Sleep paralysis, creepy but scientific! Cultures, lacking science, gave it names: night hag (common), soul-sucking La Cigua (Dominican Republic), or dark Karabasan (Turkey). These Sleep paralysis Demon Names show fear and cultural anxieties, but science now explains the sleep cycle disruption.

The Universal Night Terror

The most common name for the sleep paralysis demon across various cultures is the “night hag.”  Descriptions of the night hag often portray her as a grotesque old woman who sits on the sleeper’s chest, suffocating them and stealing their breath. 
In Britain, people sometimes call the night hag the “hag-riding” or the “mare.”  Similarly, in North America, Newfoundland folklore tells tales of the “Old Hag” who visits sleepers at night.

Regional Terrors

While the night hag is a widespread explanation, many cultures have developed their own unique names and lore for the sleep paralysis demon. Here’s a glimpse into some of the fascinating variations:

 1   Incubus (Roman): This male demon was said to sit on the chests of sleepers, especially women, draining their energy and even engaging in sexual activity.

2    Mare (Scandinavian): In Scandinavian folklore, the mare is a female demon who suffocates sleepers and steals their breath. The word “mare” is the root of the English word “nightmare.”

 3   Karabasan (Turkish): This name translates to “dark presser,” perfectly capturing the feeling of being pinned down during sleep paralysis. Turkish folklore depicts the Karabasan as a large, dark figure who sits on the sleeper’s chest.

 4   La Cigua (Dominican Republic): This terrifying creature is a soul-sucking witch responsible for sleep paralysis. Legend says La Cigua enters homes at night, sits on the sleeper’s chest, and steals their breath.

  5  Kanashibari (Japan): This Japanese word doesn’t refer to a specific demon, but rather translates to “bound in metal,” reflecting the feeling of being paralyzed during sleep paralysis.

This is just a small sampling of the rich tapestry of sleep paralysis demon names found worldwide. From the soul-stealing La Cigua to the dark and oppressive Karabasan, these names offer a window into how different cultures have grappled with this unsettling phenomenon.

Beyond the Nightmares – Scientific Explanations

While the concept of sleep paralysis demons is fascinating, it’s important to remember that there’s a scientific explanation for this experience. Sleep paralysis is a temporary inability to move or speak that occurs during the transition between sleep and wakefulness.

A disruption in the sleep cycle causes sleep paralysis, specifically when the brain awakens from REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep while the body remains paralyzed.

What are the sleep paralysis demons?


What creature is associated with sleep paralysis?

The creature or entity commonly associated with sleep paralysis experiences is often described as a “demon” or a malevolent presence. It is not a specific creature from folklore or mythology but rather a manifestation of the intense fear and hallucinations that can occur during episodes of sleep paralysis. People experiencing sleep paralysis often report sensing a presence in the room, feeling as though someone or something is watching them, or even seeing a figure or entity nearby. These sensations can be terrifying and are believed to be a result of the brain’s attempt to make sense of the unusual sensory experiences that can occur during sleep paralysis.

Is sleep paralysis related to evil?

Sleep paralysis is not related to evil or malevolent forces, despite the perception of a malevolent presence during episodes. Sleep paralysis is a natural and relatively common phenomenon that occurs when a person transitions between sleep stages. During REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, the body is typically paralyzed to prevent acting out dreams.

This can include feelings of pressure on the chest, hallucinations, and a sense of presence in the room. While these experiences can be frightening, they are not harmful and usually resolve on their own.

How do you fight sleep demons?

  1. Maintain a Regular Sleep Schedule: Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day can help regulate your sleep cycle and reduce the likelihood of sleep paralysis.
  2. Reduce Stress: Stress can contribute to sleep paralysis. Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga to reduce stress levels.
  3. Improve Sleep Environment: Ensure your bedroom is conducive to sleep by keeping it dark, quiet, and at a comfortable temperature.
  4. Avoid Sleeping on Your Back: Some people find that sleeping on their back increases the likelihood of sleep paralysis. Try sleeping on your side instead.
  5. Limit Stimulants: Avoiding stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine close to bedtime can help improve sleep quality.
  6. Seek Professional Help: If sleep paralysis is causing significant distress or impacting your daily life, consider seeking help from a healthcare professional, such as a sleep specialist or therapist.

If you continue to experience sleep paralysis, it’s important to speak with professional for further evaluation and guidance.

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The vast array of sleep paralysis demon names across cultures highlights the universality of this experience.  These names not only reflect the fear and confusion associated with sleep paralysis, but also offer a glimpse into cultural anxieties about sleep, the unknown, and the vulnerability of the human body.  While science provides a clearer understanding of sleep paralysis, the rich tapestry of folklore surrounding these nightmarish figures continues to capture our imagination.

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