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. What I saw was not a shadow, it was a real man very tall and dressed in a light long coat with a hat. He just kept staring. I had just woken up, I was sleeping on a settee, he was at the bottom beside the front door like he had just walked in and was there for a minute or so.

  2. I’m so glad I came across these comments. I’ve been having similar experiences and have now realized these aren’t just vivid nightmares, I am actually awake when I see things. I mostly see people looking at me or objects floating. I used to leap out of bed terrified, now I either throw a pillow at them or stare at them until I go back to sleep.
    A few instances; Saw my partners ‘spirit’ come out and hover above him, looked straight at me then went out of the room.
    Man in his 20s standing in the doorway, very slowly closed door in front of his face.
    A small woman in a hooded raincoat standing at the end of the bed.
    A huge spider crawled under the rug, I got out of bed, got a shoe to kill it, peeled back rug and realised it wasn’t there.
    Man with wax cloth green fisherman hat, scruffy brown hair, dark clothes and dirty face, hunched down, staring at me.
    Two children standing one behind each floor length curtain.
    Something invisible holding a sprig of flowers in front of my face.
    The nicest one was kittens walking on the ceiling although I was worried they were going to drop on my face…!
    Thank you everyone for sharing your stories too. It’s made me feel more normal and not so alone about this odd condition. It’s amazing that our brains conjure these things up.

    1. Thank You because your descriptions described almost everything I’ve experienced. In my case, sometimes the people, animals, etc. start off as translucent cloud-like objects and then re-form into people, etc.
      This next type of nighttime hallucination is super weird. If I have 2 fingers touching each other and then slowly pull them apart strings and webs appear in the empty space between the fingers and then appear to float, become larger and often also take on the objects described above.
      Again, thanks so much. Sorry my reply is somewhat ramble

  3. So glad I am not going mad, I have suffered in silence not telling family, I have been seeing giant caterpillars and spiders running across the ceiling they are always black, this has been happening at least weekly for abt 10 years, when this first happened I was terrified and hid under the covers. Now I just ignore it, sometimes I see them on the wall of the bathroom when I’ve got up in the night to use the loo, I have never used drugs and rarely drink alcohol, after all this time I just ignore it.

  4. Cassidy Kuchenbecker

    I’m 40 and I’ve had visual hallucinations while sleeping since I was a toddler. Of course, they are always frightening – giant spiders, demonic figures. It’s a damn shame I don’t hallucinate a large doughnut or a pay raise. They occurred several times a week until I made a single change. I covered my bedroom windows and taped over any small electronic light to make my room as pitch black as possible. With the lack of shadows or small visual details, my brain primarily stopped making hallucinations when I would awake in the night. Sure, it still happens occasionally, along with a few auditory hallucinations and some sleep paralysis. But, it’s soooo much better.

  5. I unquestionably experience hypnopompic hallucinations, although I have not been diagnosed. I’ve had these hallucinations for four or five years. I may go two or three months without a hallucination, and then I often get them in bunches; perhaps three or four nights per week, and sometimes two or three times a night. My early hallucinations primarily assumed the form of shapes and shadows that I perceived. However, the last few years they mainly involve people; sometimes multiple people at once. I don’t experience any auditory hallucinations associated with the visual hallucinations, for which I’m grateful, because the visual hallucinations are disturbing enough. Sometimes the people are stationary, and other times they move. The creepiest ones are those in which the person or multiple people turn their heads to look at me. I realize when I’m having these hallucinations that they are not real, yet I feel like I’m awake and the vividness of the hallucination is so potent that I can’t help but have a bit of doubt when I experience these events. Over the last year or so I’ve started to “interact” with the hallucinations, in the sense that to make them disappear I will get out of bed and approach them. This ability to get up and interact also reinforces my sensation of being awake, although I must actually be in a transition state from sleep to wakefulness. Sometimes if I’m in a stretch of frequent nights of hallucinations I get frustrated and will actually get aggressive and take a swing at the hallucinatory person or give them a push, which generally has the effect of making them disappear, as occurs when I simply get closer to them. Of course, I’m simply punching or pushing air, because there is no tactile element to these hallucinations. On occasion, the “person” will simply just move away from me, sometimes behind furniture or behind a lamp which prevents me from getting more than a couple of feet from them. After I engage them I typically go to the bathroom to either – well – go to the bathroom or to grab a drink of water and wake up completely. Invariably the hallucination(s) is/are gone after I take this step, because I’m then fully awake. I will point out that I do not have a mental illness or psychiatric problem, I do not do drugs, I do not have narcolepsy and I don’t experience sleep paralysis. I will note, though, that my father died of Alzheimer’s. I do not have any signs of Alzheimer’s myself. I sleep quite well and usually get at least eight hours of sleep, even with these disturbances. This is one of the benefits of being retired (age 57). From everything I have read, there is nothing compelling about my condition to make me want to visit a doctor, but when I’m in one of my three/four nights per week runs of hallucinations, I’m tempted to make an appointment, only to reconsider when I wake up the following morning.

  6. My name is Masum. I am 26 years old. This has been happening to me for the last two years. The first time when i noticed it, i just woke up from sleep and saw a drone flying in my room and it is just under the roof there, i was very scared then and when i turned on the light it just went. And i saw similar thing many time from then just when i wake up from sleep. This is happening to me only when i wake up from sleep. From pas few months i have started seeing things are moving in my room which is actually not moving and all these days i just ignored what i had been seeing. But today while i am searching about this kind of even and read from a lot of people having similar things i just realized more about it. Any suggestion would be appreciated about what should i do now?

  7. HI, I’m selena! There are times where I cant go to sleep because I see weird things in my closet. I get scared. There was a time where I heard whispering by my window and could not go to sleep! Sometimes I go to sleep and I will wake up because I feel like I tipped over! I don’t know what is going on but im scared!

  8. I have had this experience ever since I was a little girl. I am now 37 years old. It happens when I am laying down wide awake. All of a sudden I feel my soul drifting out of my body and I am floating in the ceiling, as this is happening. All of a sudden I hear a scary scream in which gets louder the more I get scared. My heartbeat is beating so hard to the point it literally hurts. It lasts for about a minute or two. I am unable to breathe while this is happening. I’m not sure why I am or have been experiencing this since I was a little girl. I need some advice, please. I don’t know why this is happening to me or what it really is but I just need some one to tell me what they think this is. Now remind you, I am able to move and talk while this is going on.

  9. I have had numerous experiences with this and a few have been eerily scary. I keep dismissing them as hallucinations but I’m beginning to wonder.
    One I was laying in bed asleep and I woke up kicking and feeling pulled along the bed. I had turned 90 degrees in the bed and was hanging off. It felt very real.
    Another time it happens is usually when my partner is working nights… this weekend I heard footsteps in the hallway and children laughing and I jumped out of bed fumbling for the lamp and nothing. It felt like a fog which cleared.
    The other scary one had to be when I lived with my ex and I woke up quick putting the light on as I saw a figure crouched down watching us. It disappeared in the light but my ex of course asked what was wrong. A few weeks later he puts his light on panicking and told me he saw a figure crouching watching. Possibly telepathy or maybe a shadow person. What I do know is these things feel so real they are not a figment of my imagination. Potentially something supernatural.

  10. This used to happen to me more often when I was little and as I got older it happens less it still sometimes. In the night when I would be trying to go to sleep but not quite asleep yet I would sometimes go through the weirdest feeling. It’s so difficult to describe Becuase it wasn’t completely everyday senses or feelings but something that I can’t even put into words. Even though all of this would come on at once and feel pretty much inescapable it would start with a ringing in my head that would just get louder and louder until I couldn’t bare it. I wasn’t asleep I was always awake lying I. My bead but I couldn’t open my eyes and was trapped in this hallucination thing. The images I want to describe I can’t actually describe Becuase it was as much of a feeling as an actual image but it felt like geometric shapes moving towards me or past me or through the so so fast. It sounds so strange and doesn’t really make any sense but it was honestly terrifying. When I was younger and had nightmares I at least knew it wasn’t really deep down but this felt so so real and there was nothing I could do about it and it scared me so much even tho trying to put it into words sounds so stupid. When I was able to move again and open my eyes the ringing often stayed for so long getting loud and louder until I was sitting up in bed crying just wishing it would go away. So yeah that was my ted talk hahah someone please tell me what is wrong with me!

    1. I believe you and know exactly how your experience feels because the same things happen to me but only its screams. It’s a horrible experience and it’s been happening to me ever since I was a little girl. I really don’t know what kind of advice I can give you because it happens to me as well and I’m not sure what it is or why it’s happening but I just want to tell you that you can try to distract it from occurring. I’ve got up and walked around or tried to make noises to stop it from happening and it worked for me. The more scared I would get the scarier the experience. Try not to show any fear is what I would suggest to you. Good luck and I hope you can figure this out and overcome this.

  11. My name is Alex. I’ve been diagnosed with insomnia and have been dealing with it for quite some time now. Falling asleep isn’t the issue, however. My insomnia is…. strange, to say the least. Typically insomnia will make it difficult for you to fall asleep. For me, it’s a fear of and anxiety caused by the thought of waking up. It turns out, lack of proper sleep can be just as harmful as no sleep at all. My restlessness turned into sleep anxiety. Recently, I’ve been dealing with sleep paralysis, in dreams and out. In my dreams I’d be standing still, with everything around me flying around, unable to make out shapes of things or more. The pressure made it difficult to breathe. I’d wake up, heart pounding, still unable to move. But as I’d open my eyes, I’d see images of hands and faces directly in front of me. People I’ve never seen in my life at the foot of my bed. Someone sitting on my chest with claw-like fingers. Absolutely terrifying. Then they’d just…. float away, and I’d be able to breathe/move again. Well I did some research after praying a while (I’m not spiritual in the least.) And it turns out in Fijian folklore there’s a story of a creature called kana tevoro. It’s also known as “the hag.” A woman visits you in your sleep, waiting for you to wake, then holds you down as you open your eyes. Thousands of reports a year. There has got to be more than just stress and anxiety behind these experiences. After all. It says it often happens after the passing of a loved one or family member. My aunt passed away a week ago….. in her sleep. I’m shook.

  12. I too have this issue. I have ADHD and under a lot of stress now. I’ll awaken from a dead sleep and see geometric shapes, spiders, spider webs, clusters of weird fuzzy apparatuses, I smell foul odors, I hear loud bangs, etc. My son is going to be 3 soon and he has night terrors and wakes up at night grabbing at the air. He has had night terrors since he was 2 and fixated on the same area and he still fixates on the same area of the wall/room. My son also has RLS which isn’t surprising as I do too. I was researching and it appears RLS, ADHD, and these sleep disturbances all go hand-in-hand. I hope that more research is done regarding the sleep disturbances as not much is understood yet.

  13. It’s odd. Every now and then before I go to sleep, I would sometimes see weird shapes or incredibly odd manifestations of faces, people I know, creatures etc pop up from the patterns of colours I see fade over my eyes in the darkness. The fades I get regularly, which I find normal, but these mentioned occupancies are uncommon and in some cases disturbing.

    These shapes or creatures all appear to be made out of one main fade, acting like a shapeshifter, changing its form at rapid speeds every few seconds. It’s weird and nightmare fuel at times.

    I think the cause of such an occurrence is hyperactivity in the brain before sleeping, as most times when I see these my eyes aren’t fatigued and I can’t seem to get any rest properly. This would also be more common after putting my phone down before sleeping, and this is coming from a teenager not an adult. They tend to last around 10-15 minutes at most, fading away after not being thought about. However when I do overthink during these episodes, they sometimes merge into the room, especially on my bed near the top. Shadowy figures tend to form and they would scurry silently across the sheets yet I wouldn’t feel anything weighing down on me.

    If anybody else gets similar episodes, key phrase being ‘shapeshifting images’, my advice would be just to play a quiet tune or close your eyes and turn to face a corner if possible, even if it feels uncomfortable.

    1. I used to see a lot of things made up of squiggly transparent outlines if that makes any sense? I thought I was going crazy or that I was a medium… however one figure was consistent; there was always a half goat half man that would stand in my closet and watch these other creatures… I do have extreme ADHD don’t know if that has anything to do with it?!
      Thank you, ryan .

    2. I have been seeing real people and a 2-year-old girl I see their faces clearly. Some are in bed with me but lately all I see if black figures in my bedroom. One of them I’ve seen twice. He jumps on my wardrobe and crouches down looking at me. I’m scared to death of it all. But I can’t understand as to why I’ve gone from real people to black things x

  14. Every night I fight my demons. Voices almost out of hearing, but clear. Most times they are criticizing me, my life or actions. Meh. That doesn’t concern me, I figure it’s my overblown sense of guilt for past “sins”. But what really worries me is as I fall asleep, there are “people” that take a dive inside me! I feel something getting close, THEN a brief glimpse of a person, sometimes female, that approaches and jumps into me through the ‘3rd eye’
    area of my forehead. I HATE THAT! I wind up playing a Youtube 8 hour prayer/deliverance music video all night. so…this might be just hallucinations??? Not demons??? That might be why they just laugh at prayers? I’m ready for an exorcism. I swear… been going on for 20 years. I’m 63.

  15. I’ve been experiencing hallucinations ever since I was a child and now I’m in my late 30’s. When I was younger the hallucinations were frightening as if there was someone out to get me. I would wake up and jump out of bed screaming as if I actually saw someone in my room that was trying to hurt me. I would scream “who are you, what do you want”. My heartbeat would be racing at this point and I would lose my voice the next day. It felt so real at the moment. I’ve had several hallucinations since I was a child and now being married, my husband is used to it. Last night I hallucinated again upon awakening in the middle of the night. My husband said it happened a couple times but I only remember one time. I saw a ghost like woman rising out of his body and floating up, then disappearing. My husband knows to remind me that I’m hallucinating and to go back to sleep, but last night he asked me to describe what I saw. The next morning he told me he felt strange before I said anything to him about my hallucination. He said he felt a tingly sensation. Of course this freaked me out which is why I searched the Internet the next morning and I found this article. I believe I hallucinate when I’m stressed before falling asleep and usually a sleeping pill or chamomile tea before bed helps but this is a big problem and sleep deprivation has been an issue my whole life.

  16. When I was young, I saw colorful fractals in the dark. Sometimes it was lines of colored dots. It made me get out of bed and run to my mother. I told her I was having dot attacks. She never understood.

    1. Fractals in the dark (and sometimes against a neutral background) and lines of colored dots (exquisitely sharply defined and moving in geometric patterns like a movie marquee). Excellent description of my own experiences throughout my life. I have no psychiatric symptoms whatsoever, so I do not consider them a sign of pathology. Rather, these experiences have led me to question how anything so complex, detailed and symmetrical can arise in nature – especially in the perceptions of a young child.

  17. Hello! This is all very interesting. As far back as I can remember when I am trying to get to sleep and my eyes are closed I can see anything from moving geometric shapes to blob-like images that constantly change (sometimes changing into recognizable objects). The recognizable objects are usually sideways or upside down.
    I have in the past felt like I was trying to wake up but couldn’t, or feel as though I couldn’t move my limbs or body. Scary stuff!
    The other night was very strange, and I cannot recall it happening before. I felt as though I was asleep, but was aware of my thoughts and the sound of the fan (I have to sleep with the fan on). It left me wondering if this was even possible, it felt like I was asleep and awake at the same time. Bizarre feeling!

  18. I’m 38 now and suffered my entire life, every night. I see dead people, I hear and feel their breath. Sometimes they talk to me but I can’t hear their voice. I’ve heard children laughing, banging in other rooms, I’ve smelt perfumes and smoke. The people can be very scary, but there’s a man that terrifies me. He is an old man with white hair, he wears a black suit with a thin ribbon style tie and a long black coat. He’s the only one to ever make me scream when I see him. I feel vile evil from him. To me, he is the image of all evil and it radiates from him. There is nothing on earth like this man. I always know he is coming because of monsters I start to feel, over time I see them then I hear them. I’m terrified of the monsters but if I can find the courage to close my eyes and say out loud 3 times “your not real” then open my eyes sometimes there gone or slowly vanish. Other times I need to repeat it. If I can’t do that then the man comes.

    I know I’ve suffered from this all my life. When I was little I told my mum and she told me never to tell anyone. I may only be 38, but times were different back then, people were locked away for such things. What I never told my mum though was the abuse I was receiving. In hindsight I told her about the wrong thing perhaps.

    So it could be the cause of childhood trauma. I’ve also had a very traumatic adult life too. I know what I experience isn’t real but at the time it most certainly is. My doctor gives me tablets for when it’s at its worst (I hate taking tablets so I only take when I need to). But I’m still afraid that I’m missing the signs, that the man is going to come and get me because I can’t sense him coming.

  19. Woke up seeing silhouette leaning over my son, run in nothing there, slept on the settee woke up with two silhouette’s leaning over me, one looking over the side, the other facing the cushion, jumped up attacking them, then they were gone felt like my hairs on my back were standing up.

    The next thing was a woman leaning over, which after showing my wife what I see, was as if she was looking at a picture of my son, when she turned and looked at me it was as if we made eye contact, felt friendly not like the others, dressed as if she was In the 1940’s.

    I moved house, not because of visions, just as well as I see things quite often. I see about what I would say a 3 inch high 5 inch long well lit up the high definition of a man riding a bike about three foot off the ground, nearly past me turned around, rode off disappeared.

    my visions include old man in operation gown, a doctor, decorations disappearing in walls and ceiling, hologram looking man turning left and right very quickly, black dots flying around and landing on walls ceiling, see an arm coming past me, and also had arms around my neck, I could breathe ok couldn’t move, when I could I was trying to pinch arms, they then disappeared.

    Yes I did see a doctor, said it’s quite common, I was worried about them taking my driving license, but you don’t drive when you’re asleep.
    I do have epilepsy, although I have not had a fit for over 25 years also have what they call a slow wave, in a brain scan.
    these visions do not scare me as I know they are not really there, wish I could see better things than I am seeing.

    1. I have had the hallucination a lot but one you said the bike was being ridden around. I’m 57 now, but when I was in the fourth grade, I lay awake in my bed I looked to the right nest to my bed. I saw what I call beanie boy. He is a little very fat kid on a tricycle and going in circles about 4-5 inches. But he was off the floor about 4 or 5 inches

  20. Kathryn Chumney Cook

    I’m 57 and just started with hallucinations upon waking up. I see a towel hanging from the ceiling, shining lights around the bathroom door frame, clear cracked glass in the door frame, and an old refrigerator in the hallway. I turn the light on and it goes away but as soon as I turn light off again it comes back. It stays there till daylight comes through the window. I have no idea what is going on. I’ve had it every night for three weeks. I literally feel like I’m going crazy. Does anyone have any suggestions about what this is? What can be done about it? Thanks

    1. I see these visions upon waking and treasure them as my consciousness opening up. I meditate…the more I meditate, the more this happens. I see it as lifting a veil between worlds.

  21. I am so glad I found this article. I am mid 30’s and just now experiencing the visual hallucinations just as I am falling asleep. I have had several exploding head hallucinations but never realized there was a name for it. In the past few weeks, I have been seeing a ball of light, made up of mostly primary colors, circling around itself very fast. Then it moves closer and forms itself into a robot-like creature, with an upside down triangle for a head. I would say it looks like Root from the movie Guardians of the Galaxy, but with flashing lights. You would think closing my eyes would help, but the imagery is much worse when my eyes are closed. It’s always flashing lights, geometric shaped formed into robots! But when I open my eyes back up (bc the visual is so real), I started seeing a plethora of other hallucinations, cracked glass all over the walls, something standing beside my bed with black eyes, and a figure moving in the doorway, along with the spiders! LARGE spiders. I live alone and I was two seconds away from calling someone to get me, or even the police, I was so frightened. I eventually found the remote to turn the tv on to get light into the room, and ‘willed’ the visual away by saying something pleasant like “beach” or ‘ocean’ until I could visualize them with my eyes closed, and the robots fade away.

    1. I used to see spiders a lot; the number of time I’ve literally leapt out of bed or pushed my sleeping partner out of the way to turn his light on! They’re so real, even once the light is on you’re convinced for a minute they were there but then you start to think logically that it was so dark how could you have really seen anything.

  22. The flashes of faces, digging, struggling through dead bodies weighing me down, is constant all night so I can not close my eyes I get up have hot chocolate or something. Doesn’t help, starts soon as try close my eyes. It’s not every night but more often

  23. I’m so glad I came across this article. I see spiders all different sizes. It’s usually upon waking up. I can’t remember when they started however, this week alone it’s happened twice.

  24. I worked nights in a Nursing home and one night I suddenly became ill, so when it was my break the nurse in charge told my to go lay down in one of the empty twin rooms. One other staff member took her to break at the same time. I fell asleep but woke up terrified on seeing a young laughing blonde boy about 9 yrs of age standing beside my bed. I was frozen with fear but screamed for my work partner to turn the big lights on !! Think she fell off her bed with fright!!! Lol!
    As I started screaming the boy just kind of dissolved into thousands of tiny beads and floated away. It was the scariest thing I have ever witnessed. It’s amazing why our minds can dream up and make appear so real.

  25. Lydia
    For the last 3 months, it been happening every night. One night I was awake. I was lying in bed. I was face to the wall. I turn over. I see this little skeleton. It walks out of my closet doors. Then it was standing by the computer chair. I had my coat on the chair. it was just standing there touching my coat. like it feeling it, then I turn away. Then it was gone.
    One other morning. I was trying to go back to sleep. I look next to me. there was a big spider-like on a little box it the air. it got so close to my face. I was trying to hit. I scream and try to get out of my hair. I jump out of bed. and turn the light on. It wasn’t there.
    Last night I was laying there. look the other way for min. then I look back. Here was a hand blender the old kind in the air over my bed. I said go away. It did go away. Then a little later there was a big box in the air by my bed, it was sitting there. I told it to go away. I cover my head. Then I look to see if it was gone. It was still there. So I reach out to touch it and my finger went through it. Then it was gone.
    I have seen things move when awake that wasn’t there.
    One time I was down visiting a friend in Missouri, we had to go to the laundry at the apt. When I was in there washing clothes, there was a wall that look like a man standing. And he would move in a different way every time I was in there, so one time I told my friend and have her come in there and look. She couldn’t see it.
    Ever since I was a little girl. it would happen off and on. Everyone said I have a special gift.

  26. Wow finally have found something close to my experience…for years many mornings I wake up to scrolling numbers, letters, symbols across my vision. There is no doubt that I am awake not just in the twilight. Sometimes it scrolls to the right sometimes to the left…sometimes these images slow down and pulsate and dance around. It moves too fast and contains too many characters to remember all the data floating by. Overall have just thought it was my memory system starting up. Don’t smoke or drink and enjoy the painless experience that makes me wonder what incredible beings we really are.

  27. My experiences started at about age 20. I had fallen asleep with my lights on and when I opened my eyes i could see what looked like a very large spider crawling across some clothes that hung on my door. It was almost transparent and although i am terrified of spiders( more then than now) I had to see where it went. When I got up to search it was gone. It was way too big to get away or hide. It freaked me out until it happened again ….same scenario except it was in my closet. Since then I have frequently experienced spider-like images that i reach out for. They get bigger at first then dissipate as I reach for them.
    The worse dream I have though is of evil. I’m alone with an evil presence and im so scared. Each time I drift back to sleep it comes back. I eventually have to get up and watch tv. I’ve tried to have repeat dreams or get back into a dream but it’s impossible so why do these dreams recur or take me back? I hate them

    1. Stephanie Przybyla-Olson

      THIS IS THE EXACT SAME SITUATION FOR ME! I have no fear of spiders, in fact I find them to be the least bother. However at first a year ago when these “hallucinations” started, it looked like a clump of hair floating or pencil scribbles floating around my bedroom. Then it’s manifested into what appears to be spiders? Very unclear but swift flawless movement like a spider attached to a web? Then as this year has gone on, the spiders have become more clear and even somewhat larger. Now they have advanced closer to my face more often. I saw a PA at a clinic who suggested it was an environmental factor within the house that was triggering these; however, it happens even when I sleep out in hotels on family vacations. I actually went against my Catholic faith to see a Medium for some answers and she said I have a 3rd eye and I can see into the twilight dimension. And that someone from the dead is probably trying to contact me. I played Tarot cards for more answers and my last card was a girl bonded to the ground by vines and spider webs. It suggested impure sexual desires and guilty past. I always believed I was a good person but the baggage from my past is manifesting itself into this. It’s scary but I’m just dealing with it. I refuse to get on medication

        NOVEMBER 17, 2019 AT 1:32 PM
        As someone aboard the same “Faith boat” as you, I firmly suggest not resorting to those practices and rather look for Healing Ministries’ assistance. I’m in South America but if you’re in North America, there are good Priests up there. Don’t forget about St. Benedict Cross/Medal either. Hope this reply can reach you. Peace.

  28. ***a very long post about one of my fav subject***

    Hello All,

    I was looking up hypnagogic hallucinations because my mind was all over the place when I was doing a 90 min MRI of the brain and upper back this morning. I am looking up if MRIs can see these hallucinations and how they read it. Some of what you guys experienced is scary! Some, only in my opinion! I am rather jealous of it!
    I have experienced two sleep paralysis and a scary man (always male) ghost/phantom/whatever in my room. One time I heard him walk over papers on the floor to the side of my bed and sit down next to me. The fact that this sleep paralysis hallucination was detailed enough to include the fact that I had paper all over the floor has me a more than a little flabbergasted. Anyways, when he sat down I could feel the bed sink down, and I could almost feel the heat or energy of his body. I was trying to make noise, but I could not move, so it came out muffled. I then felt the sheet tightened around me like it was pushing me into the bed to the floor. The only way I broke the paralysis is by focusing on touching my index finger and thumb. It was scary, but honestly, I was not that scared because I kind of knew I was not going to be hurt. I turned around to look, but I knew I would not see anything or anyone. I had one other one that was realistic, but it was easier to get out. This one was a little trippy, as it was almost like I was switching between different places. One minute I was in my room – the next minute, I was camping in a forest in a bright yellow camping bag the back and forth. When I was back in my room I felt the guy creature lift one side of the sheets right up, and I felt the freezing air on my body. I got out of that experience real quick. These experiences had only happened in one house when I lived in England – I have not experienced it since.

    This all happened about 15 or so years ago. I have done a bunch of research on it, and it has lead me to lucid dreaming and astral projection. Some people who experience both swear it is the same thing, but who knows. I have been trying on and off to have a lucid dream but no success. I have even tried to induce sleep paresis as it can be used as a door into a lucid dream, but so far I have not been able to. I have also not been extremely consistent, but hopefully, I will change this.

    Check out Dr. Stephen LaBerge if you want to learn more about lucid dreaming. He has a peer-reviewed paper out on the subject. Also check out other peer-reviewed articles in google scholar about lucid dreaming and dream therapy. Some studies have been done on nightmares and lucid dreaming that could be of interest.

    1. My advice to you would be to NOT try to induce lucid dreaming.
      I used to have them regularly, but after some recent experimenting with
      brainwave entrainment, and other online videos, they have turned into
      dream disturbed sleep ( I seldom sleep more than 2 hours without waking up after vivid dreams. Most of them are unpleasant). I’m trying some Traditional Chinese Medicine,
      and am making some progress. The best thing I can say is, don’t start.
      Prevention is the best cure.

      Take care,

  29. For as long as I can remember I have suffered from sleep hallucinations. It wasn’t until recently that I decided to look into what was causing my vivid and often scary dreams. I live with my partner and on a frequent weekly basis I wake him up at night by thinking there is someone in our room. Sometimes I do not remember it when I wake up in the morning, and sometimes I wake myself up and realize what is happening. My father suffers from the same thing, so I think it’s genetic.

    When I was a kid (I’m now 25), my family and I went on a vacation and our rental house was nearby train tracks. My Dad woke my mom up in the middle of the night screaming, on all fours on the floor, thinking that a plane was bombing our house and telling her to get down and take cover. My mom tried to calm him down to let him know it was just the train going by making a loud noise that spooked him. She eventually got him to go back to sleep and he woke up the next morning not remembering what had happened.

    When I was a kid, I remember seeing geometrical colorful shapes floating around my childhood bedroom and wishing them to stop so I could go to sleep. I also suffered from sleepwalking, and peeing in weird places during my sleep.

    Recently, I was watching West World and fell asleep on the couch. I woke up terrified and on my apartment balcony thinking there was someone in my apartment trying to get me. I remember contemplating jumping off the 2nd floor balcony to try to get away from the intruder. The reason I woke up is that I saw my cat crying through the balcony door (it has a large glass window on it) trying to get to me. I thought to myself I can’t leave her behind but I’m too scared to open the door. My heart was racing so fast. Once I saw my cat’s face I realized I was dreaming and I calmed myself down and went back inside.

    Now on a weekly basic I wake my partner up terrified that someone is in our bedroom. From someone standing in the closet, or in our bathroom or walking up to my bedside trying to get me. The only thing that seems to help is him turning on the lights and telling me it’s just a dream.

    These hallucinations seem so real. They do not affect my full nights’ sleep, as I wake up in the morning feeling rested. However, they affect my partners and I do not know how to stop my sleep hallucinations.

    Any tips?

  30. Awhile I watched the movies of the secrets of the Dead Sea scrolls for 50 minutes at night but the light was on. I suddenly fell asleep on the couch in the living room. I woke up slowly and saw black flies right there clearly. They stayed there for seconds and gone. I was not scared. Something tries to tell me. I did not know what. Do you know something I should know of? Thank you!

  31. I’ve been figure out what’s going on. Again if I sleep then I see again this figure. Something like a woman with curly hair on the shadow after waking up of some bad dreams, not just once but twice. Last time it was not too close, but the second time I think she comes closer after I woke up. But all I know it is just my hallucinations or some kind of I just overthinking about something else.

  32. I had a strange experience happen while in the process of just going to bed with my husband on the side. I had closed my eyes and in a bit opened them to see a white see threw figure of a man in a suit looking over me. I really opened my eyes in shock and realized it was what I was seeing as I looked to find detail clues for a face with none found, just the white image of a man in a suit…all white. I felt my heart race and started screaming in fear and it woke my husband whom I responded and told him what happen. He said it must have been a dream and I told him I was not asleep taking a while to settle down. The next morning I felt normal like nothing had happened. I have never scene anything like that. I was extremely scared to the point my heart was beating extremely fast. Any thoughts as to if it was a real …it sure seamed real. I screamed in fear like it was.

  33. I have so many that I can’t remember them all.
    But, the ones that really scared me, is when I was a young girl sharing a bedroom with three other sisters. One of my sisters always plays the radio throughout the night with a night light. I was sleeping on the top bunk and I woke up. I couldn’t move. I thought I was up and aware of my surroundings. I even can hear the music playing. I just couldn’t move nor speak. Suddenly. I hear this, what I believe a heavy demonic breathing becoming louder as It gets closer and closer to me. When the sound became close enough. I can feel the presence pulling my blanket down and off of me. I couldn’t move nor could I talk. I was trying to scream and call for my older sisters but just couldn’t. I remember I just gather all my strength and will power and jump up out of it.
    I was scared out of my mind. My three sisters were still asleep. The music on the radio was still playing. Like nothing ever happened.

    Since then, I had many similar experiences during childhood and young adult.
    But the next one is classified as “WEIRD”

    Another experience is when I am an adult in my thirties. I never visit Hawaii before relocating there back In July of 2000. I was sleeping on the sofa in the living room with the television on. And I was awoken by something on tv. As I open my eyes. I saw a swarm of flies in the corner up by the ceiling. I thought I was sleeping. So I closed my eyes again. But soon realized I am not sleeping and open my eyes up again and there it is a swarm of flies in the corner of the ceiling. I stared at it for a few seconds. Thinking wow, Hawaii has a major flies problem. Uncomfortable, frighten and gross out. I’ve jumped up to turn the lights on. When I do so, it was completely gone. Not a fly flying. Gone, gone, gone. I thought that was weird. I even flicker the lights on and off a few times to see if it will come back. But nope never came back. So, I stayed up watching a tv program until it watch me.

    Another memorable experience I had recently is when I thought I heard something or someone. A sound that I jump me out of my bed standing on my two legs straight and tall. Wondering what the hell is that?. Oh I live In Brooklyn New York now. But I am sure it was in my room like someone standing over me. I can’t remember if they shouted my name or what. But it scared the crap out of me.
    Another time at my apartment in Brooklyn. I have another episode of being awake and can’t move nor talk and it always feels like this evil presence is there.
    I’ve been having so many different type episodes that I became immune to it.

    Keep in mind as a child and young adult. The only medications I was on were Asthma medications. I was not having an Asthma attack nor recovering from an Asthma attack when these episodes were taking place.
    I am currently taking the same Asthma medication that I was taking when I was a child. From my understanding. During and after an Asthma attack. The lack of oxygen to your brain can affect your brain function. And, taking steroids for Asthma can cause insomnia which is known to be a side effect.

    Soooooo. Yeeaah. I guess mental illness is ruled out.

  34. I Woke up this morning around 5-6 o’clock and I was laying on my back and when I looked down at the end of my bed I saw a big black bear staring at me with bright green eyes and it was breathing really heavy and when I tried touching it I blinked and it disappeared. can someone please tell me what happened? it really freaked me out.

  35. Same, I see geometric shapes if I wake in the middle of the night. They will float and interact with the walls and ceiling. Never seen two of the same kind. They’re usually stunning, bright colors. Often of a honeycomb shape, but they’ve taken on other organic type shapes. They never stay still. It seems so ungodly real it’s frightening. I got really bad after my mom died. I wasn’t sleeping well and my brain had trouble turning off due to stress. I’m glad I’m not alone.

    1. I am alone… I wake up in the middle of the night and see these weird shapes not like shapes one tome it looked like a scribble or even an odd circle or a spider they always happen as soon as I wake up I open my eyes and the shape floats up to the ceiling and vanishes sometimes if I blink it goes away. When I was about 17 I spoke to see a woman in white on the ceiling looking down at me and it was scary, I blinked amd she vanished. I have had night terrors since I was little I would sleepwalk and run around the house screaming but never could remember this the next morning it stopped when we moved out of that house. I was about 8. To this day I try not to sleep I am terrified to sleep… it is midnight now and I’m afraid to sleep. What is wrong with me?

  36. Whenever I try to sleep I cannot, I close my eyes cuz I see an image of a man ghost sitting on a chair and saying something scary to me. It’s probably cuz of all the scary movies I have watched. Like the conjuring and all. I just Can’t get rid of those scary ghost images after watching a scary movie and then those images pop up in my head and even sleeping with turning the light on doesn’t help. I was earlier diagnosed with anxiety issues. But that was situational. Idk y these scary images dont leave my mind. It’s like they r stuck there. And it becomes so scary sometimes that I can’t sleep alone and have to sleep with a parent to feel safe.

  37. I started having sleep paralysis last year and they began to happen more and more. They don’t happen often lately.
    Now I have noticed for example and what led me to this page was me lying in bed awake texting someone when out of nowhere… I heard the voice of a female friend of mines mother saying something that I can’t remember now but I know it was my friend’s mom and when I looked up I almost thought I saw a black silhouette shape from the direction the voice came from but both vanished almost immediately

  38. This feels really weird after years of keeping silent about this! I mentioned it to my son last year only to find that he is experiencing the same thing!! When I was little I used to always hear noises and often woke thinking the kitchen cupboards had come off the walls as the sound of breaking plates was so loud and so real yet when I went downstairs nothing always baffled me!! As I have gotten older the one that happens most and I have figured out that it always seems to happen when I’m overtired is I’ll have been in bed say 5 minutes and it really and truly feels like I’m awake then all of a sudden I’ll shoot up and start flying sort of like superman but super fast which is pretty good but also scary as my bedroom is say a normal size and I’m like 5ft 2 and flying round and round at high speed trying to dodge a ceiling fan and the bed is super tricky and I go faster and faster as it goes on and I’m screaming out for my husband like proper yelling his name as I just want him to help but nothing it’s so annoying as I am totally convinced it’s real at the time I ask him if he heard me shouting him n he always says I didn’t!! On rare occasions, I even get to fly outside round my village which is better as a lot more space .. omg I sound like a nutter and I promise you I’ve never taken drugs and I rarely have alcohol but to actually find out it’s nothing serious is such a relief. Thanks

    1. MARTIN
      NOVEMBER 30, 2019 AT 3:26 PM

      THANKS VERY MUCH for your advice. I think your comment should be posted in a more exposed way.
      Not sure about the similarities/differences about lucid/vivid dreams but I’ve had them now and then and they’ve mostly been disturbing, one of the effects has been to wake up feeling tired/experiencing low energy.

      Last but not least, SPECIAL THANKS to ETHAN GREEN for such an INSPIRATIONAL well-being site. Would like to think that researchers found it resourceful too. I thought of a good pal from your country who might have found it interesting, him having issues with his rest as well (we interrupted the contact only because of his challenged health). Peace.

  39. It started off happening once every few months then recently it started happening almost every night while I’m trying to sleep. I see the silhouette of bugs crawling across my wall it freaks me out I jump out of bed to turn my light on or use my phone to see if I’m actually seeing them but they are not there.

    1. It’s been happening to me as well – I see 5 dots move in unison and i am not able to figure out what they are? I am freaking out and wondering if my mind is going sick or something? How do I even explain to a doctor what’s happening? Any insight is helpful. THanks

  40. So we have just got a new puppy, I was asleep in the spare room and had my clothes bundled up on the floor. As I have just started waking up to him crying it looked like he was curled up in the clothes as I open my eyes and heard he was still down stairs I continued to see something move on my clothes so turned the light on my phone on and pointed it at the clothes and nothing is there. It felt so life like and really has startled me. Is this normal?

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