Hypnagogic Hallucinations: Things That Go Bump In The Night

geometric shapes image demonstrating hypnagogic hallucinations

Have you ever seen something like this in the dark at night?

Have you ever switched off the bedside light, only to suddenly see strange shapes, animals or figures in the darkness? Perhaps you’ve heard voices or sounds which can’t possibly be real?

If so, it could be that you’ve experienced what’s known as a sleep hallucination, also sometimes referred to as hypnagogic hallucinations.

Many people experience hypnagogic hallucinations at some point in their lives, sometimes on a regular basis. And I’m no exception.

As a child I’d often see strange, multicolored geometric shapes in the darkness when trying to sleep. I used to lie there alternating between 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 these mathematical manifestations. Perhaps I should be grateful for my geeky hypnagogic hallucinations. Especially compared to the disturbing experiences that some people have.

So what exactly is this strange phenomenon and why does it happen? In this article I’ll be taking a closer look to help you understand what you’ve experienced yourself.

Definition

hypnagogic hallucinations occur when falling asleep, hypnopompic when waking upHypnagogic hallucinations are usually short-lasting experiences in which you might see, hear or feel something which isn’t real whilst transitioning from being awake to asleep.

It can be an auditory, sensory, tactile or any other sensory experience. Whatever form it takes though, it’s not real and is caused by your amazingly creative brain.

Hypnopompic hallucinations are exactly the same thing, except that they occur while you’re waking from sleep. For the sake of simplicity I’ll refer to the phenomenon as hypagogic hallucination throughout this article.

Both hypnagogic and hypnopompic hallucinations can be very vivid, so can be disturbing in some cases. Especially if you see creatures appearing in your room, voices saying unpleasant things or feeling something touch you.

The history

Hypnagogic hallucinations were first described in 1664 by the Dutch Physician Isbrand Van Diemerbroeck. He might not have called it by the name we know it as today, but he did describe a woman who appears to have experienced hypnagogic hallucinations.

How many people experience it?

up to one third of people experience hypnagogic hallucinations in their lifetimeThere hasn’t been much research done to find out how many people experience this. But the following surveys and research show how common it might be:

1. A telephone survey in the United Kingdom in 1996 of 4972 people found that 37% experienced hypnagogic hallucinations twice a week or more.

Furthermore, 12.5% experienced hypnopompic hallucinations. It was more common among people with insomnia, excessive daytime sleepiness and mental illness.

2. A review of 35 different studies in 2011 found that 7.6% of people experience sleep paralysis in their lifetime. We’ll see later how sleep paralysis often occurs alongside hypnagogic hallucinations.

3. In 2000 a survey of 13,000 people found that 38.7% experienced hallucinations, though 27% were in the daytime. 2.7% of people had them once a week, with 2.4% more than once a week.

So you can see that if you do experience hypnagogic hallucinations, you’re definitely not alone!

Symptoms of hypnagogic hallucinations

It’s possible to experience hallucinations that correspond to any of your senses, though visual hallucinations are the most common. They can be experienced from between just a few seconds to a few minutes:

  • Visual – for example the geometric shapes in the picture above. But possibly also images of people, animals or other complex shapes.
  • Auditory – this can be simple sounds like hissing, humming or whistling. But it can also be more complex sounds like human voices. It may also be extremely loud, similar to the sleep disorder known as exploding head syndrome.
  • Olfactory – perceiving smells which aren’t actually there, either pleasant or unpleasant.
  • Tactile – this can be very disturbing, such as feeling insects or spiders crawling on the skin. It can also be a strange rubbing, stroking, tapping or tickling sensation.

Furthermore, there can be more complex hallucinations as part of sleep disorders such as sleep paralysis. You may feel unable to move your body, and perhaps see or sense a person or presence in the room.

Causes

The latest international classification of sleep disorders manual in 2014 presents the following 2 main causes, though does state more research is needed to confirm them:

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

The causes of sleep hallucinations may also be related to another illness or sleep disorder. For example, they’re often associated with these sleep disorders:

  • Narcolepsy.
  • Sleep paralysis.
  • Exploding head syndrome.
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness.
  • Sleep terrors.

They can also be associated with a mental illness such as Schizophrenia. Each of the above will have a particular way of explaining the causes that’s relevant to them.

In addition there are some things which might lead to an increase in frequency or intensity of hallucinations, including:

  • Stress.
  • Sleep deprivation or exhaustion.
  • Electrical activity in the brain.
  • Drugs – particularly illegal drugs such as hallucinogenics, ecstasy and marijuana. But also some medical drugs, including sleeping pills.
  • Brain damage or lesions.

Treatment

relaxing can help reduce stress and prevent hallcuinationsA doctor would want to rule out any of the other illnesses or sleep disorders first, particularly narcolepsy and schizophrenia.

If you do have one of those, then your treatment would be tailored accordingly.

For example, Schizophrenia is usually treated with anti-psychotic medication. Narcolepsy will be treated with advice about lifestyle changes and possibly medication.

For most people, however, there’s no specific treatment for hypnagogic hallucinations and reassurance is the main need. It’s something which you just need to accept as a normal part of life.

Despite that, there are lifestyle choices you can make which may help. And the same applies to those who experience them as part of another sleep disorder. Here are some ideas which may help keep the hallucinations at bay:

  • Get an adequate amount of sleep every night, follow a stable sleep schedule and don’t allow yourself to become sleep deprived.
  • Avoid illegal drugs and check with a doctor if any medication you’re taking may be causing it.
  • 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 hear things, perhaps listening to music or the radio at night will help.
  • If you find yourself focusing on visual hallucinations, try to re-focus your mind on something else. So for example, 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 something 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.

Generally though, you can see that hypnagogic and hypnopompic hallucinations are a normal part of life for many people. Once you’ve ruled out any serious illness or disorder, then 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.

If you do find yourself becoming overwhelmed by your experiences, it might help to talk to your doctor for some reassurance. You may also find it helpful to try some relaxation techniques which can help take your mind off any hallucinations.

Your thoughts

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

Do you find they get worse at certain points in your life, or if you do certain things? Have you found anything which helps prevent them?

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

Please note that after years of responding to comments personally, I’ve now decided to leave this discussion entirely to readers.

I will still read your comment before publishing it, but would like to leave the fantastic discussion that has grown here over the years in your hands now.

1,020 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Once I had a dream about my mom throwing up blood when I woke up I was confused because my mom was in the kitchen making breakfast and I ran to her and said mama your alive! And she said, umm of course I am did you have a nightmare?, And I looked at her and thought,crap this is embarrassing…

  • Once when I was nine I was afraid of the dark so I slept in my mom’s room
    One night she asked me to turn on the light so she could see because she needed a cigarette so I got up and was about to get off the bed when I felt a giant wall in front of me. I screamed and said that I was trapped. My mom said I’m just sleepy. But like ten minute passed and I was still pushing and crying finally my mom managed to find her way to me in the dark and put her hand on me
    Then it stopped,I never knew what that was until in school we were learning about phobias and my teacher told me about night hallucinations. Then I knew what it was btw I’m ten
    Also when you told about the geometric colorful shapes I always see those in the dark but now that my mom has a bf I sleep in my own room, those colors actually cheer me up
    But I do have creepy hallucinations time to time

  • I get visual hallucinations and they seem to happen if I wake up suddenly. I see people that are so vivid it is both exciting and frightening at the same time. I am not concerned about being hurt as I know they cannot do anything physical, but I am concerned about the fact that I might have some illness. I don’t know what to do.

  • I was in a dream that felt like forever. Until when me and people I met in the dream went to a place in town. I thought okay, but she told me to get something from someone. I looked and saw that they were my things. I heard a voice and it said “hurry up” so I said “OK” but when I got up it was a blurry creature choking me. I was feeling all the event that was going on my dream. It happened again but I could move my body in this event but with all my strength. I got my phone for something bright so I can wake up and it worked. I got up and remembered that my phone wasn’t near me. I check out if I wasn’t in a dream and I knew it was over for now. So what should I do?

  • I was getting ready to fall asleep around 2 am and I’m about to fall asleep but I just felt off so I opened my eyes and Everything was being covered in black then it turns into black clouds and clears out then there’s a shadow across the room just staring at me there’s no face then it runs fast asf to the end of my bed and stands there and stares at me then a picture of a person I know appeared and my heart started beating faster and that’s person just recently hurt tf out of me :( and then it climbs to the ceiling corner in front of me , looks at me and throws itself at me diving into my chest and all I could do was try to stop it I was kicking and screaming I couldn’t breathe I was hyperventilating my heart was pounding out of my chest I felt like I was gonna die and it just kept coming back all night and my chest hurt so bad it felt stretched out , all I could do was cry and feel super depressed

  • You are the only other person EVER to mention the changing geometric shapes during the falling asleep (hypnagogic) phase. Mine were with eyes closed and they acted like I was zooming in with a microscope – closer and closer to (or deeper and deeper through) various layers they would break apart to reveal different colors or textures underneath. This would continue for maybe 5 minutes or so right after closing my eyes. I loved it. Like a show and different every time. Now the hypnopompic version I can do without. 90% of the time it’s a spider. Sometimes multiples but always a bug or arachnid. Once, after a month taking St. John’s wort, I saw a bird fluttering right above my head. So real I threw the sheet over myself and ran. Stopped the supplement and that never happened again. In fact none for several years. Guarantee I’ll see Charlotte tonight…

  • For over a year when I go to bed I see people, animals and strange figures when my eyes are closed. I have seen people fighting, dancing etc. There are distorted faces and visuals that get larger and look like they’re coming right at me and Sometimes I see bright lights that get darker and dark lights that get brighter. I also hear water running and if I open my eyes I see odd figures in the ceiling. I spoke to my Ophthalmologist about this because I really thought I was going crazy. He sent me to a Neurologist who in turn sent me to have an MRI done. The MRI came back normal but my Neurologist said that I am experiencing Charles Bonet Syndrome which my Ophthalmologist said is not rare and not a disease, and I’m not crazy, However, it is still scary and disturbing for me.

  • When I was 11-16 I would have these terrible hallucinations of seeing some woman wearing white with long black hair coming closer to me but stop and stare at me. She didn’t have a face that I could see but was completely black except the what she was wearing. Now I still see things like shapes that are really just things in my room that my imagination just turns into something else. Thankfully nothing that horrifying to this day.

  • I see many of these hallucinogenic experiences occur whilst waking up so probably still in a dream state, in my case I’m wide awake as it takes me up to 3 or 4 hours to fall asleep, I see faces in minute detail they fade in and out to different faces. It doesn’t bother me too much as I put it down to brain fatigue, but I think it’s interesting and probably the origin of ghost and holy vision stories.

  • This my first experience with this. Usually I fall asleep in a short period of time, but with these visions I had I couldn’t get to sleep at all. I did try deep breathing but relief was short lived. I tried reading, raising my head up but I did not sleep a wink. I do take one 5mg. Percocet for pain due to hormone therapy for breast cancer at bedtime. Could this be the culprit?

    • I can say it’s not likely the Percocet, which I’ve taken for Rheumatoid Arthritis. Especially not a single 5mg tablet. That said, Vicodin gives me horrible nightmares (but never hallucinations) and that’s hydrocodone vs the Percocet which is oxycodone. I can only give my experience. However I can’t speak for any of the hormone therapy or any other cancer treatments you’re receiving. Try leaving a tv on – maybe a music channel you won’t recognize (your brain will automatically sing along and wake you) or leave on enough of a night light so you’ll identify any vision as fake sooner. Good luck!

  • Every single night. Multiple times a night. I wake up to a man hovering over me, young red-headed girl in my room, spiders, snakes, bears. The room closing in. I try falling asleep with the tv on, lights on, nothing helps. If I can somehow manage to get past the first hour without waking up. But lately it’s been within 20 minutes and I’m not sleeping more than 2 hours a night. I hate it.

  • Just last night I was transitioning from sleeping to wakefulness around 4:30-5:00 a.m when I saw a large dark figure start to hover me at the end of my bed. I couldn’t blame it on any nearby objects (such as lamp or tall dresser) because it was coming to me directly in the middle of these things. Fear immediately set in and while I was awake, I (naturally as I could, as not to disturb the thing) covered myself in my blankets for what felt like 40 whole minutes – expecting to feel something press into my bed or to sense it right above me. The instinct was something of a wasp coming towards you – you can’t do anything about it, and if you don’t like it, don’t look. Looking back now, I realize I wasn’t fully awake during this, because seconds into recognizing the figure I told myself this was normal and happens sometimes (the actual shadow figure being an existing thing). Reading this article has helped me realize that while the hallucinations and reactions are very real, every unnatural nighttime adventure that has happened to me has always been sub-seconds from waking and falling asleep again.

    Another odd occurrence happened about a year and a half ago – about 3:00 a.m, I awoke to see a large hallow black orb (similar design to a decorative bed post cap) about the size of a small beach ball start hovering towards me. I knew I wasn’t asleep because the bedroom I was in at the time was not discombobulated (as people and environments in my dreams ALWAYS are). I shot out my arms to protect myself and instantly fell asleep again. When I awoke, my hands were still in the air – I’m not sure how long they were up there but they sure were aching! Scary enough, just recently my mom had a similar experience but her orb was the size of a small basketball and it was solid, translucent and spiky. She told me she actually watched it hover inside her bathroom before she fell asleep again.

    About a month after my orb experience, I awoke to growling beside me with a tiger lunging at me from some bushes. I sprang out of bed (for real), heart racing with a yelp to stare at my bundle of pillows along the wall (next to where my head was) for what felt like 10 seconds, making sure I was truly safe before falling asleep again.

    About three months ago from today, I had a dream I was a camera person following the police on a foot chase. A passerby was sitting on the curb, warning us of an aggressive pit bull hiding under a nearby patio. I turned to look near the bottom of the patio too late – a horrifying, loud growl sounded before a red pit bull lunged at my face. I screamed in my sleep (and actually yelled out in real) and my leg shot out, while now I was semi-awake (as I can hear my cat booking it from my bed in fear), I could not move for several seconds and just felt my leg stay suspended in the air without having any control to put it back down – it fell on it’s own accord, and I fell back asleep once again shortly after.

    That’s pretty much all of the “in betweens” I can recall! I’m 24 with a horrible diet and lazy lifestyle, and my sleep schedule is not always consistent. Definitely something I’ll need to work on – because these episodes are exhausting!

    Thanks again for posting this and answering a few questions I had about myself!

  • When I was 16, I awoke from sleep one night. I could tell someone was in my room as I was a light sleeper. I sat up and turned to see who it was. I could see fairly well in the dark basement bedroom due to the security light from the neighbor’s driveway. What I saw freaked me out… it was the grim reaper standing there in his cloak with his sickle in hand. I immediately turned back around and put the covers over my head. My heart was pounding so fast that I thought it would burst. l laid there completely motionless. Then it was morning and I was waking in sunlight in the same position I had assumed when I became frightened the night before. That was 31 years ago and I can still remember it as vividly as the night it happened. It took me about 18 years to realize that it was only a dream or a hallucination. But for years I had actually thought what I saw was real. Another night around the same time I awoke one night and I could faintly hear a Beatles song playing. I’m not sure of the song’s title, but it’s the one that says… I’d rather see you dead little girl than to see you with another man. And something unseen was moving me, almost kind of spinning me slowly in a circle in my bed. I was grabbing at the sheets trying to stop it. I have no memory after that. I can’t remember stopping or getting back to my pillow. What I do know is that at this time, I was in an abusive relationship. My boyfriend did many horrible things that for some reason I put up with. One of those things he did was to spike my soda with LSD unbeknownst to me. It hadn’t happened within about a month or so of the occurrences, but I still think it had something to do with it. I’ve had other occurrences in the last 10 years involving aliens and odd shapes, mylar balloons spiders dropping down on web-like things. I know what causes those, it’s a muscle relaxer called tizanidine, generic for Zanaflex. It’s known to cause hallucinations. So if anyone reading this sees things and takes tizanidine, there’s the causitive factor. FYI for the last 31 years, when sleeping alone, I’ve been sleeping with a night light, still, at my age.

  • I have this real visions of lady bugs the size of a golf ball walking on the walls when I wake up also I see very complex diagrams in 3-d and very vivid and bright colors, then in a corner of the ceiling dark gray cotton like texture revolving, also levitating and flying out of the window, I like them and I’m happy with my own home theatre…

  • I see a greenish grid pattern / honeycomb on everything when I wake up, usually for ~30 seconds. I thought it was eye-related but it is stationary relative to my room when I look around.

  • I have never had such an experience as I had last night. I awakened suddenly. I do not know what awakened me. (I normally sleep extremely well. I fall asleep quickly; sleep seven hours; wake up. If something happens to awaken me, I fall back asleep quickly.) I saw gray, swirling smoke that was so real my heart started pounding and I jumped out of bed. I thought the house was on fire. When my feet hit the floor, it occurred to me that there was no smell of smoke, so I turned the light on. There was, of course, nothing there. It seemed so real that I walked through the house to check if anything had occurred that could have awakened me from a dream. But the first thing I remember was my eyes popping opened; then I saw the smoke. I had been through a stressful situation that day. A close friend of mine had died, and I accompanied another friend to view the body before cremation so that her husband did not have to do it. It was not my favorite thing to do, but I did not even feel as though she were there. I don’t know if that experience could have caused what happened. All I know is that when I saw that smoke, my heart started pounding and I was really scared; yet I was still capable of thinking logically fairly quickly. When I googled what could have caused it, I read about two types of sleep hallucinations. When I was a child, I had very vivid dreams that I could recall. Now, I rarely have dreams that I recall. I guess I should call my own doctor. (After reading the above, it occurred to me that I did have what I thought was a supernatural experience once. I was traveling in Italy about a year after my husband had died. I was staying in an ancient apartment in a small village. I had just gotten into my bed in a darkened room because a traveling companion was in another bed already asleep. Just before I closed my eyes to pray, I saw a crucifix on the wall in an unnatural place because it was so high that it almost touched the ceiling. I prayed and went to sleep. The next morning, I was shocked that it was not there. Clearly that is two experiences where I saw something while awake that was not there. As I consider it, both experiences were related to grief over death.

  • Yesterday I woke and there was a figure at the foot of my bed. It was the figure of a man but it had no form if you know what I mean. It was wearing a checked shirt. I shouted out ‘hey who are you?’ it turned around to look at me and then faded away. It totally freaked me out. This sort of thing has happened a few times since I moved into my current flat. I assume it is just stress having not lived alone before?

    • happens with me till now it’s almost 11 years .I know how it makes u feel,whenever I see these things freaks me out all the time sometimes I ran out of my bed. Yesterday I hit my head on the wall.i am living with it.

  • Hello. I’ve been diagonsed with complex ptsd. I was wondering about a couple events that had happened in my life. Because they didn’t happen very often I am confused as to why this was happening to me. When I was about five I woke up screaming because, while I was awake, I felt pain from all these little colorful “fairies” surrounded me and laughing at me as if they were evil. It felt 100% real and I still remember how hurt I felt when my mom didn’t believe me. When I became a teenager I had another incident where I was sitting in my room on a normal day and out of nowhere I heard this really demonic evil voice say my name. It scared me so much that I had completely froze and was hyperventilating. The last incident was when I was an older teenager and I was asleep in my bed when I felt something punching the pillow I was laying on three times. That scared the living hell out of me. I don’t know why this happened and idk why it feels so real and why it only happened a few times. Thank you for your time.

  • I turned 61 a week ago but for over 6 weeks I have had hallucinations. It started out that when I woke up before turning any lights on but enough natural light I could see these drawings on my wall, in pencil, that looked like old fashioned houses and stores with a little boy and sometimes girl sitting on the porch playing with a dog. They didn’t bother or scare me. I have many halts problems and just got on Social Security Disability. I had never had anything like this in my life. Then I would see a man standing by my piano in the bedroom but he was not scary and didn’t last but a couple of days. Not just at night I could hear things mainly someone calling a baseball game like on TV. I have smelled things a few times, smoke, cigar smell, and banana. I have also smelled what smelled like it does if you have to have your septic tank pumped out. The only taste I have had was pepper, the kind you put on your food. Then I started to feel what felt like my small dog that had been dead several years, crawling form the bottom on the bed, where she slept with us and I could feel her crawling up beside my leg to the top of the bed, which was what she had really done. I didn’t mind that one at all because I still missed her. I also felt the sensation of someone heavy enough that it felt like they had sat down on the bed. I knew no one was there. None of these scared or hurt me. But for the last 4 weeks even in the daytime and not just in bed and not just in the bedroom but in the living room as well, I can see snakes, lizards, baby tigers, owls and maybe other things. When my husband and I are getting ready to go to bed we turn all the lights on and any of the things mentioned above. I could see the shape, eyes or movement on fitted sheet, regular sheet, comforter and pillows. I would just roll the shapes with a heavy round flashlight until I felt I had got rid of them. Then early in the morning when I wake up, I not only see the forms under the fabric but some of the actual “critter”. It was mainly lizards and snakes. I have only saw 2 rattlesnakes, one with 8 rattles, the other I didn’t take time to count. Then some alligators, some type of big bird with large beaks were added. So when I would wake up in the morning before turning the light on but daylight coming through the curtains, I would roll any I saw and then realized if I put the flashlight light directly in both eyes they just dissapered. My doctor has given me some medication that I have been on for almost 3 weeks the numbers of things are less but now i realize they aren’t real but in the last week and a halo when I would wake up in the morning I would have pain on the bottom of my feet and up my legs. Then this morning I was awakened with the felling of something moving up the arms of the long sleeve shirt I had on. I pulled off one sleeve, looked down in it and saw @ 30 mixture of snakes, lizards and now giraffes. I had to get the shirt off and put in the washing machine. But some of these things which I know have to be non-poisionious or I would be here. I have 2 different type of painful bite marks mainly on feet and legs even though I sleep in socks. Yesterday morning I could see the blood and circle on the sock in a place that hurt, but mainly the bottom of my feet and outside of righ leg hurt the most. There are 2 types of bites: One has a single mark and then a circle about an inch from the dot all the way around.2nd one I see 2 eye marks and can see the outline of the thing that bit me. Which most are lizards and owls and it is probably because I am not a still sleeper, so when I roll over or move it probably thinks I am going to hurt them and they strike out. If these were not so painful and when I rub them (afraid to scratch) I end up with huge bruises especially on my legs. I now also see both of my sisters, sometimes the one who is still married husband, my deceased mother and maternal grandmother, my daughter and her husband and their triplets, 2 girls, one boy that are almost 10 months old, and her 8 yr old stepson that was not quite 2 when they got married and I said I broke the step and that he was my grandson, I also see a couple of my daughter’s friends and then in the morning before lights are turned on lots of baby dolls or dolls of my grandchildren but I can never pick them up. Basically my hallucinations (day and night) are of things I hate (especially snakes) and the things I love family and children or babies. My issue is the pain and marks I have on my body are real to me and end up causing bruises. Of course my husband can’t see anything so he keeps saying none of it is real and that was my thought until the last 2 weeks with the painful bite marks. My question has anyone even had hallicanated things that at some point you feel the bite and see the marks? I am beginning to fear that my doctor and husband are thinking I am crazy, but with the 2nd pill my doctor had me try there are less and less of them but I want them all gone. I have tried to think of something traumatic that happened right before this started and can’t come up with anything. So every night I roll the bed parts, since my husband can’t see any of the things I mentioned. The people can hear me, but I can’t hear them. Some will point at something until I guess the right thing and then I figure out what they were saying or sometimes I can lip read what they are saying to me. I know this is long but wanted to give all the info I had and especially find out if anyone had ever been hurt in any way by their hallucinations. Thank you for taking the time to read this, I was handling all of it the best I could until the biting started and my husband says they can’t bite you because they are not real. I need anyone that has had something similar to comment, so I am not the only one that has this happen to them. I can’t handle much more of the biting, it already looks like my husband beats me on my legs, which we have been married almost 34 years and he has never laid his hands on me and he is a minister. Thanks for any feedback.

    • I kind of feel that you are having some sort of visitation. Are you into prayer? It can do wonders. Pray every night and say aloud that “you belong to Jesus Christ and no one else”. Say, “you must leave because you are not welcome here”. Say it forcefully and with the utmost belief. Say it over and over with more fervor if you have to. This is your sanity and soul you are fighting for. It’s worth it to do and say anything you feel you have to to restore balance in your life. Do it every night. If it doesn’t work, call a priest. I’m serious.

    • If you really have a bite that looks like a bullseye you may have Lyme disease which can cause hallucinations and neuropsychiatric problems.

      You need to see a Dr urgently!

      Also benzodiazepine Withdrawal can cause these symptoms so if you ate on any benzo or z sleeping pill check that.

    • Hi my name is Robert Fabian. I’ve been sick for 3 years now after cleaning some bathroom mold. In the artist 3 years of my life. I could get in 2 hours of telling you what I’ve done, but I’m not going to go there. I read what’s happening to you, sound so crazy but I believe you. Partly because no one believes me.I live in Redlands California I’m retiring April 1st. Just want to wish you all the luck in the world and I hope you get better soon.

  • This honestly made me feel so much better seeing that im not the only one with this problem and that im NOT going crazy haha. I’m 15 and It all started…last year or 8th grade when i started seeing little tiny spiders on my bed- but the spiders weren’t scary at all…they were small and just crawled around. And paired with some faint whispering (very rarely- like once every 4 years) that was the extent of my sleep hallucinations…UNTIL today lmao. I was half asleep and I was about to wake up when i saw this small, 3 ft tall, scary looking gremlin thing just staring at me while I slept- I never jumped up so fast in my entire life and my heart was racing. Anyways, it’s been…about 2 hours since then and now I’m sleeping in my siblings’ room and then i decided to google this crap bc it was slowly driving me nuts.

  • Only once decades ago when I was 4 or 5 years old, I awoke at night in a crib in an orphanage, seeing points of light throughout the otherwise dark room. I stood up and shook a blanket to get the points of light out of my crib. The points of light moved away in waves across the room. All the other young children in the room were asleep.

  • It’s 4:29 am in the morning right now. I woke up at 3 am and haven’t been able to go back to sleep. I started researching online about what I saw last night at around midnight as I turned from my side to my back I looked up and directly over my body at the top of my ceiling I saw what appeared to be a small 1 ft x 1ft grey aircraft hovering above me and as soon as I looked at it, it quickly disappeared through my wall behind me towards my front yard. This is extremely strange to me and I have never experienced anything like this before. It’s really weird and I’m not sure what to make of it. I was able to go back to sleep for a few hours after but I periodically kept waking up and looking in the same spot above me but never saw anything. After getting up at 3, I just couldn’t shake this weird feeling and my curiosity got the best of me and I wanted to look online for some answers. This phenomenon that I read on this post is the only thing that really makes sense to me as far as explaining what I experienced. Either that or some type of alien invasion but I don’t even want to go there, ha. All I can say now is I’m still freaked out and I have my light on in my room. I can’t really find anything online that matches what I experienced and I don’t like that. I want some validity but maybe I’m thinking too much into it and I just want it to be something else, I don’t know but it’s just really weird is all I can say plus I don’t know but I feel like it could be different in this case because it was really weird that as soon as I saw it, it went away through my wall, didn’t just vanish in midair or disappear it was like it ran away no sound just gently hovered through the wall. Oh lord I don’t know maybe I’m just crazy.

    • Literally had the same experience happen to me. With the hovering grey aircraft machine a couple of weeks ago. So strange that we both had this identical experience at around the same time. Damn.

  • I just woke up and turned over and while I grabbed my pillow… still not laying down yet, I saw 3/4 giant spiders on my bedroom door. Watching them crawl up and down and the biggest one onto the ceiling. Obviously if I knew I was fully conscious I’d have been petrified but I wasn’t nervous or anything as I must have known it was no way real. Looked so real until one of them started floating towards me ?

  • I have woken up in the middle of the night so many times , I see black objects move or come toward me like it’s really there . My heart races . Then a few seconds after I keep looking at my wall it disappears. Why does this happen so often to me . It’s scary

    • I had the same thing Kelly. Last night, I remember opening my eyes, and I see this black shadow next to me. I also remember trying to figure out what this was, and then for some reason I was trying to figure out what it was, and I remember identifying it like a man. I start yelling for my mom and I close my eyes and fall back to sleep. She runs to me asking if I am okay? I didn’t remember till she said what was wrong. We have a big house, in the woods, and we converted our three car garage into a studio, and that’s where I currently live. I just graduated and 22 years old. Our house was built in the 1920’s, and we are the second family to ever live in it. this house scares me sometimes, and I have been super stressed with family as well as studying for the LSAT.

  • What if it is a metaphysical, alternate dimension reality we are seeing hearing and experiencing and not hallucinatory at all. Watch the film Wake Up for a very different perspective subject.

      • Agree. I have seen often strange alien like things I cannot explain and black smoke and dark soulless figures and small children with disfigured faces and weird shapes in shimmering gold, silver or orangy red. I have had the house blessed a few times and it stops for a while. I have tried sleeping with and eye mask which works for a while until one time a felt my shoulder being tapped and another hearing a voice whisper in my ear. All these have woken me up to the point where my husband lying next to me has said I have screamed out so loud and jumped up in the air to the other side of the king size bed! One time I almost fell off but he caught me. But he has caught the end of this. One time I woke startled by something and as I screamed he saw it too before it disappeared. My two sons have said they have seen things but very rarely and the youngest doesn’t not like our bedroom at night. Praying and burning incense calms it all down but becoming more serious in my faith can also make it worse. I do believe stress worsen it’s or “attracts” it due to tensions in the home. And sometimes if it’s a waking dream I can now realize in the dream what’s happening and prevent it happening because I can feel my body beginning to become paralyzed normally when I hear a buzzing in my ear or tingling in my body. I was once told that I am in tune to higher frequencies. I am sensitive and pick up bad vibes from places and people. It makes me uncomfortable or agitated and if I’m there or around them too long it has a negative effect on me. You have to be strong. The only way to overcome all of this is to believe that we are more than just flesh and to be fearless. Do not be afraid.

    • Very much possible. Its essentially an altered state of consciousness. I recently joined a meditative school that incorporates breathing techniques and “3rd eye awakening” that actually induces some of the effects they are referring to and coining as “hallucinations”. The problem is that the scientific community isn’t capable yet of measuring these thoughts/experiences empirically so they dismiss them as subjective thoughts/disorders. In fact what you’re referring to (the possibility that we are expanding consciousness to experience a different dimension) is a lot like Interstellar, if you haven’t seen it GO WATCH IT. It’s literally explaining the possibility of the other dimensions that live among our 3-D world, beautiful movie. Matthew Mcconaughey is amazing in it.

  • For years I was seeing very well defined coyotes in my bedroom walking in circles in the dark, on awakening in the middle of the night. Turn on the light and it goes away. Also huge spiders falling from the ceiling. My doctor told me Benedryl, which I was taking for insomnia for years, could cause hallucinations. I tapered off and these images have gone away. I still see cobwebs zooming towards me some nights. My next plan is to stop all caffeine and alcohol and work on good sleep hygiene – regular sleep hours, meditate to induce sleep, don’t read in bed, cool room, turn off bright light outside my window, regular exercise. Aging along with insomnia may be part of it. I really appreciated reading others experiences here.

  • I have just found this site looking for answers pretty much all your sleep problems on here i have got. I have a condition which means i cannot go into stage four sleep. besides the problems on this site i am also experiencing heightened senses which can turn to dulling of senses. also i can be active mentally then i start dreaming at the same time as if half my brain is busy other half going into REM sleep..also seeing images symbols..a heightened intuition to quite a scary level ..I understand why I have these problems ,but my two young children have also started experiencing lucid dreaming, heightened senses and intuition. yet they both sleep well ..any ideas

  • I wake up every night at around 2-3 a.m. into a few seconds of hypnopompic hallucinations of abstract shapes, lines, glowing things, or geometric patterns coming roughly towards me. They’re usually accompanied by some vague sense of menace or intrusiveness, which is a reduction from the night terrors that used to accompany them years ago. I’m 36 and have had similar experiences and since I was a teen.

    They’ve recently changed again. Previously they were clearly part of a dream-like state that resolved into full consciousness shortly after waking up and moving around, but recently I become fully awake quickly, only to see these forms as if they’re totally real and unconnected to my dreaming mind, which I find more unsettling.

    The last few years have been a period of unprecedented stress, anxiety and depression in my life, which has gotten better over the past few months, but still in the red.
    With previous experience I’ve noticed my health take a hit when a prolonged period of stress is on its way out rather than during, so I wonder if this is following a similar kind of delayed response.

  • I had lots last night. Someone tapped on my back first of all. Then I had a very vivid dream that I can still remember. After that I had several episodes of seeing patterns and faces fading and appearing. However I started on beta blockers yesterday (Propronanlol) for BP and essential tremors so I wonder if it’s that as one of the side effects is vivid dreams apparently. I’m hoping it will get better as I get used to them.

  • I have them when I’m waking up, for a few says now I feel like that a couple of rats are cuddling up to me, but when I try to catch them there is nothing there. It kinda scary

    • Ok, I kid you not, the exact same thing has happened to me twice now. It leaves me waking up screaming and trying to get them off, It’s horrible.

  • When i was a little girl when i was trying to fall asleep i would see tons of little spiders the same color as the firs picture in the article. I was terrified and wouldn’t take my eyes off of them. They would be floating everywhere in my room and it looked like they were all coming towards me. The only thing i would do was look at the digital clock in my room because up to where the light of the clock flashed “the halo” the spiders wouldn’t seem to be able to cross over. Now for me this lasted hours. I would know because i had to stare at that clock for a long period of time until i was finally able to fall asleep. I was terrified and sometimes i would go to my mom and la beside her but i would still see them. Other times i left my room and went to sit in the bathroom with all the lights on so I couldn’t see them anymore there since it was only in the dark.
    Now even if i shut my eyes really tight i would still be able to see them.

    This must of been the type of hallucination that happened right before falling asleep as per the articles explanation. Like i mentioned before it lasted hours for me not only minutes.

    • I just posted a very similar comment. I woke up just now to my door having giant spiders on it, crawling up and down the door and onto the ceiling, but my brain knew they weren’t real when one started floating towards me ha! So I wasn’t nervous or scared like I would have been if it was real.
      It happened just after waking up and sitting up to grab my pillow to turn sides.

  • When it was in the middle of the night I heard keyboard clicking and I thought it was my sister so I went to the noise and found nothing. I went back to bed to hear it again. It got louder as something whispered in my ear. I hid myself in my blanket and it helped with the noise and I was finally able to get some sleep

  • I have had this for a few years now. So happy I found this site and a name for it. Always happens only at night when I am in bed. Started as bugs and spiders then it fades away after a few seconds. Now it is boxes with words in them. I saw the word peace and love once, but it happens so fast I can’t always read the words. Always upset me and have no one to talk about it to.

    • I also see words, usually something like a computer screen. Recently, I saw a yellow piece of paper with handwriting on it. I never get a chance to read the word. Also, I have discovered if I put my hand between my eyes and the object, it disappears. Have you ever experienced this?

  • I am thankful to have found this thread. I have had multiple incidences of seeing things while I was awake well I thought I was awake.
    First time it ever happened it was probably 7 years ago, at the time my husband was in Las Vegas, NV and I was in care of our young 6 year old son. It was late at night and quiet. I woke up to my ceiling had caved in. I saw the beams, insulation blowing in the wind, my ceiling fan swaying back and forth on its wires it was vivid. I instantly got out of bed scared and ran to the living room where I stopped, processed and thought to myself seriously? So I walked back into my bedroom to see my ceiling fully intact.
    Probably about 6 months later I woke up to a Huge Red Spider crawling down the wall next to my bed. My husband is awake I immediately start backing out of bed diagonally smacking my husband leg telling him to move. My eyes never left that spider. My husband terrified of spiders is trying to find this huge spider that my eyes are locked on. I finally reach the end of the bed, my one foot touches the floor and instantly I wake up and look around trying to figure out if it was real or not. My husband hyperventilating because of a possible spider trying to calm down; I looked at him and said oh there isn’t a spider? Ok good night and I fell back asleep.
    Those are some examples of what I have been going through. I have began to think I’m crazy I need to go on medication or see a therapist. I had another one last night which prompted me to research it and found this thread. Thank you to everyone who has shared there stories! Makes me feel so much better!

  • Just the other night I woke up at around 2am and saw my cat on one of the blades of the ceiling fan hissing at me. Of course it was just a hallucination. Not just that but another night I saw a toddler that looked a lot like my boyfriends niece just with no eyes. I was so scared I turned my nightlight on and realized it was my imagination but I still felt uneasy going to sleep. I get plenty of sleep I usually go to bed between 9:30-10:30pm.

  • It’s when I first lay down still awake last night I seen my room change color paint was everywhere I see people I heard a voice one night what is it I am tired

  • I have been seeing things when I wake up in the middle of the night. It started last year. I am 21. At first I would see bugs. first meal worms were crawling across the ceiling coming out and dropping on to the bed the next time they were already in the bed and all over the sheet. Then I saw an iguana on my boyfriends leg. Then a metal spider on my stomach which I could feel. These all happened around the same time within a week. I had just gotten a leopard gecko and was keeping mealworms and roaches in the house which don’t freak me out when I am awake because they are in a closed tub. It didn’t happen again for a while but twice now I have seen a figure. Last night it was standing by my bedside table looking down toward my alarm clock. I backed into my boyfriend and told him to turn on a light because there was someone there and I was freaking out. While he got up I continued to watch the figure who was now watching me and when the light turned on it disappeared. I haven’t found a way to deal with them yet.

  • I have had this difficulty for years seeing people at the side or end of the bed and at first thought it was ghosts. After moving several times the people have followed me. Men women and children of all ages and more recently a grizzly bear!
    I sometimes wake up in a state and have to check my husband is still alive because I think he is dead.

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