In my career, I’ve been lucky enough to do appearances on morning drive radio all over the country, which has provided me the opportunity to talk to thousands upon thousands of people about their dreams. I’ve done just over 3600 appearances thus far, and in the majority of those I get asked about that horrifying dream where a dark shadowy figure, demon or ghost comes into the bedroom and begins sucking the very life out of you, rendering you unable to breath… or scream… If this sounds familiar to you, then you MUST read on. The following is from my syndicated weekly newspaper column The Dream Zone.

Dear Lauri,
I keep having a dream that something is trying to possess me. Every time it tries to get inside me, or once it just lay on top of me and I can’t move or speak. I can just scream in my head to go away or to get off of me. The first time I had to yell in my head “I love God and God loves me” this dream scares me so bad and I have had it three times. The last time was earlier this week. Please help!   – Amber 25, Salt Lake City, UT

Lauri: This is not a dream… nor is it a demonic possession.  It is actually a fascinating physiological experience called Sleep Paralysis, or The Old Hag Syndrome! And there is not a thing one should worry about when it happens.  Here’s the deal, when we sleep and enter the REM state, which is when dreaming takes place, our brain releases a chemical that literally paralyzes our skeletal muscles so that we don’t act out our dreams.  When we’ve had a fitful night of sleep or haven’t slept long enough, we will start to wake up before our brain can re-activate our muscle control, which causes us to get “stuck” in that in between state of sleep and wakefulness, called Hypnogogia.  Cool name, huh?  In this state you are asleep and awake at the same time, which is why you are aware that you are in your room and in your bed.  This is also why you can’t move, speak or scream… because you are still paralyzed!  It is mostly physiological and will subside in a moment or two.  It is not harmful in any way and does not mean there is anything wrong with you.  No need to call your priest!  The cure is to try to simply get more sleep and get negative issues off your mind before bedtime.

Amber replies: That sounds exactly what is happening to me! I will definitely try to write out my negative thoughts before bed and hope that it helps! Thank you!!

What I also HIGHLY suggest to folks, the next time they experience Sleep Paralysis, is to take advantage of it… because it’s a actually a way cool state of mind, being asleep and awake at the same time, a foot in both worlds so to speak. The next time it happens, rather than trying to scream or pray, ask the creature in your room “Who are you? And what do you want?” You will get an answer! Or you could have fun with it and ask the creature, “What is the meaning of life?” and see what sort of answer you get. Or you could even will your self to float up out of bed. It’s a cool feeling. Essentially, when you are in this hypnogogic state, you can easily turn it into a lucid dream and direct the dream to happen anyway you like. You can use it for insight into your waking life problems (by asking questions) or you can use it just for fun.  Whichever you decide, I can assure you that now that you know what is going on, it won’t be nearly as frightening the next time it happens, and in fact, can become quite the powerful tool to explore the inner workings of your mind.

both booksDreams are powerful things! In fact, they are the most powerful part of who we are. Whether your dreams are advising you, warning you or inspiring you, they are an endless resource you can tap into every single morning… once you know their secret language! My dream books will have you understanding your dreams in no time! Keep them by your bedside so you can easily figure out your dreams as soon as you wake from them. You’ll wonder why you didn’t get them sooner!

“Since Ive been reading your books, my friends are always asking me to help them interpret their dreams! You are the best!” – Jessica Martinez, Aurora, CO