ShortList is supported by you, our amazing readers. When you click through the links on our site and make a purchase we may earn a commission. Learn more

9 Things You Didn't Know Were Terrifying About Sleep

9 Things You Didn't Know Were Terrifying About Sleep

9 Things You Didn't Know Were Terrifying About Sleep
02 October 2015

Sleep: considering we spend half of our lives doing it, it's alarming to think how much some of us are crippled by it.

Just ask sufferers of sleep paralysis, the natural and common phenomena where a person is unable to move, speak or react to their surroundings while falling asleep or waking.

Trapped in some nightmarish limbo, the person’s brain creates hallucinations, making people believe they’re looking at mysterious figures and hearing strange voices and leaving them unable to wake up no matter how much they try. And it's much more common than you might imagine...

To mark the release of The Nightmare - a powerful horror-doc exploring this terrifying condition - here's a gallery of terrifying statistics to show exactly how much the condition affects people of the UK.

And once you've finished that, ensure you snap up tickets to our FREE screenings of the film we're about to host in Liverpool, Leeds, Birmingham and London as part of the latest ShortList Film Club.

[Images: Shutterstock, Altitude]


30 per cent of the UK population have experienced sleep paralysis at least once.


38 per cent of those who have experienced sleep paralysis don’t understand it and attribute it to a having stroke, dying, being abducted by aliens or possessed by ghosts.


Sleep paralysis is more common than colour blindness or being left handed.


Sleep paralysis is more prevalent in women and in 15-24 year olds.


24 per cent of people who experience sleep paralysis in the UK have it at least once a month.


40 per cent of those who’ve experienced sleep paralysis think it’s just a bad dream.


If you are London based, you are also more likely to experience it. Sorry.


If you sleep on your back you’re far more likely to experience sleep paralysis and all its accompanying terrors.


Forget sleep walking. Some scientists now believe we are witnessing a rise in sleep texting, a condition born out of our daily reliance and addiction to technology.