While this is not the kind of experience one usually sets out to have, it is useful to think about how to make the most of sleep paralysis when it does happen, since it is so common. Some studies point to 25 to 30% of the population have experienced sleep paralysis, while others suggest as many as 40 or even 60%. Some (around 8 in 100), experience it more than once or even periodically. It is very commonly associated to lucid dreams, out-of-body experiences (OBEs or astral projections), and is common among those who have had near-death experiences (NDEs).

Fear and confusion are common reactions to those who first experience the sleep paralysis without prior knowledge of the phenomenon. Even those who have read about it might be a bit overwhelmed by this and other sensations typically related to the out-of-body experience (such as strong sensations of falling or vibrations all over the body). Once the fear of the novel and unknown is overcome, the sleep paralysis and related sensations usually begin to elicit more positive responses because they are not unpleasant or negative per se. Much to the contrary, they are the result of being conscious during a normal state when most of the people are asleep and while there is a small degree of separation from the body and may even signal an upcoming lucid out-of-body experience, which can be pleasant and enriching. It is not unlike a roller coaster or other thrilling experience that can scare a beginner, but is later exciting and even quite pleasant for the experienced rider.

Rather than trying to fight off the temporary sleep paralysis that occurs naturally in association to the normal sleep cycle (especially REM periods), one can focus on triggering a lucid dream or out-of-body experience. Instead of trying to move the body, one could simply relax and “go along for the ride,” with mental commands to move away from the body, to roll to the side or float away, often triggering an astral projection. Alternatively, one can conjure up an imaginary (oneiric) scenario and enter a lucid dream, whereby one controls the environment and plot of the dream. Out-of-body experiences and lucid dreams have a number of applications or benefits.

Out-of-body experiences allow a person to have deep insights about life from a multidimensional perspective. Such experiences can result in very positive cognitive shifts similar to those reported in near-death experiences: loss of fear of death, greater inspiration for one’s life purpose, enhanced sense of altruism and ethics, and more. Experiencers often reach the conclusion that OBEs provide irrefutable personal proof of the existence of life beyond the physical body and also of the human biofield (bioenergy, prana, chi, subtle energy). Night-time lucidity is correlated with improved problem-solving or insight, which is increasingly important in today’s knowledge and creativity-based economy and in a world that faces critical social challenges. Increased mindfulness from bioenergy and OBE practices may lead to reduced stress levels, which have well-known physical and mental health ramifications. Out-of-body experiences and lucid dreams provide opportunities for us to overcome fears and develop our sense of curiosity, practice or rehearse new skills while our body slumbers. Above all, we have new experiences that provide us chances for enhancing our self-knowledge, which can improve our wellbeing as well as our sense of life mission, purpose or meaning.

Conclusion

Sleep paralysis is a harmless, naturally-occurring experience that is more common than previously expected. It can be an exciting experience as one becomes used to it, because it heralds a likely OBE or other deep experiences. Whether you see the out-of-body experience as a mere altered state or as a gateway to other consciousness realities, it is largely seen as a healthy, positive, and inspiring experience.

Bring inspiration to your life and career with these phenomena with the help of IAC. Contact the nearest IAC center for transformative training courses, online or in person.