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 thought 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.


The main symptom is imagining events while falling asleep or waking up that are not 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.


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, 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


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.

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 hear sounds that are not real, 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. 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.

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, 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.

1,170 thoughts on “Sleep Hallucinations: Things That Go Bump In The Night”

  1. I am not sure if this goes along with everyone else. I notice when at night and I’m outside looking at the trees the branches take the form of creature shapes. But angry things like snake arms on some weird guy pointing at me with them. It’s so weird. Some were dancing in the wind. Like they want to taunt me. I thought it was when I smoked marijuana but I only had coffee today and quit smoking herb. I see it now. The tree through my window a large droopy pine tree with weird scary shapes. I don’t like it. It’s been that way for 7 years now that I’ve actually noticed. I am highly stressed. I hope not crazy. It’s a weird thing I tell ya.

  2. I began using drugs and drinking a nice bit. Experimenting and all that. Then the paralysis came on, seeing ghosts and demonic presences in many forms. I would be pinned to the bed screaming for someone to wake me up. Not being able to move filled with instant dread. On many occasions, my girlfriend would wake me. The odd thing was when she would touch my arm with the slightest touch I wouldn’t snap out of the paralysis… it was if she was breaking the spell with her touch.
    I went into recovery and after a year the paralysis stopped completely.. when I relapsed it came back.
    when my mental space is conflicted it increases the possibilities of getting paralysis.
    I am waking out sleep intermittently and having these hallucinations. Least it is not a dreadful as paralysis

  3. I have always suffered from sleep paralysis in the past but now it seems to have gone to another level! Occasionally I would suddenly wake up at around 3 am and when I close my eyes to try to fall asleep again I get these images of grotesque faces even when I have opened my eyes! As soon as they appear they disappear or blend to a different face. These faces are very pale almost ghostly in color and appear to be very angry then they suddenly change to be screaming a blood-curdling scream even though they are silent. On one occasion I saw a huge face of a tiger and then it changed to a demonic human face shouting at me. It was weird and quite disturbing at first, but now I get used to it. Now I’m not so scared and would watch the faces all blending in from one person to the other like as though they are on a show. I’m glad I’m not the only one experiencing this. I’ve researched into the possible causes and some suggest that it may date back to our caveman ancestors recognising threats from predators and recognizing faces. That is why some people see faces in trees or clouds because the brain is programmed to look out for faces in objects etc. But why are the faces I see so horrific or demonic and not friendly? Weird.

  4. I’m always half asleep when it happens. It happens when I’m asleep and I’m like half waking up. I slightly open my eyes because I hear someone come into my room. Then I see the shadow of the person in my room, and so far it’s been my mom or my sister. They’re usually really blurry because I can’t open my eyes all the way for some reason. I hear their voices too, the last one I had really scared me because my sister asked to sleep on the bed and I said ok. Then I felt her at the bottom of the bed. I slightly woke up in the middle of the night because I was moving and felt her at the bottom of the bed with my feet. After those dreams, I always go downstairs and ask if anyone came into my room. Mind you, my room is locked too. I think it’s my anxiety that someone is going to get in the room at night that makes me get those, and I’m scared they’re going to get worse because so far it’s been people I know.

    1. I experience the worst of what you’re experiencing. I am always fearful of someone breaking into my house so I think that this causes my hallucinations. I wake up and will see my closet door opening and know that it’s someone that has been hiding there and broke in. Although I have not seen a whole figure, I have seen their hands opening the closet door to come out. I usually fly out of bed. I have woken my parents up before screaming telling them there is someone in the house. I used to be able to snap out of them pretty fast with light but I feel like it’s gotten worse. Sometimes sleeping with my tv on helps as it provides light for the room and noise so I don’t hear anything. It is all so scary I wish they would stop.

  5. When I was a baby I can remember seeing a little goblin-like creature running around the bedroom laughing..but I’m pretty sure I was standing in my cot. Also when I was a small child I would see the angry, dirty faces of men, like coal miners just floating in a circle in front of me and shouting at me. I used to scream and be put in bed with my sister. As an adult, I used to see a huge spider in the corner of my room as I woke up. Once I actually saw it walk over our cat….the spider was huge with lots of legs but I’d blink and it would be gone. I’ve seen what looks like a white shirt doing a crazy dance above me as I’ve been lying in bed in the dark. The human mind is amazing. I like to think the little goblin was real as I’m pretty certain I was awake and have lots of vivid memories from when I was very young.

    1. my problem is right as I am about to drift off to sleep I see all kinds of stupid things it could be from a pair of shoes to something cooking on the stove or just about any thing. It jolts me awake and I have to star over this sometimes goes on for hours. any idea what this could be caused by?

      1. I use to see colored blobs as a 3 year old and called it the flower dream. It was frightening because I’d walk around and not be able to see anything else like I was blind! Now I’m 57 and when I lay on my left side I see red blobs hanging and unfurling or a spinning red ball moving along my curtains. Now I just yell stop and they disintegrate. The scariest was a tarantula on the ceiling. No drugs just melatonin and valerian root.

        1. My issues didn’t really amp up until I started melatonin.. so I’m wondering if it has something to do with this. I mean having strange shapes form or feeling someone sitting on the bed or shadow people in the room have happened off and on sparsely for many years. But they supercharged and we’re happening every night once I moved up on my melatonin intake. Just weird

        2. I see a tarantula upon waking which terrifies me and I jump out of bed quickly and stand there in a state of fear. Trying to confirm the exact cause as I do take medication at bedtime.

      2. Hi Del, I have been experiencing lately these weird things too and I do not know why. There might be one or two weeks break and then it happens again. The following happens: when I go to bed, I close the lights and close my eyes. When my eyes are closed and I am still awake I see all kind of weird things. Things are moving fast behind my eyes and the images changing. It can be faces flashing all over, trees, animals and last night I saw fingers and from the fingers were growing long roots which came fast all over. Same time I have buzzing in my head or like tinnitus in my ears. I also kind of hear dialogues of my daughter or my son…clearly, the voices are in my head. I do not hear anything outside, but it all is like imaginary sounds in my head…difficult to explain ;(. Because of this, I could not sleep…I must open my eyes and just get up. I also can have nights that I fall asleep normal way, but then waking up five in the morning and feeling very awake. When I try to sleep again, then the visuals start coming again and I can get sleep. This is truly awful and very new for me. I’m very normal during the day although super tired, but not feeling like a crazy person :). I would love to know what is all this???

  6. I’m a 52 y/o Male, generally healthy, I don’t use drugs, only drink moderately and have a healthy diet.

    My hypnagogic hallucinations are more tactile in nature. They don’t occur regularly, maybe only once or twice a year, but have been a feature of my life fir the last 25 years. They are usually very similar in experience which centres around the sensation that someone, or something, is climbing or throwing itself onto the bed, from behind me, and trying to attack me. I awake in fear, sometimes slightly confused, and straining to see what I can make out in the darkness around me, before either turning on a light or getting out of bed to settle my nerves.

    I’m not given to undue anxiety, wouldn’t ‘suffer from my nerves’ as some people put it but these episodes have left me wondering what was at the back of them, so I’m delighted to have found this site and this information. Thanks so much.

  7. Jessica Kaufman

    I’m so happy I’m not alone. I awoke from a bad dream last night and could hear people talking and saw neon images of a skeletons and clowns (typical right?) and sun moving on the walls. I woke my husband up and told him I was hallucinating after waking up from a nightmare. I had taken medicine for a cold sore and asked if he thought this could have sparked this happening. (He’s a physician). More likely it was because of the stress I’ve experience post surgery and recovery. I’ve had similar experiences as a child and once as a teenager as well. Well, thanks for the article and responses!

  8. My experience seems to be quite different from what I have read posted by many others, but it only happens when I’m falling asleep. I have visualizations in my head of random objects… if I open my eyes I do not see them in the room, but they are still there in my head. The thing about it though is that these random things I see are both as big as they could possibly be and as tiny as they could be at the same time; it creates a very strange feeling in me, and my tongue swells when it happens too. I don’t find the experience particularly disturbing or upsetting really, other than wondering if there is something medically wrong causing this, and the tongue swelling has made me wonder if it’s not some kind of seizure. A few years ago I had a stroke-like event, when I was falling asleep; but there was no evidence of an actual stroke and I had wondered if it could be related. The first doctor I talked to about it didn’t take me seriously, he acted as though I was being over dramatic or making things up. The second doctor I saw was way more understanding, but my medical insurance wouldn’t cover me to see a neurologist for further evaluations. I’ve never met anyone who understood what I meant about the “big and little” visuals, but I really have no better description. Ultimately, I’d be very interested to know more about what I’m experiencing and why, but as I said before I’m really not particularly upset by these episodes.

    1. I’ve had something similar since I was a kid and lots of times. Something so large but tiny at the same time and odd feeling in my mouth. Also often a spinning sensation at the same time. So hard to describe and probably only had it once in many years. I didn’t see anything as it was all going on in my head. Never really heard of anyone else experiencing it before. Fascinating.

    2. I used to have something similar but it hasn’t happened for years now. I’d experience a feeling of something so huge but so tiny at the same time and it was often accompanied by a spinning sensation. Also, my tongue would feel weird…almost too big for my mouth. This strange feeling would just appear from nowhere and I’ve never heard of anyone else having it. Thinking back, I think my teeth used to feel but odd too. Interesting to read your comments.

    3. Completely understand the big and little thing. I used to get a horrible sensation by thinking about a very large steel ball (like the one on Indiana Jones that rolls after him) contrasted against a very small pointy needle. The contrast between the mass of the one and the tiny pointiness of the other used to send my brain into a chaotic sensation. Lots of my friends had this too as well as the sensation of having a big hand during tonsillitis or feverish episodes. The wavering between the big and the small thing you describe is something I completely understand.
      Bless you!

  9. Well, I’m not sure if this is the case but I’ve always had a strong imagination from childhood. I was always from things I saw around the room, especially after I woke up in the middle of the night. But it got worse when I became seventeen. I saw ants, floating hairs in the room, some kind of sharp sword coming to my face, spiders and lots of other things. It wasn’t ever a figure, and I couldn’t understand if I wasn’t asleep? If I had closed my eyes and then opened, or man was it open from the start. My latest experience in this field is figures in darkness, and it makes me really terrified. At first they were farway, I looked at them, I blinked and blinked but they were so there, and as if I was struck but sth unknown; I would blink and that firguee was no longer in my sight. But after nights it was exactly next me, exactly in the place my sister was asleep next to me. It was scary and I couldn’t breath for few second, I moved and distance myself while I was shouting “ don’t get closer.” My sister woke up too and held me saying it’s me and I was breathing crazy. Some nights I’m scared to close an eyelash, some nights I’m so damn tired and sleep peacefully. Don’t need to say that these peaceful nights taste like honey. I was wondering if was really going crazy? My parents were always like why you are so scared at nights? We are here, and I was like please just one night see one thing I see everynight and you will praise me I’m still alive.

  10. My boyfriend is a 21 year old male. Last night was his first “episode”. He woke me up freaking out and terrified yelling “we have to get out of here now! The house is on fire!” I was groggy trying to wake up and of course, I believed him and jumped right up but as I was walking around I saw that there wasn’t a fire. He goes “do you not see all the smoke? Or smell it burning?” And I just didn’t because it wasn’t there. I stopped and looked at him and then he realized that nothing was on fire. We laid back down. But even today he still swears it was real.

  11. When I’m asleep sometimes it feels like someone is waving air over my face & fluffing the covers up & down…then I wake up but it’s so real.

  12. I have been experiencing this since childhood. Writing on walls. Seeing people in the room. Seeing images. Giant spiders. Trapped in a dream. Sleep paralysis and hearing my name… I m so tired of all this but thank god I’m not the only one who is experiencing this. I thought I was going crazy.

    1. Don’t want to freak you out but spiders can represent hostile female figures in your life.
      I used to dream a lot about spiders when I was working with a lot of nasty people, so l looked it up.
      Could there be anyone in your life that might secretly resent ?
      Could you unintentionally be causing jealousy etc.

    2. Also be careful what you absorb eg horror movies/books, unresolved issues that you may be ignoring.
      Maybe spiders can represent males as well ?!?

    3. I keep seeing a bug, or bugs, upon waking, up on my ceiling, always on my ceiling. Last night, I was waking up and it was one bug thing, it was the size of a small crab, beige like in color, and I saw it on the ceiling, as usual, and it was crawling like a spider across the ceiling, and its always like a faded out photo and I was waking up, so I said to myself, “Alright, I’m awake so I’m just gonna watch this and see when it disappears,” so I watched it crawl on my ceiling, and fade out when it got across the room. So freaking weird. It just happened again, a minute ago, upon wakening. Sometimes this bug thing glows red, i keep blinking my eyes and it’s still there, it only disappears right when I become fully awake, but I don’t understand. I only see them upon wakening. Even if I’m asleep and I open my eyes to like roll over and I look up at the ceiling, there they are. As soon as I wake up totally, they disappear, thank God for that !! Lol. This has been going on for about a year, only when waking up from a sleep, never any other time. I cant figure out this, and why the same images keep happening and why is it just right before I am fully awake, and why is it the same bug??? Or bugs, creep crawly things. Why not a 100 dollar bill or a slice of pizza !! Why a bug??? I don’t take any medication nor do drugs or drink. I asked my eye doctor, he said he hears this a lot?? Anyone have any ideas?

      1. My situation is the similar to yours. The same large bug like figure hovers over my head at the same position ( about 6″ away on my right side) upon weakening & disappears after a few seconds. Just had my 3rd episode in 2 nights in a row! Creepy

  13. When I was a kid I would see multi-colored lights, long slender snakes like move around the walls and ceilings. They moved randomly. They never seemed threatening. Never seen a shadow or spiders. Now several years later after watching a lot of ghost shows, I tried doing an EVP (electronic voice phenomena) and got something on it. Next day recorded a bright pure white light in the next room moving on the ceiling from the laptop camera. Brighter than the ceiling light and moved like a snake. Light doesn’t behave fluid. So unless my camera hallucinated and the people that see it hallucinated, I think its def spiritual.

    1. I believe some of these are indeed spiritual happenings both of good energy and bad energy.

      Reading some of these accounts makes me wonder why they haven’t done more research instead of accepting that all accounts are sleep-related hallucinations, which indeed a lot of comments are explained by sleep hallucinations. Indeed I believe some of these people are definitely spiritually sensitive and experiencing something far different.

  14. I have had bouts of sleep paralysis my entire life. From spider like shadows to full-blown apparitions who carry on deep conversations with me.
    I tend to doze off watching the news and incorporate what goes on in the real world into my dreams.
    The trouble is I do not feel rested, and do not dream outside just before sleep/wake.
    I have been diagnosed with central sleep apnea and PTSD cascade events.
    I have also sleepwalked during these episodes of dreams.
    It is something I never get used to.

  15. When I was a young child, whenever I got a fever I used to have hallucinations of terrifyingly large (seemed to be the size of a house or bigger) round droplet like objects moving around (as if they were bobbing in water) and they seemed like they would crush me. The sequence usually started with a hallucination of a fishing line or wire pulled tight into water, and waves hitting it. The waves striking the line would produce droplets which would suddenly increase in size and collide with each other seemingly right around my head. That was at night, when I was sick during the day, the entire room seemed to shake.

    The one about the “creature” as you’ve called it, has been described by many ancient cultures. I believe that one might not be a “hallucination” but a “non-physical entity” – that is, a creation within the mind of God (like all else), just without a body. A soul with no form, which is able to change how it appears to the terrified person in bed. The fact that it co-occurs with paralysis makes it unique. I believe it to be evil. I’ve never seen one however my wife has. She was pregnant at the time, woke up horrified and screaming that she saw a tall dark figure in the corner and couldn’t scream at first. She miscarried a day later. I believe that the two are connected. I am not even religious, but I got my grandma’s old “Miraculous Medal” and placed it in a cup in our room. She got pregnant again and delivered a healthy girl, and that thing never visited us again.

    1. I was sleeping then woke up seeing many black splotches and little lights I blinked many times and they were gone freaked me out

  16. I suffer from hypnopompic hallucinations which are getting worse. When I wake up during the night, I often see a figure standing by the side of the bed. The figure can be anything – animal (a large bear once), people (a few weeks ago was a blue humanoid alien) and many other things, but last night was the scariest ever.

    I woke about 1:00 am and there was a man kneeling by the bed, staring right at me and grinning. It was so lifelike and real that my heart started pounding in my rib cage.

    I raised my hands in a feeble flutter to ward it off – as I genuinely didn’t know if it was real or not – and after about 5 seconds the image disappeared completely.

    The cat sleeps on the pillow next to me, and she wasn’t in the least bit phased, so my rational self knows it was just a hallucination.

    But my God it was scary. The worst ever.

    That is the third occurrence in just over 2 weeks. They had disappeared for a few months, but now the hallucinations are back with a vengeance, and I wish with all my heart they weren’t, as I dread going to sleep now at night, worrying about what I am going to see when I wake up.

    I just don’t know how long I can go on like this, seeing these hallucinations.

      1. This is happening to me all throughout my life as well. From seeing a dark figure the hearing noises or just feeling a presence in the room. I woke up last night from a bad dream which felt like I was trying to get a bad presence out of my house and when I woke up on the ceiling there was a red blotch that turned into a huge red tick that ran across my ceiling and then just disappeared. I was wide awake I could not believe my eyes

    1. I have the same thing. I wake up suddenly and see something for a few short seconds. So far it has been a gnome holding a bunch of balloons, a goblin grinning at me, a little girl, a green luminous rope twisting out from the dvd player, a baby crawling across the ceiling and last night it was a twisted tangle of branches like in a jungle. These happenings have been going on since I was 3 and I am now 62. Talking to my 88-year-old father the other day and discovered he has it happening to him and it has since he was young too.

  17. Terrance shorter

    I’m a 26 year old Male, I have been struggling with this ever since daycare when I was a kid they never stopped, so gradually as I aged the fight the dreams got to the point were I was getting stronger, so as I aged I built up away to get people around me to wake me up, I would be in the dream were I cant move but I no that I was dreaming so I would mumble wake me up, wake me up, and they would wake me up, years past the fighting and struggling and dreams got tiring so instead of praying in the dream and struggling I just let it be just to see what happend , and it quit for many years , but it came back every blue moon and I did the same thing and just let it be , then it started getting to were my mind had math problems projected on the wall that happend yesterday, and it was pretty cool struggled a little then just let it be and let it play out , then a person was at the end of my bed and said I need to wake up, so I did and the person was gone, pretty neat how my mind could rebuild and evolve its self to make a difficult situation not so bad.

  18. It’s so bizarre that quite a few people have mentioned seeing spiders and black shapes hovering above them! I too have been startled by either black shapes on the ceiling or spiders either on the wall beside my bed, on my pillow beside my face, hovering right above my face or walking on the ceiling. It always feels too real! I don’t recall falling asleep or waking up, and it doesn’t feel like a dream, I’m just suddenly looking at them and then leaping out of bed to switch a light on. The black shape on the ceiling is a little different in that I’ll be staring at for a few seconds, but I’m unable to move or breathe, and my heart will be beating so fast! Then it disappears. It’s really not nice as I always struggle to get back to sleep afterward. I find it’s always worse when I’m stressed or particularly anxious about something.

    1. Melissa – the same thing happens to me. They look like a cluster of spiders or ants crawling up the wall and across the ceiling. Last night I got pissed and tried to reach out and touch them and of course nothing was there. They do look so real though. Really weird! At least I’m glad knowing I’m not the only one having this experience.

      1. I don’t just see them crawling on the wall I see and feel a bunch of tiny spiders crawling all over me. It’s honestly terrifying so unbelievably so that I can’t move, being frozen in terror. I also suffer from really bad anxiety so when it happens it gets hard to breathe and I shake. I wait a long time just feeling them crawl and when someone else is in the bed it almost looks as if their eyes aren’t there. It’s horrible and I’m glad to know that other people go through it, makes it a bit easier. : )

      2. So right now it’s 2:30 am and refusing to go to sleep because I don’t want this happening to me. I am a very scared person I cannot go to sleep for a couple of hours if I see a glimpse of a horror movie so I can’t imagine when I see a demon or alien right in front of me. Do you have any advice on what to do so I do to die of being too scared?

      3. thank god I found this thread. i’ve been having hallucinations for years, without even realizing that they are hallucinations. when i was younger i would wake up to what i thought to be my house on fire, i would see smoke, hear crackling, and smell burning wood etc. within more recent years it’s been geometric shapes or colors floating over me for about 10 seconds or so. i’ve also hallucinated a man speaking or yelling in the middle of the night. anyways last night really freaked me out. i had fallen asleep for i’m assuming just 15 or 20 minutes, i have no idea why, but i woke up and probably a foot above my face i see a big spider hanging on a single strand of web. my heart dropped because i have a terrible fear of spiders (even the little ones) so to see a spider the size of a mouse right in my face really got me. to make things worse, i had smoked before bed, so it was immediate anxiety. i stayed still and i watched the spiders web slowly swing to the wall that my headboard is on. when the spider reached the wall, he crawled to the corner where my two walls meet. i then reached for my phone and turned on my flashlight to get a good look and he was gone. i went to the bathroom to pee and i also checked myself to make sure i didn’t have little spiders on me. i realized it couldn’t have been real if he literally disappeared right before my eyes, but it kept me up for 30 minutes. i turned on my bedroom light and did a thorough check for more spiders but i couldn’t find any. when i finally began dosing off to sleep again i had a vision of my best friend and I hanging out. she received a phone call in which she answered and she was told that someone in her immediate family had died. right away that woke me up as well because it felt so real, her facial expression as she stood there speechless caused me to sit up and turn on a light. now i’m slightly nervous to sleep tonight, although it’s super reassuring to know i’m not the only one who sees crazy things.

    2. Same thing here black shapes like a black floating fog and seeing spiders on the ceiling. Started happening while I started taking an antidepressant. Mentioned it to my Dr. and she explained what it was. Thought I was losing it.

  19. I often see somebody standing by my bed. The image stays there as long as I don’t blink. Sometimes it can be very frightening and I shout and cry. Also I jump and shout when on the verge of sleep. Both of these things make it hard to get to sleep afterward.

  20. When I am falling asleep, I have images of people that morph into grotesque figures. I usually wake myself up when the grotesque images begin, and I am now accustomed to having this happen. But, I worry about what causes it. It happens only occasionally, but about 15 times a year.

  21. Mostly I see what looks like water floating in a long narrow line right above me, I feel like I’m looking at it for a long time and it’s looking back at me, it has some facial features but nothing to distinct, last night I saw what looked like a clownfish it was pretty and I tried to touch it but my hand passed through it and it just stayed there floating right over me.

  22. I had this hypnagogic hallucination as long I can remember and I did actually enjoy them very much as a child, actually i still do as a mid-30-year-old man but they are very sparse these days.
    Last night it was on a whole another level tho. I was dreaming and I realized it so happily proceeded to the lucid dream state and I landed up somewhere in South America mountains, where I was greeted by this giant who launched me in the air. As I was in lucid dream I instantly took advantage of it and wanted to fly but I couldn’t and then I got this feeling of ‘falling’ which usually is accompanied in jolt and waking up, but this time I was aware of it and I was falling down in my dream so I focused and stayed on falling, and falling, and falling.
    That’s where it all started, I went through ‘something’ and the feeling of falling dissipated and I was flying through something as I can only describe as tesseract with all these amazing geometrical figures, shapes, lights, sounds and beautiful colours. I had a strong sense of seeing it all, like 360-degree vision. I was strongly aware of it and I did saw our room somewhere in the tesseract but I somehow didn’t want to go there and see just in case I would be pulled back like in my OOBE attempts where I would panic and jump back. I must say this experience was a little bit overwhelming as I felt my body and well I don’t know, something else like I was aware of my duvet and pillow but at the same time, I felt radiation and molecules from the tesseract. Now it went weirder as I had a glimpse of probably my future and I was seeing my life moments and somebodies lives like on tv screens in this place. I had a sense of amazing connection with all, serenity and profound feelings. The geometrical shapes, outlines, lights and music (angelic I must say, not something that can be replicated ‘here’) were intensifying and I just thought that I must be pulling back to being conscious and I woke up but I was still ‘there’ for couple minutes. I was completely aware of being awake, but I still had a connection to that place and everything was overlapping, at this stage, I had the normal hypnagogic sensation of something being present in my room but I also felt that I am above everything and I wasn’t worried. All objects in my room looked like kind of a mesh in 3D graphics program but the detail level was all down to subatomic particles.
    And it was so surreal, my body was relaxed but when I raise my hand I could still see that mesh and insides of my body like muscles tendons even circulating blood.
    After a few minutes, it weakened but now a few hours later I can still have a glimpse of that moment and it raises the hair on all my body.
    This was amazing, no drugs involved, but remembering my psychedelic experiences from where I was younger, this was on a whole another level.
    I hope I can come back there on demand, like my lucid dreaming or rare OOBE I had in my life.

  23. Boy am I glad to see this topic. I thought I was the only one. I was afraid i had Parkinson’s Disease. My brother-in-law does and sees much more than I do. I see spiders on the wall, a demon on a picture frame on the wall. Once a long white feathered bug that ran behind a picture. A girl materializes before me with no face and one with a wrinkly face in old time clothes. Many mornings I have awakened to cartoons being projected in my closed eyes to them being like they were being projected on the wall. Sometimes as long as a minute or more. I see the air thick with gauze. I see ref stain all over the walls and furniture. Other stuff but you get the picture. This happened for a 4 year period then stopped for several years but I saw gauze in the air a couple of mornings ago. I sure feel better knowing it has a name and I’m not losing my mind. Thanks guys for being so honest and Sharing. God Bless

    1. WOW, I didn’t know other people hallucinated demons in picture frames. I saw the first one last night and I thought it was the most random thing and that no one has experienced that random of a hallucination. And now I’m here trying to figure out what it meant.

  24. As a young adult, I would usually see a HUGE figure at the foot of my bed, and I’d come to myself as I’m sprinting through the living room. I’ve also had what looked like an evil entity floating above me. Most recent was feeling a brush of cold air run across my calf, and to wake up to seeing an oblong shape, with lines through it. It was colored red.

  25. I just woke or I think I woke to a buzzing sound and saw a cream or light spider running on my wall toward me while buzzing it was crawling extremely fast making a buzzing sound, I jumped up and screamed and waved my pillow at it and it just disappeared, I am so scared, I took 2 over the counter sleeping tablets called better sleep before this happened because I suffer from insomnia.

  26. I experience things floating around in my room, they look like balloons. I keep trying to reach for them. I can’t tell if I’m awake or asleep. I find myself getting up and turning the light on only to realize there really isn’t anything there. It’s very frightening thinking your seeing things, makes it hard to fall back asleep.

    1. I have just experienced the same thing last night. Three blue balloons rising up and disappearing. I am so pleased to read that other people see these things too and I’m not going mad. Last week’s hallucination of a white figure was very unnerving. But I realised that I am very stressed at work and that this is some kind of reaction to my anxiety so having accepted that my brain is over worked I have dismissed them and turn over and go back to sleep. Hope that you can do the same very soon.

  27. Last night I woke up and saw someone floating in the corner of my room. I was so frightened, I screamed. Both my daughters came in to make sure I was ok. The image faded a couple of seconds after I saw it. I have always had this since I was a child but fortunately not too often. When I fall asleep I sometimes hear fantastic music but as soon as I realise this and try to hold on to it I wake up again.

  28. I am having hallucinations aT night. I Wake up all of a sudden and Í see animals coming towards me. I put the light on and there is nothing in the room. I have anxiety and the doctor changed my medicine. Í think is why Í am seeing things.

  29. For the last year I see imaginary objects when I first wake up and open my eyes.
    I have a large ficus plant in the corner of my bedroom near my bed which is usually the first thing I see when I open my eyes and objects seem to be in the plant until I blink my eyes and it is then normal. The walls seem to be 3 dimensional with my lamp receding and the walls protruding.
    I also see colors mostly neon green walls and draperies that are actually off white when I first wake up and open my eyes. This disappears in a few seconds. It’s very unsettling. Had a complete extended eye exam and am told eyes are normal except for beginning of cataracts. Only meds I take are Prozac and Toporol which I’ve looked into and there is no information to indicate these symptoms are caused because of them.
    It’s causing me great anxiety.
    Can anyone relate? I can deal with it just want to know what could be causing it to happen.

  30. I’ve been experiencing stuff like this more and more often

    I mainly see a figure of a tall woman standing with long hair in my bedroom corner. Every time I look away, she’ll move, and a small child walks up and down my room muttering and crying – it’s creepy.

    But every now and again at night, I see a spider in front of my face (I’m not afraid of them but who wants that) and hands appear in front of my face too.

    I’ve always been hearing tasting and smelling things that aren’t there like my name being called the smell of cake and when I’m eating spaghetti I taste sugar (my mum doesn’t add sugar to it ) it’s really odd

  31. Well it’s true my dreams are vivid. I take naps and sometimes like in 3 minutes or so someone calls my name, or I hear kids playing or laughing and I would open my eyes but there is nothing happening in my room. Then heard like a man shouting and i would feel the vibration on my right ear very close. One strange thing is that if someone was choking me and evidently appeared marks on my neck but I mean there’s nothing in my room. I used to see like a misty black smoke moving like snake near my bed. What could this be? Or called?

    1. I occasionally see static incredible geometric shapes of a dull white against a dull grey background. I know they will only last for a few seconds and that attempting to focus on them will prompt their fading and disappearance.
      I make a point at the time of trying to establish whether I am asleep or awake but can never tell.
      The experience is never scary, always silent and pretty fascinating.
      Thank you for explaining the phenomenon – I thought I might be alone or even going slightly crackers!

      1. I was laying in bed and I usually keep my bathroom door open well this particular night as I was trying to fall asleep I was looking into the black space which was y bathroom… I saw a shimmer of blue light, the first time u told myself okay I’m tripping,so I said to myself in my head if your really there shine blue again. And OMG whatever it was shined blue again this happens a few more times within like 10 mins tears just feel out of my eyes. And then I saw white light at this point I knew something was there and didn’t wanna show itself of scare the crap outta me… so I said in my head if u show me ur blue light I will get up and go to the other bedroom approximately2 mins later I seen the blue light and then a white light… I’m not on drugs uve always felt I could things that hide in the dark but whatever this was didn’t have a bad presence…I also have gold plated mirrored door knobs I can see the black shadows figures through my door knobs …I know what I saw was real because I asked for my blue angel to show itself and it showed I was laying next to my boyfriend…except I wasn’t scared of what I experienced …don’t let them tell u have a medical condition the medicine is to help to sleep true but to not see…only a rare breed can see and like Monday night they wanted to see and it heard me ask for me to let me see couldn’t keep this to myself cause I remembered and no it wasn’t a dream…

        1. Hi there,
          I’ve been seeing Orbs & believe it to be a “gift” for something that difficult that I’d gone through a couple of decades ago.
          At first I just saw cobalt blue flashes of light and went to the optometrist – no eye disease.
          Over the years I’ve begun to see many & varied different ones, all shades of blue, blue & black, murky grey/brown, orange, green, red , black, murky with a black edge & others.
          My take on them is that the blue & pale coloured ones seem to be some of the “good” ones , whereas when I see the murky or black ones, l get a bad feeling. I tell those ones to go in the name of
          Jesus Christ as they are not welcome nor wanted – as they also seem to be up to no good!

  32. Hello from UK, I suffer from seeing spiders crawling across bed or curtains just as I’m falling asleep. I have seen shadows standing in room and I’m convinced its real! I have had floating shapes above my head last night. I was so tired as well. If I wake for the loo I often see objects then they fade away.
    It doesn’t happen if I sleep away or on hols. Nor when my BF is here. Weird!

  33. I keep waking up and either a man or a woman are standing by my bed. I don’t know them, it only last a second and they are gone. It doesn’t happen every night as it is very frightening and I want to know how can I stop it?

    1. I have had those dreams before but I haven’t had them for while, I thought it was something spiritual but it might mental or both .

  34. Today, i had tried to wake up and my eyes were half open, but my friend was sitting in my chair but her face began to distort and as scary as her face was, she was talking very loudly and vividly, none of what she was saying was making sense to me, but it was very clear she was speaking English, at this point I knew i was having a weird kind of sleep paralysis because i forced myself to completely open my eyes and awaken, by then she disappeared from me my chair and was never really there.

  35. I see geometric patterns on walls in the dark. Also, I see something like a bush floating toward me – it stops over me and I can see little leaves. I’ve also seen people that look like old camera negatives. I’ve had huge things like clouds or pillows moving toward me. Once I watched as the leaf patterns turned into a huge bouquet of flowers. Sometimes I see animals moving. Often in the morning, I hear someone calling me. Yikes.

  36. There have been several times I have seen things. The first thing I really remember is that I am looking at my window in the night and the reflection starting to change into three knights that’s looking out another window. I see their backs. All in black and white like an old movie. I look at them for several minutes. Another time it is a knight that’s floating towards me in my room like a ghost, I am sitting in my bed and looking at him and then he turns at the end of my bed and floats into the wall and disappears. At the same time I have glowing red flames on my fingertips that moves with my hand. Very interesting feeling. One really creepy one is that I seeing death standing behind my mum when she talking to me from the opening of the door. I was a bit paranoid after that. Thought it was an omen or something. I have seen very clear images of peoples faces moving quickly towards me and disappear, mostly when I have my eyes shut and trying to sleep. There have been no one I know. The most recently have been red glowing lines on the walls in my room. They are not squibbly but like a network of cords. Almost like a data chip. There can have been one more that I’m unsure about. I was sitting and reading in my bed when I suddenly feel a hand on my shoulder. In response i look up and turn my head toward my right side and the only thing I see is a white wall. The hand felt so real and i can still remember how it felt after 10 years. That’s the ones I remember.

  37. I have just awoken to find myself screaming at the top of my lungs petrified thinking someone was in the house. I remember seeing red shorts. I have woken up screaming every now and again seeing actual figures or people or simply just convinced someone is in the room since I was 18 years old. I am now 26… and now while shaken up seeking help late at night and have come across this site.

    My partner works away and being alone and having such clear and terrifying experience like that I burst out crying. Searching the house with a weapon In case it wasn’t just another dream but was real..

    I feel like I’m going insane. Sometimes I see people clear as day standing in the corner of my room or in the hallway. But I always wake myself up screaming and my partner if he is here. Or I’ll yell “get out”.

    Sometimes I don’t even remember what happened when my partner tells me in the morning.
    I don’t know what to do. They are so completely terrifying and real. This time however has really shaken me.

  38. The last few years (ever since I moved to NYC and have dealt with my first cockroaches– starting at age 24) I’ve had these hallucinations. Sometimes I go weeks to months without experiencing them, and then this week I’ve had them multiple nights in a row and it wakes me up multiple times that night. Its usually where I open my eyes for a second and I see and feel a giant hairy spider, a cockroach, or even a snake crawling on me. I scream, bolt upright, turn on my lamp and search my bed frantically for it. It’s so real and it takes me about 30 seconds to several minutes to calm down and climb back into bed. I just hate it so much. I could definitely see these jump scares giving me a heart attack when I get older. I’ve never searched for an explanation before, but now I’m feeling quite nervous knowing that it’s often associated with schizophrenia. Is it important to see a doctor about it? Even though it’s not all the time?

  39. so that’s what it is:)
    I’ve had plenty of fractal pattern visions, and once I had a photographic vision of a face (after work overload for 1 week). luckily I didn’t panic, I actually thought it was an incredible experience.
    I also had exploding head syndrome, often after work overload.
    happy people are sharing info on this, so we can know just what these things are and what causes it.
    if you have these visions then it is a strong indication that you should reduce your stress level, and get back into a regular sleep pattern.

  40. I have been having these “hypnagogic hallucinations” since I was a young child, I called them night terrors. I am 26 now. The first time, I saw the geometric shapes moving on the blankets when I was running a high fever, trying to fall asleep around the age of 7 or so. I slept in my mom’s bed that night and told her what I saw as it was happening. She claimed that my father was schizophrenic so she worried that I may end up with it as well if I wasn’t careful. I never had schizophrenic symptoms but I have experienced several unexplained occurrences while I was awake over the years. About 10 years later, I gave birth to my son. When he was a few months old, and he slept in my bed along with his father, I suddenly woke up to huge spiders in my ceiling corner and I picked up my son instantly and ran to turn to the lights on the opposite side of the room which revealed that nothing was there. What I have seen, usually 20-30 minutes after I fall asleep, most often over the years are huge black spiders and more recently clear spiders, spider webs, a small alien right next to my bed looking at me, a small sea urchin and orbs. For a year or so, I would see demonic creatures in the corner of my room which prompted to me injure myself by bruising my knee by scrambling over my footboard trying to get to the light to turn it on to reveal what is really there; nothing. I instantly go into fight or flight mode when this happens and it takes me a while to calm down from it. I have a huge rug burn scar on my elbow from falling while running from one of these hallucinations from many years ago. It is exhausting, terrifying and frustrating and it has happened 3 times last night within 30 minutes or so. I am going to sleep with the lights on indefinitely. I am slightly relieved to hear so many people having these same types of experiences yet it is ultimately unsettling. I have been struggling with ptsd, extreme anxiety and depression for a long time due to unrelated events. I have bad dreams constantly, intense night sweating, and I also eat food uncontrollably while I sleep. It has been happening so often lately as I have recently rededicated myself to my father in heaven, God. I truly believe that it is a spiritual battle as if Satan does not want to let me go without making me suffer more than I did when I was a proud atheist.

    1. Hi Dawn
      I believe mental (& many physical ) illness is a construct of evil & merely a figment of our imaginations!
      I too believe in God & found that my life improved a lot when I started praying & going back to church in my fifties. (I hadn’t been to church since l was a teenager )
      I had suffered from suicidal depression, and had weird disturbing thoughts & dreams which are now gone !!!
      I never took medication as it didn’t seem to do any good

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