Why Do You Sometimes Feel Like You Are Hallucinating Before You Fall Asleep?
Hypnagogia is the state between sleep and wakefulness. It can cause all sort of weird and wonderful hallucinations and scientists have no idea why!
Have you ever been so engrossed in a daily task that it follows you to sleep? Say you spend the day playing video games or pulling weeds and when you finally get to sleep the same images that occupied your brain all day are still there. These weird visions happen in the space between sleep and wakefulness is known as hypnagogia.
Hypnagogia is still a relatively unexplored state but we do know it can cause twitching and other weird spasms. It is technically known as an altered state of consciousness and can be thought of as similar to a totally safe LSD trip. For most people, this stage only lasts ten minutes and you can experience a range of hallucination like images and feelings. It's common for people to report feeling like they are floating or flying. The hypnagogic state is not the same as dreaming as you have not yet entered the REM or Rapid Eye Movement cycle of your sleep pattern.
It is tough for scientists to say exactly why this hallucination period exists because not everyone experiences hypnagogia. One theory is that different parts of your brain fall asleep at different rates and so while one part of your brain is nodding off, other parts, that might be responsible for movement or memory are still fighting the urge to shut down and the result is these weird hallucinatory visions.