So I took a class in psychology last year during my 11th grade year of high school, as I was making lunch today I started to think back about the lectures I had received about the human mind and then I started to think about posts on here. I noticed a lot of people seemed to experience something "Paranormal" when they were half-asleep or when they were falling asleep, among other things and I wanted to post my opinion using the lectures of why this could be. Disagree with me all you want this is my opinion I'm not being a skeptic I just think some events that happen can be explained easily.
-Sleep and Ghostly Encounters-
As I mentioned above I noticed a pattern in some posts were people say they saw or heard something as they were falling asleep or when they jerked awake. The explanation can be described with six words…
Twilight Sleep. REM Sleep. NREM Sleep.
Twilight sleep is a phase of sleep you enter when you are laying down and relaxing, this is a stage just before you fall asleep and during this phase your brain is milling over "files" stored in your brain, events that happened that day, stuff that happened in the past, people you've met, etc. My teacher explained to me it isn't uncommon for someone to suddenly see a figure or hear a voice while in this stage, she said your awake but your dreaming and most likely the thing you see or hear is just a memory your brain pulled out of a "file" and "opened up".
I believe you go into this phase whenever you relax, meaning if your totally zoned out staring into space your body is preparing to shut down and fall asleep so you are probably going to experience weird things.
I can remember there were many times when I was just about to fall asleep and I heard someone calling my name or say something and I'd come back to awareness totally confused and no one was around.
REM sleep [Rapid Eye Movement] is the deepest stage of sleep, during this stage of sleep your body becomes paralyzed and you become slightly deaf to the world around you, it takes people a while to wake you up when you're in this phase. If you suddenly wake up and your body isn't prepared for this you can remained paralyzed until your body and brain catch up with each other—this is of course called "Sleep Paralysis" or an "Incubus Attack".
During REM sleep people dream, and during this stage of sleep is when the "Nightmare" makes its appearance, the more REM sleep you miss the more nightmares you'll have in a night.
I have suffered from Sleep Paralysis a few times before during the day and the night and I know it isn't fun, but I also know while I'm in this phase nothing paranormal is happening, I was startled awake while I was dreaming and I dragged the dream to "reality" with me because my body and mind weren't ready for my sudden awakening. This is why people call it an "Incubus Attack", while you are awake some parts of you aren't and you hallucinate very vividly. People have told stories about seeing dead relatives, demons, different worlds, feeling presences around them. Those are all common symptoms of "Sleep Paralysis".
Like I have said before REM is a deep sleep, and I believe that if you are in this phase and your suddenly awakened you can confuse reality with dreams [sleep paralysis or not], personally I believe that if your startled from REM sleep sometimes a fragment or "voice clip" from your dream can be dragged back into reality with you and "Play" when you open your eyes and vanish when you get your wits about you. Of course you're confused and scared and bound to believe that you'd just seen a ghost.
NREM sleep [Non-Rapid Eye Movement], NREM sleep is a lighter form of REM sleep, your brain waves come back up and your heart beat goes pretty much back to normal. During this phase you aren't paralyzed and you can be awakened easily.
During this stage of sleep is when sleep walking and night terrors make their appearance.
Night Terrors are vivid horrible dreams that are common in young children and are rare for adults to have them, doctors and psychologists believe that these horrible dreams come along with a maturing mind and shouldn't be paid attention too unless your child keeps having them as they grow into adolescents or you have them more than once a week as an adult.
I believe that some people can confuse a night terror with reality and when they wake up that horrible dream seems so real they confuse it with an actual event.
I remember I had a night terror about my boyfriend breaking up with me, it was so vivid and horrible when I woke up I was in tears and my heart was "broken". It was so real in my mind I thought it had happened last night and was relieved and confused when he called me and acted like his normal goofy loving self. When I told him about the night terror he wasted no time telling me that never happened and it must have been a night terror [he's majoring in Psychology in college].
While I do think it is possible for people to have paranormal experiences in dreams, I think it is a VERY rare occurrence. And I believe dreams that "predict the future" are also a very rare, during this lecture the teacher offered people to tell stories about things they saw in dreams that they later saw or found, a boy told a story about how he saw a piece of paper in his dreams and later found it in his room.
The teacher offered a very simple explanation: "You’re a teenage boy so I'm going to assume your room is a mess, during the day you might have been walking through your room or shoveling though things to look for something and saw the paper laying around, while your memory didn't register it your subconscious did and you dreamed about and later found the same piece of paper again. This could also be true about things such as a red car, maybe you saw one in your dreams by coincidence or maybe you saw a red truck on the street but when you see that same car or a car that looks like it your going to think you had a premonition about it."
Paranormal experiences in dreams are explained above in the "Sleep and Ghostly Encounters" section.
-"I saw a figure out of the corner of my eye…"-
This is a VERY common thing and I read about it at least once a week on different sites while I'm snooping. I can explain this simply and easily.
The corners of your eyes don’t have any receptors/cones/whatever, in reality your blind on both sides of your face but your eyes twitch unnoticeably to make up for that so you can see more. If you concentrate on one thing too long and your eyes don't twitch you can go temporarily blind [my dad has told me this happened to his boss at work a few times]. Nerves in your eyes also escape in the back of your eyes were there are no rods, etc. so when the nerve escape it is possible to see a flash of black or white light as they make their exit in the corner of your eye. I'm not sure why this is, I forgot that part of the lecture but that can explain why when you suddenly turn your head the "figure" or "shadow" you saw is gone.
Floaters are what we call "Junk" in our eyes, bits of hair, dirt, pollution, whatever can get caught in our eyes and not get flushed out by tears. Sometimes they float over your pupil and make weird shapes and turn odd colors, but that’s really all it is…junk.