ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Hypnagogia: What Is It And How To Induce The Hypnagogic State - With Pictures

Updated on June 17, 2016
Hypnagogia is one of the most exciting pre-sleep practices a person can do.
Hypnagogia is one of the most exciting pre-sleep practices a person can do. | Source

You're probably wondering why this is under the health section and not some sort of religion and philosphy thing. This is because hypnagogia is a very real state that the human mind can go through under certain conditions, and there have been multiple studies on the hypnagogic state and its effects on the human brain.

But why would you want to experience it? Well, it can be one great ride if you can achieve it!

Hypnagogia is defined as the state between wakefulness and sleep
Hypnagogia is defined as the state between wakefulness and sleep | Source

Concept

Hypnagogia is the transitional state your mind can experience, essentially a different state of consciousness, which occurs during the onset of sleep. In more general terms, its when your mind sits at the frontier between wakefulness and sleep without actually falling asleep, which allows you to experience dream-like feelings while completely (or mostly) lucid. Kind of like a light form of lucid dreaming.

Also called "borderland-state" and "presomnal phase", hypnagogia opens a whole new world of experiences which can be achieved from the comfort of one's bed.

Effects

Hallucinations are a common feature of the hypnagogic state
Hallucinations are a common feature of the hypnagogic state | Source

Hypnagogia allows your to experience sensations you'd likely only experience during a dream or an euphoric episode, while still mostly lucid and thus completely capable of recalling them. It is related but different from lucid dreaming, which is when you are actually truly dreaming (and sleeping) but conscious of your condition, which allows you to not only recall the dream in full detail when you wake up, but also to manipulate the dream as you please. Its your dream after all.

Hypnagogia involves the seeing of dream like imagery. Things such as form-constants and speckles of light are commonly reported, but more complex images can also be seen. Some people report images and the feeling associated with "moving through a tunnel of light".

Some people have reported something that is defined today as "the tetris effect", called this way because the static images start moving around in random patterns, sometimes melding with eachother, like the blocks in the game Tetris.

The effects are not only visual, either. It is also possible to experience tactile sensations, and these are usually related to an activity the person has performed a lot during the day. A person who typed a lot will likely experience something akin to the touch of the keys of a keyboard, for example.

Sounds are also a commonly reported effect of the hypnagogic effect, voices being the most common. These voices are often unintelligible, and never actually seem to make much sense. Sometimes the feeling of voices can be so real that a person might willingly wake up to check if someone is calling for them. Music can be sometimes heard as well. These sounds can either be faint or surprisingly loud, as experiences akin to those felt by people who suffer from exploding head syndrome have been reported.

The Hypnic Jerk is a sensation experienced ocasionaly by most people during the onset of sleep.
The Hypnic Jerk is a sensation experienced ocasionaly by most people during the onset of sleep. | Source

Non-malignant sleep paralysis is also something that can happen during the hypnagogic state, often accompanied by buzzing, roaring or hissing noises. Inability to move or act in general can happen when REM (rapid eye movement) sleep kicks in while the person still retains wakefulness. For people who aren't expecting this, the experience can be slightly traumatic, specially if said person is already scared due to visions or audible hallucinations, but the paralysis usually only lasts for a few seconds after the person notices it and tries to move.

Additional sensations can also be experienced, such as feelings of tingling and internal vibration, which can be localized or spread across the entire body, During this "vibrational state", strong emotions can be felt. Some people can experience a strong bout of fear, but others reports feelings of euphoria and even orgasm. This state is often described as the real cause behind supposedly paranormal events such as alien abductions, possessions, etc.

Several other sensations can also occur during this state, such as "out of body" experiences, formication (the feeling of ants moving over your body" and the sensation of falling on your bed suddenly, known as the hypnic jerk, which many people experience at least a few times during their lives.

Historical Usage

Sir Isaac Newton is one of the many historical figures who credited hypnagogia as the source for many ideas and discoveries
Sir Isaac Newton is one of the many historical figures who credited hypnagogia as the source for many ideas and discoveries | Source

Through recent history, hypnagogia had an important role in the development of many important theories, ideas and discoveries. One of the most notorious examples is the case of August Kekulé, the German chemist, who said to have finally understood the fact that the molecule of benzene is a closed ring after witnessing an ouroboros type vision during hypnagogia.

Among other great figures who attributed the hypnagogic state as a great source of inspiration are Salvador DalĂ­, who said he'd often come up with ideas for new paintings during the onset of sleep, Nikola Tesla, the above pictured Sir Isaac Newton, and Thomas Edison.

Edison in particular is important because he apparently developed a method for reliably achieving the hypnagogic state. Edison would sit alone in the darkness of his laboratory, holding a pair of steel balls, one in each hand, while sitting in a comfortable chair. Edison would allow himself to fall asleep whole holding the balls, which due to their shape and weight, would fall to the floor as soon as he fell asleep, making a lot of noise and thus waking him back up. After doing this a few times he'd have vivid hypnagogic experiences.

How To Achieve The Hypnagogic State?

Now, there are many methods online for achieving hypnagogia, and its up to you to find the method that works best for you. Every person has its own mind and body, with its own tendencies, likes and dislikes. Something that works great for a certain person might not work at all for you.

One method I personally use and that so far has worked well for me is a method of my own creation, derived from the method Thomas Edison supposedly used described above.

Here's a step by step guide, to make things easier to follow:

  1. As you're readying yourself to sleep, try to relax your body a bit. Try to stretch all your limbs and muscles as best you can, but without doing much effort. Try to wear as little clothing as possible, or very light clothing that isn't likely to bother you while you sleep (things like zippers and buttons are usualy bothersome). Try to cover yourself with a confortable blanket though, since cold is something that can wake you up;
  2. Hold an object in your hand. This object must be something thats easy to hold and not too heavy, but also easy to drop if you are not actively holding it with your hand. An object that will make a lot of noise if it falls on the floor and that will not be damaged by the fall, like a steel ball bearing, a hard stone, a metal spoon, etc;
  3. Lay on the bed in a way your find comfortable (ideally you want to to lay on your back, but any position is fine as long as you are comfortable and can stay immobile for a long time), but leave your hand that's holding the object outside the boundary of the bed and over the floor, so that the object falls on the floor if you drop it. If your floor is made or covered by a material that inhibits sound (like a carpet), then you might want to put a large plate or another such object over the floor and under you hand, so that the object falls on it and makes a louder noise when you drop it;
  4. Close your eyes and relax all your body. Relax to the point that your whole body becomes immobile, remaining perfectly still on the bed, with the exception of automated movement, such as breathing, of course. After this, empty your mind of all thoughts and worries, or at least as much as you can;
  5. Allow yourself to drift into sleep. When you're about to sleep, you'll drop the object and wake up from the noise. When this happens, go pick the object back up and repeat step 4. Keep doing this until you start seeing or hearing things. When this happens, you'll know you've achieved the hypnagogic state!

Now, its important that you stay as calm as possible during this. Agitation will just cause you to wake up again. If you experience sleep paralysis, just ignore it and it'll go away, but try to not move your body at all. If you start hearing voices, such as people calling your name in the distance, just ignore it, as such things are common. If you pay attention to the voices and try to turn your head to see where its coming from, you'll just wake up completely and ruin your experience.

Enjoy it! Your mind is, well, yours, so its only fair that you enjoy every little bit of it. The experience usually lasts a few minutes, and then you'll just go to sleep and probably drop the object again, waking you up. Once you're satisfied, just go to sleep for real. Remember, hypnagogia is cool and all, but it should never take the place of normal sleep.

Here's Another Method You Can Try

Author's Note

Its really important that you do not attempt this if you are afraid or expecting to have a bad time. Hypnagogia is a physiological and psychological state that has visible, audible, tactile and emotional effects, and can thus traumatized a person that enters it with the wrong mindset.

This essentially means that, if you enter hypnagogia expecting to see ghosts, well, you will likely see, hear and feel a ghost created by your mind.

As such, try to think of hypnagogia as an opportunity to learn more about yourself, as an adventure of sorts. I know people, including myself, who had great experiences during the hypnagogic state. Of course, this doesn't mean you'll have tons of fun on your first try, or even that it'll work, but once you get it, it'll be a thing worth remembering.

If You Liked This Hub, Make Sure To Check My Other Hubs

Reader's Poll

Have you ever experienced the hypnagogic state? If not, would you like to?

See results

Reader's Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      GalaxyRat 

      16 months ago

      Interesting! I have never really lucid dreamed all that much (although I'm trying), but this may help! I call it "The Twilight Between Sleeping and Waking".

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)