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Hypnagogia (also spelled hypnogogia) describes vivid dreamlike auditory, visual, or tactile sensations, which are often accompanied by sleep paralysis and experienced when falling asleep or waking up.


Hypnagogic sensations

The hypnagogic experience occurs between being awake and asleep, while the hypnopompic experience occurs as one is waking up; both experiences occur within the time period between sleep and waking (or vice versa). Experienced qualities vary, and include fear, awareness of a "presence," chest or back pressure, and an inability to breathe (hence the folkloric notion of mara-like creatures tormenting sleepers), a falling sensation or a feeling of tripping, but sometimes also joy.

During the hypnagogic state, an individual may appear to be fully awake, but has brain waves indicating that the individual is technically sleeping. Also, the individual may be completely aware of their state, which enables lucid dreamers to enter the dream state consciously directly from the waking state (see wake-initiated lucid dream technique).

The hypnagogic state is sometimes proposed as an explanation of experiences such as alien abduction, apparitions, or visions.

Artistic and cultural references

  • The Serbian comic book artist Aleksander Zograf, catalogs his own hypnagogic visions in his series dubbed Psychonaut, and in self-published editions titled Hypnagogic Review.
  • Kitchens of Distinction recorded a song entitled "Hypnogogic" for their 1990 album Strange Free World.
  • The album The Always Open Mouth, by the band Fear Before the March of Flames, features the song "Drowning the Old Hag" which describes singer David Marion's experiences with hypnagogia.
  • The word 'hypnagogic' is also used in "You and Moon" on Love and Other Planets by the band Adem.
  • In Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee, the main character David Lurie refers to his own hypnagogic experience as he recalls his former lovers.
  • The band Air Fair's album Interior is Anterior features as the opening track the song "Hypnagogia".
  • The electronica musician L. Pierre (Aidan Moffat formerly of Arab Strap) titled his 2005 album Hypnogogia.
  • The 3:15 Experiment, started at Naropa University in 1993 by poets Bernadette Mayer and Danika Dinsmore, is a yearly collaborative writing project that explores writing in hypnagogic and hypnopompic states. [1]

Further reading

  • Leaning, F.E. (1925). An introductory study of hypnagogic phenomena. Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, 35, 289-409.
  • Mavromatis, A. (1987). Hypnagogia: the Unique State of Consciousness Between Wakefulness and Sleep. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
  • Warren, Jeff (2007). "The Hypnagogic", The Head Trip: Adventures on the Wheel of Consciousness. ISBN 978-0679314080. 

See also

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Hypnagogia". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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