Print Friendly, PDF & Email



Hi Gramps,

I’m wondering about something that happened to me on two different occasions; a couple of years ago, several months apart.  Both times I was laying in bed trying to sleep. On the first occasion, I laid down with my youngest child, trying to get him to go back to sleep, when my body, I guess was ‘paralyzed’ during this experience, I could hear footsteps coming from outside of my son’s room, I felt very frightened, and wanted to look towards his bedroom door, but I could not turn my head. I thought the footsteps were coming closer (and we had carpet in the house; the sounds of the footsteps were like on wood…loud, not like someone walking upon carpet). I felt panicked and I wanted to yell for my husband, but I couldn’t do anything! All of the sudden I felt myself, and it seemed like it took all of my strength, I heard myself scream “NO”…. then it was over… I wasn’t really afraid almost immediately after I heard myself say NO. The second instance was very similar, ending with me mustering the strength, it seemed, to yell “NO”…. what do you think happened? I know it wasn’t a dream…. I was totally awake, just unable to move.





Dear Erv,

You have experienced a temporary sleep paralysis.  I’m sorry that I cannot give you the clinical reasoning for the phenomenon.  I can only cite my own personal experience. The experience that you described has happened to me on several occasions during my teenage years. However, it would start with a paralysis of my feet and lower legs, and gradually creep up toward my head. In the early stages, when it had not progressed too far, with great mental effort, I could will it to descend and disappear. However, there was a certain stage at which I could not prevent it from continuing to cover my entire body. In those circumstances, I became completely paralyzed– could not move a muscle. And at this stage the phenomenon was accompanied by extreme fright. I would try to call out, but could not make a sound. After some time my body would relax and the paralysis would end. This happened frequently enough that I was able to experiment with it to try to control it, hence the mental efforts that I described above. From my experience, “there is nothing to fear except fear itself.”





Copyright © 2021 Ask Gramps - Q and A about Mormon Doctrine. All Rights Reserved.
This website is not owned by or affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes called the Mormon or LDS Church). The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the position of the Church. The views expressed by individual users are the responsibility of those users and do not necessarily represent the position of the Church. For the official Church websites, please visit or

Pin It on Pinterest