Hypnagogia is a borderland wake/sleep state we experience between consciousness and sleep.
It is a brief state of transitional consciousness lasting a minute or two that many creative people throughout history such as Thomas Edison, Isaac Newton, Nikola Tesla, Aristotle, Beethoven, Richard Wagner and Salvador Dali have utilized to tap into creative ideas, insights and solutions.
Edison would sit in a chair with a metal ball-bearing in each hand above metal saucers on the floor. As he dozed off, the balls would drop (don’t be rude, now) into the saucer and startle him awake sometimes with a new idea or solution to a problem he was wrestling with.
Salvador Dali called hypnagogia “the slumber with a key,” that inspired some of his paintings. But don’t let that put you off. The melty clock one was nice.
August Kekulé’s realized the structure of benzene was a closed ring while “half-asleep” in front of a fire and seeing molecules forming into snakes, one of which grabbed its tail in its mouth, ouroboros style.
Alpha (relaxed awake) brain waves and Theta (restorative sleep) brain waves don’t occur at the same time except for a minute or two during hypnagogic transition.
The state also reduces activity in the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which is involved in planning, decision-making and social behaviour.
Unlike during REM sleep, you are conscious enough to be partially aware of what’s going on, however, ideas are soon forgotten once sleep occurs.
During hypnagogia, the mind is cycling through thoughts, ideas, memories and emotions.
We experience dream-like visions, sounds, tactile senses, flashes of color, insights, sensations, hyper-definition visual imagery and moving scenery.
Hypnagogia can generate creative insights and “Aha” moments during this short path to the subconscious intuitive mind. Not Morten Harket ladies, be sensible.
For a brief time, a free flow of ideas, associations and sometimes solutions appear, but are sadly forgotten once deep sleep sets in – there is an App (of course) which may help.
The Edison Hypnagogia Idea App is simple and customizable to take full advantage of this brief transition from consciousness. You simply launch the app, tap “Begin”, stand device upright on mattress by gently gripping with fingertips, tilted slightly away, so device will fall flat and trigger timer as you fall asleep.
When you see the prompt “What’s your idea?”, you have the option to type, voice record, or speak to text to record your idea.
Tomorrow morning you will receive a notification to “Check last night’s idea”. It’s that simple!
And it’s customizable – you can choose between a 1 second and 7 minute hypnagogia notification window.
The default 90 seconds is recommended for beginners.
It takes a few nights to get the hang of it because your brain is trying NOT to drop your device, but soon you’ll learn “that’s the whole point” and you will relax and fall asleep naturally.
Keep in mind as you are alerted awake that you will sometimes think “that was the dumbest idea I’ve ever had” (record the idea anyway for practise and a good laugh and to share with your friends) and sometimes you will say “that idea is pure genius, why didn’t I think of that (you just did).”
Ideas and insights generated don’t always work in the real world, but sometimes they do!. And if you’re an artist looking for ideas, the mind is the limit.
I wonder though, is there a control mechanism where the mind does not want us to dwell in this stage and see the Wizard of Oz behind the curtain and will trick us and rush us through it. And make sure we forget our dreams on waking. And makes my Novadreamer lucid dreaming mask mysteriously come off. And makes us forget our past lives. Is the hypnagogic state the battlefield where we can find our freedom from the wheel of karma and the Black Iron Prison?
To read more about this gateway state of consciousness of hypnagogia read Andreas Mavromatis’ book:-
Great article by one of my favourite authors, Gary Lachman:-
In addition to my MindLab Procyon mind machine, mentioned elsewhere on Astral Projects:-
there are larger scale ones such as the Lucia Light Experience:-
and Pandora Star for tinkering with hypnagogia and similar states…