Falling asleep at night should not require lots of effort. However, there are some unusual things that often happen which can confuse you or even scare you. No matter how strange it felt, there is nothing you should be worried about. We have explained the most common phenomena that occur when you are sleeping. They are perfectly normal, just a little creepy.
1. Feeling that you are falling
This phenomenon is also known as hypnagogic pull and it happens while we are falling asleep. Our bodies become paralyzed while we sleep to prevent us from hurting ourselves. However, we sometimes start dreaming before the body becomes completely paralyzed. This may cause dreams of falling from the sky or a cliff as well as falling into complete darkness. Researchers are not completely sure why this happens but they believe it is more likely to occur when you are stressed, sleepy or very tired. Then, your mind enters the sleep cycle faster than the body.
Unlike other sleep related behaviors which are harmless, sleepwalking can often be very dangerous. This phenomenon occurs when the body wakes up before the brain which is why sleepwalkers are never aware of their night travels. During sleepwalking you may wander around your home or do something very extreme such as cook or drive your car.
3. Sleep talking
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, about 5% of adults talk while they are sleeping. Most of the “conversations” last 30 seconds on average. This phenomenon is more likely to happen during the first or second hour of sleeping. This is when our bodies enter the deeper phases of sleeping but the muscles are still able to move in order for you to talk or move.
4. Recurring dreams
While you sleep, your brain processes information before it archives it as memory. Recurring dreams often happen when you have unsolved psychological problems which your brain is struggling to solve. For example, if you did something wrong such as steal from a store, your brain will probably repeat that over and over in your dream, but if you just paid for the product your brain would process that information immediately and then move on.
5. Exploding head syndrome
This is a phenomenon when you suddenly wake up after hearing an explosion, seeing a flash of light or the feeling that your head exploded. It is similar to a hypnagogic pull because it occurs if the brain falls asleep before the body and your senses are still on. Even though it is strange, there is nothing you should be worried about.
6. Hypnagogic hallucinations
This has probably happened to you at least once in your life. Hypnagogic hallucinations occur when you are struggling to fall asleep and your body is still awake but you are able to visualize images that you can’t control. These images are totally random and they can sometimes show scenes of terror or fearsome creatures. This phenomenon occurs when you are stressed or frightened, and they are more common in children.
7. False awakening
This phenomenon is not as common as the ones previously explained. It occurs when you suddenly wake up, but you see that the things around you have changed. However, you are not really awake, you just dreamed that you woke up. According to some esoteric zealots, you could be vulnerable to spiritual practices if you experience this phenomenon.
8. Sleep apnea
Sleep apnea is a condition when your upper airways close thus interrupt your breathing and you are oxygen deprived until you wake up. This can cause headaches and tiredness in the morning. Sleep apnea is more dangerous for smokers, the elderly, obese people and it affects more than 18 million people worldwide.
9. Astral projection/out of body experience
This is actually a neuropsychological phenomenon which causes you to be able to see yourself from a side. The esoteric believe that this is a strong evidence of the existence of the soul, but scientists believe it is much more complicated than that. Some people want to enter this state more often in order to learn more about it.