Interesting Facts about Hypnagogic Hallucinations
There are several psychiatric and medical causes behind hypnagogic hallucinations. These are associated with hypnagogia which is the transitional state that you encounter between being awake and fully asleep. Mental phenomena that typically occur during this phase of threshold consciousness include sleep paralysis, out of body experiences, lucid dreaming and hallucinations.
This half-awake or half-asleep state of hypnagogia is also referred to as presomnal, visions of half-sleep, anthypnic sensations, borderland of sleep, half-dream state, sleep onset dreams and pre-dream condition.
There are many sensory experiences that you may encounter while transitioning to sleep from minor and vague visions to extreme hypnagogic hallucinations.
- Sights – Phosphorus will often manifest from lines, speckles and patterns to form images or constants. They may be in color or monochromatic, moving or still and three-dimensional or flat.
- Tetris Effect – If you perform in some type of repetitive activity before you go to sleep it will offer dominate your imagery. A good example is if you were swimming or boating all day, you may still feel waves while you are in this state.
- Sleep Paralysis – Roaring, humming, rushing, hissing, buzzing and zapping noises are common with sleep paralysis. This state has been blamed for shadow people haunting and stories of alien abductions.
- Sounds – Audio in the hypnagogia state can range from faint to loud. You may hear a doorbell or someone call your name. Music and poetry are commonly heard.
- Other Sensations – Flashes of light, numbness, bobbing, floating, out-of-body experience and the hypnic jerk are other common sensations.
There are many causes associated with hypnagogic hallucinations, such as:
- Drugs – Hallucinogenics including LSD, acid, mushrooms, meth, peyote, PCP, marijuana and certain prescription medications can all cause these hallucinations to occur when you are trying to fall asleep.
- Stress – Extreme or prolonged periods of stress can impede your sleep, thereby triggering hallucinations.
- Electrical Brain Activity – Neurochemcial or electrical brain activity can cause a type of hallucinatory sensation that is often accompanied with touch that is called an aura. These can actually suggest the onset of a migraine or epileptic attack.
- Sensory Deprivation – If your brain lacks the external stimulation that it needs to create perception, it may choose to compensate for this by referencing your memory which then results in hypnagogic hallucinations. This is a common occurrence in both deaf and blind individuals.
- Brain Disease or Damage – Injury to the brain or the formation of lesions may convert brain function, which would cause hallucinations.
- Mental Conditions – At least 75 percent of individuals treated for schizophrenia report hypnagogic hallucinations. These individuals will often dance through their hypnopompic state and then say that they feel paralyzed just prior to waking up.
These dream-like experiences are extremely vivid that generally occur either right before you wake up or just prior to following asleep. When they are accompanied with sleep paralysis, the experience is usually quiet frightening. While features may vary from one individual to another, common feelings are fear, vividness, falling sensation, pressure on the body, sensing a presence, impending sense of death and feeling as though you are unable to breathe.
It is not uncommon for people in the hypnagogia state to see lights, shadows or people walking in the room around them some feel as though someone is grabbing them while others are experience floating.
During this state, you may appear to be awake yet you are sleeping. At least 40 percent of individuals experience some type of hypnagogic hallucinations at least once in their lives while for others it is a common occurrence.