I don’t know if you’d ever experienced anything like hypnogic sleep states, but it’s pretty interesting:
The hypnagogic state can summon an array of senses, and is by no means limited to visuals. Auditory hypnagogia range from household noises like phones ringing, to music, to voices calling your name, to the loud buzzing noise associated with the onset of an Out of Body Experience. What’s more, physical hypnagogia can cause you to feel as if you are floating outside of your body.
While some people consider hypnagogia to be meaningless activity of the brain – a way of clearing out unwanted junk – others believe it has more value. Just like lucid dreams, hypnagogia can be consciously guided and interpreted as it happens, forging a basic two-way communication with the unconscious mind. Therefore, on one level hypnagogia is a way of leading us into the dreamstate.
Scientists have linked the hypnagogic state with NREM sleep, pre-sleep alpha waves, REM sleep and relaxed wakefulness. There is a theory that regular meditation can enable you to develop a skill to freeze the hypnagogic process at later and later stages. And from personal experience, hypnagogia can be extremely helpful in deepening the meditative state required for wake-induced lucidity.
My hypnogogic states are usually scary, but at least I know a little more about them now.
Usually when I’m in a hypnogogic state, I know I’m in my bed, in my bedroom and it’s dark. I’m trapped in sleep paralysis. I often hear a buzzing nose very, very similar to the sound locusts make in the summertime – it starts off quiet, it gets a lot louder, then it gets quieter again. Usually, I dream that intruders are in my house, coming down the hallway but I can’t do anything about it. I’m calling out for my husband for help, and at the same time wondering if I’m actually saying it out loud, or just in my head. As my husband never woke me up during these states, I imagine I never say anything out loud. Usually I realize it’s up to me to defend myself and my family against the intruders, and I am able to get up and go for a shotgun that’s in the closet (in this case in the dream it is a double-barreled shotgun), but I find it too heavy to hold, and when I try to raise it up, just to scare off the intruder, the gun break-action opens up and I’m left with a useless weapon. I either wake up at that point or move into another dream.
Since I’ve had this experience a few times, if I don’t end up dizzy (sometimes I do), I have less anxiety about it because I’ve been aware in my dream that I’m in a hypnogogic state. It’s not as scary as it used to be and then I end up moving into a dream state and everything is okay.
When I told my husband about it, his response, ” I think it means we need to get you out for more target practice”.
I really think it means something else, maybe feeling powerless in real life.
The last time I was in a state like that, I prevented a rising sense of fear because I was able to remember in the dream that all that was ‘normal’ for a hypnogogic state and I was able to settle down some because I knew it wasn’t real.
If I ever have one again, I would like to try lucid dreaming, though I think I have had some lucid dreams, even if I wasn’t sure about them at the time.
My middle daughter has told me she can instruct herself to dream about a certain thing, and then she dreams it. Sometimes she has scary dreams, and so I told her, if she could, to try and change the dream voluntarily. She told me something interesting. She said she’d work on “changing the channel” if her dreams got scary. I wonder if that actually worked out for her. Remind me to ask her sometime.
Have you ever remembered having any hynogogic states of consciousness or lucid dreaming?