Word for the day: Hypnopompic

Have you ever had the experience where you wake up in the middle of the night and imagine hearing or seeing something that turns out not to be there? Have you ever felt that you couldn't move when you woke up.

The state of transition between sleeping and wakefullness is know as the hypnopompic state. When you're asleep, your brain turns off your muscles, so that you (or at least, most people) don't actually move around even if they dream that they're moving around. When you transition back to being awake, sometimes your dream is still running.

There's also the Hypnogogic state, when you're falling asleep.

Here's an interesting article on this:

Sleep Paralysis and Associated Hypnagogic and Hypnopompic Experiences

Comments (6)

  1. saraford says:

    Yeah, it’s always fun trying to explain to your husband why you thought you saw, while waking up, the alarm clock turn into a tiger pouncing on you. I’m so glad I’ll never have to experience Finals ever again.

  2. Dave Schwinn says:

    Kind of like the period between when you move the mouse and when the screensaver returns you back to your desktop 😉

  3. Ovidiu says:

    It’s because the brain has to page in some code. This puts the "Hibernating" and "resuming from hibernation" prompts in a totally new light…

  4. Clcool says:

    After doing a bit too much maths in the day I woke up at like 3:00am and everything was mathematical! My duvet was lined with flowing equations and I couldn’t get maths out of my head… everything was maths and equations and it was like i was working thing out… it was a bit scary but i’ve had it before with programming too… (i was trying to get back to sleep and stop it and i started writing code in my head to stop myself thinking about it… lol).. it can be a bit annoying… its okay for a few minutes. After a while though you want to get back to sleep and then it’s annoying.. the trick is to go to the loo or walk about and wake up properly.. whlist thinking about something else… then go back to sleep and make sure you don’t think about it again until the morning.

    It seems to help me pass my maths exams though… or maybe it’s just the revision.

    Anyone had any similar experiences?

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