Medical science about the human brain’s neurology has yet to uncover and explore more details on hypnagogic hallucinations. Recent studies have revealed a connection between hypnagogic hallucinations and narcolepsy, sleep paralysis and another type of anxiety disorder. However, many people have, at a certain time, experienced one or more instances of hypnagogic hallucination without knowing the reason for sure. Direct causes of this hallucination is yet unknown. On the other hand, here are a number of potential hypnagogic hallucinations causes.
Some common causes of hypnagogic hallucinations are sleep deprivation, exhaustion, stress, drugs, disease, mental illness, brain damage, electrical or neurochemical activity in the brain, meditation and/or sensory deprivation. These common causes are found to trigger hallucinations at the boundary between waking and sleeping. They trigger hallucinations that occur when people start to fall asleep or begin to wake up. The hallucinations triggered by the ones mentioned above are often very vivid occasions of hearing and seeing things in sleep; often they are frightening and can result to a sudden jerk along the boundary of sleep and waking.
An explanation for the occurrence of hypnagogic hallucination is its simultaneous occurrence with sleep paralysis. Hormones normally paralyze the muscles during a person’s normal restorative stage of sleep. This paralysis prevents the sleeper from acting out his or her dreams during the “rapid eye movement” (REM) period. The sleep paralysis occurs when the person remains to be cognitively alert even after the body has been paralyzed. When the person mentally wakes up before the paralytic effects of the hormone wears off, hallucinations that are auditory, visual or tactile often occur. These are now the hypnagogic hallucinations that give the sleeper a feeling of rapidly falling to the ground, being held down or being watched by a certain someone or something unseen.
In theory, any kind of substance or event that causes sleep pattern disruption becomes a probable factor that will increase the likelihood of an occurrence of hypnagogic hallucination. And when there is an elevated level of stress or anxiety, the more likely this theory holds true.
Hypnagogic hallucinations may happen for no particular reason. But when the sleep disturbance becomes chronic, the tendency is the accompanying hallucinations become pathological. When a person starts to experience numerous hypnagogic hallucinations, then going to a physician for a medical check-up must be done. A mental health professional can also be of help in providing probable subconscious causes. Psychologists are also helpful in providing advice and tips for people who become shaken by hypnagogic hallucinations. Whatever the cause may be, whether clear or not, seeking medical attention will be for medical science’s advancement and also the sleeper’s benefit.