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Hypnopompic Hallucinations

Hypnopompic Hallucinations: Meaningful or Nonsense?

Hypnopompic HallucinationsHypnopompic hallucinations occur in the waking up stage of REM sleep. The term hypnopompic was used by Frederic Myers, a past leader and member of the Society for Psychical Research. The hypnopompic state is commonly associated with sleep paralysis and its other friend, hypnagogia.

Hypnopompic hallucinations are said to contain images or situations, mostly from the state of dreaming, that are confusing, frightening, or nonsensical in nature. These hallucinations can last from seconds to minutes, including the paralysis state, and causes panic for the person experiencing it.

In most cases, hypnopompic hallucinations are not life threatening. Some people easily attribute it as a nightmare, occurring due to sleeping in an above average physical tiredness. Upon waking up, the sleeper may be slow in reacting or remembering the details of the incident. Mumbling nonsense upon waking up from a REM sleep is called hypnopompic speech by Peter McKeller, a psychologist.

In the medical field, hypnopompic hallucinations may be symptoms of narcolepsy, especially when accompanied by frequent sleep paralysis.

Hypnopompic Hallucinations paralysisThe hypnopompic state is sometimes inserted with folklore stories. The theory of a ‘hag’ pressing down on the sleeping body had taken many variations from different countries. It is also said to be an aftermath of alien abduction or a warning of impending danger.

Most research had focused more on hypnagogia, the state between conscious to asleep, rather than the hypnopompic state. Hypnopompic hallucinations are mostly considered as natural effects of an REM sleep. If the cause is not a medical disorder, it is explained to be due to poor sleeping positions, stressful activities, excessive eating or alcoholic drinking before sleeping, or adjustments in a change of lifestyle. Instead of panicking and instilling fear, it’s advisable to research and find out information related to sleeping stages to figure out the next step to take.

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