Dream of Being Paralyzed – Meaning and Symbolism

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There are nightmare nights and distressing dreams that leave you very restless when you wake up.

This is the case of dreaming that you are paralyzed, a horrible dream that you have to interpret before forgetting because it can be very helpful to recognize your situation.

Discover in our dream dictionary what it means to dream that you are paralyzed.

Dream of Being Paralyzed – Meaning

Maybe you want to run because someone is chasing you, maybe you want to move to defend yourself or it may not even be a danger, but the fact is that you are paralyzed and cannot move.

This distressing dream is often accompanied by not being able to speak or scream and, in any case, it is a nightmare.

But nightmares happen for something and it is to face your fears. In the meaning of this dream in which you are paralyzed we find large doses of fear, but also doubts, stress, insecurity and anxiety.

What a grim prospect, right? In this situation it is quite difficult for you to move.

That is why you are paralyzed. For fear of failure, for doubts before making an important decision, because stress overwhelms you, because your insecurity is winning the battle or because anxiety dominates your life.

What can you do? It would not be worse if you were bound with chains, because you are paralyzed within yourself.

Do not despair with this negative interpretation and, above all, do not give up. The nightmare is not a threat or a danger, it is an invitation to react because it is only a dream metaphor.

Now you can wake up and knowing what the problem is, surely you have enough strength to get moving again.

In most cases when we dream that we are immobile, we are not having a good time.

In general, the meaning of dreaming of immobility is related to complex situations around us, there are things that are paralyzing us, we do not know what direction to take, or someone or something is influencing us for the worse.

The following are interpretations of dreams with paralysis, immobility or being petrified.

When in our dream we cannot move even if we try, it is because we have great doubts about our future, we are not sure if what used to make us comfortable and happy is now what we really want.


When in dreams we are immobile against our will, that is to say that someone or something is making us unable to move, it is a clear warning that we should not believe everything they tell us, someone is trying to prevent us from doing something, it may be because envy or revenge.

When we dream that we cannot move our legs or hands for example, it is a message that we are acting without thinking about the consequences, it is an invitation to stop along the way before continuing.

If in a dream we want to flee or run but we cannot, it is an announcement that complicated situations are going to come and for now you will not be able to avoid it, the best thing you can do is be calm and wait for your moment.

If in the dream we stay still of our own free will, it is a sign that we must reveal ourselves, some injustices are presented because we do not have an opinion and we do not give our point of view.

Which means to dream of being paralyzed?

Both in real life and in dreams, when we feel that we are immobile or stagnant we want to get out as quickly as possible, but only with a positive and working attitude can we get ahead and continue our life, as people we all have great capacities that we can exploit, never give up.

The dream of being paralyzed is a harbinger of negative events, such as the arrival of unpleasant people in your life.

Some people say that it is the reflection of the desire to return to the past, to live life in constant melancholy or nostalgia. It is certainly a harbinger of the arrival of a difficult period.

Dream of Being Paralyzed – Symbolism

Dreaming of being paralyzed or immobilized is a very recurrent dream linked to a certain period of life that you are going through.

The inability to move or scream when you really just want to escape can cause nightmares or hallucinatory episodes called hypnagogic or hypnopompic hallucinations, that is, particular visions that you have when falling asleep or waking up.

Dreaming of being paralyzed usually reflects an uncomfortable situation in real life, such as the inability to deal with certain situations, laziness or even not wanting to face them.

It could also be excessive self-control that results in frustration at not having reacted as you really would have liked.

In reality, this is not a real dream, because in the case of sleep paralysis you will surely be awake and there is the feeling of being able to touch and see what is around you, but with the inability to interact in any way.

During this dream phase, the visions are particularly vivid and real, but mostly they are mixed with hallucinations of terrifying creatures that sneak into the room and sit more precisely on the dreamer’s body, preventing him from moving or speaking.

The figures that the mind creates during this dream are not defined. In fact, it is difficult to recognize faces or features, but you have the feeling that they are monstrous, almost demonic.

This creates a state of pure terror in which you can barely breathe. An outside observer during this phase would only perceive a little more labored breathing and perhaps a few moans.

Isolated sleep paralysis that occurs sporadically and is not linked to any type of pathology. Recurrent isolated sleep paralysis that, although not related to pathologies, is recurrent and causes insomnia and difficulty concentrating during waking periods.

The nocturnal paralysis generally lasts a few seconds or minutes, in case they last longer or if they are repeated several times in the course of a night, they can create in the dreamer the fear of falling asleep again, to create a kind of loop where the tiredness accentuate the crises.

The sleep of being paralyzed can be scientifically explained by the lack of synchronization between the end of the REM phase and the beginning of a new sleep cycle.

Practically the mind wakes up in the REM phase before the body. In this case, the muscles are completely paralyzed while the brain works at full speed. This type of sleep, in fact, occurs most often when waking up or falling asleep.

In popular folklore, dreaming of being paralyzed was the concretion of demons or spirits that tried to tempt the dreamer, usually we speak of nightmares, succubi, witches or goblins.

The Jews, however, attributed these dreams to Lilith, the Babylonians to Lilith, and while in the middle Ages there was talk of Lamia.

In the United States, dreams of paralysis are called Old Han Syndrome (Old Witch Syndrome), while in Southeast Asia we speak of Tsong Tsuam, an evil spirit who visits his victim during sleep sitting on his chest and avoiding what a breath and often suffocating it. A Vietnamese people, the Hmong, experienced these almost epidemic dreams of paralysis during which some people were found dead.

The dream of being paralyzed is a harbinger of negative events, such as the arrival of unpleasant people in your life.

Some people say that it is the reflection of the desire to return to the past, to live life in constant melancholy or nostalgia. It is certainly a harbinger of the arrival of a difficult period.

Can you imagine waking up during the night and feeling that you are paralyzed? Your body is completely immobile, you feel a pressure on your chest and, worst of all: you experience an imminent threat, as if someone was stalking … It looks like a horror movie, but it is not, because sleep paralysis is undoubtedly one of the most common parasomnias.

More than half of the population will experience it at least once in their life, without this posing any major problem.

However, between 0.3% and 4% of people suffer from this phenomenon on a recurring basis.

Sleep paralysis is a parasomnia associated with REM sleep. It usually occurs in moments of transition between sleep and wakefulness, such as before falling asleep or just when waking up. What happens, in simple terms, is that the mind awakens but the body does not.

Commonly, during REM sleep most of the body’s muscles are paralyzed, to avoid injury.

When this parasomnia occurs, the mind awakens but the body continues to be paralyzed as if we were still sleeping. The person has all his senses alert: he is able to see, hear and feel; but it cannot move.

During this time it is common for the person to experience hypnagogic or hypnopompic hallucinations and vivid sensory experiences.

Generally, people who suffer from it report experiencing a clear sense of threat and the idea that someone is nearby. The sensation of suffocation or pressure on the chest is also frequent.

Although it does not last for more than a few minutes, all of the above makes sleep paralysis a terrifying and distressing experience. The individual lives it with a great feeling of vulnerability, anxiety and fear.

As we pointed out at the beginning, the phenomenon of sleep paralysis is quite common. It occurs frequently in healthy people in isolation.

However, there are some risk factors that increase its appearance.

Irregular sleeping habits: people with rotating shifts, who accumulate sleep deprivation or who sleep irregularly. This situation generates a poor regulation of the wake-sleep rhythm and makes a mixed state more likely to occur.

In this case, elements of the REM phase could appear in inappropriate situations.

Emotional stress: the presence of this parasomnia is much more frequent in periods of high tension.

Stress is related to the appearance of vivid nightmares that often wake the person up abruptly and partially. This greatly increases the risk of sleep paralysis.

Narcolepsy: patients suffering from this chronic sleep disorder are more likely to experience paralysis

In the first place, all the diseases that may be related to the origin of the paralysis must be treated.

In this way, treatment for apnea, narcolepsy or any other related disorder will have to be provided.

Next, it is vitally important to take care of the quantity and quality of sleep. We have to sleep the necessary hours and have adequate sleep hygiene.

That is, it is advisable to carry out daily physical exercise, avoid stimulating substances and, above all, adhere to regular sleep schedules.

On the other hand, it is essential to provide information to the person suffering from this parasomnia, so that they can normalize their symptoms.

Explaining that the strange bodily sensations that he notices are typical of the REM phase can reassure them.

Interpreting the experience from the point of view of logic helps to reduce the feeling of threat.


Finally, the best guideline is to try to stay calm and remember that the episode only lasts a few minutes and will end.

If you have training in relaxation techniques, these can be very useful during episodes.

Relaxation helps you get back to sleep or even transform the feelings of paralysis into positive ones.

You can also try to focus your attention on trying to move a small part of your body, for example your fingers.

This will make it easier for you to “wake up” your body and shorten the duration of the paralysis episode.