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bright light while asleep
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bright light while asleep

Frequently, while asleep and not dreaming, I have seen brilliant flashes of light - sort of like an explosion - and my eyes pop open and I am instantly awake.  Is there any medical condition that causes this?  It is more than a little scary.
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Avatar_n_tn
First of all, keep in mind that I am unable to diagnose you because I am unable to examine you, this forum is for educational purposes. Unfortunately, I do not have very much information to comment on.  When people sleep they go into several stages of sleep. Stage I is drowsiness, Stage II is light sleep, stage 3 and 4 are called slow-wave or deep sleep.  After this cycle an episode of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep occurs. This is associated with paralysis and dreaming.  These cycles (Stage 1-4 and then REM) occur every ~90minutes during normal sleep.  Thus we often awake with the vivid memory of what we were dreaming last (each cycle ends with REM). If you are asleep (as you suggest) then I suspect you are dreaming (dreams are often non-sensical and can be recurrent).  
If you are not asleep (I dont know how you could tell unless you are awake?) then flashes of lights could be aura of migraine headaches or a partial seizure coming from the visual area of the brain.  
I would recommend a sleep study with EEG monitoring and video.  Then neurologist can determine if this is a sleep (ie dreaming) phenomenon or awake.  They will also be able to tell if you have increased heart rate, muscle tone, respiratory rate, sweating and screaming that is common with night terrors. I hope this has been helpful.
6 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
I had a similar experience with bright flashing lights while trying to go to sleep(the lights were like white fireworks), my opthamologist called it an ocular migraine.  After a few bothersome days it went away as quickly as it started.
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144586_tn?1284669764
Are you on any prescription medications? There is more than one that produces these side effects.
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Avatar_m_tn
I have similar symptoms also! Soemtimes I see formed mosaic patterns, squiggles, or visual snow.  My doctor wants me to have a 48 hr EEG to rule out seizures, but he mentioned the possibility of migraine aura. My MRI was normal so there doesn't appear to be anything growing there. I thought I was the only one with these symptoms.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hello. I am a 36 year old female.  I have had migraine headaches from childhood...the causes were excused as heat exhaustion and other insignificant reasons. I used to see the dancing lights with no other symptoms from my late teens...They were like white mirror images of looking through a kaleidoscope...I later learned them to be called auras. I had a very healthy childhood, I excelled as an athlete, I had a touch of asthma, but nothing to ever cause health concerns.
I had a seizure for the first time at age 26 with auras...my seizures were controlled with medication but the auras never really went away.

I'm writing to say, I also  see the lights and  color flashes when I am  going to sleep when my eyes are closed, and these are not the same as my auras...there is no comparison. They are simply a light show, and its weird to have your eyes closed but still you can  "look" at them and "see" them.

I have recently been undergoing test for another neurological condition...believed to be "stiff mans syndrome" I am hoping and praying this is not what I have...however all my symptoms seem to be classical to the disorder and I am currently waiting for my GAD antibody test results for final answer.

In short...If I were you, I would be consistent with your complaints of symptoms...its not normal to see these lights. I think I have been a neurological case study since my childhood with the migraines. You can go years with symptoms that seem to lead to nothing and doctors just excuse them....But I say you always know when something's not right.
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Avatar_n_tn
The doctors say I do indeed have stiff mans syndrome...anyone know of any connection with this and auras? Also My auras and siezure like feelings are hightend with menses, whats up with that? email me please de_babb***@****
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