Although it is also true that sleep is very sensitive to how we feel, our worries and stress. That is why a key sign of your emotional health is in your sleep. Sometimes there are people who have some strange sensations when they sleep. Today I want to talk to you about two types of hallucinations that occur on the threshold of sleep.
Hallucinations are perceptions that people feel are real, but do not correspond to any external stimulus that is present at the time. They are auditory, visual, tactile, gustatory or olfactory sensations that we feel as real, even though they are not. You should know that having these dream hallucinations is not a sign of mental illness and that anyone can have them.
They occur when we go from wakefulness to sleep, that is, at the time we try to fall asleep. Hallucinations can consist of seeing vivid images that can be mistaken for reality. But other senses can also participate, such as hearing, hearing certain sounds or even touch, feeling that someone touches us even if this is not real.
Sometimes they can be confused with a dream, since the person is in a moment of transition to sleep. It has been observed that those with narcolepsy are more likely to experience hypnagogic hallucinations. Those who suffer from this type of episode either confuse the hallucinations with part of a night dream or are aware that what they see and feel is not real.
It is interesting to note that in the stage in which we are making the transition from wakefulness to sleep, important cognitive changes take place in us: we stop observing the contents of the mind, we disconnect from our rational and thinking part, we lose a little the notion of time and we reduce the attention we direct to our surroundings. All this makes it more likely that hallucinations appear at the threshold of sleep.
A common sensation that I think all human beings have experienced has been the shock of feeling that we were falling into the void even though we were lying on our bed. This is a good example of sensations that occur when we are traveling towards sleep.
These types of hallucinations occur in the final stage of sleep, when we are approaching waking up. As with hypnagogic hallucinations, multiple senses such as sight, touch, and hearing may be involved. It is believed that in times of high stress or anxiety, these types of hallucinations are more likely to arise.
It has been seen that those people who experience sleep paralysis (episodes where the sleeper wants to move, but is unable to), can also have this type of hallucinations. When both things happen at the same time, the person feels great fear, almost terror. If you have ever had this type of sensation or hallucination, you should know that it is quite common in the general population and that it is not a sign of mental illness.