mental health issues such as anxiety and depression
  • Sleep disorders such as narcolepsy or insomnia
  • Physical illness
  • Jet lag
  • Shift work

In some cases it can be triggered by changes in physical activity levels or diet.

It is important to speak with your physician if you believe you are experiencing episodes of sleep paralysis due to any of these factors or if it is affecting your daily life negatively. Keeping a regular sleep/wake schedule with regular bedtimes and wake-up times may help reduce the number of sleep paralysis episodes you experience by helping keep your circadian rhythm in order. Additionally, reducing stressful activities late at night or multiple stimulants before going to bed may also help improve your overall quality of sleep.

Sleep disorders

Sleep paralysis is a disorder characterized by an inability to move or speak while falling asleep, waking up, or during periods of wakefulness throughout the night. Although sleep paralysis can be frightening, it is usually harmless.

It can be caused by anxiety or stress, sleeping in an uncomfortable position and any disruption of your normal sleep routine. It can also result from conditions such as narcolepsy, active parasites or infections, sleep apnea and other medical problems. Sleep disorders like narcolepsy involve a sudden onset of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. This can trigger episodes of sleep paralysis when waking up in the morning or suddenly falling asleep during the day.

Additionally, lifestyle factors such as lack of quality rest and poor bedtime habits can cause episodes as well. Stimulants like caffeine and nicotine may reduce your quality of rest and lead to disturbed REM cycles associated with daytime sleepiness that causes episodes of sleep paralysis periodically throughout the day or night. It is best to practice healthy sleeping habits such as

  • adding exercise into your daily routine
  • limiting caffeine consumption before bedtime
  • refraining from nicotine use

to help keep a regular sleeping schedule and prevent episodes altogether.

Symptoms of Sleep Paralysis

Sleep paralysis is a type of sleep disorder that can cause you to hallucinate and experience temporary paralysis when you are falling asleep or waking up. It is often associated with vivid or terrifying nightmares, or a feeling of being unable to move or speak. It can cause feelings of fear, confusion, and panic, and can sometimes be accompanied by auditory or visual hallucinations.

Let’s explore the symptoms of sleep paralysis in more detail:

Feeling of paralysis

Sleep paralysis is characterized by an inability to move or speak while waking up. People who experience this phenomenon typically perceive a feeling of pressure on their chest and the inability to move, speak, or react to their surroundings.

During episodes of sleep paralysis, some people report a feeling of being held down, while others feel that they are floating outside their body. In many cases people also experience hallucinations, such as seeing someone in the room with them, sensing movement in the corner of their eyes, or hearing noises.

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It is important to note that these symptoms are not associated with any real physical movements; they are only felt. Common physical sensations associated with sleep paralysis include:

  • Feeling cold chills or tingling on your skin
  • Muscle fatigue
  • Fluttering heartbeats

It is common for individuals who suffer from sleep paralysis to not remember what happened immediately after waking up due to the intense fear associated with the episode and because most cases last no more than a few minutes.

Visual and auditory hallucinations

While visual and auditory hallucinations are uncommon, they can be a symptom of sleep paralysis. These can present in the form of seeing or hearing people, animals, or other objects that are not actually present. People may also have a feeling that their body is vibrating and they may feel like they are moving while asleep. Visual hallucinations tend to significant dimmer than the environment around them and auditory hallucinations tend to last longer than visual ones.

It is important to rule out any potential medications or health conditions which could cause these symptoms, as well as undertake good sleep hygiene practices such as:

  • Maintaining a regular sleep schedule
  • Avoiding caffeine close to bedtime

Sense of pressure on the chest

The feeling of pressure on the chest is often described as an immense weight, as if an invisible person or creature is pressing down on the individual’s chest, making it difficult to breathe. This sensation may cause fear, dread, or feeling of suffocation. In addition to this feeling, many people experience sensations of dizziness and nausea during a sleep paralysis episode. It’s important to understand that none of these symptoms are physical; rather, they are all psychological symptoms caused by the mind’s reaction to the episode.

Other common sleep paralysis symptoms include:

  • Visual and auditory hallucinations
  • Rapid heartbeat and breathing
  • Feelings of detachment from yourself (or out-of-body experiences)
  • Tingling in extremities such as fingers, toes and limbs
  • Muscle twitching accompanied by sudden jerking movement throughout the body part being affected (sometimes referred to as “sleep starts” or hypnagogic jerks)
  • Odd sensory feelings like a pins-and-needles sensation in hands, feet and other extremities
  • Dreamlike images or sounds that appear like memories playing in one’s mind while experiencing a sleep paralysis episode.

All these hallucinations usually last mere seconds before dissipating.


When you see yourself sleeping, it is usually a sign of a deeper underlying condition such as insomnia, sleep apnea, or narcolepsy. It can also be a sign of mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.

For those suffering from this phenomenon, there are various treatment options available to help manage the condition and help you get better sleep:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a type of psychological treatment used to help people manage their problems by changing the way they think and act. It focuses on how individuals think about a situation and how this thinking affects the way they behave. The goal of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is to change problem thoughts, emotions, and behavior in order to achieve better mental health.

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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy helps individuals identify, understand, and manage the thoughts that drive certain behaviors. During sessions, a therapist will encourage the client to examine irrational thoughts and behaviors that may be contributing to their difficulties in functioning. The client then learns skills for addressing these issues so that they can cope more effectively with current situations in life as well as future challenges.

By correcting distorted thinking patterns and behaviors, clients strive to achieve insights into themselves so that they can more effectively manage difficulties in life. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy might involve:

  • Relaxation techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation or guided imagery;
  • Functional analysis of repetitive activities;
  • Role plays;
  • Journaling exercises; or
  • Interpretation of dreams or fantasies that hint at underlying feelings or beliefs held by the individual.

Working with a trained Cognitive Behavioral Therapist can provide insight into negative patterns of thought which contribute towards detrimental feelings or behavior so that clients can learn better ways of managing triggers or challenges in daily life.


When individuals experience difficulty sleeping, a common option is to seek medical treatment through the use of medication. Prescription and over-the-counter drugs can be used to help improve sleep quantity and quality. However, it is important to discuss any medications with your healthcare provider, as some medications may have adverse effects or interactions with other substances.

Prescription medications for sleep typically come in two classes: benzodiazepines and nonbenzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines, or “benzos” such as Valium and Xanax, are the most commonly prescribed medications for sleep and are used primarily for treating anxiety but can also be effective in improving sleep when taken at bedtime. However, benzos should only be used on a short-term basis because they can become addictive and cause serious side effects if misused.

Nonbenzodiazepine drugs such as Ambien, Sonata and Lunesta are often prescribed for short-term insomnia treatment. These drugs act by enhancing the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain which induces relaxation. This class of drugs is generally considered safe but can lead to dependence if not monitored properly by your doctor.

Over-the-counter medications such as TylenolPM or Unisom include antihistamines that make people drowsy. These types of medicines have been used for many years to reduce occasional sleeplessness; however side effects may include dry mouth, nausea, dizziness or impaired motor skills the following day due to residual sedating effects from taking too much medication too close to bedtime.


In conclusion, when you see yourself sleeping in a dream it can signify the need to pause and take a break. Physical rest is important in order to be productive and successful. It can also signify that you are feeling emotionally burdened or overwhelmed.

Finding ways to blow off steam, such as meditation or yoga, can help lessen your stress so that you can take a well-deserved rest. Additionally, dreaming of sleeping may also indicate a desire for mental clarity, vitality and comfort.

By reflecting on the images observed during the dream it can give insight into what areas of your life require more attention.

By Reiki

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