Hypnagogic Hallucination: Definition
In antiquity, we already talked about these experiences in medical treatises, but it is the scholar Alfred Maury who, for the first time in 1848, speaks of hypnagogic hallucination. From the Greek hypnos meaning sleep and agôgos which translates the meaning of beginning, the term hypnagogic can literally be translated as "beginning sleep". We therefore understand that these hallucinations occur during the sleep phase, unlike the hypnopompic state which takes place just before waking up. These hallucinations are found in different forms. They can be visual, in which case the person sees shadows, silhouettes, or even colored lights around them. Hallucinations can also be audible, such as suspicious creaks or terrifying voices heard by the person in their room. Finally, there are also kinesthetic hallucinations where the person has the impression of moving, of rising in the air or even experiencing the sensation of being touched by a hostile presence. These sensory disorders are generally accompanied by a transient paralysis, we speak of muscle atony, which prevents the victim of a hypnagogic hallucination from reacting. She therefore finds herself unable to move, scream or cry, making the moment even more distressing and terrifying. These are experiences that seem to flirt with the supernatural and the paranormal, but which nevertheless turn out to be benign despite the fact that they can affect daily life of people suffering from it and result in a fear of falling asleep.
Hypnagogic Hallucination: Cause
If anyone can experience this kind of sleep-disorder, children as well as adults, and sometimes without obvious reason, certain factors seem to favor the appearance of these hypnagogic hallucinations. - Sleep disorders People suffering from a lack of sleep as well as insomniacs a> would be more prone to these hypnagogic hallucinations, as would people with narcolepsy, a sleep disorder characterized by drowsiness excessive diurnal. - Psychological and psychiatric disorders Stress, anxiety, depression, bipolarity and shyzophrenia are all factors that increase the risk of experiencing this type of hallucination. - Neurological disorders In rarer cases, hypnagogic hallucinations can be caused by brain damage, brain tumors or neurological disorders. - Substance use The use of drugs for "recreational" purposes can be the cause of these hallucinations, but this is also the case with certain drugs prescribed by doctors such as benzodiazepines.
Hypnagogic Hallucination: Treatment
If there is no treatment strictly speaking since it is not a disease, some recommendations should however be taken into account to prevent these hallucinations from recurring too often.
The best thing to do in case of hallucination and/or sleep paralysis is to stay calm and avoid getting agitated. Once awake, the ideal is to sit up , sit on the edge of the bed and breathe deeply. To fight against these hypnagogic hallucinations, it is important to have a healthy lifestyle: go to bed and get up every day at regular times, do not have dinner too close to bedtime, avoid overwork and stress or limit alcohol consumption. Also, you should avoid falling asleep on your back since this position would promote dreams and nightmares. To go further, other methods suggest training in the practice of lucid dreaming, which would allow you to take control of your dreams, or even promoting relaxation techniques such as meditation. In case none of these solutions work for you, do not hesitate to consult a psychologist or neurologist who will be better able to help you.
Hypnagogic hallucination and other illnesses.
Although these hypnagogic hallucinations are benign, they can sometimes have serious consequences on the daily life of the people concerned. The latter are at risk of developing other disorders such as fear of falling asleep which would push them to delay bedtime as much as possible and could therefore qualitatively and quantitatively affect their sleep. Some episodes of hypnagogic hallucinations can also lead to sleepwalking.
A risky behavior that could push the person who suffers from it to harm themselves and even to hurt their spouse, thus deteriorating the couple's relationship. Hypnagogic hallucinations are among the symptoms of narcolepsy that can have a big impact on the state of psychological health of the person suffering from this pathology.
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