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Sudden sounds cause flashes of light when falling asleep. Does this happen to anyone else?

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posted on Jan, 18 2013 @ 02:11 AM
For as long as I can remember, whenever I hear certain types of sounds while half-asleep, such as creaks, clicks, or beeps, the sound is accompanied by a flash of light. I asked a biology professor about this once, but he had never heard of it. I guess its like a very mild form of synesthesia. Perhaps the brain is just letting the wires cross when it switches attention away from external senses. I used to think that it was just my visual system reinitializing itself, but this doesn't occur when I am jarred awake by anything other than sudden, high-pitched sounds.

Anyway, has anyone else experienced this or something similar while falling asleep? I've always wondered how common this is.
edit on 18-1-2013 by Nanocyte because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 18 2013 @ 02:18 AM
I have had some very similar experiences. No sounds or anything, but many times when I am falling asleep I see a very bright light, sometimes just in the corners of my eyes or in the full spectrum. Sometimes it lasts longer than others, but not more than a couple seconds.

posted on Jan, 18 2013 @ 02:23 AM
reply to post by Nanocyte

Happens to me to. I hear a crack, such as when you turn your TV off and it makes a click sound every now and then for awhile, and, while my eyes are closed, a white flash passes infront of my eyes. It also seems to give me a"jolt feeling", like a tiny bit of electricity has passed through me.

I have no idea what it is at the moment.

posted on Jan, 18 2013 @ 02:24 AM
Yeah, it is extremely common. Most people experience it, if not all. They are Hypnagogic hallucinations..

Hypnagogia is the experience of the transitional states to and from sleep:

Transition to and from sleep may be attended by a wide variety of sensory experiences. These can occur in any modality, individually or combined, and range from the vague and barely perceptible to vivid hallucinations.


Hypnagogic hallucinations are often auditory or have an auditory component. Like the visuals, hypnagogic sounds vary in intensity from faint impressions to loud noises, such as crashes and bangs (exploding head syndrome). People may imagine their own name called or a doorbell ringing. Snatches of imagined speech are common. While typically nonsensical and fragmented, these speech events can occasionally strike the individual as apt comments on—or summations of—their thoughts at the time. They often contain word play, neologisms and made-up names. Hypnagogic speech may manifest as the subject's own "inner voice", or as the voices of others: familiar people or strangers. More rarely, poetry or music is heard.


Among the more commonly reported and more thoroughly researched, sensory features of hypnagogia are phosphenes which can manifest as seemingly random speckles, lines or geometrical patterns, including form constants, or as figurative (representational) images. They may be monochromatic or richly colored, still or moving, flat or three-dimensional (offering an impression of perspective). Imagery representing movement through tunnels of light is also reported. Individual images are typically fleeting and given to very rapid changes.

Tetris effect

People who have spent a long time at some repetitive activity before sleep, in particular one that is new to them, may find that it dominates their imagery as they grow drowsy, a tendency dubbed the Tetris effect.

Other sensations

Gustatory, olfactory and thermal sensations in hypnagogia have all been reported, as well as tactile sensations (including those kinds classed as paresthesia or formication). Sometimes there is synesthesia; many people report seeing a flash of light or some other visual image in response to a real sound. Proprioceptive effects may be noticed, with numbness and changes in perceived body size and proportions,[27] feelings of floating or bobbing, and out-of-body experiences.[33] Perhaps the most common experience of this kind is the falling sensation, and associated hypnic jerk, encountered by many people, at least occasionally, while drifting off to sleep.

Sleep paralysis

Humming, roaring, hissing, rushing, zapping, and buzzing noises are frequent in conjunction with sleep paralysis (SP). This happens when the REM atonia sets in sooner than usual, before the person is fully asleep, or persists longer than usual, after the person has (in other respects) fully awoken.[17] Sleep paralysis is reportedly very frequent among narcoleptics. It occurs frequently in about 6% of the rest of the population, and occurs occasionally in 60%
edit on 18-1-2013 by WaterBottle because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 18 2013 @ 02:32 AM
Yup had this too, never thought about it till now

posted on Jan, 18 2013 @ 02:36 AM
reply to post by WaterBottle

Thanks! That was interesting. I've had some fairly strange auditory hypnagogic hallucinations before, which are so real that it's almost impossible to distinguish them from actual sounds or voices, but I wasn't aware that this was so common. I often experience sleep paralysis too, and that can be quite bizarre (but fascinating).

posted on Jan, 18 2013 @ 02:50 AM
reply to post by Nanocyte

Are you a turd in the punch bowl? But nah I never have that problem. Should I expect it? It doesn't matter anyway it ain't real.

posted on Jan, 18 2013 @ 08:09 AM
reply to post by Vicarious10000

Really? Is they really called for???

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