Twilight Time

Have you ever been waking up in the morning and hear the phone ring, then become fully awake and realize you just imagined it? If so, you may have experienced an auditory hypnagogic hallucination.

In August of 2015, Dr. Laurence Knott of the UK wrote:  “Hypnagogic or hypnopompic hallucinations are visual, tactile, auditory, or other sensory events, usually brief but occasionally prolonged, that occur at the transition from wakefulness to sleep (hypnagogic) or from sleep to wakefulness (hypnopompic). The phenomenon is thought to have been first described by the Dutch physician Isbrand Van Diemerbroeck in 1664.[1] The person may hear sounds that are not there and see visual hallucinations. These visual and auditory images are very vivid and may be bizarre or disturbing.”

And Wikipedia describe it this way:     “Hypnagogia is the experience of the transitional state from wakefulness to sleep in humans: the hypnagogic state of consciousness, during the onset of sleep. Mental phenomena that occur during this “threshold consciousness” phase include lucid thought, lucid dreaming, hallucinations, and sleep paralysis.” As you can see, there are several other “conditions” mentioned, that I don’t have the time to explore here.

I love what is sometimes called the “twilight time” as I drift off to sleep, and frequently have little vignettes play out before my eyes. Rather than thinking of it as a medical condition to be “treated”, I often wish they would last longer.

Do you experience any sort of hallucinations upon waking or falling asleep?

52 thoughts on “Twilight Time”

  1. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    This is the time of year I can sleep. It is really the only thing I like about November in MN, which I consider an unpleasant month. Sometimes in the Twilighht period I get those jerks as I relax, then jolt awake. Kind of the same jolt as hearing the news that our Senator has wandering hands. I am so angry and disappointed with him. 😡

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  2. I used to struggle to fall asleep. The experience of lying abed while fully conscious would make me anxious about how long it was taking to lose awareness. That made it harder to fall asleep because anxiety hardly ever makes it easier to do anything.

    Then I noticed that when I fall asleep I often encounter odd things halfway between wakefulness and sleep. What “odd things?” It was never the same. I might see an armadillo covered in silky hair or an amoeba-looking thing that totally changed colors with each new breath.

    Now as I drift into sleep I look forward to little weird objects. Out of the ether I spot what seems to be a hammer, only it is soft and as flexible as cooked pasta. When I see a soft hammer I know that I’m safely in the transition zone with the oblivion of sleep soon to take all of me..

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      1. That’s my experience. I know when I begin to see patterns and colors I am close to sleep. The trick is that you can’t will it to happen but you have to be receptive to it. You lie in the dark with your eyes shut and tell your vision to open up and see what there is to see.

        I think of that mental state as akin to watching a fireworks show. You’re in the dark. You have no control over what will come next or when. You surrender agency and are simply receptive.

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    1. I have similar things happen to me, Steve, except they’re more like dreams except I’m semi-conscious. Often the dreams are more like nightmares and are the most vivid (and disturbing) dreams I have that night. I usually wake with jolt and scare myself.

      Chris in Owatonna

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    1. 2 or 3 o’clock and tossing and turning for the next couple of hours that is hard. I know I should get up and do something like read or solve crosseord puzzles, but I don’t .

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  3. My bed is so close to the computer I can almost touch it. Waking up two or three times a night is part of being older . . . or that is my experience. My solution is to play on the computer when I can’t sleep. Then at the very first sign I’m getting sleepy, I move back to bed. And I’ll repeat that as needed. The key to making this work is being relaxed, not getting anxious. I used to sleep through the night. Now sleep comes in about three bundles spread over time.

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  4. I sometimes hear voices as I drift off, usually it’s someone saying my name, so I jerk fully awake only to find that no one is there.

    If I see lots of moving, writhing shapes as I close my eyes and drift, then I grab a book and read a while longer because my recurring nightmare as a child, from which I would wake in silent terror with heart thumping, was nothing but snake-shapes writhing and constantly moving. So I wait for peaceful, calm, still colors before I can relax enough to fall into sleep.

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  5. It happens with some regularity that I wake up with a jolt having heard our doorbell ring. It’s very vivid, but I know it’s part of my sleep cycle as opposed to the real thing when Bernie isn’t barking his fool head off. If Bernie is barking, he has heard it, too, and there’s usually somebody at the door.

    The shifting shapes and colors, often faces that change expression, are a signal that I’m about ready to drift off to sleep. So is starting to think a thought and not being able to finish it. What is weird that I’m aware of it happening, but can’t muster the effort to do anything about it. I do rather enjoy the soundless, colorful, shape-shifting, pre-sleep show.

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    1. There is nothing in my normal life quite like those moments of colorful, shape-shifting goofiness. Objects appear out of nothingness and drift away again, sort of like when Alice falls down the rabbit hole (in the Disney cartoon). Sometimes it is like peering into a kaleidoscope.

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  6. I see colors and patterns a lot, but often I see faces that aren’t so much like real faces as they are cartoon characters, often with extreme expressions. They’re like something out of a Tim Burton film, or sort of like Jim Carrey in The Mask. When I’m in a dream phase, later in the night, I’m often convinced that everything around me is real, and I’m in the middle of the dream. When I’m first falling asleep, though, I’m only watching, and everything I’m seeing is a little distant from me, like it’s on a TV screen.

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  7. No hallucinations for me either. I have felt the jerk when falling off to sleep a few times in my life but not a lot. And I fall asleep pretty easily. Nothing to complain about. When I do wake up in the middle of the night and have trouble falling back asleep, usually during my High season at work, I have a few favorite books and a couple of favorite movies that I start replaying in my head and that almost always does the trick for me.

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  8. Few of my workmates remember their dreams but I remember all of them which include those people. It is NEVER negative toward them personally.I don’t know why that would be because, in many cases, I hate their being.

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  9. i got nothing here guys

    i dream but it’s a separate storyline not to be confused or interfere with reality

    no sounds voices spinning images or colors

    i used to have a shrink who prescribed that i keep a pencil and paper by my bed and catch the dreams in written form quick before the thoughts vaporized

    i did it was interesting and very telling but nothing like what you all are describing

    i don’t feel left out you bunch of whack jobs just unable to find similar data to pull from

    thanks to everyone for the daily posts

    i really appreciate it

    i will try again to throw my post in the ring more regularly

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  10. I have a friend who really believes that her dreams “mean” something. I’m a member of the “flotsam whirling around in your subconscious” school. Once she told me about a dream in which her part time job figured heavily. I said “it means you shouldn’t quit your day job” and it’s been our running joke ever since.

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  11. i believe your dreams tell you whats going on … absolutely
    interpreting them is the thing. ive gotten better as time goes on.
    im kind of an open book.
    i dont think it is the key to unkown secrets. i think it takes you to the place you know in your heart.
    spinning cartoon doorbells.. im concerned

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  12. To my mind, the semi-conscious state that precedes sleep is entirely different from most dream states. While I’m not able to orchestrate the images or colors that appear, and how they shift and morph into entirely unpredictable patterns and shapes, I’m consciously aware of them. I have often had the thought that if I could remember them, and were good at drawing, I could have a wonderful career of designing textiles, wrapping paper, or as an illustrator of books.

    I have no doubt that when I’m anxious about something, even at a subconscious level, that shows up in my dreams. But some dreams are such a mishmash of wonderfully creative stuff that I could never come up with them in a conscious state, and I have no idea what is the genesis of them.

    As I child, five, six seven years old, I had recurring dreams that were very much like Salvador Dali paintings; this long before I had ever seen a Salvador Dali painting. I’d be trapped in these hideous landscapes of sand, melting watches draped from dead trees, and craniums. I couldn’t run, and everything moved in slow motion except for the feeling of panic which was almost always about to overtake me. I have no doubt that those dreams, that I still remember in vivid detail, were my minds way of dealing with the anxiety and abuse that was very much a part of my everyday existence back then. I remember nodding in recognition when I first saw Dali’s paintings at the age of eighteen and thinking, he had those dreams, too.

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    1. There is a video of a Tom Petty song, Mary Jane’s Last Dance, which is really, really creepy. But I watched it and thought it had to be based on a dream. There are elements of it that just trigger that same kind of recognition you found in the Dali paintings.

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  13. My experience is just like PJ’s. My dreams are nothing like the weird semi-conscious transition I go through when falling asleep. That transition is magical and utterly without logic. My dreams usually make sense, just a weird sort of sense. Many of my dreams are vivid and fun to recall. In a dream I had an extended talk with Bill Clinton as we shopped in downtown Saint Paul. (How weird is that? Nobody shops in downtown Saint Paul!) In another dream I ran from foxhole to foxhole in No Man’s Land, machine gun bullets spraying all around me, in an effort to protect Kentucky Fried Chicken’s secret recipe from the East Germans. The dreams might be bizarre, but they reflect rational processes that have nothing to do with succumbing to sleep.

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  14. I don’t know about sleep-related experiences, but I had an experience yesterday that was prophetic beyond rational reason. I’d just delivered my two young Ragdoll kittens for neutering surgery. I no more than got in my car to drive home when I burst into tears, overwhelmed with foreboding that something awful was going to happen. An hour after getting home, the vet called to tell me that my little boy, Trouble, had a cardiac arrest and was dying. I was blindsided as apparently the vet was, too.

    I researched and found that only 1 out of 1200 kittens die when anesthetized. I’m grief stricken today. His littermate, Sweetie, has been roaming the cottage all day, crying her heart out.

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