Hypnagogia comes from the Greek words for “sleep” and “guide,” describing the transition period between wakefulness and sleep. Many people experience hallucinations as they fall asleep which may give them creative insights, leading artists like Salvador Dali to nickname it “the slumber with a key.”
What is hypnagogia?
Hypnagogia is the dream-like state that occurs in the transition between wakefulness and sleep. It usually lasts a few minutes at most, and occurs as the individual is falling asleep (as opposed to hypnopompia, which occurs as the individual is waking up and is less common). Many people with hypnagogia experience visual or auditory hallucinations or disturbances, or a feeling of falling or floating.
During hypnagogia, the brain is more fluid and open to making connections between seemingly unrelated ideas, which is what makes it so conducive to creative problem solving. While the field of research is still young, multiple studies have established a link between dreams and improved creativity and problem-solving.