Minds eye – but only when (half) asleep!

I had a strange experience the other day. I was asleep and dreaming about something – I can’t remember what, my dreams tend to have a visual element but are usually fairly unsaturated and maybe blurry.

Then I half-woke up around 6am and saw a cornfield in front of my eyes – it was quite clear and I could make out the colours and textures. I was still really drowsy and didn’t really register it as anything odd for a second or so, and then I properly woke up and it disappeared suddenly and completely and I was back to just staring at my room (as usual 🙂

Really strange. Has anyone else seen anything like this?

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YES! I posted in another discussion group a few weeks ago that I have aphantasia, but see vivid colourful images when I am lucid dreaming!

My dreams are usually vivid and even realistic most of the time. When I am awake, nothing! I noticed the when very tired and falling asleep I can actually see colourful images, and they are usually moving. I am dreaming, cut still conscious. This happens when I wake up, before I am fully up and awake too.

I have been lucid dreaming for over 20 years, but recently the frequency is increasing. I think this is a really important piece to understanding aphantasia!


This absolutely describes me other than the dreams being blurry.

I can’t say for definite but it feels like my dreams are very vivid and something happening in the dream often wakes me up. When this happens I have a split-second flash of an image but its faded well before I reach consciousness so it doesn’t fully register so I cant really say it does actually happen.

But other than that I have zero ability to recall images or any other sense memories.

I am somewhere in the middle of the spectrum normally. I rarely if ever lucid dream, but on many occasions when falling asleep I experience hyper-realistic visualizations (only in my mind’s eye) that I have moderate control over. It genuinely feels like my mind’s eye is flipped from low to high definition. This usually happens after an overwhelming day or when I am exceptionally tired but too energized to sleep.

I have ever experienced similar to you are describing, woke up and saw a massive and realistic spider …. in my minds eye. It only lasted for a second but it woke me right up.

From my past googling, “Hypnagogia” is the process of falling asleep which does seem to explain some of my experiences. In your case the word seems to be “Hypnopompic” for the transition from sleep to awake. Hope that helps in your search 🙂 .

Yes, but usually only when I am severely sleep deprived. I have entered the REM stage, that usually occurs a few hours after going to sleep, while I was still awake. My eyes were fluttering and I was seeing dream-like images while trying to study. (I am one of those aphantasiacs who dream, sometimes quite vividly.) For me it’s usually when going to sleep (hynogogig), but occasionally it has been when waking up, especially if I had fitful sleep and did not feel rested (hypnopompic). Once it happened when I was doing mindfulness meditation. I saw a demonic face staring at me for a second or two. Scared me! So now if I am really tired I just go to sleep or relax awhile instead. I do my meditation when I can focus on my surroundings. I can’t do gided meditations where you imagine relaxing scenes, so I was very glad to discover mindfulness.  🙂

Yes!  I was telling someone else that this has happened to me.

Because I am pretty sure I have dreams that ARE images not just the memory of images.

After I found out I have Aphantasia, I tried remembering my dreams as soon as I woke up and for a split second, I could see images…moving images.

But once I wss fully awake, it was like a black curtain slammed down and the  I couldn’t do it no matter how hard I tried.

Yes, this happened to me, once before, I’m not sure what causes it to happen?

There have been a few times when I  see an outline of something when I am just drifting off to sleep but it goes away the second I realize that I am still awake.


Hello Christine!

I too have had a similar experience upon waking.  It’s rare, but on nights that I am having strong dreams from which I only partially wake I have been able to form images in my mind.  They are separate from the dream, but not exactly consciously created.  It’s like being in a semi-conscious state for lack of a better description.  But, as soon as I fully wake the images disappear.

Yes! I’ve found recently that on nights when I am particularly tired I can vaguely form images in my mind’s eye whilst I’m drifting in to or out of sleep. Sometimes I wonder if I really tried meditating, would I be able to recreate that strange half-dream experience?