Realistic, intense and terrifying dreams a few moments before sleep awakening is a phenomenon known as ‘hypnopompic hallucinations‘.
About 8 percent of people aged 15 to 44 report that they experience these dreams, according to a study from Stanford University.
During these dreams you feel as if you are still asleep, but in fact you are in transition time between sleep and sleep awakening.
You are not even asleep when these dreams come out, because these are not “dreams” – that’s why they are officially known as hallucinations.
During these hallucinations, the brain is in a semi-sleep / semi-smart state. Part of the brain is still in the REM phase – a deep sleep stage where the brain is more active.
When you start waking up, the images of REM sleep dreams interfere with the awakening state. This causes you to experience hallucinations.
Hypopopular hallucinations can be visual (see a scene or situation in your mind), hearing (think you’ve heard something like a knock on the door or someone calling your name) or tangible (feel like someone is touching you) .
These can also be experienced in regular dreams. Because these hallucinations are and look so vivid, they are often terrible and frightening.
While anyone can experience these hallucinations, they are more common among people who spend more time at the REM sleep stage.
This may be due to lack of sleep, certain medications or sleep disorders.
Consequently, these hallucinations can be avoided by making better sleep. This means cultivating a regular sleep cycle and making sure you do at least 7 or 8 hours of sleep each night.