Hypnagogia (also known as the 'hypnagogic state') is the stage of being between 'wakefulness' and 'sleep.' It has a twin, hypnopompia, which is the onset of sleep and wakefulness.


During hypnagogia, many bizarre sensations have been reported.

Hypnagogic Hallucinations[]

These hallucinations are seen, heard or felt before drifting off to sleep. They can take form in many ways. Examples are:

  • Visuals can vary randomly, from geometric shapes to flashing lights. Sometimes, they can be fully blown objects and can take the form in humans or animals. Spiders, snakes, eyes, turtles and people are commonly seen along with one's vision, and can sometimes be frightening to the subject.
  • Auditory hallucinations are sounds that the subject thinks they are hearing. Common types of this hallucination is that they hear the phone ring, their name being called and sometimes a song can be heard. More commonly, the subject may be imagining a conversation and part of that conversation can be heard in real life. This is known as a memory fragment, false memory or a memory impression. This type of hallucination is often heard when the subject is close to sleep.
  • Tactile hallucinations vary in many ways. These forms of hallucinations can feel as if someone is touching you, punching you or even sitting on you. The most common form of a tactile hallucination is the hypnagogic (sometimes known as hypnic) jerk, which gives the subject the impression they have just fell into their bed from a height.

Sleep Paralysis[]

Sleep Paralysis can be experienced after sleep or before sleep. After sleep, the paralysis persists if the muscles fail to unparalyze (your muscles shut down during REM sleep to stop you acting out your dreams). During this paralysis, the subject cannot move anything at all. They have little control over their breathing and eyes. At this time frightening hallucinations can be experienced, and a sense of dread is felt. The subject also feels as if they are not alone (someone is in the room with them). Approximately 6% of the world's population experience this every night.