Sleep Hallucinations: Things That Go Bump In The Night

photo of a woman in bed experiencing hypnagogic hallucinations

Do strange images of geometric shapes, people or animals appear out of nowhere as you lie in bed at night? Perhaps you’ve heard voices or noises which can’t possibly be real?

If so, it could be that you’ve experienced what’s known as sleep hallucinations.

Despite leading to the occasional leap out of bed in sheer terror, they are usually harmless. And many people experience them at some point in their lives – including me.

My nocturnal flying geometric manifestations

As a child, multicolored geometric shapes would regularly swoop across my bedroom, just as I was drifting off to sleep. I remember simultaneously marveling at them and wishing them away so I could sleep in peace.

It doesn’t happen so often nowadays, but once in a while, I’m still prone to my mathematical manifestations.

Perhaps I should be grateful for my geeky hallucinations – especially compared to the disturbing experiences some people have.


What are sleep hallucinations?

Sleep hallucinations are imaginary experiences that happen during the transition between being awake and asleep, and can feel confusingly real.

They are also referred to as hypnagogic hallucinations if they occur while you’re falling asleep, or hypnopompic hallucinations if they happen while waking up.

The hallucinations are usually visual, such as seeing shapes or figures in the dark. But they can also involve your other senses.

The hallucinations can be vivid and frightening in some cases. If you see a giant creature in your room or hear a scary voice, it’s understandable that some people will jump out of bed and turn the light on to check what’s going on!

image explaining that hypagogic hallucinations occur while falling asleep and hypnopompic hallucinations while waking up

How many people have sleep hallucinations?

A commonly quoted statistic in medical articles comes from research conducted in 1996. The team interviewed 4972 people in the United Kingdom by telephone. They found that 37% had experienced hypnagogic hallucinations. And 12.5% had experienced hypnopompic hallucinations.

In 2000, another team of researchers surveyed 13,057 people and found that 38.7% had experienced hallucinations at some point during the day or night. 24.8% of the sample had experienced hallucinations at sleep onset, and 6.6% upon waking.

A sign of Narcolepsy

For some people, sleep hallucinations can be a sign of narcolepsy. Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder which involves sudden daytime episodes of:

  • Unexpectedly falling asleep
  • Sleep paralysis
  • Hypnagogic hallucinations

If you have these symptoms, it’s important to seek medical advice.


Symptoms


The main symptom is seeing or hearing things while falling asleep or waking up that aren’t real.

Researchers believe that the most common type of hallucination is visual. However, it’s possible to experience hallucinations that correspond to any of your senses:

  • Visual – such as geometric patterns, shapes or light flashing. Sometimes complex forms like animals or people.
  • Auditory – voices talking, phone or doorbell ringing, music, hissing, humming or whistling.
  • Olfactory – pleasant or unpleasant smells.
  • Tactile – insects crawling on the skin, rubbing, stroking, tapping or tickling sensations. Perhaps also feeling weightless, distortions in the body, flying.
image of a woman in bed with patterns and animal forms around her

Not the same as nightmares

Telling the difference between dreaming and hallucinating isn’t always obvious in the moment. But sleep hallucinations are not the same as nightmares.

When you wake up from a nightmare, you’ll know you were asleep (even if it takes a little while to come back to reality).

Sleep hallucinations, however, can feel like they are really happening. You know you’re awake, but you’re not convinced it’s merely your imagination playing tricks on you.

Coexisting with sleep paralysis

Sleep hallucinations sometimes happen during an episode of sleep paralysis.

During sleep paralysis, you might be unable to move your body in bed, which in itself is often frightening.

The hallucinations that accompany it can range from seeing a presence in the room to seeing and feeling a creature sitting on you.


Causes


The International Classification of Sleep Disorders manual suggests two causes related to brain function, though also states that more research is needed:

  • An intrusion of dream imagery onto wakefulness.
  • A lack of stimulus leading to the visual cortex in the brain creating images.

Health websites, such as healthline.com, suggest that sleep hallucinations can be caused by other conditions, such as:

  • Sleep disorders like narcolepsy or sleep paralysis
  • A medical condition or medication use
  • A mental health disorder, such as schizophrenia
  • Substance abuse

Risk factors

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, they are more common in children and young adults. Women might experience them slightly more often than men.

Some factors are thought to increase the likelihood or severity of the hallucinations, including:

  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Anxiety or stress
  • Mood disorders like bipolar disorder or depression
  • Insomnia
  • Epileptic seizures

Treatment


Do you need to see a doctor?

If you’re experiencing anxiety or losing sleep because of regular sleep hallucinations, it’s a good idea to speak to a doctor or sleep specialist.

They would ask you about your hallucinations and look at your medical history and other factors like medication and lifestyle. They might decide that an overnight sleep study is needed to find out more.

They would also look at the possibility of another condition causing the episodes. And if they find one, give you the appropriate treatment.

Worried about your mental health?

If you suddenly start having hallucinations, it’s understandable that you might question your mental health. This is a point I’ve seen raised in the comments below many times, so you wouldn’t be alone in thinking something was ‘wrong’ with you.

It’s worth noting that if it only ever happens when you’re in bed trying to sleep, there’s a good chance it’s harmless sleep hallucinations. Perhaps it’s a sign you’re under a lot of stress lately, for example, but it might not be an indicator that something is wrong beyond that.

Having said that, if you have hallucinations during the day, or other symptoms that are making you feel anxious or confused about your mental health, then it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor. And if you’re still not convinced the nighttime hallucinations are benign, talk to your doctor to get a professional opinion.

If this line of thinking feels relevant to you, there’s a good article on psychologytoday.com in which a clinical psychologist talks a patient having sleep problems rather than a schizophrenic illness.

What can you do to help reduce them?

Here are some ideas which might help keep the hallucinations at bay:

  • Get an adequate amount of sleep every night. Try to stick to a regular sleep schedule and don’t allow yourself to become sleep deprived.
  • Avoid recreational drugs.
  • Eat a healthy diet and drink plenty of water.
  • Try to reduce your stress levels.
  • Try using a soft night light in the bedroom. This might help fill the space that your brain uses as a blank canvas.
  • If you tend to have auditory hallucinations, listening to music, radio or a podcast in bed might help.
  • If you find yourself focusing on visual hallucinations, try to re-focus your mind on something else. Breathing exercises or muscle relaxation can keep your brain occupied.
  • If it’s overwhelming, turn on a light and get up for a while, do an activity you find relaxing, and then try to sleep again after 10-15 minutes.
  • Several readers have said in the comments below that wearing a sleep mask helps them.

Hypnagogic and hypnopompic hallucinations are a normal part of life for many people. Once you’ve ruled out any serious illness or disorder, you’re left to deal with the experience in two ways.

First, try to adapt your lifestyle to make sure you do everything possible to sleep well. Second, relax and try not to worry about things that go bump in the night.

Your thoughts

Do you ever experience hallucinations when falling asleep or waking up? What form do they take?

Feel free to describe your experience in the comments below and share any ideas you have about dealing with them.

1,361 thoughts on “Sleep Hallucinations: Things That Go Bump In The Night”

  1. I had the first time in my life a hypnopompic hallucination. First, I had a nightmare and I was partly aware of it because I was trying to wake myself up, finally, I did it and I saw a big butterfly, the size of a cat that stayed in front of the room, I said to myself that I just did not wake up properly and that it will go away, but instead, it started walking toward the kitchen, at that point I scream and jump from the bed putting on lights n running in the kitchen, but there was nothing….I must add I am in the mourning process lost my parents in a short time, it could be some reaction as part of mourning because I wished that this butterfly means something n that somebody wanted to visit me, it was my wish but I have still preserved contact with reality

  2. Hi, sometimes when I am falling asleep l see lines floating around, sometimes made of light and sometimes like a hair floating in the water, but in the air, I try to grab them and can feel pressure on or in my hand. I am always calm when I see them but so worried this will get worse, has anyone ever experienced something similar? And did it get scarier with time?

  3. Hi I’m Amanda and I’m 18. So I wake up sometimes and check my phone first thing when I wake up so I can chill in bed before work, and I’ll scroll through Instagram or Tiktok but then my phone disappears?? Then I’m just sitting there looking at my empty hand and my phone is plugged in on my nightstand. WHAT???

  4. I’m 18 years old and sometimes when I wake up I see spiders and I immediately jump out of bed, turn on the light and look around for 5 minutes. I have a huge phobia of spiders and when I see a real one, even the smallest one I freak out and run. These hallucinations often happen when I suddenly fall asleep with the light on but sometimes it happens when I go to sleep on my own and wake up.

  5. I’m 56 and last night was woken up by a face close to mine. No body just the head/face. I actually woke from my own scream. I had palpitations and was shaking. Very real and scary. It took me almost two hours to dare to go back to sleep and even then I just dozed. This has happened several nights over the last few months.

  6. For me, it started when I was about 24. I was lying in bed with a guy I had over and I saw this giant spider on the ceiling right above my head. I just stared at it because it was so surprising to see it, and then it dropped right toward my face and I screamed and jumped up to turn on the light. Every couple of weeks this would happen, always a giant spider on my ceiling, for years.

    I’m 36 now and for the past few months, I’ve been having hallucinations every night. Usually, my bedroom plant reaching out toward me. Recently I’ve also started to hear a person shouting – sometimes a male voice sometimes a female voice – always just one loud shout coming from under my bed.

    I looked up this site because two nights ago I had my normal hallucinations and turned on the light and they *didn’t go away*. It scared the shit out of me because turning on the light always ended them and I could go back to sleep. That night I had tried drinking tea with valerian root in it to help with sleep and I think that’s what did it. Needless to say I won’t be drinking that tea again.

  7. Hello,
    I am a 21 year old woman and I have been experiencing these vivid hallucinations for the past two years. Once every 2 weeks or so I typically experience at least one or more hallucinations upon waking up in the middle of the night. They are usually horrifying experiences but I try to brush them off. I am not sure if it’s a good idea to talk to a therapist or something. I brought it up to my regular doctor but she just recommended that I try and meditate. I found the advice unhelpful and I would do anything at this point to get rid of them. I initially planned on just waiting it out and seeing if time would get rid of the hallucinations. It’s very frustrating and I do not want to deal with them any longer. However, I feel as if I do not have a good enough reason to see a therapist and I don’t want to go if I don’t have to. What would you recommend the best option is?
    Thanks!!

  8. Judy Finkelstein

    Hi. I am 54 years old. About 7 years ago I had my first event, not sure whether it’s a dream or hallucination. I wake up screaming at the top of my lungs (a type of scream I can not replicate if I tried), and I bolt up in bed. Each time I think someone is standing next to my bed and about to attach me. Sometimes it includes someone climbing in a window. It has happened probably about 1-2 times a year. Each time, the event happens 1 to 1 and 1/2 hours after I go to bed. I am a great sleeper, and never drink or so drugs. Never have. I do take a lot of medications but have taken them for many more years than this is going on. I am terrified after the event and take a long long time to fall back asleep. My husband usually wakes me/brings me back to reality. The event feels so real and I always remember what it was. I was calling them night terrors, but since I remember them I’m not sure they are that. No history of this for me or anyone else in my family. The very first time this happened, we had watched breaking bad that night, and there was a scene of someone breaking into a bedroom in the middle of the night through a window to attach a woman sleeping. Since my memory of events was so similar to that, I wrote the event off to that scene. Next one was about 8 months later and they’ve been sporadic since then. They are very upsetting to me, and I always worry that it will happen while in a hotel or cruise where other people could hear me. Would love to hear thoughts and understand if these are nightmares to r hallucinations or what. Thanks.

  9. I’m 26 and I’ve been having hallucinations for the past few years, I’ll wake up during the night and I see someone in my wardrobe and convince myself that they are going to kill me, or I feel snakes in bed with me and jump out instantly and go and turn the light on. Once I’ve even bitten my boyfriend when he was cuddling me during the night because I thought it was a snake wrapped around me, I actually woke the whole house up screaming, it is so scary, and it makes me not want to sleep.

  10. Ok so I’ve been going through all the comments and realized that all of your Sleep paralysis symptoms are much worse than mine. Earlier this year I began having sleep paralysis but instead of seeing anyone, I’d just see a flash of a white light before everything goes back dark and then a voice begins to talk to me. The first time I prayed because my mother said it helps and whatever it was told me “god can’t help you, no one can” and well I don’t really know what to say to that lol but then they began saying weird stuff like they were an alien and well me being me I believed the voices and thought it was my time yet I ended up waking up on my face and every time I wake up in my face and once I ended up going to sleep and felt the sleep paralysis coming over me and couldn’t do anything but talk to myself. I honestly don’t have a clue why my sleep paralysis isn’t as severe as everyone else’s but it’s still something really scary to think about.

  11. I am in shock that this is real & normal. I’ve heard the radio, vehicles, music, and people talking before I go to sleep, for years! I blamed it on everything, including my ceiling fan and stand up fan. My husband never hears it and we live in the middle of nowhere, so it’s very quiet. Lately, I’ve experienced Nocturnal Panic attacks, 4-5 times a night and a few nights more than that. I wake up and see shapes of people in my doorway. We put a lock on the door and close it, Now I am awaken to real-looking people. My husband says my eyes are closed sometimes when I see these things. But I would swear my eyes are open, since I saw the exact image of my room. There was a couple, Man & Woman, wearing later pioneer clothes and looking into a crib. Not at me,. One was just a woman who seemed familiar but again not looking at me. I have, for the last 4 months been smelling cigarette smoke when there isn’t any. I can’t go into a tire store or a place that has a lot of that specific rubber smell, it closes off my airway.

    I’ve had a lot of trauma over the last few years and I’m seeing 2 therapists and my primary care doctor regularly. I’ve told them of the nightmares, sleep problems & was diagnosed with Nocturnal Panic Attacks. I’ve not told them of the smoke smell, the sounds going off to sleep or seeing people. I thought that was a 1 way ticket to the Psych Ward. My husband has to wake me up when I am unable too due to whatever is happening. In my dreams, Sometimes, I’m trying to scream for him but he can’t hear me and I’m paralyzed.

    As bad as this sounds, I’m so thankful to know others are experiencing some similar things. Not thankful that people are dealing with all this, but I’m not alone… and maybe not crazy?

  12. I have been constantly seeing floating letters in groups going across, up and down my ceiling or walls sometimes white or red yet can not read what it says? I haven’t been sleeping well and have severe depression so I was wondering if I was hallucinating or a side effect of the medication I take?
    Can you give me some advice as it beginning to happen often? I had them today and I had a pretty awful and stressful day so far?

  13. Two years ago I had a dreadful nightmare and when I woke I lay quiet thanking God it was a dream when the room began to fill with light. I lay and watched how lovely it was and beautiful colours. There seemed to be a kind of dome around the room made with honeycomb segments of glass. I thought what is this and got out of bed to see if it was outside. All was still and dark front and back of the house so I went back into the room and lay on my bed and enjoyed the lovely feeling it gave me. When I left the room I never took it with me and I saw it when I reentered. That’s what puzzled me. Two nights ago I was sleeping in a different room and I had been to the toilet. As I made myself comfortable I saw a ball of different coloured light flickering like fire and it hovered up towards the ceiling. I lay down and closed my eyes because I was worried I thought I’m going crazy. Through my eyelids I could see a bright light and I opened my eyes and my wardrobe was glowing and the pattern I had painted on it in muted colours stood out sharp. I must have kind of fainted cos I woke in the morning. I wish I had looked at the ball of colours again to see why my wardrobe was glowing. I rang my daughter because I was afraid I’m going crazy.

  14. I had my first hallucination in my early twenties it was a figure it held my hand and helped me out of my bed to my bedroom door I then turned the light on and it disappeared. Just recently I’ve been getting hallucinations again. I had this face staring at me from above I couldn’t work out what it was human or creature like, horrible. It’s Like being in a horror movie hearing voices, touching sensations and seeing weird patterns. It feels so real I’m sure my eyes are open when I see all this stuff, or I imagine they are. Really scary.

  15. I recently started seeing spiders and I feel like I am trying to wake up. My eyes are open and after a few seconds, the image is gone. I have had depression for over 20 years (. Started when I sustained a serious injury while I was working as a nurse). It was so bad that it ended my career. Also, I take a muscle relaxant every night but have for years also

    1. I see spider also. My hallucinations are usually only a few seconds long and strikingly realistic. Most of them in the form of big spiders like the size of my hand disappearing behind my line of sight. Last night was the first ever time I saw a spider and actually JUMPED out of my bed and ended up tearing apart my covers looking for the phantom spider. I think I had a few different hallucinations when I was little but now I’ve had a couple over the last two years.

  16. So I’ve been having these hallucinations for a very long time. But they’ve gotten worse within the past few years. I will see people standing in front of my face and it will freak my family out. I also see bugs crawling on me and on my walls. I will wake up to pictures on my phone of things I don’t remember taking, and it’s starting to freak me out. Especially since the other night I truly thought someone was in my house and in my closet. Should I see a dr?

    1. Yes, please go to your doctor and without giving too much information, have your blood tested for anything unusual. Also, before assuming you need medication or counseling do some soul searching. How well do you know the people around you? How long have you known your partner or spouse, or any new friends? Coworkers?
      While it’s easy to assume you are unraveling, how do you know that your symptoms aren’t coming from a person trying to do you harm?
      We like to think the best of others, but not at the expense of your own well being. It’s a different world we are in from what we were taught to believe.
      Check everything that could be the root cause and not just yourself. Be safe and well.

  17. I have been seeing patterns and shapes on my walls at night for a long time. I also see things coming at me – mostly a small branch, like from a bush, with tiny leaves on it just floating toward. It goes by me and goes up my wall. Sometimes I see a large white object coming right at me – one time it turned into a huge bouquet of flowers right next to me.

    Lately, when I look at a light fixture in the ceiling, I see movies, photos, faces, all kinds of things.

    When I was a kid I used to see pigeons in my bed and scream my guts out. My father would have to come in and convince me they weren’t there. The things I see now are kind of interesting, they don’t frighten me, but I do wonder what causes them.

  18. I often get sleep paralysis and feel like I’m screaming for help for hours.
    I’ve had hallucinations a lot too but most commonly when I’m exhausted if I wake up for a drink in the night or to use the loo – it’s like the ceiling is made of static and the walls have black writing scribbled all over them with no distinguishing words.
    It’s an odd sensation.
    But the sleep paralysis hallucinations tend to be young children “hiding” from an intruder down my side of the bed or asking for help. It’s terrifying.
    Usually sleep paralysis though is just me knowing I’m having it, but panicking about no one being able to hear me screaming – I rely on my dreams to wake me when I have asthma attacks (I dream about drowning and suffocating a lot and that’s usually how I know I’m in trouble) so I think the panic is worse when I feel like I can’t breathe.
    But meh.
    I’m told they are more common with exhaustion and I have them a lot.
    Needless to say, I don’t feel rested when I do sleep.

  19. When I’m falling asleep, sometimes I’ll hear voices. Pretty much every time I wake up, I see fractal patterns and symbols and flashing lights, sometimes they turn into faces and weird shapes. During this, my thoughts run wild, sounding like schizophrenic ramblings in my brain about aliens, mind control, etc etc. Maybe it’s all true, idk lol. This all started when I took LSD a couple of times almost 2 years ago, ever since I’ve been prone to these hallucinations. I try not to worry about them too much, but I admit they are endlessly fascinating, almost annoyingly so.

    1. Sometimes I wake early in the morning & have very strange feelings & see vivid pictures in my mind of shapes, animals & faces. I try & stay calm & eventually fall back asleep but it is very unpleasant. I have been drinking more than usual during lockdown & I am going through the menopause

  20. This is happening to me almost nightly. It’s getting so bad that I go a day or two without sleep because I cannot stand it. The kind I see are figures and faces. It’s like the figure is doing something (“churning milk”, “looking at something,” “standing there”) and then becomes aware of me looking at it and it will lunge at me! Other times, I’ll see a face and it attacks me! Other times, I feel a presence like something is pressing on my legs! I don’t know how much more of this I can take.

    1. Hello Ryan! I suggest that after evaluating yourself or being evaluated for mental illness, recreational drugs, etc. you should get a sleep mask that covers your eyes. It helped me with my hallucinations and hopefully it can help you too!

  21. I can’t believe how many recent comments there are on this site, so I thought that I would share my experiences on here as well! I’m 28 years old, and been having hypnagogic hallucinations for about 4 years now. I’ve always been confused as to what they were, until finding this article just now.

    I always knew that while having them I’ve been awake, but I also knew that the things I were seeing weren’t there. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago when I was sitting around a campfire joking about “dreaming when I’m awake,” that my friends teased me and said that it sounded like I’ve been hallucinating.

    Why I hallucinate the things that I do, I have no idea, because I personally find that they’re odd. Even so, while they’re happening, it feels incredibly real.

    Mostly, I see balloons—lots of them—floating on my ceiling. They’re dark grey and black because of the darkness, but I can make out their shape and see their strings hanging down.

    Other times, I see spiders—BIG spiders, almost the size of lobsters. Luckily, I’m not terrified of spiders, but I once saw a group of spiders so large crawl out of my ceiling, that I flew out of bed and ran to the other side of the room to turn my light on. Last night, I opened my eyes about an hour after falling asleep, and saw a “lobster spider” in its web so close to my head that I froze, and found that I could “see” the intricate detail of the web. When I realized that it wasn’t there, it disappeared. I had my curtains open last night so the moonlight somewhat lit up my room, but the hallucination still occurred.

    The scariest moment I had, however, was one night when I was home alone, and I had just opened my eyes. It was the early morning, 3 am, and I found myself staring at the open bedroom door leading into the hall. Suddenly, the door slammed shut with such force that I screamed, only to realize that it had never closed at all.

    If balloons and spiders are the worst that it gets, that’s fine by me. But I’m not sure that I’ll ever be fully convinced that what I’m seeing isn’t real when I’m in such a groggy state!

    1. Funny your name is Kay my parents initially wanted to name me Kay but chose Kate instead and you uploaded this comment at 4:29 and my birthday is 4/29 … Your comment stuck out the most because I have the same thing with the huge lobster spider and its weird because it’s like ill be laying down falling asleep and like something says in my head (not a voice or anything) look a spider ! and idk if my eyes are open already or I’m opening them but it feels like I’m opening them and then I see the huge spider in the midst of my color changing low strip lights I jump up, turn my light on and there’s nothing there. I’ve also had the same experience with bugs in bed crawling the same way I just like jump up abruptly turn on lights freak out basically and nothings there. Wild!!

      1. This started two years ago. I’m 57.
        I see things superimposed. There are countless images and they are always moving. If I close my eyes, they disappear. So I close my eyes and go back to sleep. It’s freaky.

        1. I have just started having sleep hallucinations, I guess. I see all kinds of objects. I’m 55 & just started this about a month ago. Last night, it was like I couldn’t get it to go away & I freaked out. I guess I had a panic attack. I have never heard of this & it’s driving me crazy. Has anybody been told why they do this? I haven’t started taking any new meds, don’t drink. Idk what to do. I told my Dr & she said I have to get my eyes checked well to start with & she’ll go from there.

    2. I also get these spider hallucinations. And every time it happens I physically leap out of bed and find suddenly wake up, halfway across the room. It’s very unsettling.

    3. Kay, have you ever had your eyes checked for FOOKS disease? I see spiders too and got checked and they told me I have FOOKS disease. Its inherited from one of your parents and can be treated. I hope you go and get checked.

    4. I’ll be dreaming a normal dream. Sometimes even happy. Then a horrid scary voice screams at me. Screaming my name and telling me to get down there.

  22. Hello, I just saw this site this morning. I am an older person in my 70’s but I have had certain types of vivid dreams or hallucinations since I was a teenager. Before I had to have my own bed due to sleep apnea, My husband would roll over accidentally and touch me. Apparently, I would start pounding on him and he was in serious pain. In the past before marriage, I would wake up and see animals or persons and the animals scared me (a tiger for instance at the top of the bed near my head). I thought I had beaten it and they stopped. We come to 2020 and it seems that I have developed something I can’t explain. I sometimes feel disoriented as if I were in the “upside down” (borrowing from Stranger Things). When I would wake to use the bathroom I found that the bathroom wasn’t along that corridor but behind me. In addition to these incidents, I would see orbs of glowing light, some with sparkles and some with colors. I also would see on occasion shadows peeking from behind objects in my room and they would wave to me. The worse thing that happened in a while and makes me talk about it now was I went to go to the bathroom and I suddenly had someone sleeping next to me. I spoke to this person and said “get out of my bed”. I tried to moved away from it and suddenly I was turned around in the bed facing the other way and couldn’t find my pillow. Very strange and frightening. I have also noticed that during the day on occasion if I stare at something in the room as to be thinking I would see things move. When I looked at the ceiling I saw the outline of a young boy putting a harness/leash on a big dog (this is just outlines of the shapes). The ceiling turned a blue and yellow polka-dotted sensation.

    It scares me as Alzheimers runs in both sides of my family. I also have been antibody tested for Covid and it was positive. But it is strange that these things would frighten me to death. Right now I know there are birds outside of my home knocking on the outside walls. I try and get them to go away.

    Has anyone had similar experiences? Just to mention, I also see faces in most things that are not meant to have faces such as swirled ceilings or patterned glass in a shower. Any thoughts on this would be helpful. I feel now I need to see someone to tell me I am not crazy cause my husband thinks there is something wrong.

    1. Hey Karen,
      It’s interesting you say that about covid because i had very mild, very rare “hallucinations” (they are but i didn’t know they were) usually just visual stuff and typically only geometric tunnel-like patterns or sometimes if i unfocused my vision enough everything would start to morph together kind of or it would move kind of like in an LSD trip (never taken any kind of drug except antidepressants but this was before this) and i got sick once in February and I’m not sure what it was but it was awful and ever since then these hallucinations have increased and now this is my second time seeing geometric patterns after i wake up (still dark though) and I actually got covid in june and it wasnt as bad as that time in February but i also wasn’t exposed to a lot of it this time. The only difference this last time was having black spots (in the light they kind of look like floaters but piled on) that never go away. But since February i have had the flashing light when i wake up and it seems to go away after my initial scare of waking up. My sister who had never gotten super sick anytime this year, even with covid (lucky i suppose) says she has the flashing lights but thats before she goes to sleep not after like mine. Not sure if this could be something covid related(caused by covid or was made worse from it). This is a reason why i take covid seriously because even if you survive, who knows what changes you’ll experience. It’s scary for sure.

    2. Karen since you are older, have you ever heard of something crawling into your bed and gently shaking it back and forth, once it gets up to my head it stops remain there. It makes sure it thumps the bed and wake me. It happens during the day too. I move to my couch and it follows and do the same. I can’t sleep.

    3. Hey karen. I kinda shriveled a bit when you mentioned the polka dotted thing. As it has happened to me twice this day and also think i had covid. Didn’t get tested because my mom had a positive test and we just assumed we all had it.

      I’ve been having weird psychiatric kinda symptoms. And my dad is a doctor. He showed me an article where they talk about how covid can also cause psychiatric symptoms that prolonged for a while.

      Yesterday I was reading about it. A part of the people in the study had it so much worse than this. But the good thing is that the ones that had milder symptoms did recover.

      Be hopeful, I wish you the best. Do see a doctor if you ever feel too disoriented. Good luck

  23. Hi
    So this happened last night. My day was fully loaded. I slept the night before very late that I only had 2 hours of sleep that I had to wake up at 7:30AM. I started my day with a coffee and did a lot of rides along the day. I came back home by 4PM. I stayed up till 9PM so I can fix my sleeping schedule. After that, I woke up for no reason at 2PM. So I tried to go back to sleep which took me a whole hour of trying and finally when I was that close to sleep I started hearing hissing and humming inside my head and it started to get loud by time so, I closed my eyes for 5mins trying to make it go but it couldn’t help it and I started to feel like I’m paralyzed that I couldn’t move a muscle that’s when I decided to open my eyes to see a terrifying mummy-like creature that was standing very close by my head and looking at me. So I closed my eyes again started praying for this not to be real for 1min and when I opened it there was nothing. I slept that night with the lights on.
    I know that’s a long one but I wanted to tell the whole story to see if someone can help me out because actually this didn’t happen for like 3-4 years now and this is the first time to happen with this amount of terror.
    Thank you for your time.

  24. I am a different type of experience. I wake up and see more like imagine that the love of my life is getting head from someone other than me… It’s horrible and when get up or turn to hold him no one else is there. I can’t stand it… And I honestly don’t want him to know this has happened to me before in past relationships…

  25. Cindy-lee Bailey

    I experienced this a few nights ago. Something woke me up around 02h30 AM and as I awoke I saw a luminescent, white, fairly large, muscular, male figure walking slowly out my bedroom door. It was only for a few seconds but I was so frightened that my entire body was paralyzed and my heart was palpitating. I was so scared because I at first thought it was an intruder in my home. I never want to experience this again.
    Another experience I had was with sleep paralysis, last year. I awoke to something trying to smother me with a sheet. My entire body was paralyzed as I tried to reach up to grab and pull the sheet off of me but my hands were just not close enough. After a few seconds, the sheet just floated off to the side and I could breathe again. I was so out of breath once the episode was over. Both experiences have been frightening.

  26. I saw a luminescent white knight swinging a sword at the foot of my bed…I was not asleep or tired…everytime it swung it sword down I would yell ‘ no stop’ it would stop and continue to swing his sword and I would yell the same…this continued a few times…THIS WAS REAL!…want does this mean?

    1. Hi.
      I had an experience last night also. I was fast asleep and was distributed by a very illuminating light. I slowly opened my eyes to see 3 baby girls hovering around my room. I could just see their curly hair and features. I jumped out of bed and turned on the light. I recited the Lord’s prayer twice. I can assure it was a frightening experience..so I slept with the light on. This has happened me on a few occasions..and as I live alone I change rooms..but it still happens..at least now I know I’m not alone.

  27. Hello All

    Yes, I got this frequently (hypna) when I was younger and I’ve had all sorts of experiences.

    Thankfully I don’t get it so often now, but here are a few experiences:

    1) I regularly see flying insects or wasps or ants on the bed. It scares me and I’m often swatting my arms around the room or hiding under the duvet. These thankfully don’t last too long.
    2)I’ll sit up in bed and I’m in my car, driving around. A car might stop suddenly in front, and I’ll stretch my foot as if I’m pushing the brake pedal. I hear the screech of the car stopping. This will happen on repeat….or I’ll be driving around trying to find a parking space
    3) I’ve seen ghostly figures in the room or they’ve swooped at me trying to kill me. This really is scary and I often scream. I usually end up turning a light on to prove it’s not real…even though in my head I’m saying it’s not and to wake up from my hallucinations
    4) When I started my first job as a teen, I was a check out girl. I’d often hallucinate and do my job! Greet the customer, I’d ‘beep beep’, ask if they had a spend and save card. Hear a response (respond accordingly) and take payment. Then repeat…
    5) The first I ever remember, was when I was about 13. I’d landed the role of baby bear in Goldilocks with a local theatre group. I would have full-blown rehearsals in my bedroom. All the cast acting it out. Me saying I can’t participate, because I know I’m tired and it’s my bedroom, but couldn’t go to sleep as they won’t leave and rehearsals hadn’t finished.

    Regarding how I helped to stop them,
    When I was getting them every night, I would sleep with my bedroom light on, which helped break the cycle for a little while.

    My partner also helps these days and rather than startling me or “waking me up”, will listen to what is going on and come up with a solution. E.g . Say, “rehearsals is over, you can sleep now”, or if I’m driving round to find a parking space, will say “look there is space there, well done, you’ve parked. Lay back down now”

    I’m also so used to them know that I know instantly when they start it’s not real. So I try to talk myself out of them and will do something on purpose to prove the objects aren’t real. E.g. putting my hand through them.

    I tend to find these days I only get them if I’ve started something new (so I practice them in my hallucinations to problem solve) or I’m stressed about something. So maybe once a month or a bit less.

    But it really was horrible as a teen /young adult as I barely got any real sleep, because my hallucinations could be on repeat for hours and hours as I watched the clock go by. I would be so tired for school the next day.

    I do wonder whether it has affected my memory in the long term, as it is awful and I’m only in my early 30’s now.

    I hope some of this information was useful and somewhat reassuring.

  28. My grandmother hallucinates bees (that glow) making a hive in the ceiling of her bedroom. It has happened multiple times before sleep and after waking up. Any ideas?

  29. I am 67. This has only happened the last couple of weeks on about 5 different nights. Always towards the end of my sleep. The first time I opened my eyes and high on the wall was a garden scene and people moving around. Next time it was like colorful shapes in front of me, then a yellow teddy appeared in front of that. Two days ago I saw the dog who was sleeping in the next room jump up onto my camphor wooden box that is adjacent to my bed. I knew these things weren’t real but seemed very real. I do suffer from insomnia, but I have for many years and this is only recent. Pleased to know I am not the only one.

    1. You are not the only one, I keep hearing things move around my room…whistling and banging every now and then when I wake up then I’m so scared because I’m waking up in the middle of the night and don’t want to get out to turn my light on. It keeps me up for hours as well after x

  30. I’ve had this for years but now it’s more frequent (once a week). These are brief visual hallucinations, mainly involving bugs, spiders, rodents, reptiles and such on/under my bedsheet. I act on them for a moment (checking the bedsheet, for instance, seconds before I realise it’s not real).
    Hard to say what causes them and why they happen more frequently these days (anxiety, stress?).
    I think that light might be a good remedy – visual sensations that the brain creates are more likely to happen in the absence of light – maybe it has something to do with sensory deprivation…

  31. This has happened to me twice now, the first night I had woken up at 5:40 am to see something looking at me. I then turned on my phone light it was gone, my light turned it off it was back in a different spot then I had to sleep with my light on as I was scared. The next night I slept at my friend’s house with the hall light on nothing happened. Last night I slept in my room without a light waking up at 5:30 thinking I see two things/spirits now. I then turn on my light and itS gone I stay up until 6:30 as I was scared and then slept with my light on. Anyone have suggestions as to what I can do.

    1. Hi. I read sleeping with multiple low lights on throughout the room and an eye mask half down your eyes helps. I have terrifying dreams like yours. This seems to help me. I got relaxed because this worked well for me. Although it took some adjusting to lights being on as I’ve always slept in the dark. I started lowering the lights. The night terrors started again.

  32. So this has happened to me probably once or twice, one was last night. I have this hobby where I build and fly 3d rc helicopters (look it up). Anyway, now that I think about it seems to have happened a few times. I remember one where I just got a new pre-built one, and I kept finding it in my bed. I kept moving it around and trying not to break it. I just got a new one and recently started building it. Anyway, I was assembling a part right before I got to bed, and then I just kept assembling it in bed or something like that. I kept freaking out cause I thought I’d lose some screws or break something because I was in bed. I kept grabbing my phone and forcing myself to come back to my senses. But as soon as I put my head down it started again and I couldn’t ignore it it was like I was totally fixed on the task, even though I was telling myself to stop.

    1. I’m here because I experienced my girlfriend having one of those visuals or hallucinations last night. I was just watching Netflix and all of a sudden she’s standing on top of me pointing at me yelling spider watch out!! I jumped up freaked out since I might have not seen it or something but there was nothing. So maybe it got away but an hour later it happened again so yeah I was getting a bit worried about her and it scared the hell out of me. She didn’t even want to talk about it the next day but she says it happened before.

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