Saturday, December 21, 2013

When Waking Up Becomes the Nightmare: Hypnopompic Hallucinatory Pain

Most of us have had frightening nightmares – someone is chasing after us trying to kill us, or the world is coming to an end. Other disturbing dreams are based on real life anxieties – our partner leaves us, we lose our job, we become homeless. One specific psychiatric condition includes nightmares as part of the diagnosis. Individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) often have terrible nightmares that relive the traumatic event (Pigeon et al., 2013)

We're always glad to wake up from such nightmares, whether they were of the supernatural or mundane or terrifying variety. "Thank god it was only a dream," we say.

But what if waking up from sleep was the nightmare? Hypnopompic hallucinations are unusual sensory phenomena experienced just before or during awakening. Their better known mirror image, hypnagogic hallucinations, are vivid and frightening episodes of seeing or hearing or feeling phantom sensations while falling asleep (or in early stage 1 sleep). Both are frequently associated with sleep paralysis, the terrifying condition of being half awake but unable to move. This is because the complete muscle atonia typically experienced during REM sleep has oozed into lighter stages of non-REM sleep.

Hypnagogic and hypnopompic hallucinations are usually associated with narcolepsy, but 37% of a representative community sample reported frequent hypnagogic hallucinations, and 12.5% reported hypnopompic hallucinations (Ohayon et al., 1996).1 This went well beyond the low incidence of narcolepsy in that population. Both types of hallucinations were more common in those with insomnia, excessive daytime sleepiness, anxiety disorders, and depression (according to self-report).

Night Terrors 1, by Beth Robinson

Nocturnal Episodes of Pain and Screaming

A new case study in the journal Sleep (Mantoan et al., 2013) reports on the terrifying hypnopompic hallucinations of a 43 year old woman who experiences intense limb pain when waking up, which vanishes within 30 seconds. This is a very unusual manifestation of a non-REM parasomnia, a sleep disorder involving partial arousal during the transition between non-REM and wakefulness. The phenomenology might be best characterized as a night terror.

According to the case report (Mantoan et al., 2013), the patient had...
...a history of nocturnal screaming episodes within 1–2 h of sleep onset from the age of 30 years. Her husband was habitually awoken by his wife screaming loudly, usually flapping either her right or left hand against the bed in a semi-purposeful fashion. Her husband reported that the events were sometimes heralded by an inspiratory sigh, she looked terrified and would not respond to him. The screaming would usually last 5–10 sec, and she would then complain to her husband of intense pain affecting the fingers of either hand or arm and occasionally her legs, with no associated numbness or paraesthesia. She would become fully orientated within 30 sec and would be partially amnesic for the event, but would recall an accompanying sense of “fighting to stay alive” associated with intense panic and often accompanied by fast regular palpitations. Otherwise no dream mentation or visualizations were reported in association with the episodes.

She initially had these episodes monthly, but they increased in frequency to 2-5 times a week with 1-2 episodes per night.
She was unable to identify any triggers for the episodes, and neither she nor her husband considered her to be stressed, anxious, or depressed. There was no history of sleep violence, sleep sex, sleep eating, or any other NREM parasomniac automatisms. 

The authors could not identify any standard physical source for the pain. Thoracic outlet syndrome, cervical radiculopathy, focal nerve entrapment, and median neuropathy (carpal tunnel syndrome) were all ruled out.

Pharmacological treatments were unsuccessful. A low dose (0.5–1 mg) of clonazepam was poorly tolerated (it made her feel depressed) and had no effect on her symptoms. Paroxetine was poorly tolerated (due to sedative effects), and gabapentin was also a complete failure. Trazodone, a sedating antidepressant most often prescribed for insomnia, actually made the symptoms worse.

An MRI ruled out a thalamic or hypothalamic lesion. Sleep EEG revealed sudden arousals from deep sleep, accompanied by looks of pain and/or fear on the patient's face. The episodes were consistent with a NREM parasomnia. In the example below, the patient was shaking her arm – muscle activity (EMG) is shown in the green trace.

adapted from Fig. 1B (Mantoan et al., 2013). EEG showing delta waves of stage 3 sleep before an episode of arousal with shaking of one arm and looks of fear. Channels 1-12 are EEG; channels 13 and 14 are electro-oculogram (EOG) activity; channel 15 is electromyography (EMG); channel 16 is electrocardiogram (ECG); channel 17 is oxygen saturation by pulse oximetry (SpO2).  {click on image for a larger view}

What did the doctors do to help this poor woman? Nothing, it seems. A few more musculoskeletal causes need to be ruled out.

The authors end on a vague note about the possible mechanism(s):
In conclusion, to our knowledge this is the first report of a NREM parasomnia associated with painful paroxysms, for which we postulate the following underlying pathophysiological mechanism: an internal or external stimulus triggers arousal, facilitating the activation of innate motor pattern generators in the brainstem and activating somatosensory cortical areas to produce hypnopompic hallucinatory pain.

So instead of the more typical visual hallucinations, the patient experiences pain hallucinations that originate.... where?? It seems to me that the sleep EEG could be analyzed more thoroughly, beyond merely ruling out seizure occurrence. Perhaps another imaging modality like PET could be tried (PET would be quieter than fMRI and would better tolerate movement). Identifying the neurophysiological correlates of her phantom night terror pain would provide a fascinating glimpse into a highly unusual sensory phenomenon.2

Further Reading

The Phenomenology of Pain During REM Sleep

The Neurophysiology of Pain During REM Sleep


1 The questions asked in the telephone interviews by Ohayon et al. (1996) were:
(a) Do you experience at least twice a week the following perceptions?

(i) the realistic feeling that someone or something is present in the room
(ii) a vivid experience of being caught in a fire
(iii) a vivid experience that you are about to be attacked
(iv) a vivid experience that you are flying through the air
(v) the feeling that you will soon fall into an abyss
(vi) the feeling that shadows or objects are moving and distorting.

(b) Do you experience other types of vivid perceptions?

(c) Can you specify the type of perception?

(i) auditory
(ii) visual
(iii) kinetic (involving movement)
To me, the most surprising part of the survey is that 37% reported these phenomenon at sleep onset twice a week for the past year. This contrasts sharply with only 0.04% reporting symptoms of narcolepsy.

2 I've occasionally felt pain in dreams that vanished upon awakening, but I'm pretty sure the episodes occurred during REM (or another stage of dreaming sleep), because visual narrative content was associated with the episodes. Those experiences were clearly not night terrors, and very different from what was reported in the case study.


Mantoan L, Eriksson SH, Nisbet AP, & Walker MC (2013). Adult-onset NREM parasomnia with hypnopompic hallucinatory pain: a case report. Sleep, 36 (2), 287-90 PMID: 23372277

Ohayon MM, Priest RG, Caulet M, & Guilleminault C (1996). Hypnagogic and hypnopompic hallucinations: pathological phenomena? The British journal of psychiatry, 169 (4), 459-67 PMID: 8894197

Pigeon WR, Campbell CE, Possemato K, Ouimette P. (2013). Longitudinal relationships of insomnia, nightmares, and PTSD severity in recent combat veterans. J Psychosom Res. 75:546-50.

The Sleep Paralysis Project

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]


At October 10, 2014 11:34 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Hi there. I was reading your blog and found it very interesting. For the past two months or so, I have been waking up suddenly at night (and ONLY at night) and will see random objects on my ceiling. Tonight I had another episode. I saw a wall lamp with a cage on it that looked like something you would have seen in a very old hospital, asylum, or prison. It even lit up and had this eerie glow to my room. I have also seen in the past magazines from different times, faces of different kinds, tables (which was really weird), and various other things. They usually sit in one spot and don't move too much. I never really feel threatened, more curious than anything. And I have never felt pain out of it either. But I have always found it odd.

At October 13, 2014 1:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It happens to me aswell but usually when I wasnt sleeping a lot nights earlier or if I am very stressed (doesnt need to be during specific night, just have hard time at school etc). Its usually like that: I try to sleep but feel ofcourse not tired while when Im up Im tired all days. Then I fade into sleep just to wake up suddenly, usually opening my eyes. It can happen a few tims during one night. I used to see things in ceiling aswell like lasers from disco or once laser made hands sticking out of it. Usually these were static and at first I remember commenting (loud or not, unsure) that its weird, that I see these things in the room. They dissapear, fade away in 1-5 seconds. I get irritaded and turn in bed and try to sleep. It happened that I heard some voice/sound instead, I got scared maybe 25% of times when I have seen or heard weird things. Last night I dreamed and woke up twice seing a rope. I mean all my halucinations dont look real, they look out of place, out of picture, like from a cartoon or game almost. Once it happened to me to wake up with closed eyes and see some image like being in a different place, seeing a bit of picture. It started becoming more real just to start fading after a moment. I never scream but it happens that I comment to my man or that I turn on bed and think he said something so I woke up but he is sleeping. He told me that he had seen me do things in sleep a few times like talk and sit on bed. I woke up myself with hand in the air or once in the middle of a dream stretching my hand in real to a person I dreamed stretched hand to me. I woke up with hand hanging paralyzed in the air and had to put in down with my other hand. This moving in sleep doesnt happen often but hallucinations do happen. Im happy that they are usually objects, not moving, look unreal and dissapear fast...

Aha, I usually get one of my nostrill swullen at night (randomly) so it may be that I got harder to breathe and wake up sometimes. I dont know. Im tired mostly during days. I would go to doctor but they simply ignore people and you got to persuade them that you are reeealy in need of help.

At December 24, 2014 2:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This happens to me as well. Maybe you are just ascending/awakening faster than other humans.

At January 03, 2015 11:14 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

have had night terrors for years. They would always be accompanied by sleep paralysis and the feeling of something demonic or evil in my room. I would be lying in bed unable to move, feeling horrified and sometimes hadj hallucinations. They became more frequent and more intense. I would lie in bed trying desperately to wiggle my arm because I noticed once I was able to move the paralysis would start to fade. First I would be able to move a finger, then my hand, once I could actually move my arm the terror would fade and I could move again. Same with my legs. I would attempt to scream but not out of fear, this was an attempt to have someone notice and wake me up or to regain control myself and end the occurrence. Getting someone to "wake me up" became my goal when this happened. If my girlfriend would shake me I would snap out of it. Over the years it became less terrifying, but then something weird happened! When this stuff happened I was able to walk out if the room and reach someone else so they would wake me up, attempting to scream the whole time. Except when I reached this person I would realize each time that I was still in bed experiencing this. That became the new layer to the night terror. Waking up stuck, feelings of doom, moving towards my "rescuer" to "wake me" and this might happen several times in one dream. Now it has changed again. A few months ago I woke up screaming at the top of lungs. I didn't know I could make that sound. My girlfriend came to me and her face began to melt. This hallucination was so real. She tried to touch me and I kept gingerly slapping her hand away. It felt like this lasted for 30 seconds. I felt like nothing was real for minutes after and it lingered for long after I was up and moving. Since then I have awoken feeling scared and nothing was real several times. Even asking the people around me if this is real if I am here, what's wrong, or what just happened. On one occasion I almost literally sprung to my feet. Just a few nights ago I woke up zcreaming again and my girlfriend changed into all kinds of creatures. She says she tried to talk to me but I only remember her walking in the room and back out which only made it feel more surreal. I remember that I started screaming because I saw her change into different things, but she says she came in because I was screaming. I am sure that's true.
I am a 220lbs 28 year old and I am a calm and collected person but these responses to whatever it is feels purely instinctual as if I don't consider what is scaring me at all. It just happens. I am worried after reading this article. It sounds just like what is happening to me and it sounds like this woman never found answers. Normally I would not bother writing a comment this long or self disclose this much but I need answers and I want others who read this to know incase they gave experienced it too. Sorry for all the spelling errors, i did this from my phone.

At January 06, 2015 8:09 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

you are obviously not the only one mike

At January 09, 2015 11:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have similar to you, Mike. I only get sleep paralysis after stress or little sleep, when I am out of a routine. It seems connected with having problems to breath. So that my body desperately tries to wake me up to make me breath. But since the paralysis is still on, it might not be so easy. And then the dream-state, which is REM, comes into a negative mode. And more "live like" since you are half awake.
Maybe it is the sleep disorder apnea. If you smoke, I suggest you to quit. Drink - then drink less. And if you are over-weight then to get out moving :-)
I almost never have this problem anymore after I quit smoking. But recently after drinking and experiencing a shocking episode in my private life, I was dreaming about deamons attacking me. Shadows that entrered my room and was talking in a foreign language in a whispering, alarming voice. A few years ago when I was on holiday in Spain and had been drinking/smoking and had little sleep, an ugly deamon came flying through my window and laid down beside me in the bed trying to tape me (I am a woman, 34 yrs). I tried to blow my breath at him as that would make him go away..hehe..But it was really scary! Another time I have heard my mobile ring into various different phone tones and light up. At the same time I heard my fathers voice talking, saying the same over and over. Tipical hallucinations! When I sleep with my boyfriend, I also try to make him wake me up. But all in all, since I have had so little problem with this outside of stressful situations, stopped smoking and so on. I dont worry too much. I will now focus on drinking less/or nothing and train more. Believe this is the remedy. Get a routine. If you still have problems after doing this, I suggest you to ask your doctor to get checked for apnea.

At January 20, 2015 2:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This has been a fairly normal occurrence for me ever since I was a toddler, so I'm used to it by now. It happens most nights, but sometimes I'm lucky and I can get in a few nights without experiencing anything.

To elaborate, the most common thing I experience is waking up and seeing spiders, whether on the ceiling, on the wall next to my bed, or a swarm of them running at me from the other side of the room. Sometimes they are big, sometimes small.
Last night, I woke up and saw something sitting on me and I couldn't get up for a few seconds. I also heard someone on the floor ask for a blanket, so I gave them one of mine, then fully woke up and realized what I was doing.

When I was a kid, I saw spiders, murderers, the room being on fire, for a while after 9/11 I would see planes crashing, etc. And they always end with me heading towards something I see as safe; when I was a kid, I would run into the bathroom and lock the door. Now I make a run for the light.

I don't really know what triggers it. I can usually tell if I will have a bad night if I wake up and see things, because usually it happens five-six times per night, and then it happens every night... and then just stops.

I have extremely vivid dreams anyways and I recall 6-8 dreams per night and have an easy time going lucid (naturally), so I always figured that my brain is very hyperactive during sleep and my body wakes up before my brain does, causing the hallucinations.

At January 21, 2015 10:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps another angle you folks may want to explore is what you do in your private life. Has any of you engaged in any form of spiritism/witchcraft? That would include palm reading, fortune telling, consulting a medium etc etc. The bible speaks of angels that became rebellious and became demons. Typically when they get access to humans via spiritistic practices they are also capable of causing nightmares, hallucinations, victims will sense an evil presence in the room, some are sexually assaulted, strangled and the like. Getting rid of anything connected to spiritism will lead to some relief. Acts 19:19.

At January 30, 2015 10:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So interesting that the article mentions spiders and some have mentioned seeing spiders in their comments....
I have been experiencing hallucinations on wake up when I think I am fully conscious. Most of the time it's been spiders crawling from the wall into my bed. I don't like spiders (to put it mildly) so that vision typically gets me to jump off my bed, get my husband up and off the bed and get the blankets and pillows off as well. Takes me good few minutes to realize that it wasn't real.
Last night it changed. I saw a spider on the wall but managed to convince myself that it was not scary and just moved my pillow away from it. But as soon as I turned in my bed, I saw another hallucination which was a toy RC helicopter flying around the bedroom. I woke my husband up and told him to "look at the plastic helicopter" which of course wasn't there. I remember the conversation vividly and it feels to me that I can think very clearly during the hallucination.
I find these incidents quite curious and I would love to know the mechanism behind it. So far I have been unable to pinpoint any specific reasons for hallucination or to predict when they would happen. I seem to be having them more often lately, like a few times a months.
At least it's re-assuring to know I am not the only one. Hopefully that also means I am not crazy :)

At February 18, 2015 11:16 PM, Blogger JenHolder said...

My 7-year old daughter began experiencing what I believe are hypnopompic hallucinations within the past 3 months. It is utterly terrifying to observe. Frankly, I feel like I am witness to a bad LSD trip by a small, helpless, terrified child. It occurs only (so far) during waking from sleep. It has happened in the middle of the night. It has happened in the middle of the day. It has happened - noticeably - twice while she was ill and running a fever. That said, it has happened while she was perfectly healthy and well-rested. She experiences visual hallucinations as well as auditory. She reaches out, tearfully, as if trying to touch her environment to make it more tangible or perhaps to physically stop it from reaching her.
During these episodes, her emotions have ranged from hysterical joy and laughter to fear...the interesting characteristic of her fear is consistently of an empathetic nature. For example, she recently told me to please back away because she didn't want to attack me on purpose. This was a tearful and worried statement. She is a naturally kind and gentle child. She is highly attuned to the emotions of others, and it seemed that she was almost afraid of herself; that she might harm me despite my size and perceived power as her mother. I admit, I resorted to approaching her like a wounded animal; I averted my eyes, spoke slowly, and even kneeled in order to make myself smaller and less threatening. Throughout it all, she fluctuated between terror of her surroundings (she saw curtains move and walls shift and she heard people shouting and banging things as well as music) and worry for my own well-being. She wanted me to stay so she would feel safe, but she made several comments about wanting me to leave to save myself.
She remembers every bit of it later and will reluctantly talk about it, but not for long.
Her grandmother has narcolepsy and her father was a lite-childhood bed-wetter and continues to sleepwalk, especially if exhausted or even mildly intoxicated. I am a lucid dreamer, myself, and have been told I talk fluently in my sleep, though I have no recollection.
I don't know if this is a sign of an underlying psychological issue (she is otherwise healthy and happy and has no developmental or cognitive delays) or if this is perhaps genetic, considering sleep disorders and/or abnormalities on both maternal and paternal sides.
I remain calm and prevent excess stimulation. I should mention that she has always seemed to process stimuli (visual, auditory, and tactile) a bit more extremely than other children. But frankly, I am struggling with this because I feel like I am watching someone I love more than anything being mentally and emotionally tortured, and I am helpless to prevent it or stop it.
I would appreciate any advice or insight you can provide. I want to take her to see a specialist, but her pediatrician dismissed it quickly and abruptly, stating that "night terrors and nightmares are common in children her age."
Based on what I have read, her episodes do not meet the criteria for either. They go far beyond bad dreams and waking with screams.
These episodes are the stuff of horror films.
But I feel like even describing them here makes me (or her) sound insane.
I would greatly value and appreciate any guidance and support I receive.

At March 05, 2015 8:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


You may want to contact a counselor for your daughter. It sounds like night terrors, and while she may outgrow them, it could also be an indication of some underlying issue. For instance, bullying at school or stress over friendships. It is very hard to tell, but it wouldn't hurt to get a psychologist or two (for second opinion) to evaluate her.

I have had vivid nightmares since I was a small child, I often think intruders are in the house or the room and even as an adult sometimes I am scared to sleep.

Hopefully, your daughter will outgrow the terrors and have a lifetime of peaceful sleep. Still, I would recommend medical and psychiatric evaluations.

At March 11, 2015 4:33 PM, Blogger Krista Zimmerman-Schriver said...

Damn. I wrote out like a page and a half reply to Jen and didn't copy it before I submitted and now it's gone.

I wrote about my story and how I am very similar to Jen's daughter. I'm not in my late twenties, married and have found some work around.
I used to get night terrors, as I call them, 2-6 times a week, especially in my teens. Sleep became my worst enemy and no one had heard of what I had. My mom was convinced I was haunted or something. It was very hard to find any resources even with the Internet and I felt really alone and embarrassed and terrified.
I wanted to give Jen advice. He report spoke to me because I was a very empathetic child who was really reluctant to talk about the content of my nightmares. Talking about the content only made it more real feel r me. If I was to make one suggestion it'd be for you to talk to her but about the science. Let her learn about the different aspects of this, tell her that it is hallucinations and just in her mind. It sounds like that might make her feel crazy but knowing that it was hallucinations was the best piece of info I got. It was out of my control. It wasn't my fault. Talk to her about that. Who knows, maybe she'll because a sleep pathologist or a nuerobiologist and help us All. I wish someone had told me. My mom has so many stories of me waking up screaming and telling her to run when I was little.
Also, stress is a massive factor for me. If I allow myself to go to bed feeling stressed or afraid (e.g. I just watched Hannibal or I have a big project at work I'm worried about) I am 100% guaranteed to wake my husband up with flailing before i can get a lamp on and remember that it's just chemicals in my brain.
I try to not let myself go to sleep feeling anything but the warm and fuzzies. I read cheesey romance novels before bed and having my husband in bed with me always helps because I have that peaceful, safe feeling before I sleep.
Being afraid of sleep is this disease's best friend, I think. So talk to your daughter and make sure she knows it's not her fault, it's not real and create a bed time ritual to get her into a positive, safe place before sleep.
I am happy to tell you I get 1-2 night terrors a month now because of this and it's almost always because I'm over-tired, stressed or fearful. The issues can definitely be managed.

At March 19, 2015 7:23 AM, Blogger travelon said...

I have had this happening to me since I was a teen. They don't happen often...maybe 4 or 5 times a year. Some times a cluster of nights and then nothing for weeks or maybe months. Mostly I hear things like some is waling down the hall or opening the door when I knew it was locked. The first one I saw a family friend standing over me...I had been napping during the day on the living room floor laying on my back. Since then I have gotten used to them and they don't frighten me like they used to. I have to really concentrate and jerk by head to come out of it. And then I need to get fully awake...or it will come back. Some time I get out of bed and that's usually enough to wake me and then I'm fine the rest of the night. I've only had 2 episode of hallucinations. And only 2 that were during the day while taking a nap. All other have been at night and I hear odd things...I'm surprised to find out that this is common. I've never determined if they are triggered by any unusual happening in my life. There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason for me.

At March 22, 2015 10:07 AM, Anonymous Jenny said...

I found this article because last night similar to other nights I've had in the past, I woke up in my bedroom. I could see that everything was the same from peripheral vision as it had been when I was asleep only there was a man (mostly just silhouette) sitting on top of me with his arms reaching toward me. I had a horrible sense of ill-intent exuding from him. It was so real because I was in my bedroom. The ceiling fan was on. I screamed bloody murder and my husband reached over to wake me. I grabbed his arm in a death grip for some reason and wouldn't let go. I was shaking and my heart was racing. The man was gone but I had a hard time believing he hadn't been there because I had felt him sitting on my and still had a warm feeling where he had "been". The adrenaline and intese terror kept me up for hours and I kept expecting a man to be standing next to the bed if I opened my eyes. I have social anxiety and maybe this was triggered by a wedding I had to attend and the stress that went with trying to blend in as a semi-normal person. >.< I hope this doesn't happen again.

At April 05, 2015 10:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad I found this article. I've had occasional sleep paralysis, which never really bothered me. In the last few weeks I've been under stress, and had hypnopompic hallucinations a couple of times. Initially, I was taken aback, as although I had just awoken, I was sitting up in bed and definitely 100% awake, but still seeing the hallucination which then faded out slowly. After finding out what they were I wasn't too worried and put it down to being stressed - but then I read the piece on which said that if you don't have narcolepsy (which I don't) that hypnopompic hallucinations are a symptom of psychosis and schizophrenia!! That DID freak me out, so I was VERY glad to read this article, and the part about the hypnopompic statistics. My hallucinations are usually just of a spider crawling, nothing scary, but it's still a little weird to be totally awake/moving and sitting up and see something photographically real (I only realised it wasn't when it crawled off the bed and into empty air and faded out.)

At April 05, 2015 10:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Perhaps another angle you folks may want to explore is what you do in your private life. Has any of you engaged in any form of spiritism/witchcraft? Acts 19:19." Yeah, and epilepsy means you're possessed by the devil! Honestly, why even publish such an inane and idiotic comment.

At April 21, 2015 1:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have sleep paralysis and the hallucinations became worse after I was diagnosed with schizophrenia. I am not currently psychotic, but the stress from what happened has probably made my condition worse. I have felt dark creatures next to me in bed, heard my sister calling for me knowing she doesn't live with me etc. It's frightening but not as frightening as being psychotic (when you lose touch with reality for a longer amount of time-for me, over five weeks).

At May 28, 2015 9:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I remember as a child around 10 years old having feelings of something sitting on the end of my bed and I would just lie there eyes peeled and at other times with the covers over my head too scared to check. At other times growing up I would have a feeling of things getting big and then small. I take medication for depression and anxiety, and changed medications a year ago. During the transition and occasionally since about once a week I would feel like I woke up and would be surrounded in the dark by spider webs, like the whole room was filled in with webs. Last year in December I had a visual waking hallucination, and the second it started, it was like someone turned a tv screen on in the dark and instantly a man's fist was throwing a punch at my head. There was no pain, it didn't actually connect. This one happened twice, one month apart and always i woke up straight away. But for a second it felt like I had already woken up until after the hallucination had ended. 5 seconds of intense fright, then I could shake it off once awake. I have only had one more in the last 3 months, of a woman walking menacingly past my window. It followed a conversation that week with someone who had had a run in with a troublesome woman in reality. I have terrible sleeping cycles, tend to get insomnia and sleep during the day, and have had sleep apnoea for years.

At August 18, 2015 6:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Been having these since 2004, when I came back from Iraq. Started with seeing a shadow floating around every now and then, but over the past 11 years happens anywhere from 2 to 5 times a night in different severity. I was prescribed Prazosin, which seems to be 50/50, but I still wake up sometimes. I don't have the paralysis feeling though. Normally when I see something I jump out of bed and either try to attack it or run from it (fight or flight). Last night it was a large tree figure (more demon like) that had me bolt out of the room into the kitchen. I've seen witches, bats, shadows, people pointing guns at me, but the worst is when I do it and don't remember it. It has affected my wifes sleep just as much, and most of the time she can calm me down back to sleep. I was thinking of video taping a months worth just to have proof, but I am stuck at finding a solution. I usually get 6 to 5 hours of sleep a night, but with constant interruptions. I feel sorry for anyone else going through this, as I don't even remember what a good nights sleep feels like as I'm sure neither do you.

At August 31, 2015 6:27 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

when i read the comments about people seeing spiders, it reminded me of my brother.... so back when we used to live in Africa my brother was about 5 and one morning he woke up and he was screaming and running around like he was crazy my mum kept trying to stop him from screaming because it was in the early morning and the whole neighbor hood was coming and i guess my mum didn't want people to think that my brother was a mad man, but he kept on running around and screaming and saying spider, spider webs(in my language) since my mum could not stop him running some men came and tried to stop him but my brother run off and he was running so fast that they couldn't catch him. so long story short they caught him and my mum took him to the hospital when they came back he was better.but then in the night again he started to scream and then my mum told him off and he just stopped. in the morning he was screaming my told him off again then he stopped. so this did not happen again until in 2007 we arrived in Australia and our visit night in the middle of the night he started to scream for a short while but he stopped him self and it never happened again.

At September 20, 2015 5:55 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

I've experienced these hallucinations after an operation when I was medicated with pain killers a few years ago. It was crazy, every time I dozed off and then awoke again, there were huge spiders climbing down the wall and snakes on the floor. They were soooooo vivid it was scary. They went away a few seconds after opening my eyes. But now several years later I experienced waking to objects in my room, such as a large dream catcher, an old woman, etc. etc. I did have caffeine tea right before bed and i'm hoping this was the cause. If anyone out there is experiencing this and learned to take control of it, please let me know. :)

At October 05, 2015 9:50 AM, Blogger said...

I have had these visions for years and they are alway horrible and induce panic mostly mild panic but on one occasion it was extream and scared the life out of me.
For years I would wake up to see a spider crawling up the wall next to my head, at first I used to jump up and turn the light on wake my husband in the midst of pulling all the covers off the bed, eventually after about 4 minutes I would realise that there was no spider and I had imagined it. This happened more and more frequently and I started to get used to it, to the point where I would wake up and sit staring at the spider for a minute and think to myself "it isn't real and will disappear in a minute".
But they didn't disappear so eventually I would jump out the bed turn the light on and leave the room, go wash my hands in cold water in the bathroom and then return to my lighted room confirm everything was fine and go back to bed. Just to note by this point my husband is so used to it he just pulled the pillow over his head and rolled over until the light goes back out.

I managed to stop the spider from appearing but not sure that was for the best....... What I did was before I would fall asleep I would say to myself that if I awake and see a spider to confirm it is not real it will be wearing a pink bow on its head. Well I did wake to see a spider but this time it was obviously not real and it almost made me laugh, it did not have a pink bow ( maybe a step to far ) but it was fluffy and had glittery sparkling fluff like a pompom and was very girly and it run away from me rather than towards me.

So I thought great problem solved and it was for the seeing a spider never seen one since and I have only woke up to see anything twice since then a year ago. Unfortunately these two occasions were the most terrifing experiences I have had. The first time I woke to see a old lady sitting in my bed looking at me ( I think someone else mentioned spiders and an old lady ) I jumped out of bed and started thinking this isn't real, then she reached out to touch me and I screamed a blood curdling scream and run to the other side of the room, not taking my eyes off her, then I heard my husband scream and I run from the room into the hall waited a second then run in to the bathroom and shut the door. At this point everything returned to normal and I could hear my husband calling me asking what's happening.
I couldn't sleep in my room for a week.

The second time I woke and thought my husband was attacking me but he was asleep and awoke to me telling him to stop and get off, this time him shouting at me to stop.
It hasn't happened for about 6 months now but I can feel if I'm slipping into a lucid state and I wake myself back up and listen to the radio. I found reading made it more frequent as my brain would drift off and be in a more active state at the point of slipping onto sleep. I have very lucid dreams still and know I'm dreaming and can control them to a certain extent.
It's good to know I'm not the only one.

At October 26, 2015 12:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the last 5 years I occasionally awake to the same 3 people standing in my room in various places they don't say anything they don't move they just stare occasionally its only one or two but its always in the early morning i can move i kick out and yell for them to leave they just stare then ill turn on a light and they are gone does this seem like hypopomic to you? Please let me know it freaks me out every time.

At November 05, 2015 7:40 AM, Anonymous Andy said...

Been having them for 20 years now. Seen the demons, spiders (hate those), floating heads etc, inanimate objects just floating around, the ceiling completely crashing in, heck last night the ceiling appeared futuristic/mechanical style and a 1m square eery thing just very slowly hovers over to the corner and slots up in, it was even omitting an orange light from the middle. These days I just watch, most times calmly, trying to assess it from a third person perspective (if that makes sense). I went through many years of jumping up and attacking the things I saw (Dragonball Z influence), still very occasionally do. But after I hit them reality comes back and the setting fades away but quite slowly.
Honestly I experience none of those causes that are supposed to lead to this problem, none. I'm very healthy, eat right, exercise, take no pills, don't drink or smoke and get at least 8 hours sleep a night. Also contrary to what many of these articles say I don't freak out when it happens. Initial fear is always there but it's more intrigue mostly. I even ask my wife laying next to me if she can see whats going on. She gets angry at me waking her up - AND YES WE ARE TALKING TO EACH OTHER CALMLY DURING THE "NIGHT TERROR" - ONCEMORE CONTRADICTING WHAT THE 'EXPERTS' REPORT. i'm 38 and it happens almost every night, in fact I've grown suspicious of it and want to go deeper. Longest I've managed is around 30 seconds. I want more, none of it shocks me anymore, it actually more pisses me off these days. I want controll over it or at least to interact more productively with it for longer. Sometimes I raise up carefully and try to catch whatever it is, but very carefully, I got it once but the dam setting faded off before I could observe better. Anyone feeling me on this???

P.S to the one poster who spoke of witchcraft, fortune telling etc - I'm into none of that and already believe on Jesus as Lord and saviour. Though some of these people may be experiencing "the discerning of Spirits" as written in the Corinthians gifts.

At November 16, 2015 12:38 AM, Blogger myrmayde said...

I've seen imaginary spiders upon waking up all of my life (once in a while, not all the time). I wear glasses, so when I wake up my vision is blurry and the "spiders" are blurry dark blobs that I just assumed were spiders I couldn't see clearly. They always ran away as soon as I saw them and faded away in a few seconds. I realized that they weren't real one time when the hallucination was of an intricate mandala-like object up by the ceiling. It looked kind of like a chandelier covered in many colored hanging crystals. After I knew that the spiders weren't real, I also realized that their motion was always in the same direction as my eye motion. Now I know that I have a tendency to see radially symmetrical geometric shapes in the center of my field of vision when I wake up, and that they appear to move when my eyes move. I had interpreted them as spiders because that would make the most sense if they were real. But I had never seen them clearly and distinctly and motionless, just fleeting little fuzzy blobs. It used to scare me a lot, because I have a bit of a phobia about most bugs. Now I usually remember that it's a hallucination pretty quickly and don't get scared. I'm glad I haven't seen the terrifying images that some people have.

At March 19, 2016 11:40 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Felt good reading your comments. Atleast, I'm not the only one to experience these.

At March 19, 2016 11:42 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

I feel you

At March 27, 2016 4:53 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

I awake every morning at 6:23am, to the voice of my still living father calling my name. Also if I had any dreams that I got beaten up in I'll awake with the bruises and aches from them. I have epilepsy so for now I'm discrediting some of the bruises do to possible sleep seizures.

At June 09, 2016 2:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought I was special really. I just really see two specific figures who are usually blurred out which look really frightening from time to time before I fall asleep. It's been going on for years now really. I used to think it was a spiritual problem. I stopped being scared of the figures I saw after a while. But it is still frightening when I get the feeling.

At June 15, 2016 9:01 PM, Blogger tpainton said...

Aside from frank plagerism.. Your piece was informative if not cut and paste from a peer review of the study. I do take exception to the tone against the physicians with regard to doing nothing because musculo-skeletal causes needed to be ruled out. Perhaps this woman had a C5 disc bulge with exacerbation due to body posture and habitus shortly after falling aslee? Her diagnosis is rare. So rare, her case report was published in _Sleep_ . If your not throwing the authors under the bus, then I apologize, but your writing conveyed that (Or I'm just paranoid).

At July 05, 2016 11:32 PM, Blogger TheTiredThinker said...

I truly thought I must have written (your comment) a long time ago and just didn't remember that I did it. I've experienced the exact sMe thing you described, the plastic helicopter, spiders, but also robots, someone leaving the he room, rarely people with no eyeballs (I hate those) .. One time I did CPR on my husband crying and saying "please don't die".. And I have to sleep alone now, :-p he says I talk so much, I ask him "honey what is that?" All the time, and mumble words he can't understand, ) THE HALLUCINATIONS ARE WAG WORSE IN THE DARK, I sleep with some light on, TV to distract me (I feel less terrified if I pretend it was something on TV that caused me to wake up scared) The most common lately are spiders, almost every night. I see them in mid air... Or coming down from the ceiling, one medicine that help tremendously TERAZOSIN 1mg my hallucinations were so often and so vivid I was afraid to go to bed and would stay up until I couldn't help but fall asleep with all the lights on. Lately, with this medicine, it's mostly transparent spiders, I do get up and shake the blankets occasionally, most of the time I realize it's not real before I get up. I've been feeling itchy lately when I'm sooooo sleepy I can't keep my eyes open I feel like there are really hairs rubbing against my skin or something like that. I've had this all my life. I'm 32, and I've had really bad depression and anxiety most of my life too... :-( I'm a good person and wanted to make a positive difference in the world, but I'm so tired. Tired of everything.. and sad .. And I feel empty ... Purposeless ... most of the time.

At July 22, 2016 3:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My hallucinations have been pleasant.
Many were lit up. People smiled at me and faded away once I made eye contact with them. I smile back. I've had a woman offer her baby to me. Once a sales lady showed me a beautiful dress from a rack. Once a carpenter was measuring a wall and winked at me with a pencil over his ear and a measuring tape in his hand. I could go on and on. These episodes mostly occurred during a period of 6 to 8 months when cataracts were quickly growing in my eyes. Once I had surgery they ended. It sounds crazy, but I looked forward to these episodes and miss them. It was like being being in the movies..literally.

At September 20, 2016 11:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

exactly, since some time i have been a little bed ridden due to arthitis and experiencing some of these hallucinations , but they are more of like pleasant type, like my girlfrnd visiting, i even found a little pillow walking very amusing and not scary

At September 23, 2016 4:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are trying to sound educated, however your grammar and spelling say otherwise. No one cares if you think it's plagerized an no one cares you feel the writer "threw the authors under the bus". This was an informative article with cited references from a peer reviewed study. You were looking for a witch to hunt, but instead you ended up looking like an ass.

At October 04, 2016 2:30 AM, Blogger anon2121 said...

something similar happened to me last night. been taking it for granted byt last night was something else woke up from a normal dream only to see a blury floating being look at me and rush down into my body(thats what i recall) and i couldnt scream or move however much i tried for about 10-15 seconds. still not finding this blog 100% helpful sofar because i know what i saw

At October 13, 2016 9:59 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Idk what to do I was sleeping and I dreamt I got hit in the head with a bat multipul times and now my head hurts really bad in that spot and I can't walk without getting dizzy and falling down and the other day I dreamt I was geting stabbed and I woke up with stab marks in that spot and they arent going away neither is the head pain what is this what does it mean I'm only 15 and Idk what to do please help

At October 19, 2016 5:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So I have post trauma and I had this horrifying dream that i was being strangled, it was so bad...I woke up and noticed i was in a lot more pain than usual...due to a back injury either from struggling due to nightmares or just extreme pain being its chronic. I notice i have nightmares when physically unwell. I am trying to have a relaxing day, as high levels off stress can trigger nightmares, terrors, and parasomnias or sleep hallucinations. I literally felt the hands of someone pressing around my neck, but i know it was not real. Sleep hallucination? What type? Angel Underwood, your head pain could be a common headache or something more serious. If you are under the influence that you have been stabbed, you should probably seek help, mental or medical.

At November 03, 2016 9:34 PM, Blogger Stylist&Reviewer said...

Jen, keep your cellphone handy and try to video some of her episodes. Then, if the pediatrician dismisses them, FIND A NEW ONE!
She could very well be narcoleptic. I found that a night light helped me a lot (when they were the worst, several times every night, around 19-23 years old) so try that. Something to change her environment, almost like shocking the brain out of the REM stage. (Such as soothingly carrying her to a different room, while telling her to lay her head on your shoulder and close her eyes, so that when you get to the other room and she opens her eyes, it's a bigger 'change' for her brain to process.) I have no clue when you wrote your comment, but I'd love an update!

At November 08, 2016 6:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was a regular bedwetter right up to 12 years, which basically meant that I was so deeply asleep that my body would not wake up to take me to the toilet. I had numerous nights when I would wake to feel pressure like there was someone sitting on my legs or sitting at the end of my bed, then I would be unable to move if the pressure was on my legs, but if it was at the end of the bed I could raise my head to check. Once, I had a dream where I woke up, went up the hall to my parents room and stood at the end of the bed asking them a question. In the morning they told me I just stood there not saying anything, so that was one documented event of sleep walking. From 18 to 21, I had a few short single event dreams a few times where someone's face would appear as a cameo very vividly like a tv screen, with no sound, no fear, but with a sense of "something is happening". As I no longer had contact with the couple of people in the dreams I had no way of knowing if anything had happened to them, I would be left wondering about their welfare with no way of actually checking. I had one vivid dream where I was standing in a big stone cathedral and there was an earthquake and great big blocks of stone were crashing down, but I did not get hurt and there was a neighbour in that one. About 5 years ago I suffered some psychological grief over a best friend and my own mother and experienced awake events where my mothers or my ex-best friend's faces would be weakly superimposed over my boyfriend's face in bed, which disturbed me and then really annoyed me. I was actually angry with my own brain, as I had set out to block these people out of my life due to their negative actions, but my own brain refused to play along and would subliminally affect my consciousness in order to remind me of them. Usually if this happens to a character in a movie it is used as a sight gag, but it actually happens in reality and is just disturbing. That was indeed full on, but only happened twice possibly because I worked out what was going on in my head. Five years later I went into depression and anxiety over stressful events and went on medication which failed after one year and I was switched by the doctor to another. After a period of 5 months of bad reactions while my brain changed went through discontinuation syndrome, I started experiencing waking up in the night and seeing the darkened room full of spiderwebs or seeing moving wispy pixellated spiders that would move a little then vaporise. Most recently, which was over a year ago, while under the stress of having to move, I had two waking hallucinations, maybe 3 in a 2 month period where I would think I was suddenly awake only to have a mans fist coming straight at my head to punch me, then I would jerk awake. I wasn't ever able to recognise the face of the man, I don't remember what he looks like. And I have had no events for the last 18 months which is really great. So, I am definitely at the lower end of the scale in terms of severity of symptoms.

At November 20, 2016 2:59 PM, Anonymous Louise said...

I've had sleep paralysis, hallucinations, and lucid dreams since I was about 4 or 5 years old. I'm almost 40 now, and while I still get them, they're not as frequent as they used to be. Nighttime used to be a terrifying time for me. I was an insomniac for most of my childhood, but now my sleep patterns are relatively normal.

I can still remember those childhood hallucinations so vividly. In one, I woke up to find an old Native man standing behind my mother's dresser (I slept in my parent's bed through most of my childhood). He had long silver hair and a long silver robe. His face was like tanned leather with a network of deep wrinkles, and a glow seemed to emanate from him. Standing just beside him was a tiny red devil, like Hot Stuff from the old comic books. The tiny devil threw a silver pitchfork at me and it embedded into my knee. I still remember thinking, "Ouch," and feeling the sting of the tines pricking my knee. Then I fully awoke and they were gone. It didn't frighten me. If anything, the Native man made me feel very peaceful.

I'd see green balls floating into my mother's room, bobbing near the ceiling, and my mother's face would appear inside them, or my grandmother's. I've had one particularly disturbing one at about 5 or 6 years old where baby alligators were attacking me and biting me. I jumped out of bed screaming, scared my parents, and when they turned on the light and I woke up, the alligators were gone.

As I grew to be a teenagers, the frequency gradually lessened, but I still had episodes. I had one where I was laying in bed and, in the dream state (like someone mentioned above), the room and how I was lying was exactly the same as when I fell asleep. So much so, I didn't realize I was asleep. I could hear feet shuffling across the carpet, but I sleep with my head covered, and was like this in the dream too, so I didn't see who entered. I was terrified, but then a woman started to brush my hair that was poking out from the covers as she hummed a sweet song. Another one, similar to this, I heard footsteps shuffling over the carpet, could feel someone standing at the side of the couch, where I was napping, and then I felt them enter my body. I could feel another presence vibrating inside my skin, and it was like someone else's thoughts were mingling with mine. That one was pretty unsettling.

Over time, I have come to calmly accept them, if not enjoy them somewhat. They're a part of who I am now, though I'm glad they're not as bad as when I was a kid.

At November 27, 2016 5:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like most on this blog, I've experienced sleep paralysis accompanied by hypnagogic hallucinations since I was a young teen. I've also been told that it is normally caused by sleep deprivation which is something I believe as my sleep paralysis episodes increase when I don't get the proper amount of sleep. It's important to mention that I also have symptoms of anxiety that have never been assessed or diagnosed by a doctor and that I'm not on any medication.

For the past two years I had been experiencing what I've just learned are hypnopompic hallucinations. At first they were very infrequent but for the past few months, most likely due to stress, they've been occurring more regularly. My hypnopompic hallucinations like my hypnagogic hallucinations can be either auditory, visual or a combination of the two. I've awakened to the sound of doors opening, knocks on doors, disembodied voices, and even more strangely, a knock on my daughter's crib that is adjacent to the bed (When she was not in it). The visual hallucinations I've awoken to include a man standing at the foot of the bed, a man facing the window, a door appearing on the ceiling, images appearing on the wall, objects floating in air, etc. This morning I had my creepiest hallucination when I awoke. I awoke first to my 17 month old daughter crying in her crib. I wasn't facing her, so I turned over to see about her. When I turned, I saw something that looked like stuffed linked reindeer toys dangling over her bed. I screamed out to my husband that something was over our daughter's crib while keeping my eyes locked on the object and it vanished before my eyes within maybe 10 seconds. I was so creeped out about her crying thinking that she experienced what I hallucinated that I took her out of her crib and put her between my husband and me in our bed before going back to sleep. I should also mention that shortly after my hypnopompic hallucination, the apex and back of my head felt extremely numb. I don't know if there's any correlation between the two but I just thought I'd mention it.

It's always good to know that I'm not alone in experiencing such terrifyingly amazing events.


At December 19, 2016 8:46 AM, Blogger Lisa said...

I had a very strange experience wondering if i am either going crazy or my husband is cheating on me i thought i was awake i swear i was had not been to sleep yet i heard door open to upstairs bedroom and hurried and layed down pretended to be asleep next thing i heard was tip toeing him say be quiet abd creeping up the stairs i got up after it stopped to go upstairs and catch my husband sneaking a girl into his room to find nothing and him asleep... I have convinced myself that when i turned right to go to his bedroom further back into another room she was hid behind the wall and when i was in other room she came out and bolted down the stairs before i saw her...naturally he swears no-one was ever there but i do not remember ever going to sleep and these sounds were all clear as a i going crazy??

At January 03, 2017 1:37 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Hi I am only 17 and I cant figure what happen to me one night about 4 ish to maybe 5 ish in the morning one day. I was awaken but this huge rush of extremely cold air and I could not breathe, speak or move as it felt as I was being choked. This has only happen once so far and it lasted for about 10 seconds. If anyone could maybe answer this i would be very thankful. Thanks.

At January 25, 2017 3:59 AM, Blogger Iaso Lifestyle said...

Yes I have the Spider ones they are quite common in people with hypnopompic hallucinations, I wonder why spiders though, I'm not scared of them or have any phobia though my last one was a butterfly 🙂 They don't worry me as benign, had them since the age of 8, though I do connect it with if I'm upset or stressed it brings it on

At March 12, 2017 7:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have them both when starting to sleep, and upon waking, it first started when I was about 10 years old. They are typically very vivid visual hallucinations. On rare occasions, I have felt things touch me. Usually they are more curious or intriguing to me, but sometimes I do get scared. Last night I saw a flowering vine floating in the air, it came towards me rapidly, so I jumped out of bed and ran out of the room.

I also get migraines with aura, and have a genetic marker for Parkinson's. My twin gets the hallucinations as well. And so, I think in my case, it's probably caused by some sort of genetic/neurological condition. Usually disturbed sleep is a trigger, and the content of the hallucinations seems to relate to things I've been thinking about.

At March 31, 2017 1:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had this nightmare, some type of shadow said to me with a distorted voice "I will crush/destroy your mind" and I answered "nope, you don't" I ran to a door and started to close and open it, smashing the door, I could heard the sound of the door banging again and again until I woke up. My arm was paralyzed and frozen because of a bad sleep position. Then I was worried, what if the door banging came from the door of my parents, so I just tried to get calm and I walked to the bathroom, my mother was exiting of the bathroom and I asked her " Is everything okay?" and she said "yes" Then after peeing and washed my hands I was more calmed until I hear my mother whispering my name and I saw her walking passing the room. So I verified​ and she wasn't there, my mother was sleeping on her bed. And I am here writing my nightmare just to get some peace.

At May 02, 2017 6:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just woke myself up tonight screaming at the top my voice. I sat up, in a panic, eyes open, awake and could see a large animal standing on its hind legs on the foot of my bed. I stared at it in absolute terror as I couldn't make out if it was a person or something else. After maybe 10 seconds I could make out the figure of a very large dog. It was clear and very real.

I have been having these night terrors on and off for most of my life. I always wake myself up with these terrible guttural screams. I almost always see a dark figure right in front of me, it is completely terrifying and disturbing and makes me afraid to go back to sleep. My heart hammers so rapidly it takes about 10 minutes to clam down to a resting rate.

What is interesting is I wake instantly unlike most sleep terror sufferers who can't seem to wake up or sleep walk.. I always sit bolt upright in bed and 99% of the time there is a dark figure hovering right in front of me. It takes anything from 10-30 seoonds for my eyes to acclimatise and the figure evaporates and other objects come into focus in the room.

Another odd thing which happened tonight is that when I put the light on, I could hear a song playing the same section over and over again, as if in a loop. It was so loud in the dead of night I thought maybe one of the children had their TV on and got up. I stood on the landing and identified the music as coming from downstairs. I went down and as I did it faded and then stopped. This has happened dozens of times since moving into this house 4 yeas ago. Quite often it is brass band music which is totally bizarre.

So here I am googling night terrors wth the bedside light on as I'm feeling pretty anxious about going back to sleep. Probably not the best solution!

At May 11, 2017 4:09 AM, Blogger Chii said...

Hello I've read your blog and I think I have some of the symptoms that were mentioned in your blog. The scenes in my dreams are usually the ceiling in my room and I always see myself in bed unable to move. I did research on this and it is called "Sleep Hallucinations", but something is not right here. Beside from dreaming about things above, I often see my window open and someone walks in. I cannot see the whole body of that thing and I always wake up right after I see it. Another dream I have that in the same room, a very loud voice calling my name and making my head hurt. Then I realized it's my voice. However that's not the point, the point is that I have this symptom called sexsomnia. It's when I have sex with strangers and my sexual organism hurts. My neck is sometimes ticklish and I feel it's hard to breathe. And there's someone often see I in my dreams that I saw in real life too. I don't know if it's hallucination or not but I often see his or her shadow reflection on the mirror. I wonder whether you are able to help me explain what this is or not.

At June 03, 2017 7:47 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Hello I've read your blog and I think I have some of the symptoms that were mentioned in your blog. The scenes in my dreams are usually the ceiling in my room and I always see myself in bed unable to move. I did research on this and it is called "Sleep Hallucinations", but something is not right here. Beside from dreaming about things above, I often see my window open and someone walks in. I cannot see the whole body of that thing and I always wake up right after I see it. Another dream I have that in the same room, a very loud voice calling my name and making my head hurt. Then I realized it's my voice. However that's not the point, the point is that I have this symptom called sexsomnia. It's when I have sex with strangers and my sexual organism hurts. My neck is sometimes ticklish and I feel it's hard to breathe. And there's someone often see I in my dreams that I saw in real life too. I don't know if it's hallucination or not but I often see his or her shadow reflection on the mirror. I wonder whether you are able to help me explain what this is or not.

At July 20, 2017 7:33 PM, Blogger PW said...

I only just learned about hypnopompia and came cross this blog, which is a relief because for years I believed I was under some sort of mysterious psychic attack. I am 60 and have struggled with narcolepsy since I was a teen. In the last 15 years I have been troubled with waking nightmares that (to name a few) include the strong and seemingly real sensation of the mattress depressing as someone sits on the bed and I wait in fear for what will happen. Many things do happen, like a sudden sensation of being malevolently hit or sat upon and being crushed. I feel a very strong sensation of being stealthily approached. Often paralyzed and trying to scream out for help. My husband has sometimes waked me after hearing me make choked urgent cries or whimpers. I have also had painful sensations of being bitten on my arms and ankles. I often have the experience of free falling, or hearing a loud pop that startles me awake. One time, for two consecutive nights I experienced the mattress depression and I sat fully upright, and my head became fully encased and squeezed by something. I have not been able to detect a discernable pattern of activity tht would correlate to these experiences, although in general I often feel sleep deprived and need naps... but daytime naps are very frequently troubled with these things so I avoid them.

At September 06, 2017 11:51 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

After so much comments, I think my dream happens with unusual rest, something stress, it might not happen to everyone but several person might do, thanks God that I'm not the rare or something gonna happen to me..

At October 27, 2017 5:56 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

If I were to relay my experiende I could copy what you have said here without adding a thing. It is quite reassuring to know others experience the same. I have not been distubed in a frightful way. More curious the mechanism as you have said. I will say that I feel as though I am fully awake and can manipulate the direction of their movements with my eyes. Weird.

At October 28, 2017 8:47 AM, Blogger markymarkuss777 said...

My bet is, many of you are GLUTEN INTOLERANT or have CELIAC. Gluten is an opiate and for those of us who are sensitive to wheat (as well as barley and rye), this can cause major disruptions like this in your sleep and even waking life. If you have GERD / Acid Reflux, then I can pretty much 99% guarantee you have an intolerance to Gluten as well. Cut out Gluten as well as dairy (Casein can act similar to gluten in the body) and see if these hallucinations don't go away. They went away for me when I got rid of this from my diet.

At October 28, 2017 11:15 AM, Blogger The Neurocritic said...

Thanks for your comment. My reply is not meant to invalidate your experience, or to suggest that gluten intolerance and celiac disease are not major problems for some people. But gluten is NOT an opiate, otherwise we'd be facing a "bread crisis" -- hordes of people addicted to wheat.

More to the point, the article claiming that "...gluten is broken down into hundreds to thousands of fragments that are not further dissolved. Some of them resemble morphine..." -- Bread and Other Edible Agents of Mental Disease -- is highly controversial and has been criticized on PubPeer.

At November 22, 2017 8:23 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

3 years ago after 5 days of no sleep and then been given an antidepressant for the first time, i had the most horrific psychotic break, how i survived that 24hr and managed not to murder anyone close to me must have been an act of god, looking back it is stranger that i didnt.

As a result i was left with PTSD and anxiety so severe i was basically not able to function at any level, you probably wouldnt believe me if i told you how bad and relentless it was.

Imanaged to get over all that , but would remain destroyed for a further 2 years from the medicaction i was on, got myself off everything nearly a year off now and practically back to 100% which is something i will NEVER take for granted again.

but since this has happened , my sleep is all over the place and the pattern can change from 1 hour sleep to currently 4hr, some form of insomnia.

I have also started having exactly these hypnagogic episodes and i can attest they can be extremely disturbing and frightening, they seem to be getting more and more real/vivid/disturbing/longer, my most recent one i was as i thought awake when what i THOUGHT was my partner started kissing me, but i realised it wasnt her and said get off me the person turned into what i can only call a demon and attacked me, i was as i thought screaming at the top of my lungs trying to wake my partner and violently thrashing around in the bed trying to fight this thing off, of course i wasnt actually moving or making a sound, i am so aware during these events, this was the first time during it i said god HELP me, and it feckin stopped instantly.

I find it interesting to see this is strongly linked to bipolar/schizophrenia , fora long time i thought i was bipolar but i havent believed that for a long time and pray to god i am not as i dont think i could endure that experience again it would finish me.

And i wouldnt dream of taking the medication they talk about here for hypnagogic events, but would love to get this sorted as i becoming afraid to sleep

At November 25, 2017 8:01 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I just had a scary hallucination upon awaking, I remember turning to look at the clock to see what time it was (9p.m.) and I suddenly see black smoke just pouring up from the edge of the bed. I jumped up ran for the light to see where the source of smoke was coming from and there was nothing there - then I realize it was a hypnopomic episode but it felt and looked so real for just a second and I was visibly shaken by the whole ordeal.

At November 26, 2017 5:29 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

My first episode of sleep paralysis started off with a dream when I was 15... I walked over onto the beach and put my toe in the water and something grabbed my leg and pulled me out really far into the ocean and then I woke up and had a sleep paralysis moment.... I had it a few more times the following 5yrs.

Once I realised fighting the paralaysis just made it worse I let it happen and hadn’t had it since. I kept getting attacked prior to this by demonic figures, I was told If I believe in Jesus name nothing can touch me so in Jesus name I asked the figure to leave me alone and it was actually terrifying and the figure seemed to have been getting angrier and angrier... I know there’s people out thinking ‘omg it’s not spiritual why do you have to bring Jesus into it’ but it worked for me...anyways after that they were still scary but more so blank so I just let it happen and it faded out and haven’t had them since. What I’ve realised is all of the girls on my mothers side of the family as in my aunties and cousins had all started getting sleep paralysis at the ages of 14/15 so it’s really odd.... no hoys have ever had it.

I seem to be the only one with sleep hallucinations and it’s starting to become too much at the moment. Previous hallucinations I’ve had include two bald men with robes on sitting on my bed, a girl dancing in my room who flew under my dresser once I got up, a rat cockroach? Which was pretty scary I saw that in daylight. There’s been a lot more but the weirdest was when I was talking to my dad and believe it or not he was a goldfish in a bowl in my room, and also seeing a person I know in full daylight sitting at the end of my room and it looked as clear as me looking at any person, he was staring at me so it was a little creepy.

Lately though I’ve gone through a break up, I took sleeping tablets to try and sleep and ever since coming off of them I’ve had really bad dreams that are followed by hallucinations and it doesn’t just happen once in a night I’m having multiple dreams with multiple hallucinations apon waking up every night for the last three weeks. I currently feel like it’s ruining my life.... sleeping without feeling scared every night is a luxury I had forgotten ��

At November 26, 2017 5:34 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

I fought my sleep paralysis attacks of with Jesus name. I know it sounds crazy to some people but it worked for me... the demons or watever these things are in the episodes are terrifying and it’s not something people really seem to take seriously. But Jesus worked for me, that I’m greatful for. Now I’m jusy Having hallucinations and nightmares. I hope yours goes away soon. :(

At December 18, 2017 6:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure glad I googled "seeing spiders upon waking". I was beginning to not want to go to bed at night because I didn't want to have to waken to spiders hanging from my ceiling, etc. I saw a mouse on my ceiling fan one morning but most of the time its spiders. I actually take my hand and try to swat them away. That is when they disappear. By that time I am more fully awake. This is the 3rd. morning for this phenomena. I was concerned that it was a precursor of Parkinsons Disease, as I had just read an article about hallucinations associated with that disease. A couple years ago I had a series of sleep walking events, going into the closet to find the bathroom, opening drawers for no reason. I realized that I was doing those things but could not stop it. This was during my sleep routine. The spider thing is upon waking. I hope they go away like the sleep walking thing did. I was taking Gabapentin for Restless Leg Syndrome, but quit taking that several months ago and have opted for a more natural way to control the syndrome. I am using vitamins and bananas. And it seems to be working. I am 72 years old and never had problems like this before in my life. I was about 70 when I had the sleep walking episodes. My husband thinks I am nuts. I know he would like to tuck me away somewhere, so I mostly don't tell him any of this stuff. I did tell him about the mouse on the ceiling fan, but I thought it was real until the spiders came along and I got on the internet. What a relief to find out so many other people are experiencing these things. Maybe now I will give the spiders names:+> I think "inky dinky" will be the first one. I am going to see if that will work now that I know its a phenomenon of a sleep disorder.

At May 07, 2018 8:26 PM, Anonymous Jack said...

I'm a 14 nearly 15-year-old male and for the last year or so I have been waking up at night to what I'm finding fit the description of Hypnopompic Hallucinations and sleep paralysis. I have had a variation of visual, auditory and sensory Hallucinations ranging from realistic feeling of falling or falling upwards towards the cieling to waking up and seeing strangers or people I know either dead or being killed in many different ways, I have had many hallucinations of this one man who I cannot identify but often talks to me telling me that something is my fault. To give some information about me I have been recently (a month or so ago) been diagnosed with depression and anxiety and have been put on medication for it, I have also been diagnosed with OCD, ADHD and Tourrettes syndrome for a couple years which I am taking medication for (Ritalin), I am reasonably fit and my hobbies are video gaming and bike riding predominantly. I don't know if this has any relation to it but just in case, often if I stand up after sitting down for more than 10min I will lose all vision and blackout/faint, I will often wake up on the ground 5-10 seconds after confused and in another 5-10 seconds any pain will kick in, it started a couple months ago with nothing more than fainting but there have now been times I have stood up and lost my vision only to wake up on the opposite side of the room or in another room entirely, my family have seen it happen a couple times and have said one of three things happen each time, I will stand up walk a bit and fall right over then get back up, I will stand up walk a bit faint and then have full body spasms which have happened on multiple occasions but I have only ever felt it once or I will stand up and then do what they can only describe and jogging on the spot before falling over. I am usually a deep sleeper and was a frequent bed wetter until 10 years old. If anyone can help me or suggest anything I would be so grateful, thanks.

At May 07, 2018 9:48 PM, Blogger The Neurocritic said...

Jack - I am not a doctor and cannot dispense medical advice, but I would suggest that your parents take you to see a neurologist ASAP. It sounds like you should be evaluated for seizures and other neurological events that could cause these episodes.

At December 09, 2018 2:36 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Alright everyone,admit it, Who called the crazy train? I'm not angry I'm just disappointment.

At December 09, 2018 2:56 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Alright, Dr Mark. King of Science slayer of bread. I think it might be a bit more complicated mate.

At August 26, 2019 12:07 PM, Blogger Troglo said...

Happens to me sometimes I wake up in the nights I usually see animal kind of things in the dark moving or watching me and frequently these 2 ppl one tall dark with kind of fuzzy black hair long arms all black and just darkness instead of face just standing or sitting watching me and the other guy or girl maybe i think it has a girl vibe shorter like half the length in white\gray clothes and a white skimask kinda mask also staring at me freaked me totally out first couple of times but they dont do shit just give off really bad vibes verrry fk real i guess theyre my personal dmons going through this ride of life withme . Im totally not religious dont believe in god heaven or hell thats for sure and I think these guys are kinda cool like my own personal dark guys. Still give me the shits occasionally though. Oh even worse is this goddamn big fat average height thing all black but with ever changing white face this thing comes rarely and then the guys or beastguy n maskgirl are always gone or disappear before but when this big fat black blob comes he gives off the worst goddamn vibes ever and i always scream outloud and then it disappears as if it saw me see it and turns invisible or escapes from my sight. Damn these hallucinations.

At September 03, 2019 8:20 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I'm so happy to hear the others have similar experiences to me. I do have sleep paralysis and it was very terrifying in fact I think a lot of alien abductions can be explained by sleep paralysis not that I'm saying none of them are true but I could see where someone would think it was if they were in a sleep paralysis episode. I used to see horrible hallucinations Dreadful fear when a waking and sleep paralysis. Now I just have hallucinations upon waking and they're usually geometric objects and shapes I'm so used to them that I just watch them as they fade away they are never stationary and look like they fade up into the ceiling. However a few nights ago was the first time I awoke and saw a large bug with about 10 legs on each side running across my wall it was huge probably 12 to 15 in in length as soon as I open my eyes it was big and black and ran scurrying across my wall it looked like it went around the wall to the side where I can't see -it looked so real that I got up to see if it was there on the other side of the wall -then I realized it was a hallucination upon waking- but I have never seen anything like that before so it definitely startled me -my heart was beating so fast I thought it was going to come out of my chest.

At October 17, 2019 6:03 PM, Blogger The Neurocritic said...

Sounds like the hallucinatory experiences from recent commenters were scary and intense!

At December 11, 2019 6:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have only just found the term hypnopompic hallucination! For several years I have experienced apparitions of people when I wake. Most are still, some move until they realise I'm observing. Often I scream and they fade. They fade anyway. I do try to stay calm. I assume they are hallucinations, but occasionally I feel that we are all living in a world witnessed by the souls of the departed. I write a description of each person. Usually their hairstyle, clothing, skin colour etc. Then I hide the writing. Its a way I've developed so I don't have to think about or remember the event.

At July 26, 2020 6:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ever since the covid pandemic started, I have noticed two phenomena in my life. One is a great increase in my generalized anxiety disorder, which is mostly under control with medication. The second is something which regularly happens as I am coming out of sleep in the morning. Most of my dreams take place in a world where there is no covid. As I gradually gain consciousness and return to a waking state, a tsunami of anxiety overwhelms me, and my brain feels like it is literally being ripped into pieces. I have a rush of adrenalin, and my heart pounds. This all subsides after a couple of minutes, and then I am fully conscious, back in a covid world, and my anxiety fades. Basically, I am fine while asleep and fine while awake, but that in-between state is pure hell, and the hangover from it can leave me in a day-wrecking bad mood. IS there anything I can do to stop this?

At September 01, 2020 4:16 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Just the other night I woke up after sleeping an hour and something was standing over me snarling, and as soon as I woke up and saw it it got in my face and I screamed and ran out down the stairs. When I got to the kitchen I noticed I had some cuts on my hand and it looks like they are from someone's nails, or could be my own. Right now I'm typing this in the room this happened. I haven't slept much in the past week so I'm hoping I can just attribute this to my lack of sleep.

At October 19, 2020 11:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I Have Woke Up Three Nights In A Row Now In A Haze, And Cos I Sleep On My Back I Wake Up Looking At The Ceiling. But When I Wake Up I See An "On" Light Switch Above Me, And It Follows Wherever I Look. I'm Not Sure If It Is The Same Thing As Other People Are Having, But It Used To Be A Spider That I Would See On The Roof. I Am Not Afraid Of Spiders At All, But Seeing The On Light Switch Is Very Unsettling, Because I Don't Know What It's For.

At November 27, 2022 7:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was very interesting to read because I see the fuzzy blob quite often and yes it moves as my eyes move. I never thought of it as a spider. Even when I get up in the middle of the night I can see it moving as I look at the floor when I’m walking. I have been seeing things for about two years now. I’ve seen a baby giraffe sitting in my rocking chair by my bed. I’ve seen raggedy Ann running in the air so fast her hair looks like it’s blowing in the wind. My visions have changed to seeing people all the time now. It creeped me out at first. One of the people I saw was trying to hand me something so I put my hand out but of course didn’t get anything. I know none of these visions are real but I find it very interesting. One time I fell asleep in my recliner during the day and woke up to see what sure looked like my deceased father in law at my feet. He was gone in a couple seconds. That was a wow moment. As long as you realize none of these visions are real you don’t have schizophrenia. That’s what I have read and I’m a very down to earth person.

At February 02, 2023 8:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I’m writing about an odd hypnopompic phenomenon, quite recent - only experienced for the the last couple of years in a 5+ decade life.

At the point of waking there is SEVERE anxiety or anomie, which shoves me back into sleep until noon or sometimes for an entire day. There is no way to drag myself out of it, albeit unpleasant. So i simply say “chronic fatigue” to dodge morning appointments or apologize after the fact for no-shows. ait happens once or more times a week.

The anxiety is intense, a physical gut pain, yet it’s not manifest in REM dream content, nor are my waking life attitudes nor relationships subject to much anxiety at all.

Has anyone else encountered this?


Post a Comment

<< Home

eXTReMe Tracker