Dreams can be vivid or dim. Usually, the dreamer doesn’t physically feel anything.
They might feel something in a nightmare. Usually, it’s a quick shock or jolt.
Take a dream of falling. The dreamer has the experience of falling, falling, falling, and then BOOM! He or she lands in bed. The dreamer physically feels like they’ve landed at the bottom of a hole (or someplace else).
In a dream, they might be in a knife fight and lose when the knife cuts into their abdomen. They feel all their blood run out, all their intestines, and believe (in the dream) that they’re dying.
They might be running into a house on fire, grab a smoldering beam and feel a burn.
They might be driving along in a car and feel like they’ve been sideswiped by another car.
There are all kinds of physical sensations that are possible in a dream.
What does it mean when your senses are activated in a dream?
The brain usually activates the sense of touch to make its point, but it can activate any of them, especially hearing.
When you feel something or a suggestion of something, your subconscious is trying to emphasize something, to make a point. What the point depends on the context of the rest of the dream.
A misty, hazy message won’t do, it figures. It’s like someone making a sign at work highlighted and in bold caps: “PLEASE FLUSH THE TOILET AFTER YOU USE IT!!!” or “PUT THE TOILET SEAT DOWN AFTER YOU USE IT!!!”
Due to how the central nervous system is constructed, sensations of all kinds are experienced in the brain. This is an easy trick for the brain to manage.
Even if you’ve never grabbed a burning anything in real life, your brain can mimic the feeling by guessing. You presumably have felt the difference between warm, warmer, and cold. It wouldn’t necessarily feel the same way in a dream.
Although it might. Carl Jung postulated that there are ancestral memories that come up in dreams. While you’ve never grabbed a burning beam, others have. Jung believed that the brain had access to these memories. Others believe that the basis for access to these memories would be along the lines of evolution.
What are hypnagogic hallucinations?
When you perceive an object without it actually existing, that’s a hallucination.
When someone suffers a hypnagogic hallucination, it’s usually right before they fall asleep. The person often snaps awake, fearful that what they thought they experienced was real. The hallucinations can range from seeing shapes and colors to hearing voices or music.
It’s important to note that these hallucinations are not a sign of any mental illness, rather they are a common occurrence for those who are sleep deprived or stressed.
Sometimes the hypnagogic hallucinations are heard. Perhaps it’s a beep, a faucet drip, or a popping noise. Yet sometimes, it actually isn’t a hallucination. For example, one model of smoke detector would emit a beep every 10 minutes or so to let the user know that it was time to change the battery. One type of battery-powered wristwatch, too, would emit a chirp every so often when its battery was failing. If you’re storing that wristwatch in a drawer and its battery is running out, you’re going to be hearing that chirp every once in a while and may end up thinking that it’s in your imagination because you’ve forgotten all about the watch or didn’t know that it did that.
Those are benign hypnagogic hallucinations or not even hallucinations because there’s a reason for the sound; you just don’t know what it might be.
It’s also possible to experience a hypnopompic hallucination, which is the opposite and occurs when someone is waking up instead of falling asleep.
Far more concerning hallucinations can happen with drug use, especially methamphetamines or hallucinogens.
Common sensations with drug use are the feeling that there are bugs crawling all over or many needles poking you or something else like that.
For further reading:
Your guts are an emotional center
Having an out-of-the-body experience doesn’t make you special
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