Sleep Disorders Community
4.93k Members
Avatar universal

Wake up seeing things???

I have, on SEVERAL occasions, woke up about an hour or so after I dose off (at night) to sleep and I think I see things.  Example:  I woke up one time swearing that there was a spider on the wall.  I woke up my husband and he said there was nothing there.  I feel like I'm totally awake, eyes open, speaking clearly, everything.  I just don't understand why this happens.  Sometimes when it begins, I tell him that it's not like before and I tell him that this time I really do see something.  So...I do realize what I'm doing at the time.  Then I go right back to sleep with no problems.  It's funny when it occurs because it's become a regular thing but I know this can't be normal.  Can someone please explain why this occurs?
587 Responses
Avatar universal
I used to experience similar situations and some others and was diagnosed with narcolepsy 10 months ago - do you also suffer from daytime tiredness? or wake up unable to move? or fall asleep at inappropriate times?
Avatar universal
No, no, and no.  I work all day and feel fine.  I do drink alot of caffeine (Mt. Dew) during working hours.  I come home, take a bath, eat, spend time with kids, lay down around 9 and fall asleep around 10:30-11:00.  Up again at 6:15.  I did get into a habit of taking sleeping pills.  At first I thought this occured because of the pills but the "hallucinations" happened way before that.  It's weird because I always "see" some kind of bugs.  I'm not scared of them.  It's just crazy that this happens.  I don't drink alcohol or take drugs so that's not it either.
Avatar universal
I have not heard of anything like this. I would suggest you to undergo a sleep study after consulting with a sleep specialist.
Avatar universal
Hi, i just stumbled across this post on google. I also experience situations quite similar to yours! It has been happening on and off since i was a child. I would always see insects, bees, or rats and i'd usually just jump in fright. but the past two time that it's happened, i jumped out of bed and hurt myself, and also hit my partner because i saw insects on her face.. i know i sound crazy, but i would really like to know what causes this...
Avatar universal
Hi, do you have any other associated symptoms at same time, anything that triggers off. Do you feel any severe stress at work place. Sooner it is better you consult a neurophysician for advise. Bye.
Avatar universal
I'm currently having the same thing happen to me.  It doesn't seem to be like its stemming from a dream or a nightmare, i just open my eyes at night and see these, things in the room with me.  People in the corner, maggots, snakes, spiders, mice in the bed, even the ceiling caving in.  It's really getting old.  When I was single, it was just kind of funny.  But now that I'm married, its awful.  I try to pull my wife out of the bed to save her or cover her face with the pillow so the animals don't get her.  But the strangest thing, is that once i realize i'm just being stupid, my head hits the pillow and I'm asleep in no time, while she'd lying there with her heart pounding scared half to death.  In looking for whats the cause, I've seen a lot of things, but I don't think I have a sleep disorder, because I sleep great.  I've never taken drugs, prescription or non.  One message board mentioned that its merely a nutritional deficiency thing, so I'm going to try some multi vitamins.  That doesn't seem like it could be it, but i'll try about anything.  And if that doesn't work, I'm going to have my head examined. haha
Avatar universal
I can't believe others have had this same experience.  I wake up to these things and am absolutely terrified- but it is often hard to go back to bed because I really doubt whether what I saw was just my imagination.  I would LOVE to know why I have this- it is really exhausting some nights- other nights I sleep just fine.  Insects are the most common thing I see- usually falling from the ceiling or coming towards me and I frantically jump out of bed, heart pounding.  I used to see bats flying around my room, sometimes people or very bizarre things.  It never fails to terrify me.
Avatar universal
I know someone who would wake up and see things like huge spiders on the wall, etc. Her doctor said her oxygen would go real low during times she stopped breathing with sleep apnea. She now uses a cpap machine and no longer wakes up seeing scary things.
Avatar universal
Hi, how are you doing. You are probably suffering from narcolepsy which affects the control of sleep and wakefulness with experience of excessive daytime sleepiness and intermittent, uncontrollable episodes of falling asleep during the daytime. It can interfere with normal activities on a daily basis, there can be mental cloudiness, a lack of energy and concentration, memory lapses, a depressed mood,  run down feeling, feelings of weakness and a loss of voluntary muscle control. Hallucinations - delusional experiences are vivid and might be frightening, basically visual and other senses can be involved either at onset of sleep or while coming out of sleep. You need to change lifestyle adjustments like as avoiding caffeine, alcohol, smoking and heavy meals. A healthy sleeping habit, scheduling daytime naps (30-60 minutes in length), and normal regular exercise and meal schedule may also be os some help. It is better to get a sleep study done and advice from your physician. Take care.
Avatar universal
Im no expert, but i know that when we sleep, a chemical called DMT (Dimethyltryptamine) is produced in our brains.  This chemical is a halucinogenic, this is why we dream.  So im thinking you may be producing too much of this chemical and it gives you vivid images of things that are not really there.

You should go to the doctors, im sure there is a treatment, but obviously it isnt serious at all.

*source* http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/bb/neuro/neuro03/web1/npatel.html
Avatar universal
Oh my gosh, I did not think that I would really find anything on the subject.  This also happens to me. At first I was a little bit worried.  After a while, I realized that nothing would harm me, and that they would go away.  Usually I wake to see spiders crawlig on the wall.  The first time it happened, I got scarred and closed my eyes.  After I opened them again, it was gone. After a couple more times I decided to keep looking (instead of hiding under my covers), I realized thatI can actually watch the spiders crawl (but only until I close my eyes), once I close my eyes, the spiders are always gone upon re-opening them. It is very strange.  I started to think that it was kind of interesting until last night.  Last night, I awoke to see the shadow of a man standing next to my bed, he had his arm up like he was going to do something to me.  It seemed so real, I started swinging my arms and kicking while trying to keep my head out of harms way.  After a second, I looked and realized that no one was there.  It seemed so real.  The spiders were tollerable, the man... not so much.  
Avatar universal
Hi SAK521, hope you are feeling better now? Is there any improvement in your sleep now? It is better to seek medical advice from a neurophysician and a sleep specialist to get investigated for better treatment. It also seems that you are being under stress due to a sleep deprivation or very hard day at your work or in coping up with daily routines. These hallucinations are temporary but really scaring and no physical harm is caused and seen with narcolepsies. Have you taken any medications so far and is it progressing? Do follow the above sleep tips and share your thoughts. Take care.
Avatar universal
I have been seeing things for ages in my sleep, cats on the wardrobe, people in the corner, lots of other creepy stuff, I have also always sleep walked and talked, I have been told it has alot to do with having excess stress in your life and going to sleep with things playing on your mind. Try to relax before bed and don't eat too close to bed time, I find these help. Having a partner that doesn't mind being woken up every other night helps.
Avatar universal
Hi SAK521, how are you? Hi jojo123123, hope you might be doing a lot better? Thanks for having shared your thoughts. I agree with you in terms of stress, which plays a very important role in sleep deprivation and a factor, which worsens it. One can try to relax and do yoga/meditation as a relaxation technique. Excessive smoking, alcohol and a bulky spicy meal need to be avoided in evenings and going to bed as early as possible might be helpful. A sleep study and evaluation with sleep doctor might be good idea. Share your thoughts and take care.
Avatar universal
hi, I experience the exact same thing. I have a 2 year old son and i constantly wake up thinking he's climbing up the wall. or I see people watching me in the corner or even beside the bed or even on it. Its terrifying! I constantly wake my partner up telling him ''this time its different'' and that he needs to go down and make sure noones in the house. I used to see spiders alot, and snakes and things falling from the sealing. Last night i saw a cartoon playing on the wall, as tho it was being projected from somewhere. Its horrible at the time but once i tell myself its me being weired again, i fall back to sleep straight away. Im gonna make an appointment with a doctor, as i think i might have depression or even bipolar disorder and think maybe it could all be linked somehow. I will keep you posted as i know how it feels not nowing whats wrong with you...
Avatar universal
Hi mon567, how are you doing? Usual this kind of sleep disturbance is seen in narcoleptics who tend to sleep more in daytime and comparatively less at night due to a probable sleep apnea. These delusional experiences are vivid and frequently they are frightening. Getting a sleep study done and evaluation of the report will let you know the cause and the severity of illness. It is better to get examined by a sleep specialist and by a neurologist. Stress need to be overcome. Take care and share your thoughts.
Avatar universal
Have you talked to a sleep doctor yet?  

I just saw mine (again). I used to exhibit strong signs of narcolepsy, with the blurred lines between what was real and what was a dream, and episodes of catplexy and sleep attacks. Treating my obstructive sleep apnea and periodic limb movement disorder markedly improved all of those symptoms, though did not totally resolve all of them.

One of the tests used to diagnose narcolepsy is the MSLT, where you take several naps during the day to see how quickly you fall asleep and if you reach REM.  Due to me not taking meds for my limb movements during the day, although I went to sleep within 3 minutes at each nap, the movments prevented me from reaching REM, so technically I did not meet criteria for a diagnosis of narcolepsy.

My sleep doctor's philosphy is that in these types of nondefinitive cases she wants to see any other sleep disorders therapeutically treated with consistent sufficient quality sleep nightly to see how many syptoms resolve before saying it is narcolepsy. Some doctors go with cataplexy = narcolepsy.

At any rate, I just want to encourage you to begin the process of being evaluated. Restful sleep is so important.
Avatar universal
i have been experiencing this since i was a child . when i was young i believed that there were people in my room at night standing over my bed watching me sleep . sometimes they would grab at me , i felt it as though it was really . my mother would tell me that i would wake up screaming in the middle of the night . but the funny thing was i wasnt asleep . i was only laying there ,sometimes i would wake up with strange scratches or marks on my body . the doctor said i was just a restless sleeper and  it quickly got brushed under the table so to speak as night terrors , and i learned to live with it , as time went on and i got older the "visions" changed . i would see what you guys are calling spiders or insects crawling on the walls , only i think your brain is choosing to see it that way because its something its firmiliar with . i believe that its actually more like a ball of electricity (like those balls in science class you touch and the electric charges shoot to where your fingers are )..... the more i focused on them the more it would look like spiders or something i would naturally see crawling on walls . i also still see people standing in corners . sitting on my bed standing next to the bed . always the same things .and unlike when your eyes play tricks on you i find that when i look away from the image instead of it moving to where i look it stays in one place . my "visions" have started to last longer instead of seeing them for 10 seconds and closing my eyes and having them disappear , its lasting 30 seconds or more . giving me time to actually ponder what im seeing . i am also experiencing a different symptom non of you have mentioned . i sake , sometimes either before or after the visions happen my body trembles i thought it was fear , but now i think its as if its decompressing . its hard to explain . ive seen many doctors , had every test you can think of preformed ,done more then one sleep study . and the diagnoses is all over the place ive heard diet , mild narcolepsy ,sleep paralysis , and my favorite that im stressed . non of which i feel is correct im not excessively tired , i eat healthy , and dont consider my self suffering for any extra stress . i think its strange that we are all seeing the same things , the same 5 images , and that there is no study being done that this could be a completely isolated experience / disorder . i would love to have some answers
Hi, I'm so sorry to hear about your terrifying experiences. I have been reading through these posts because last night I saw a sink outlined with a pink thin light floating above me. I sat up awake with eyes open and told my husband what I saw as I touched it. I've been stressing about buying a home and remodeling it. I'm a interior designer/ homemaker. But I and my husband are super sensitive to what we call the veil. We are active members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and believe that when we chose to come to earth part of the Fathers plan was to test our faith by placing a veil over our memories of the spirit world and experiences we had there.  We believe Satan was cast down to the earth with his followers for rebellion and given the ability to tempt  distract us from returning to our heavenly home.

My husband holds the priesthood and blesses our home to protect us and keep demons away.  They come where they are invited.  We have watched a dark show, or argued or talked bad about someone and lost the spirit in our home and felt Satanic presences in our rooms,  we turn on the lights and pray it away.  I am a big dreamer and have learned how in Jesus name to cast out evil spirits and while stubborn in Jesus name with your arm to the square they have to leave.  

I also prayed to stop having those dreams and sacrifices they angelic dreams and visits too. The Lord listens to our prayers,  I pray often and search my scriptures daily strengthening my relationship with God. As I live righteously Satan has no power over me.  I pray for soldier angels to watch over my family on the outsides of my home and angel nannies to help keep peace with my little ones inside the home, I ask for no one else unless sent with a message from God. It works. I has seen good spirits and felt them hanging out in my home. One young girl came to watch me in my sleep and it freaked me out so I told her she wasn't welcome here and like lighting she bolted out of the room. This always happens in that awake asleep stage about 10-60 mins after falling asleep.

As far as the balls of energy I do think you are seeing that and yes there probably is a scientific explanation but there are other detentions among us and some can sense and see into them.  I like I said since I have been reading my scriptures and praying hours a day in joy the darkness is gone and I occasionally see threads of beautiful light  form objects.  One time I was getting up to nurse my daughter in the night and saw one right by the door about 11 inches from the ground and I walked right through it.

God is real. He cares about you and is so sensitive to your feelings.  Call upon Him, align your life with his teachings and you will gain control over your situation and be helped in ways doctors will never understand from a medical point of view.

Love and prayers sent your way..

Avatar universal
I have the same visions when I awake.  I've seen a huge giant spider before I hurt myself by jumping out of bed to aviod it.  I've also seen faces right in front of mine when waking up.  I have seen images of people across the room.  Once when I was little I saw a image of someone in  a chair, but this illusion lasted for a hour or so, and I was frozen with fear (paralysis maybe).

After I regain more conscienceness they go away and my heart slows down.  But they do frighten me.
Avatar universal
i just cant believe these visions are not un related , it just seems like there much be a distinct area of the brain that is causing hundreds of people from all walks of life to see the same things . and its not narcolepsy , or sleep apena . symptoms are similar but non fit exactly
Avatar universal
Hi, how are you? Well, hope you are now feeling better and has the sleep doctor assessed the sleep test. Indeed it's getting lot more interesting the discussions going great. Those hallucinations, which are usually, delusional experiences, are vivid and frequently they are frightening. The content is primarily visual, but any of the other senses can be involved. These are called hypnagogic hallucinations when accompanying sleep onset and hypnopompic hallucinations when occurring during awakening. Over exhaustion and stress has been time and again blamed as the cause. It's strange; many sufferers with sleep deprivation similarly see most of these. One needs to focus mainly on stress management and any underlying cause treatment. Take care and keep sharing your views.
Avatar universal
its interesting that this is the round about non specific answer is what everyone is hearing , but i am not sleep deprived i get on average about 6 to 8 hours of sleep an night and once i am asleep i sleep through the night , also i dont consider myself stressed at all , i have mild concerns here and there but over all am well rested and relaxed , im not trying to argue but the doctors i have seen say there isnt anything wrong with me ,but i do agree that these are vivid delusional experiences , i just dont think the cause is something so non specific . and quit honestly the diagnoses is all over the board , narcolepsy , sleep apena , sleep onset hallucinations , stress , diet , being sleep deprived . it just doesnt make any sense to me how an affliction with super distinctive issues has such a broad spectrum of diagnoses .
Avatar universal
First of all I would like to say that I feel a lot better just knowing that I am not alone in these experiences, and would like to give special thanks to kat2913 for suggesting it stange that we are all seeing the same things and that a specific look into this phenomenon has yet to get underway.  I would also like to thank kat2913 for going into great detail to describe what he/she has seen.  

Just before I attempted to search out such a forum I was discussing with my girlfriend of 6 years (who has had so much patience with me through this i might add) about these experiences.  By this point she just sleeps through them most of the time...but a few months back I had the vision kat2913 describes as the electricity ball from science class.  In the left corner of my room, a strange irradescent energy ball (mostly yellow and purple in color) was hovering above the ground appx 6 feet in the air, with wild arms of electricity like energy waving wildly.  Upon reading kat2913's description Im convinced there is something more to this, and am flowing with energy now determined to know more.

Along with the many others on this board I too see people in front of me and at the side of the bed.  Ive seen (only once) a spider dangling down upon me from the ceiling fan.  Ive seen dark shadows of people (usually what I would describe as men) and women in long flowing light colored garb with long hair at the front of my bed.  Ive seen brigh intense lights, like funnels, almost blinding my vision then fading into thin air.  

My feelings when these things happen are usually all the same now.  Its like I anticipate them, and when it happens I do my best to focus as intensely as possible, like kat2913 says, to ponder them.  Of course this is harder to do when it is a person, or shadow of a person. And have awoken to a person above me staring in my face.  But seems lately, it is more likely to be an energy funnel, or a light of some sort.  I find it truly intensely amazing that in the middle of a pitch black room, light as bright as I have seen has shown itself.  Its a different kind of light though...it doesnt light up the room around it, its strangely of itself and contained within itself.  

Time wise, these experiences like kat2914 usually last a short period of time...5 seconds is normal, with about 7 to 10 seconds for the longest lasting episodes...then fading into nothing.  Its not like I close my eyes and reopen them and the object is gone.  Its like, I stare stare stare, and they eventually fade away.  

Kat2913, do you mind me asking when you saw the electricity ball image?  It would be strange if there was a time correlation between our experiences.  

Just for the record.  I too am an extrmely healthy person.  I eat a balanced diet, take vitamin supplements, sleep 8 hours, take a 1hr nap after work, and dont feel overly stressed.  And when these things happen I am not groggy or half-asleep, its like im in dead sleep to wide awake in a matter of 1/2 a second...just amazing.

Also a thought:  would anybody be willing to contact George Noory about these experiences, or know if he has done a show on this reality.  Noory could be a great way to network others with the same experiences, and people who may be in the process of studying this phenomenon.  
Avatar universal
I am so glad to hear that I am not alone. I too, for the past 8 years have experienced seeing things upon waking. The things that I see, I often describe as a "screen saver"...you know the screen saver that revolves and changes shape and size, and it looks like a scrambled ball of electricity? Well, anyway, usually within an hour of falling asleep, my eyes will open and I see this black, scrambled "thing". I see it as clear as day! It usually moves across the ceiling or appears to be reaching for my face. BUT, as soon as I blink or pull the covers over my face and look back, ITS GONE! It used to frighten me, I thought my house was haunted, but then I began to see it where ever I stayed the night! Just recently the image has changed. I used to always see the black scrambled ball, but now, I often see what looks like white and gray cigarette smoke. It just swirls and twirls, inches from my face...until I blink!

One theory I had was that maybe my eyelashes were sticking together. That was just not the case.
Also, a year or so after the halucinations started, I have also began to expereince what I believe is sleep paralysis.  Just shortly after I fall asleep, usually when I am on the couch napping during the day, I will open my eyes, and thats ALL I CAN DO! I can move, I can't speak, and I begin to scream for help in my head, but nothing comes out! I can look around the room, I can pay attention to a tv show if the tv is on, and I try to use all the strength in my body to move an arm or leg but NOTHING!

Sometimes if I try hard enough, I can get my thumb nail to scratch my index finger and the pain will jolt me out of it. It's just so scary because I'm still breathing at a reduced sleep rate, and I try to take a deep breath but I can't!!! When I finally "wake up", I decide that I am NEVER going to sleep again!

Does anyone think that these two disorders could be related, or possibly combined to make on disorder?

I see things at night, and I often wake up paralyzed....when either of these occur, I am FULLY coherent and aware!

I am jealous of ppl that actually sleep through the night. During a 7-8 hr night, I will wake up around 5-6 times. My fear is that, if I went for a sleep study, I would pay tons of money, and nothing would happen! I'll have an unevetful night, and they will say I'm fine, then I'll go home and it will start all over.

Have an Answer?
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Healing home remedies for common ailments
Dr. Steven Park reveals 5 reasons why breathing through your nose could change your life
Want to wake up rested and refreshed?
For people with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), the COVID-19 pandemic can be particularly challenging.
A list of national and international resources and hotlines to help connect you to needed health and medical services.
Here’s how your baby’s growing in your body each week.