Daria Shevtsova

A List of Things I Wish I Could Tell My Sleep Paralysis Demon

Scientists believe that when we sleep, our brain relaxes certain muscles in our body so we don’t hurt ourselves by physically acting out our dreams while we are unconscious. Sometimes, our brain wakes up before our body, which results in a temporary state of paralysis, leaving our mind to conjure up dark, scary explanations or threats as to why we can’t move. For many, that unfortunately looks like unholy entities, either within the room with us or physically sitting on top of us. 

Sleep Paralysis Demons are mentioned across a variety of cultures. As a firsthand victim of this phenomenon, I can tell you that no logical, scientific theory brings any kind of comfort in the moments of the experience. Whether the Demon is a hallucination or a simple byproduct of my brain misfiring, it still feels very tangible and real in the moment of horror.  Having no control over your body, not being able to move or speak, is the worst feeling. So, in an attempt to take back some kind of control over the situation, I have compiled a list of things I wish I could say to my sleep paralysis demon.

1. Have you considered incorporating some color into your wardrobe? I, too, am a lover of black, but some colored streaks in your fur would really make those red eyes pop. Just something to think about.

2. You’re doing too much. I appreciate your effort, but your services are no longer required. The weighted blanket I received last Christmas serves its purpose quite well on the nights when I can’t sleep and need a little extra sensory support. Your additional weight on me is just obnoxious and unnecessary. 

3. While you’re sitting on my back, could you maybe help me pop it? Listen, it’s been too many years since I’ve had a chance to sit in one of those desks at my high school and crack my back. If you’re going to make my nights miserable, could you at least do me the honor of helping me release years of tension that have accumulated in my spine? You know, you sitting on me as frequently as you do hasn’t exactly been helping my situation, either.

4. Thank you. I just wanted to acknowledge that you only seem to visit me on certain nights when I sleep on my stomach. Although the entire interaction is immensely unpleasant, I would like to thank you for having the courtesy of never sitting on my chest when I sleep on my back. I don’t think I could deal with the weight of you and my boobs at the same time. Thank you for not being like the other sleep paralysis demons that I have read about. See? I knew you were different. 

5. Cut your damn toenails, dude. I’ll even leave some pretty nail polish for you on my nightstand in case you get bored and want to jazz things up during your night shift. Self-care is so important, you know?

6. Practice breathing through your nose, Sir. Listen, nobody likes a mouth breather. I bet you would have more friends in the underworld if you learned to breathe through your snout. Of course, then you would be forced to smell yourself, which brings me to my next point.

7. Take a bath. You straight up smell like rotten eggs. I understand it is part of your calling to be repulsive and make humans uncomfortable, but you could probably be more discreet and better at your job if we didn’t smell you coming. I don’t know, just a thought.

8. Why did you choose me? Was I assigned to you, or were you just lonely? Did you find me as I was visiting a friend in the cemetery? Did I do something specific that placed me on your radar or did my back just look really comfy?

9. It’s not you, it’s me. It has been a really interesting experience to have encountered you, and if I’m being honest, you are more consistent than any of the other men in my life. You visit me more often than some of my friends and family do. I appreciate your dedication, but this whole arrangement just isn’t working for me. As you may recall, I didn’t invite you here in the first place. I don’t mean to hurt your feelings or anything, but I want you to leave. I have always preferred sleeping alone, and I like having my own space to spread out. I’m not sure what you’re looking for, but you’re not going to get it from me. I bought some sage to burn and will be taking extra precautions to prevent you from entering my space again. I’m sorry, but it’s really for the best. You are no longer welcome here. I hope you understand, and I wish you the best of luck in all of your future spooky endeavors. Stay away from me, though.