Sleep Hallucinations: Things That Go Bump In The Night

photo of a woman in bed experiencing hypnagogic hallucinations

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

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

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

My nocturnal flying geometric manifestations

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

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

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

What are sleep hallucinations?

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

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

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

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

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

How many people have sleep hallucinations?

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

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

A sign of Narcolepsy

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

  • Unexpectedly falling asleep
  • Sleep paralysis
  • Hypnagogic hallucinations

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


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

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

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

Not the same as nightmares

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

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

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

Coexisting with sleep paralysis

Sleep hallucinations sometimes happen during an episode of sleep paralysis.

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

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


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

Research shows that fragmented sleep is associated with more hallucinations

In 2021, a team of researchers published an interesting study of sleep hallucinations (you can read it in full on

Based on an online survey of 10,299 people, they found that poor sleep is associated with the occurrence of hallucinations – a point already confirmed by previous studies.

However, they further showed that fragmented sleep, i.e. regular wakings, is related to hallucinations. And that fragmented sleep is also related to the content, frequency, duration, and associated distress.

Interestingly then, people who had better sleep had less negative and less disruptive hallucinations when they did have them.

So the more you have them, the worse they might be. It seems to me to be a good motivation to tackle any factors you know that make you wake up more often in the night.


Do you need to see a doctor?

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

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

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

Worried about your mental health?

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

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

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

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

What can you do to help reduce them?

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

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

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

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

Your thoughts

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

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

1,574 thoughts on “Sleep Hallucinations: Things That Go Bump In The Night”

  1. I’m so relieved to finally find that other people have a similar experience! If I wake suddenly while dreaming and get up to go to the loo, in the front of my vision I see incredibly complex and intricate symmetrical moving black patterns, ranging from purely abstract patterns like fractals, zig zags, lines, grids and a sort of paisley pattern to insects and flowers. I can see the real world behind them. It’s almost as if I am seeing my brain working. It only lasts less than a minute. I once saw some aboriginal patterns on rocks on television which looked very similar!

    I also do have very vivid dreams as did my mother and it seems so does my daughter and granddaughter. Is there any evidence that we may inherit the past memories of our ancestors through our genes? I sometimes have very vivid dreams of places in the past with a horrible sort of atmosphere of decay, dereliction and drabness. Also, I have the common one of flying, feeling the strong sensation of the effort to gain height and then the air buoying me up.

  2. I thought I was alone in this. I have periods of this happening and it is worse when I feel anxious or stressed or on medication. One time I was on beta blockers and there were huge octopus tentacles growing out of my ceiling towards my face. This always happens after waking (I am definitely fully awake and aware) Mostly it is spiders, which is awful as I have arachnophobia and I’m not sure if it’s real or not apart from if it’s too big or fast to be, or too many of them at once. They are dangling above my head,
    on my pillow in my bed or on the walls. They are so real and detailed. Other times there has been a fish swimming in the air, big snowflakes, balloons, and hearing people downstairs shouting my name. It takes a while to realise it isn’t real and only goes when I get up and turn a light on. I saw a psychiatrist and they thought I had psychosis…they had never heard of these hallucinations!

  3. I have had hypnagogic hallucinations occasionally, usually after a strenuous day. I will awaken quickly, usually with a sense that I am falling. Or, that someone is calling out to me, needing help.
    I am usually aware that I am dreaming when I’m in a dream. [As an example, I gradually taught myself to fly in my dreams.] Hypnopompic hallucinations happen for me almost ‘nightly’ – mostly in the half light of morning, when I awaken from a dream. [I find it odd though that I’m always on my back when they occur.] At first I would see a grid on the ceiling, that would shimmer and create different patterns – sometimes, very colorfully. Lately, I see a squiggly ‘creature’ in the center of my vision – still on a background grid. I say creature because its shape suggests something like an octopus or an insect with many fast moving appendages. As I move my eyes around the room the creature will follow, staying to the center of my view. It eventually gets smaller and fades as I become more awake.
    I’m not afraid of such hallucinations – I find them entertaining.

  4. My 3 year old daughter is wakening up and seeing spiders and snails. Is it normal for her age, this has happened now a few times, and it lasting a good half hour I have to take her down the stairs.

  5. This definitely makes me feel less scared. Last night I was having a nightmare about me following this innocent deer, until its head detached from its body and jump scared me. This quickly woke me up but I was in a sleep paralysis state now. As I was trying to break out of it I saw a deer in my room. It felt so real and made me panic even more as I tried to move. I was able to feel my heartbeat speeding up to the point when my chest was burning. I’ve had sleep paralysis before but this was on a whole new level. Finally, it was over, I was able to move and the deer was gone. It was a new and terrifying experience. I’m glad it’s over now.

  6. I didn’t realize this was happening to other people. For me I will wake up to an intense feeling that a face is close to mine, It’s there, I scream and it’s gone. Always different but always glowing. It’s terrifying. I’ve also seen full figures almost shadow like. I taking sleeping pills because of this and being scared of the dark, but it still happens sometimes.

    1. I have exactly the same thing happening to me. I’m just about to nod off and then jump in terror because I think someone’s face is right close to mine, other times I see shapes floating across the room. I’ve just been on a caravan holiday for a week and it never happened once yet as soon as I came home it’s started again, last night was awful.

    2. Oh my goodness Jen, I have exactly the same happen to me, asleep and wake to a face up close to mine, I scream (loudly) and it’s gone. Also always different and a male or just really weird. I also have seen full figures shadow like with the feeling it’s a male. I frighten my husband every time with my scream as well as my daughter at the other end of the house.

    3. Same here. I’ve woken up in the middle of the night to what appears to be a dark human figure slowly getting closer and closer to me. It terrifies me.

  7. When I close my eyes for sleep, the dark is full of rolling and heaving 3D waves that erupt as spirals or sink away. Here and there are tiny pieces of brilliantly colored fractals.

    I had bronchitis, suddenly stood up and saw a glowing green circular cone coming down to catch me. I woke up standing & screaming.

    Just as I wake, before I can move, I see a grid of wiggly lines where each opening contains a wiggle. I feel that this is writing but can’t read it.

  8. I woke to a doorbell ring. This used to happen frequently a decade ago but this time I asked “what? And then I saw the galaxy as bright and vivid as I was there, it was beautiful and sparkling and symbols were being drawn or scripted like astrology but not that, more like shapes and figures singularly than in combination. Like ancient script. I honestly thought it was Alien communicating. I know that sounds crazy. It was 3:00 am. So I got up, it’s now 4 am. I started looking and found so many people with similar experiences. I just hope I am ok and this is just a normal dreamlike state. I have also experienced sleep paralysis on occasion. Not a lot of it but a few episodes in the past decade.

  9. I’ve been suffering with night terrors and hallucinations all my life. If I wear a sleep mask I can still feel and sense something in the room. I had an episode a few days ago where I woke up multiple times and each time I saw multiple hallucinations and that has left me with a tension headache for days. This can cause anxiety and tension before I go to sleep resulting in insomnia, so I take a sleeping pill on occasions where I need to “reset”. Can anyone recommend a forum or support group where sufferers can share their experiences with each other? Thanks

  10. So glad to see I’m not alone after reading all the comments. I’ve had these experiences since I was very young. Just in the early morning hours. I’m 23 now & with Covid coming these experiences have become too much more intense & more frequent. I often see spiders floating above me & I usually jump up & get out of bed. I always dread the next episode.

  11. I have always wondered if I was the only person experiencing these visions!! I feel so much better knowing I am not alone. Mine occur early AM, usually black & white mosaics (rare to see color). They spread across most of the walls and ceiling of my bedroom and can be very simple or intricate designs and then they just disappear. I do enjoy watching them but have often wondered why I see them.

  12. Small amounts of dmt are released in the brain when you sleep. The other day when I was slowly waking up from a deep sleep, I saw a beautiful complex moving geometric orb that felt like it was sentient and watching me. What if sleep hallucinations/paralysis is the brain releasing natural dmt. Like it’s preparing us or waking us from a different realm. I mean it happens when we die. It happens when we’re born. It must be a link. And sleep must be a different realm. And this realm must be super important because if we don’t we die. Idk where I’m going with this but whatever.

    1. I was just dozing off to sleep last night, lying flat on my back. Idk why but I decided to open my eyes and there was this bright glowing multicolored geometric symbol floating above me. My eyes were awake and wide open and it wasn’t going away. I was trying to understand the message since I practice meditation and astral projection. I’m always open to receiving a message. I have also seen a different multicolored geometric symbol appear after opening my eyes from meditating. Though this time It felt like I was the shape, as it moved when I moved my head. It felt connected to me in a way. I have had sleep paralysis and have seen other low vibe beings as well. Those aren’t the fun ones of course. Lol I’ve also had sleep paralysis followed by and OBE, flew out and explored the astral realm. I feel like dreams and death are another reality. We tap into other dimensions when we sleep. I have traveled to other dimensions during astral projection. “Mental conditions” are labels given by hUmans. All of us have the capability to open up tune in and tap into our inner dimensional multidimensional selves. We’re so much more than these physical bodies. We are Spirit and energy first. In other words Xan, I get it. The veil between worlds is thinning

  13. Thanks to everyone for sharing. I thought I was losing it. I see net-type bunches of material or baskets in nice bright colors floating above me. Sometimes I have tried to touch them but they disappear and from what I have read above I guess I’m lucky they don’t frighten me. I’m old 84 and have always been a night dreamer so this is the first I have tried to investigate it and have decided it must be Hypnopompic Hallucinations. Unless it gets worse like some of the stories I plan on just living with it. My cat is not too happy about being roused when I reach for them as he likes to sleep on my lap.

  14. Over the past couple of years, when I have been overtired or desperate for sleep I get into bed and start to relax, and then the spiders come, some times I see legs behind a picture, or thousands of spiders coming through my window. I even had one when it was suspended above my head and then dropped down, clearly, I have a fear of spiders, when it happens again I just need to tell myself this is not real. I might even imagine a party hat on its head lol. Yeah, it’s scary. I would advise getting your bloods checked also, hallucinations can because by lack of certain vitamins like calcium and other various ones that affect the brain.

    1. Just the last few months I have been experiencing this phenomenon. I didn’t know other people were experiencing it too. I “see” wiggly people/puppets and spiders. I also suffer from arachnophobia. On occasion, I’ve heard music or voices.

  15. I lost my 15 year old daughter to suicide on Valentine’s Day, the visions started 2 months later so I’m sure it’s PTSD/stress. 1) woke up with my 6 year old in bed, veins covering her body like she was dead, I shook her and they disappeared. 2) woke up to a big square shadow next to me. 3) woke up to a moving shadow. 4) woke up to an old woman’s face an inch away from mine. 5) woke up to a man staring at me while he crawled out of a mirror. 6) last night woke up to an angry woman knelt on the floor next to my bed, rocking back and forth.
    I am petrified of going to sleep. My doctor says it’s normal but it’s terrifying. I’m glad I’m not the only one because I feel like I am going insane

    1. I am so very sorry to hear about your daughter. I hope that her memory is both a blessing and a comfort to you and all that love her.

  16. I awoke one night after sleeping comfortably for a few hours, to see a woman’s face studying me very intently, not far away, at the side of the bed. She had a long thin face, blonde hair cut in clumps, as though it was a DIY project, and she stared and stared at me as though she was looking through me or beyond me. It was very intense. I kept very still and gently moved bits of me. This was unlike any sleep paralysis I have ever had, where there is a terrible fear, a blurry vision of frightening bodies around me, and so on. I kept still and felt she was trying to take my soul, perhaps, an odd thought, but this is what went through my mind. I think I stayed put for about 5 minutes, blinking too, and then decided to try a little movement, and juggled my head slightly, whereupon her focus really came back to myself, and she took on a sudden scared look of horror! And then disappeared. Has anyone else had such an experience as this, where the experience has really reacted so alarmingly to a recognition that you’re being watched, where you do something to indicate that you know it’s watching you? It happened only once, thank goodness. I turned over and went back to sleep, rationalizing it was perhaps a new form of sleep paralysis, although I was not paralyzed at all – this was a completely new experience. seeing something unknown react to my movement like that was very worrying indeed, but so far, no return visitation!

  17. Sat, Mar 13 at 11:02 AM

    BELOW ARE SOME OF THE NOTES I TOOK: These things occur only when I take my afternoon nap and happen almost daily. I quit taking notes several months ago and images continue. I recently found out I can move the images and duplicate them multiple times and place them on the ceiling or wall. They all vanish when I blink my eye.

    Was awake but still had my eyes closed.
    I heard a noise and opened my eyes.
    There was this young girl age about 12 or 14 nicely dressed elevated several feet above the floor. She had an intense stare in her eyes looking at me.
    And “poof” she was gone.
    I kept my eyes open as everything in my vision was still there except the girl. I knew I was awake and it was not a dream. Kept looking at the things in my vision
    and wondering what just happened.


    Last week after my afternoon nap I still had my eyes closed and heard a noise. Opened my eyes looking up at the ceiling. There was this image BOOK in a rectangular frame. It was there for a few seconds and then started moving to the left and disappearing as it moved.

    The other day the same thing happened. This time it was like a newspaper clipping. Tried to read the caption but was unable to do so. It eventually disappeared like the others.

    Yesterday another newspaper clipping appeared and same results.

    Today a gauge appeared like a gas gauge with an arrow pointing.

    Must be some type of Hallucinating. That could not be the case since I am wide awake when I see them. I hear a sound that wakes me up and alerts me to look at the ceiling.

    Last December I had my annual ophthalmologist check up at the VA.
    When he put that super bright light on my left eye he said “you have some very interesting things going on back there as I have never seen before”. Later he asked if anyone had ever mentioned it to me. Hmmmm. He did not elaborate any more and I did not think any more about it. Am supposed to go back in one year.

    Saw a light bulb on a blue background with a circle around it.

    Yesterday saw a mechanical robot like black widow spider crawling over the ceiling with feet moving fast. Later saw another spider, not moving, with some unreadable text below it.

    Yesterday saw looked like a magazine ad with a picture of a VW bus. Later saw a red flower with about a dozen petals.

    Today saw an inverted A.

    Yesterday saw red lines clear across my ceiling. They were about an inch apart.
    Another time the ceiling was completely covered with what looked like floor tiles.

    Several days later:

    Was a very busy day with images on the ceiling. I positioned a light on the ceiling to make them easier to see.

    The first was primarily just smudges.
    Next was a circle with FORS in it and quickly changed to SIRS. Then it changed to a clock with hands at 2:30 time.

    Later a very large image that looked like an antique ledger with scriptwriting and numbers. It was light brownish yellow like foxing of newspapers


    Was an interesting vision today. The 1st was 3 diagrams followed by a vintage newspaper that had a picture of the Capitol on page.
    Then later, half the ceiling and on the wall to the floor was covered with vintage newspapers. Shelving and pictures on the wall were covered up by the newspapers. I thought WOW! that was really something as nothing anywhere near that had ever appeared. It only lasted for about 1/2 second.

    Had a little trouble going to sleep last night. Heard a sound and opened eyes and saw some colors on the left edge of my TV. Later same thing but the whole TV was lit up with several colors but mainly red. There were some lines and a some letters but too much to grasp in such a short time. This was a first for the TV involved except a couple of weeks ago when the TV somehow came on in mid morning.

    There were other images yesterday during nap time and again today.

    Just now saw what looked like a USPS Tracking number. Only remembered three numbers 898’Then saw —-Cash Christmas—– written in script and in red color.

    Days later;

    Almost all the images have been black but had one of 1890s era of newspaper comic character The Yellow Kid. There were 4 of him in bright yellow standing next to each other.

    Nov. 23 & 24 had a camera ready to try and take a photo. Nothing showed up which was very rare.
    The next day a model airplane crossed the ceiling. Later dozed off and a futuristic aircraft appeared and slowly vanished. Shortly there were two more.

    Nov 26 there were several drawings which I could not begin to explain like some of the others in the past. Then a large vintage newspaper of the NY Sun appeared and it was larger than the original newspaper. Had an illustrated picture in the center of the page.

    Nov. 27 Images looked like Space Ships. One looked like it was firing lasers.

    Nov 28 Image looked like 3 huge snowflake design.

    Fri, Dec 20, 2019 at 1:51 PM

    Saw a bull or buffalo and it turned into a bird that moved its wings
    3 other things.

    Yesterday had the camera out and nothing showed up

    The day before saw 6 images. dozed off 4 times. Twice was prompted to open eyes and twice just opened without prompting seeing undefined images each time.

    Dec 18
    Saw a pig and then turned into some animal did not recognize.
    3 more undefined images.

    Dec 19
    Before, all images would only appear during my 4PM nap. This was after 11PM.
    Saw images in Cherokee casino hotel. Back to hearing sounds to let me know to open eyes.
    Looked like a sign in block letters on the ceiling.
    Later one like it showed up on the wall.

    Dec. 20.
    This was in Grove, OK with an early noon day nap. Was awakened 5 times by some sound.
    Saw a sign again which was sideways.
    Later the same one or one like it showed up and was upside down.
    A Christmas wrapped package.
    A brown vintage newspaper.
    The whole ceiling was covered with small squares like tiles then straight lines close to each other across the ceiling.
    On Monday 1/6/2020 I had 8 images to appear. It was the most I ever had. Did not get much sleep as one seemed to appear every few minutes. Usually get 1 to 4 images.
    Was interested to see how many I would get the next day. On Tuesday 1/7 did not receive any until the very end of nap. It was a very small one which looked like a Peace Dove with extended wings in a circle. It floated across ceiling. Later I thought it could be a miniature Swan and this was a Swan song for ending due to the large number in previous day and only one on this day.

    Well, yesterday 3 showed up. Today 2 showed up. One was unusual as it was a gold colored airplane with big silver stars on the leading edge of wings. Don’t ge many color images.

    Recently had a very unusual one. The entire ceiling was covered with octagonal bathroom floor tiles. Those changed to square tiles. Then those changed to ornamental tin ceiling panels.

    Tue, Jan 14, 2020 at 8:32 PM
    Saw about 8 or 9 images. Was unable to sleep most of time but had my eyes closed. Every few minutes I would open my eyes and there was an image on the ceiling. This happened at least 5 times.

    Only one image appeared.

    Saw about 8 images. Two covered the entire ceiling with scribbling line marks. One I could see something under the scribbled lines.

    Wed, Jan 22, 2020 at 8:05 PM
    1/21 Hand-written, script letter. Clock Several other images.
    Lines all across the ceiling

    1/22 Very old-looking handwritten script letter. Round looking gauge. Then they covered the entire ceiling 2 other images
    Last week I hung a large white poster on my TV to see if images would appear on it. It worked but was still too far away to try to read images that had some text.
    Next day constructed a display with a large white poster on my bed about 2 feet from my face.
    It worked but images with text were too small to read. All images were reduced in size when placed close to me.

    Yesterday’s image looked like a flying saucer. After it stopped, it slowly disappeared leaving some break up pieces. I kept my eyes on this and then the entire ceiling turned color pink.

    This same thing happened again today.

    For the past several weeks have been getting from 3 or 4 to 9 or 10 images a day. Get one every few minutes after each time I doze off. Think they would go on indefinitely if I continued to doze off.

    About a week ago after viewing several images on the ceiling, I concentrated on looking at where one disappeared. Did not blink and continued staring. Soon the whole area started turning Pink color. Thought that was pretty neat.

    Did this for the next several days and the same thing happened. Sometimes the color went away very quickly. Other times it lasted for a little while.

    1. John David Ramage

      Hi Jim I have been having hypnopompic visions for about three years (I’m 66) the first was a very clear image of a machine/device hovering near the ceiling that had a lens pointing at me. On one occasion before sleep, I was staring at the pattern my bedside lamp threw on the ceiling. it has clear glass so the filament inside shows. I looked very intently at one area that was like a small circle. as I stared it moved across the ceiling and disappeared when it reached the wall. that night when I woke up in the night the visions were more intense than I had ever seen them. It felt like I had “provoked” the visions in some way.

  18. Wow, I’m so glad I followed this link. I’ve had these visions since I was a child. Spiders on my ceiling are most prevalent but now I wake thinking I see smoke. It happens 3 or 4 times a week and it’s so real I wake screaming “OH MY GOD (husband’s name)!” waking my husband up and scaring him half to death. I thought I must have something wrong with my brain. I even got checked out by a neurologist who assured me my brain was fine and these events were night terrors. I’m so glad that I’m not the only one dealing with these strange occurrences. Somehow that just helps to know I’m not alone.

  19. Is this related at all to hallucinating while awake and active, but very sleep-deprived? I see Benji dogs at the edges of my vision. I know a couple of people who see cats. Another sees crows.

    1. It is so great to find this site and know I’m not alone and just going nuts! I wish I could reply to several all at once here. I chose Sarah because of your mention of cats. About a year ago or so I started seeing forms of people standing and watching me. I know I’m awake and I lay still and watch back. They are tall, black and not friendly (I feel). I’ve seen a large dog German Shephard type laying on the floor across the room. He is just panting and looking away from me. Lately, I’ve seen a cat several times seemingly trying to play with something across the room. He looks like my cat and I wonder what he is up to….then I realize my cat is sleeping at my feet. Last night, I became a bit angry at the same interruption and got up and went towards the cat that was trying to get something out from behind a door in the room. When I got to where he was standing, he disappeared. I got back into bed and looked over to the door and saw a hand stick out from behind the door and wave at me! I got up again and looked behind the door -nothing was there. Got back into bed and saw a white thing (ball? cup?) drop from the leg of a pair of my husband’s shorts that were hanging from a clothes peg on the wall. I heard it hit the floor with a thud! Nothing was on the floor afterwards. This is making me angry as I can’t get a good night’s sleep with these daily interruptions.

      About a dozen times over the years, I am awakened from a deep sleep by the feeling that I’m being restrained or attacked and am unable to move or scream. I always wake up my husband with my groanings and thrashing about. I know I’m asleep but this is not a “normal” dream. It is something coming INTO my dreams and trying to harm me. Never is this thing friendly. It is large, dark and male. I haven’t had one of those incidents for about 3 mos. now. Hopefully, I won’t have any again.

  20. I’m sorry everyone has to deal with this, but also glad I’m not alone! I have also seen lots of spiders, I usually jump up and search the bed and under the pillows before I realize it probably wasn’t real. I’ve seen so many different things: cats, dogs, people both in the bed and out of it, water flooding the room, shadow people, mice running in and out of holes in the wall, someone with a horrifying mask that had snakes coming out of it, a large surgical microscope that I could see in great detail…it’s been happening more often, several times a night lately. I also recently have heard things, but only a couple times. A couple thumps, a strange tone. This alarms me because I’m afraid it’s a progression like this is getting worse. I wish I could rest!!

    1. Hi Amy. I just started seeing things about a month ago. I never thought I’d see someone say “shadow people” but you did. I see them, too. It’s scary as hell. I see other things too. Last night I saw a small tornado. I had Covid last year and I thought maybe this could be a side effect. My husband thinks I’m crazy.

    2. This is so relatable haha, I always see a spider in my bed, jump out of bed and search the whole bed then remind myself it’s not real and go back to sleep. it’s happened a few times when I think my hamster is in my bed and I’m there searching under the bed and everything, I’ve even done this when I wasn’t in my house so it was impossible for my hamster to be in the bed.

  21. Carlene Holton

    Just researched this as it’s 12.26am UK time and I’ve just seen a big old tarantula climbing up onto my windowsill, I shot up!

    I too wake up and see mostly spiders, sometimes a short time after I fall asleep, sometimes an hour or so after I’ve fallen asleep I randomly wake up and almost always see spiders, either crawling across the wall or floor. Some look like tarantulas and some almost alien-like. I remember shouting “creature creature!” one night and pointing to thin air whilst my boyfriend looked in confusion. Another I jumped up and said, “I’m not going back to sleep until that spider has gone” Again, my boyfriend woke up dazed and confused.

    I once saw an outline of a man stood at my window. I couldn’t see any features but that has to be the scariest experience I’ve had so far.

    I feel a little less like there could be something serious going on after reading everyone else’s experiences 😊

  22. Roberts Augustus

    I had narcolepsy for decades. A cPAP machine gave me my life back. More often than not I wake up in the middle of the night seeing big bugs. Some are colorful and some are very black. I see centipedes, spiders or other indescribable insects. The color ones have beautiful colors and the black ones are also a beautiful pure tone of black. As I stare at them, they don’t vanish. They crawl to the corners where the walls meet the ceiling. This never happened while I was narcoleptic. As someone who had severe sleep apnea I know and understand why sleep disorders can be attributed to these hallucinations. But they started with me when I began having restful sleep nights. They never frighten me and I kind of like seeing them.

  23. Took a nap today and had a waking hallucination of a huge spider …. it looked so real and scary I moved everything in my room just checking it had not scurried somewhere….. search for “waking hallucinations + spiders” brought me to this page. A few years back, upon waking, I also saw a huge spider shadow figure. Not sure what this means but at least I’m not alone.

    1. SAME! The same exact thing just happened to me a couple of nights ago. I started researching it since I couldn’t shake what I thought I saw. That’s why I’m on this page and yes it is good to know there are others who have experienced this! So strange…

      1. Oh my goodness, so I’m not going crazy. I literally just woke up and thought I saw a dark shadowy animal figure leap from my bed to the floor and scary away. I thought it was my cat at first, but he was still above me sleeping.

  24. Hi! I have been diagnosed with narcolepsy with cataplexy, I’m 43 and have had hypnagogic and hypnopompic hallucinations for as long as I can remember, in fact my first memories are of sleep paralysis, prior to being able to talk. Early in life, I remember scaring my mother by telling her to “turn the tv off” while napping, only to have her say that it wasn’t on I followed with “OK tell the people to go home“. I remember she ran into my room and looked terrified at that point I wasn’t scared but once I saw her face I was. What followed was a series of decades wherein I accepted a set of strange phenomena as typical only to find out that my “fainting spells” were actually cataplectic incidents and while having severe narcolepsy is a total bummer it’s better to have a name for it other than thinking I just had wicked depression and godawful nightmares and random hallucinations,

  25. Nancy Margulies

    Thanks to each of you for sharing your experiences. I was recently told I might have a serious, fatal, form of dementia, “Lewy Body Dementia” and my hallucinations were sited as a symptom. I was very concerned but could not reach the doctor to ask questions. Now I think it just might be my use of marijuana to help me sleep. I awaken and see spiders I know are not real, once saw a dog turn into a cat, my husband’s face looked like a zombie, and to top it all off, I once saw Stokley Carmichael in our bed. I know its not real, but the dark shadowy figures often frighten me a lot. Now if I need to get up at night I keep my eyes down and don’t look around. I was frightened at night as a child, and for good reason, but now I wonder if that fear is also contributing to my visions as night.

  26. Suzanne Riggs

    I have had both along with auditory, my current I was waking from a bad dream yelling for help while I awake I turned my head and saw three women looking at me, I continued asking them for help before I was completely awake. I can fully describe them and the dream, it’s so strange how you can visual someone you have never seen before. Happy to read that I’m not alone, it’s kinda scary. I had one incident of sleep paralysis so they say and it was the most horrible experience. I literally felt my body being flung across the room, it was so frightening

  27. Just woke up and had to google, came across this website, and feel better knowing I’m not the only one who experiences these events. Thank you

  28. I constantly see spiders. All different kinds and sizes. Either hanging from a web, on my pillow etc. I jolt up from the bed and sometimes hurt my husband with how frantic I am. It takes a few seconds to realize it’s not real but it’s getting annoying at this point.

  29. How come no one has gotten a security camera and put them in your ROOM! Something just might stop knowing it’s being observed. If not at least you will have your questions answered, if its real or not, when did it show up? When you were just waking up, or going to sleep. Is it real? Can the cameras see it or them. Can it catch the movement or see what kind of ANIMAL it is or PEOPLE there are. From where did it come from? Through THE for, the door, the wall, window, ceiling? Has it or they ever damaged anything doing so. If it’s gotten into bed with you. Did you see how it got in? Did the bedspread or sheets move? Hopefully you will get your answers! Which should be nothing. Showing your brain it’s being lied to you. Maybe that will be enough to stop them all-knowing they or them or it. Do not exist in real life. If it starts up again. Like a subliminal message. Play the video back and keep staring nothing is there. Never WAS never WILL be! Then shut the lights off ask the white lights of God’s angles to wrap you in their folds to protect you. Then sleep peacefully, knowing God’s army is protecting you! Good luck

    1. All of these people are quite aware that what they are seeing is false. Awareness and wishing things away is not enough to stop these conditions.

    2. I had a security camera in my room last night, but the geometric patterns that I saw were only on the hallway wall. I didn’t see anything else other than neon pink Picket fence tile patterns on the wall for less than a minute. Not enough time to take a picture on my cellphone.

  30. My husband has recently been having hallucinations of seeing and not knowing where he is when been woken up.

      1. Yeah, I’ve had that for years – I wake up and literally terrified as I don’t know who I am or where I am and I have this desperate thing where I want to escape – my heart pounds out of of my chest where I am so scared, and then I slowly come out of it. More recently, I’ll see blue rectangles; or a red square; or then a bunch of red circles; then the other day it was a bright green lined drawing that looked like the plan of a house or something – and then I often wake and think I can see a spider crawling up the wall – normally I keep blinking and looking and after about 10 seconds they disappear – all really starting to freak me out, though weird and reassuring to know I’m not the only one after reading all these posts.

  31. Well thankfully I don’t see people or animals like some of these reports. At night when I awake, I do see geometric shapes on the blinds and frequently the entire room walls, ceiling, and doors look like they are covered with fluffy cotton or clouds. When I switch on the bedside lamp all goes away. I am going to try the sleep mask to see if it helps. Does not scare me but is annoying and makes me wonder what is going on in my brain. I have asked several family members if they have experienced anything like it and no just dreams or nightmares except one family member who is genius level intelligent and won a national math award in college. She has the fluffy clouds experiences. She is my great-niece so maybe her intelligence came from me. Broo-ha-ha. 😂

    1. So thankful for your answer. I am 81 and an RN. I see the same thing you mentioned. I usually turn the lights on a while and it helps. It only happens once or so a week and not every night. I thought it was from my brain through my optic nerve but my eye doctor said it was a hallucination probably.
      I was glad to know someone else has had this. Once years ago, I saw red dots during the daytime and checked it out on the computer and there is a red dot group which I thought it so amusing. I didn’t join but this one puzzled me. I always need an answer. Also even wondered if this is all the radio waves and energy that are in our solar system.

  32. I have had reoccurring nightmares about, Zombies & People after me with guns. I felt/feel i do have a fear of being murdered. I have tried to analyze my dreams. They’re quite bizarre always, however, i have one specific memory of a very creepy dream, i must have been around 3or4. I’ve also had night terrors as an adult, flying out of my sleep startling other around. I was scared to death i felt like a child. But, I have the significant truth that there is a presence in this house. Tod9was my first day experiencing the dark blanket of a shadow leaving my closet fleeting across my peripheral just like the article on google said, the sheer left swaying as if gusted by wind then my eye veering towards the bathroom across the hall with the bathroom door shutting on its own like it got busted by me awaking and snuck out of the room. The reason i say i have proof is because i have recorded bright orbs and moving objects in the house. I’m not sure what the black shadow is but believe the orbs are my angels and or spirits.

  33. I’ve recently experienced seeing skeletons in the shape of humans and animals/dragons upon waking from bad dreams at night. They are white, glowing in the dark all around my room and then they tip over and drop down one by one. The bad dreams vary. I am currently feeling stress/anxiety in my daily life, experiencing life-changing situations, therefore I don’t sleep well at night.

  34. I believe I’ve been having this as well. Usually, I’ll wake up in the middle of the night and it will happen to me as I try to fall back asleep. I’ve had an old woman crawl up into my face screaming, a man tries to strangle me, a face comes out of my bed repeating the word “run” over and over again, etc. I’m usually paralyzed when this happens, but the other day I had one after waking up from a disturbing nightmare and I could move. I saw a woman holding a child for a few seconds until I blinked them away. I’m glad I’m not the only one this happens to, but also sorry anyone else has to deal with that. When it happens I’m usually too scared to attempt sleep again and stay up the rest of the night. It’s debilitating.

    1. I can relate, last night I had a horrible nightmare. When I woke up there was a man in the corner of my room. He turned and walked to the bed I woke my partner saying “there’s someone in the room”. It then grabbed my partner as he jumped in shock. Which made me think omg this is real and I screamed in horror. My partner realized dazed that there was nobody and then the person vanished. I think it stems from a really bad marijuana experience 8 months ago which was a terrifying 2hrs of hallucinations.

  35. I came to see all of these posts after doing a bit of internet searching. I see colors at night when I am awake and usually when i start to settle and get comfortable. I see blue, fuchsia or green kind of orbs that I can see with my eyes open and my eyes closed. I have never gotten any diagnosis or talked to anyone other than my husband about my visual experiences. I always thought that they had to do with some kind of spiritual experience. Now I come to find out that what I go through has a clinical name. I do not have a problem falling asleep and staying asleep. I do know that I suffer from anxiety and I have gone through depression. I am well now and look forward to a great future. I am aware of what my anxiety can do if I do not have it on check on a daily basis.
    I started seeing these orbs when I was pregnant with my daughter. She is now 13 years old and she is now saying she sees shapes of circles and triangles or squares. She also has visions of scary things that sometimes she says makes no sense. She has always had a hard time falling asleep as a baby and still has a hard time falling asleep now. She suffers from anxiety and she was diagnosed with ADHD. Last night, she said that she saw green circles hovering over in her bedroom. I will have to share this information with her Neurologist. I am having a Neurodevelopmental assessment done in July to rule out Autism. I do not know if the hallucinations have anything to do with her sleep, ADHD or Autism. I would love to see more research done on this topic.
    Could it be Synesthesia? People with autism may be more likely than others to have synesthesia, a condition in which people experience a mixing of their senses, such as hearing tastes and shapes, and seeing numbers in colors, a new study from Europe suggests.

  36. So glad I’m not the only one.
    2 years ago I woke up to see a man in a bowler hat stood at my door, I screamed and he didn’t move, he was just stood there, so I turned the light on and he was gone.
    I spent the rest of the night laid awake terrified. I told my dad the next morning and he convinced me it was a ghost and that because I screamed I scared him away and that I shouldn’t be scared.
    Anyway, after that experience I have them constantly, 2/3 nights a week, massive tarantulas running across my walls, flowers coming out my carpet, a robotic alien off this game I played stood on my bed over me, I could even feel the pressure of its legs next to me. Skeleton hands reaching for me, a dead woman hanging above my head (by far the most terrifying).
    It’s actually got to the point where it no longer scares me because I know they’re not real anymore. They’re always related to something I’ve seen or watched recently, so I’m avoiding anything horror-related now because they’re the least fun!

    The weirdest part about it all is that now it’s been 2 years I can control what I see, when I see a spider I can make it go where I want it to go, before it gradually disappears. Normally I’ll make it move in a certain direction to double-check it isn’t real. It sounds crazy but it works!

  37. Geez I’m so glad to read these posts. I’ve always thought I was a bit crazy! I used to have the same/Similar recurring nightmares about dinosaurs as a child. I used to have distortions when watching TV at night too. As I got older I felt like a nonphysical presence was in my room and I hated the dark. As I got into my 30’s I then started to see spiders during the night, dangling directly above or near me. I’m now in my mid 40’s and the past year it’s mixed with spiders and a spider-like probe/robotic type thing that has electric blue light through it … my curiosity about these hallucinations brought me to this page. Not sure why spiders are significant but now I feel comforted by all the comments here.

  38. Since moving into a house my sister owns I have constantly had nightmares. It started off with just one or two a week, and then after just a few weeks I would be woken up 3-4 sometimes 5 times a night feeling like someone was blowing air right onto my face. It would stop for a few days/weeks then start up again from time to time. I also had a really weird experience when I was laying in bed just day dreaming, a bit tired but still awake, and a massive bolt of lightning hit my room but not vertically (from up high to low) it struck outside my house and I could see it pass over my head while I was laying on my back thinking wtf is going on!? I have read this may be “exploding head syndrome” but it’s only happened the one time and I was definitely awake. The whole room shook for a few seconds and I could do nothing but lay there thinking what the hell was that? And just weeks ago I was constantly in bed, and just as I feel asleep I heard a hissing in my ear which would wake me up straight away, then I felt like someone was grabbing my arms and throwing them up in the air to get my attention. And once the hissing and arm throwing settled down I’d just doze off and see flashes of someone three in the room, which woke me up straight away. I am partial to believing it’s a ghost/entity getting a laugh out of annoying the shit out of me, trying to scare me and not let me sleep. I say this, because my friend has lots of paranormal ghost gear, and once you see one, you cannot-Unsee it. My dog actually spotted one in his house, she comes with me when I visit my mate and my pug Lucy plays with his pug Tilly. Anyway, both sitting back watching movies and Lucy is sitting on my lap, turns and faces the wall behind the couch we are sitting on and begins growling, and then barking, she gets up, and runs into his kitchen. I was like sorry Brian, I’ll tell her to be quiet, she’s being silly. But he said no, let her do her thing. This is often when weird things happen in my house. Lucy was now sitting facing the corner of the kitchen where the two walls meet going nuts barking. My mate got out some electrical magnetic field thing that showed up immediately with what was the outline of a woman in a dress. He also got out his emf reader ( the one that lights up with up to 6 lights) all lights came on straight away. The device he had with the image showed up like a red/green kind of infrared picture. Anyway, I was still struggling to sleep so being a Christian person I thought a King James Bible on either side of bed on the bed tables, and a wooden crucifix and wore it that night. Slept like a baby, got up, toilet, coffee, shower, got ready for the day, and that’s when I felt around at my chest, the string holding the cross and the cross itself where gone… I checked everywhere, all I managed to find was the string had been cut and was lying under my bed, crucifix gone. The television turns off, but not off and on. So it may just be a fault. One night when watching American horror story, there was a reference made about “the room of tears” held where the pope and high up archbishops and priests reside, Vatican City. It said in that room there was a page that described in explicit detail the very nature and appearance in such detail that he could be identified. And seconds after that reference was made my smoke alarm went off.. scared the crap out of me! Immediately turned off the tv show, put normal tv on and thought I gotta go check if it’s just a flat battery or something? But no, battery still had months before it was due for a yearly change over. I also felt a chill go up my spine and felt like something bad is here. So went into every single room, turned on the lights, checked under everything, in all the drawers, cupboards. And nothing. Got to the last room convinced it was just a coincidence it happened seconds after the anti christ was mentioned. Oh, I also would say out aloud in the name of Jesus Christ if there is an evil presence be gone from this place! Now as I entered the last room I turned on the lights, and starting saying it again while checking the cupboards etc, at this exact time my phone in my pocket had unlocked the passcode and opened a YouTube video of someone laughing that was very sinister and creepy. As if to say I’m not going and you can’t make
    me. Now that scared me quite a bit too, hairs on the back of my neck stood up straight away. Now, I have NEVER believed in coincidences, I was hopeful this night I’d be proven wrong, but often things happen for a reason. Anyway, it was early morning 1am or so, I grabbed my dog and went for a walk to settle down a bit. Slept out on the couch that night, and have been doing so quite often. The last home occupants mucked around with Ouija boards and apparently my neighbours said they had no idea what they were doing. And these guys were real creeps from what I heard. Lived like animals, took drugs, bred dogs just to sell puppies for drugs, they would wash once a week, sometimes once a fortnight or less! They wouldn’t even buy toilet paper, but go outside. Upon moving in I actually found multiple women’s clothing mostly underwear and bras all hidden away. I was told they were perverse and would steal clothing from people’s clothesline’s and would even spy on them. That is just what the neighbours told me, but the state of the place before cleaning it up was terrible! And the smell, wee and poop just outside the windows and doors. I think they would have been easily manipulated by anything bad that came through that Ouija board. People think of exorcisms and super human strength and biting your own fingers off and speaking in 3 different voices at once means it a demonic possession. Yes, maybe very strong ones, but most are just as simple as tempting us to do something bad. Like steal something, think bad thought about hurting someone who you don’t get along with, pretty much anything to mislead you and keep you from being happy and living the way god wants us to. So next time you are concentrating on reading the morning paper and all of a sudden, maybe you get a thought of hmmm, is just love to punch my boss in the face, and I sure would love to cheat on my wife with the office secretary.. quite often, these are not your own thoughts. I am just hopeful that perhaps it is just a sleeping disorder, but I think it’s much more than that. Just hope whatever is here is friendly, or hopeful it is a deceased family or friend trying to help me.

    1. We have experienced some of the things you reference. A ghost in my house walked right up to me. She didn’t see me until she was right there. We have one bad character who steals things constantly. Lately, it’s honey. The honey disappears while the jar is still closed. He steals money, drugs, anything important to us. We live across from a big church and believe the spirits wander over here from the funerals. About once a month I pray to Arch Angel Michael to rid us of these spirits. Things get better for a while but they always come back. The prayer for St Michael’s help is online if you want to try it. I believe it is Catholic~

  39. I often wake in the night and see people standing or hovering near me with big, caricature smiles. They disappear quickly. The night after my father died I saw him hovering in my room with a smile. Once I saw a lady bending over to touch me. Ghosts?

    1. That sent shivers down my spine dude!
      I often wake up in the middle of the night and see a figure hanging on the back of my bedroom door almost. The first few seconds are quite scary because I’m convinced there is someone there but after a short moment it seems to fade.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top