When you are having Hypnagogic Hallucinations you are in a state between awake and sleep. You can hear voices or see visions that you normally see when you are asleep. It is associated with Narcolepsy and sleep paralysis as a part of your body is awake while the rest of it is still asleep.
There are quite some people that experience hypnagogic hallucinations. A frequently seen scenario is that you are awake but you can not move your body (This is called sleep paralysis). You may feel that you are not alone in the room, somebody is watching you closely and sometimes you can even hear footsteps or breathing. For some people this will be a terrifying experience when the sensitized person is trying to strangle or hurt them. For other people it might be an awkward situation as if someone is guarding and protecting you. That is why there are explanations that relate this person to guarding angels.
True or not, these are all a type of hallucinations because you are not entirely awake yet. A recent study showed that almost 40% of all people experience hypnagogic visions in some way. Only 5% experience these hypnagogic visions very intensely.
What causes the Hallucinations?
When you are in a hypnagogic state you are awake and aware of your surroundings. However, your brain is still producing brain waves that are associated with REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement). The result is that you are mixing what is real and what is happening in your dreams. The hallucinations are probably caused because you are entering REM sleep too fast. Normally you enter different sleep stages before you go in to REM sleep but with hypnagogia you are entering REM to fast or you wake up from it to fast.
Other research has shown that people with unbalanced sleep rhythms because of work or other causes, frequently have hypnagogia. It is also related to narcolepsy and sleep paralysis.
Hypnagogic Hallucinations Treatment?
Experiencing dreams that feel like they are real can be very terrifying. The first thing you should do to take control of it is thinking that it is not real and you are not going mad. If you have troubles with falling asleep than consult your doctor and see if he has any solutions. Sometimes sleeping pills will help you relax through the night and stop the hallucinations. Sleeping pills also have a side effect that you experience less REM sleep so they can help you in 2 ways.
Sleeping pills or other medication will not help you overcome hypnagogic hallucinations but they might help you take control over the situation. If you really want to escape this state than concentrate on moving one limp. Often this is enough to let your body know that you are awake and it will give back control.