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.

818 CommentsLeave a comment

  • It’s 11:36pm & I just woke up screaming again. I woke up to see a man walking down the side of the bed towards me so I screamed like I do every time and turned on the light and he disappeared. Then I felt like an idiot & hoped the neighbours hadn’t called the cops because they thought I was being murdered. This happens to me once in a while. Sometimes it’s spiders but usually it’s a man. A few times I’ve woken in the morning and see someone standing beside my bed just staring at me. A little boy once. A woman once. They slowly just faded away. I used to think they were ghosts. I wish I knew how to stop this. I’m so tired.

  • For years, mine have been seeing spiders on the walls, roaches in the bed, or that the ceiling is cracking and I need to get out of the room. Turning the light on usually snaps me out of it. In the last year or so, though, they’ve changed. I now wake up with a racing heart because someone is telling me that my students (I teach middle school) are missing, or that a student died because I was neglectful, or that I forgot to do something that everyone was depending on me for… I often am in tears, panicked, before I realize that it is a hallucination. I’m wondering if this could be connected to the fact that I was in a major car accident last summer. No one was hurt, but it was my fault and the cars were both totaled. I often think about how it could have been so much worse. Does psychological trauma perhaps lead to these more emotionally intense hallucinations?

    • Hi Katie
      Thanks for your comment, and I’m sorry to hear you’ve been dealing with these issues. I can understand why you must be concerned. It certainly sounds like a possibility there’s some lingering anxiety, perhaps from the accident. Have you spoken to anyone about it, such as a therapist or counsellor. You might find that it helps to talk through what happened and what’s happening for you now. It might also help to wear an eye mask if darkness helps, and to do some relaxation techniques before you go to sleep. You can also try those methods if you wake up feeling anxious or panicky.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • I use to see figures in my room or the clothes in my basket change into a figure when I was little and I would have to turn on the light to show myself that it’s nothing. I was like 15 at the time when it stopped. And now it’s happening again and I’m 21 years old and 40 weeks pregnant. I’m glad that I’m not the only one experiencing it but I just wish it would stop. I can’t go to bed by myself anymore, I need my fiance to go to bed with me now even when he’s not tired. Or I’ll wait for him to finally get tired so that way we can go to bed together. I remember when I was younger my doctor gave me a low dose of sleeping pills to help but it barely did. I always thought that it was just something that happened when your young but I guess not

  • I’ve had these experiences off and on for a couple of years. I’m a very light sleeper and work a combination of overnight tours as well as day tours, so for the past 21 years, I have not had a normal sleep routine. I generally wake up to see brightly colored objects coming out of the ceiling, and recently saw my 12 year old son walking on all fours along the ceiling, LOL. For some reason I don’t get frightened, and the object may last for ten seconds with me looking at it before it goes away. The instance with my son, he walked back and forth for a bit, then walked out of the room on the ceiling.

  • I “wake” up I’m not sure if I am asleep or not and there’s a man, same man every time standing in my room looking at me and I run out of my room as fast as I can and then turn on lights . I become calm and go right back to sleep after running out to forget about what just happened . It’s terrifying and has been only on twice a week for about a year .

  • I think I sleep pretty good but lately when I go to bed tired and feel like I will go right to sleep I end up in like a twilight sleep and have confusing thoughts. I will start out thinking about say what I have to do tomorrow, or what will I wear for work and then my thoughts end up with something totally unrelated like I see myself washing the car. I feel that I am consciously thinking something through and then out of nowhere strange thoughts appear that sometimes I can’t seem to remember what I was thinking and did the strange thought have anything to do with my original thought. I’m 72 years old, not on any medication, very healthy and active.

  • I have several episodes of hallucinations Hypnagogic on a weekly basis and its been going on for many years. I first realized I was experiencing this when I was in college and it now being 17 years from that discovery it still exists. And I know before that that I was always a sleep talker and walker as my parents have described while growing up. These hallucinations are always scary episodes where I scream or need to turn on the lights to make sure whatever it was I was seeing wasn’t’ there, it takes even longer to get my brain to actually believe it isn’t real, even though I logically know it isn’t. My poor husband has a very disruptive sleep pattern because of this. I have come to terms with it and try to make light on it but it is a major disruption to my husbands and my own sleep cycle. I guess it makes me feel a little better that its so called normal. But I really haven’t met someone yet that has as many hallucinations as upsetting as mine. Its really not something I want to live with for the rest of my life. Would hypnotics work to get to the root of if? Thanks for the article.

    • Hi Kristen
      Thanks for your comment. Medication could help you, but that’s something to speak to your doctor about really. You’d have to weigh up the pros and cons of taking them with the pros and cons of not sleep so well. Perhaps it might help to take some steps to cope better as well, such as sleeping with a soft night light to provide some information to your brain when you wake up, doing relaxation exercises before bed and if you wake up with one of these episodes.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • I had spiders or puppies and what not visit about twice a year up until a few years ago. Then intruders started visiting my bedroom (which REALLY scared me) about 2 or 3 nights a week! I did some experimenting with my evening routines and figured out it was a combination of my medication and sugar (in dessert) that was causing it. Now i don’t eat sweats in the evening. I’m cured!

  • I’ve experienced these since I was a child. I always thought it was cause I player with the Ouija board and that the things I see were because of that. I see people, objects, and sometimes feel things. Last night was by far the worst one I had and I yelled out to my husband. It was a very tall aboriginal looking person. I had just ginished watching Six on the history channel and was at the part where members of boko haram were killed. Not sure if what I saw was some piece of that. I took some mucinex DM last night cause I’ve been sick but not sure if that’s the cause. I wish these hallucinations would go away. Unlike other comments I’ve read I in fact do not like them. I do take some comfort in knowing that it can be normal but I just wish I knew my trigger. I wish I had answers so my husband doesn’t think I’m crazy or have some sort of sixth sense.

  • I see “ghosts” at night. They are there at my bedroom door or at the foot of my bed and it seems when they realize I’m watching them they leave the room, always by the door. This started about 4 months ago. I’m driving my husband crazy because I’ll sit up, grab him and yell at the ‘ghosts’ to get out. I dread going to bed because this has gone from a once a month thing to a three times a night thing.

  • I really need help. I’m so exhausted. My hallucinations have got worse. Mine are pure fear and the hallucinations are so convincing. I react to them. When I have them I have to first go through the questions like is it real? Then when I realise I am reacting to them , i often flick the light on in my sleep and do what I need to and then when I’m coming around a bit it takes me so long to convince myself that it wasn’t real. I’ve seen me too terrified to go back to bed.
    How can I make this known to my doctors who are very hard to convince. I need help

    • Hi Jes
      Thanks for your comment, and sorry to hear you’re having a hard time sleeping because of this. I think the best thing might be to suggest to them what you think it could be. Say you’ve done some research and your symptoms seem exactly like sleep hallucinations. That will hopefully help them take you seriously, as it shows you’ve already looked into it.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • 18 year old here, I frequently hear complex music or voices before I fall asleep , probably a couple times a week, the notes said this usually happens in older people, anything I should be worried about?

    • Hi Nick
      If it’s only happening just before you fall asleep, I don’t think you need to worry about it. If it happens at other times during the day, that would be more cause for concern.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • Last night I dreamt I was on a small island with ‘others’ (not sure who). They all jumped down from the island and walked towards the shore. When I jumped down I was caught by the wind and blown around the sky over the beach. I was suspended in the air for a short time totally unable to move. Suddenly a force started to shake me up and down violently mid air. I then felt a pair of ‘hands’ grab me very hard around my ribs. The experience was so real and when I woke I was in a state of complete terror. I have never experienced anything as real and as frightening in my life. I can still feel the hands on me now, hours later. I have had the usual scary dreams but never experienced a ‘tactile nightmare’ and hope I never do again.

  • I’ve had these for years, since I was a teenager. Just as I’m going to sleep I’ll see a man standing over me, then I’ll scream, my husband and kids have had to put up with it for years unfortunately, now they are all used to it. Once I ran out of the bedroom trying to get away from it still asleep, but obviously misjudged where the door was and my arm was black & blue the next day.

  • I came here to see if I can find answers.
    I am aware of astral projection and I have tried it many times.
    Search it up because it is very similar to this.
    Anyway. When I fall asleep during the day mostly I hear things like. Doors slamming shut. Front door opening. Voices sometimes and sometimes when I open my eyes there is weird patterns on my eyes. To the point I can’t see the room properly only these shapes.
    Like last night for example. I was seeing a bright yellow orb light which was close to my eyes and then it burst like a firework and that kept going like a loop of the same thing.
    Partly some of it I believe is astral projection and the other half I think could be this hallucination thingy. :)

  • I had regular occurances (2 a week at least) where I would wake up in terror thinking that there was someone in my bedrooom. It would be an object that my imagination had turned into a person and my waking up and shouting would annoy the heck out of my bf. I found that wearing a mask and drinking a pint of water before bed both helped. I changed my job from teacher to something less stressful and now only get them once per week.

  • I have just began my nqt year so I am stressed but I keep seeing children in my sleep as I wake to start with I thought it was my son but now that the image is clearer I realise it’s. not was starting to worry when I read this article I feel better as I know from an MRI I have leisions on my brain good to know not so crazy well no more than the rest of the world! What can I do to stay relaxed at bed time .

  • I’m 31 and have these experiences too. I’ve found some of the images or events happening are symbolic. I used to wake up thinking there was a snake in my bed, which would freak me out of course. This happened when I was stressed about the questionable loyalty of a friend and hadn’t confronted them about it.
    Last year I saw I giant squid on the ceiling but that was stress from my illustration class (I had to draw a squid).
    I also “come to” during the night and realise I’m not only awake, but talking to someone. I don’t know who these people are supposed to be, or what I was talking abou. I don’t know what causes this one. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Anthony
      Thanks for your comment. I think the waking up and talking might be just you taking some time to fully wake up, with your sleep state still partly there, merging from one to the next. I wouldn’t worry about it!
      Regards
      Ethan

  • I too have frightening hypnopompic hallucinations of spiders when I wake during the night. I can completely eliminate the hallucinations if I wear an eye mask.

  • I see so many talk about this as something they are ‘suffering from’, which puzzles me as I have always thought about it as opposite. A cinema-like experience before drifting off to sleep. I have experienced Hypnagogic hallucinations for as long as I can remember and in fact until recently I thought that everyone experienced it upon falling asleep.
    I see vivid shapes, colours, weird animals, humans with monsterlike faces and half-men/half-beast creatures. It happens almost every night, and has for years (that’s why I thought it was normal:) I have however never been afraid (jolted a few times over snakes or the feeling of falling,) but I immediately understand that it is nothing to be afraid of. As a lover of fairytales and stories the hallucinations have instead been a wonderful and almost magical experience that I hope will never fade.

  • It’s awful I dont no if these are real or my medication. BIt for a fee months now the as been a little girl in my bedroom I wake and she’s there stood next to my tv close to my bed I ask her what she wants but she disapears. Tonight I had been asleep about 20mins and I suddenly woke and the was a tall man stood near my tv close to my bed I said hay what ya doing and he vanished. It this me is it real or is it my medication. Everything seems so real.

    • Hi Lucie
      Thanks for your comment. It depends what the medication is. You could mention this to your doctor and see if they can advise you if the mediation is causing it. If not, it could be a sleep hallucination you keep having, in which case, try the tips in the article to see if they help.
      Regards
      Ethan

  • As a child, I would have rather frequent leg kicks while falling asleep. More recently, I’m over 50, I have been experiencing rather frequent and scary events while trying to fall asleep. I know I am awake still. I close my eyes and then it begins shortly thereafter. I see what appear to be, black ink spots taking different forms. I’m not sure what other colors are present. I also always hear a very loud swoosh sound that starts in my left ear and goes into my head or through my head to my other ear, not sure. It happens quickly out of nowhere and is very loud and disturbing. Last night, I opened my eyes to see if it would happen with them open, I don’t recall if it did, but I know I could not make out anything in the room. It was pitch black. Normally, I can make out some shadows of the door or some other objects. I closed my eyes again and it started again. I was trying to see if these ink-like blobs were forming any distinguishable images, but I don’t recall if they did. I can only say what I am experiencing is loud and frightening. I am on two different meds which I have been on for over a year, so I’m not certain if they would be contributing to this phenomena. I don’t like this at all.

  • I’m so glad I’m not crazy. Or maybe I am but at least not alone. These visuals at night have been happening to me as long as I can remember. I often see a human figure and it remains intact until I shoot up in bed and turn the light on and it is actually clothes on a chair. I see faces often usually in wall hangings which are usually flowers or decorative in nature..again turning the light on they go away. My ceiling fan above my bed scared the crap out of me the other night when the light cover came down off the fan as if it was a hidden camera and went back up into the fan as a sat up in bed. Crazy, right ? I could go on, there have been so many crazy things at night. I’m used to it by now but it still boggles my mind why it happens and what is going on. I have been on blood pressure medication for several years and I am wondering if this is a side effect.

  • This is a very refreshing read. I too have experienced visual and tactile episodes that will wake me up suddenly and have become frustrated with the situation due to the incident keeping me from falling back to sleep. I have experienced geometric shapes, feelings of insects, and appearances of people in my room. I never thought too much about it because I could usually talk myself down from discrediting a very real looking person in my room until I can realize that it is in fact just my chair or a coat hanger for example. What I can bring to this discussion about me to reassure others is that I’ve realized the two incidents that bring upon these episodes.
    I work as a firefighter working a 24 hour shift schedule in a high urban area that leads to very infrequent and broken sleep due to emergency responses, which leaves me exhausted at times. I encounter these episodes when either I am completely exhausted or when I am at the fire station. I very rarely get a good night sleep at the fire station and I never really experience these episodes when I am home having uninterrupted sleep. These hallucinations that wake me up at night that start very real and soon become realized for what they are happen for me only at the fire station where I very rarely have a perfect nights rest.
    This is a good read that makes me realize that it is not just myself that is dealing with this experience. I understand it for what it is and I have become better and quicker at identifying it when it is occurring, which in turn brings me back to sleep faster.

    • I am a nurse and work 13 hour night shifts three nights a week. We have a disabled daughter, and caring for her is a 24 hour a day job. Our stress levels are constantly high and we seldom ever get to sleep through the night. My hallucinations occur upon awakening, now every time I wake up, and consist of spiders, faces, people, shapes. My mind takes objects that exist and turns them into scary things; decorative items on the walls are frequently seen as frightening faces. The worse hallucination occurred several days ago, I opened my eyes to see a group of people standing/sitting in the hall. When they became aware of me they turned and looked my way; and seemed to be talking badly about me. I purposely closed my eyes three times before they disappeared. It was a threatening and scary experience. I am not psychotic and have no mental deficits or known mental illnesses, but I’ve been worried that I might be losing my mind. This thread has done much to quiet my fears and I now have something to go on to perhaps resolve this issue. I’ve been reluctant to go to the MD, afraid that he would automatically assume that I am having visual hallucinations related to psychosis. Thanks for sharing your experiences, everyone. I know I feel better now.

      • Hi Leigh
        Thanks for your comment. I’m glad you found the article and comments helpful. Sometimes knowing you’re not alone makes a big difference. It sounds like it’s possible the stress and probably sleep deprivation from shift work and caring is part of the problem. There’s no harm in talking to your doctor about it, but I’d also see it perhaps as a warning sign that you need to find a way to give yourself some respite from time to time.
        Regards
        Ethan

  • I have these and I kind of like it. When it happens, I know what I’m seeing isn’t real. So it’s rather enjoyable and a bit of a hoot. Sometimes I see (in the dark) what appears to be a swirling electrical field or something around my uncovered arm. If I reach out to touch it, it gets disturbed, like touching swirling water. Cool as hell. I was attributing it to one of my prescription medications perhaps. I am definitely not psychotic. My sleep patterns vary, and some nights I get more sleep than others. I don’t see anything in colors, always in a dark room. I get them both when I fall asleep and when waking in the middle of the night. I just go with it. If I start experiencing headaches out of the ordinary, I may get a brain scan to check for lesions. Otherwise, I’m going to chalk them up to meds and/or funky sleep patterns.

  • Thanks for this article. I’ve been suffering from this for years. For me it always happens as I’m drifting off to sleep. Usually I will jolt up out of bed in a panic because I can see spiders falling from the ceiling on to me. Sometimes it will be a snake somewhere in my bed that I’m frantically searching for until I realise what I’m doing and my husband asks me what am I doing?
    On 3 occasions it has been a person sitting next to my bed watching over me. That is scary and honestly until reading this I thought that it was a spirit, thankfully it has only ever happened a few times.
    I find that I don’t experience this happening as often as it used to, I’m 36 now and maybe only experience it once a month or less. It used to be very frequent in my teens and twenties.
    After reading through the responses I find it really interesting that so many of us all experience hallucinations of spiders, surely this isn’t a coincidence, I would love to find out more about it.
    I think you are right and that stress triggers it, last night I had one of the scary ones where I seen a man next to my bed. I had gone to bed upset and stressed after finding out my cousin is on life support and maybe that is why it happened. From now on i’am going to write down when it has happened and what is going on in my life that might have triggered it.

    • Your experiences are so similar to mine! I’m 22 and had these hallucinations for years, more often then not i will wake to see spiders all over my room or 1 giant spider on my bedroom floor, it scares the living day lights out of me but i have learnt to tell myself its not real and manage to calm down. I also had a snake one once, it was on my pillow and i chopped it in half for some reason and one half went under my pillow which caused me to frantically search my bed until i snapped out of it a few minutes later. The most frightening ones i have had was not recognizing my boyfriend and i would be terrified of him to the point i would be crying and thinking a dead person was walking around my room but after a minute or so i snap out of it and go back to sleep. My ex had a fright once when i woke him up kicking my legs and screaming as i thought a spider was lowering itself onto my face haha. I love reading other peoples experiences as i never really knew what they were. I have always been a sleep talker and used to rummage in my wardrobe when i was young whilst i was asleep but it just seems to have stemmed from that. I may do the same as yourself in regards to the journal, there must be a trigger for it, just a case of finding out what.

  • I’m glad it’s not just me! I always wondered if what I experience was a form of sleep paralysis, but I’ve always been able to move. They’re not too frequent thankfully, but I do have auditory and visual hallucinations sometimes. Strangely enough, only visual when I’m waking up and only auditory when I’m falling asleep.
    I wake up in the middle of the night sometimes and see things like an old man, a woman, a camera tripod once (no idea what that’s about). Once I thought I had a spider on my face and pulled a muscle leaping out of bed! When I’m falling asleep, it’s always the voice of someone I know and I can never remember what they’ve said.
    The visual ones have only ever happened when I’m stressed or upset, and the auditory ones happen at random and are more frequent. It all only started around a year ago. I’m just glad I’m not the only one!

  • I’m in a particularly stressful time in my life and I’ve started to have auditory hallucinations before falling asleep. Sometimes it’s a dog barking, a baby crying, a family members voice yelling my name. Random noises that scared me and I thought I was loosing my mind. This was really reassuring to read. Last night however after I layed down I had a very vivid dream that my boyfriend got up out of bed and had a conversation with me. I woke up right after that but was freaked out to find him asleep. The dream was so real I thought I was already awake. Maybe a lucid dream. I’m definitely going to try relaxing more before bed.

  • I have been having scary hallucinations as I wake up. It is nearly always near the window and uses the form of something that is already there, and then morphs into something else. Because I can see the shape in the darkness that is already there, it scares the crap out of me that I can then see it move/morph into something scary that is coming to get me. This makes me feel petrified, sometimes jumping out of bed with my heart hammering and I have to turn the light on to satisfy myself there is nothing bad there. It is horrible and obviously I don’t always look forward to falling asleep. I had them as a child too, and for much of my adult life. Because I can see the object already there, it scares me because I know I must be awake/semi awake and that’s why I feel so frightened when I see the cad shape move or morph because I know I’m awake, so it is worse than a nightmare. I also have nightmares and very vivid dreams that I always remember. Sleeping is exhausting sometimes!!!

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