Guide: How to achieve hypnagogia

Alexey Turchin
3 min readMar 25, 2019


This is a preliminary list of ideas on how to reach hypnagogia with recreational purposes or as a possible alternative to lucid dreamings.

The main rule of thumb is that trying hypnagogia before midnight is useless. There are several clues to hypnagogia:

Method of Alexander the Great and Dali: half dreaming with a heavy thing in hands which will fail then the dream will be too deep. However, practically it is not easy to do as in needs ability to become sleepy easily, and it is not easy to do sleeping in the bed. One may just put a forearm staying in the bed and wait until it will fail in the moment of deep sleep. In a sense, it is a form of primitive biofeedback.

Visual receptor overloading. Crystal gazing is obviously working this way (combined with observation of random patterns).

Hypertiredness. If one spends all the day travelling and will lay to bed a few hours later than usual, he could easily start to observe hypnogogic images.

Stop of the internal dialogue. If one will practice the suppression of the internal dialogue before bed, he could easily fail in the short bursts of audio hypnagogia. A turn-on light may work as an equivalent of Alexander’s ball, preventing immediate fail in the deeper sleep.

“Visualization trains” — some objects are easily visualized, typically it is moving animals, like running horses or cats.

Phosphene observation — paying relaxed attention to the colored blurbs before closed eyes may help to transform them into images. Just look at what this blurb is like.

Direct self-hypnosis. One may try to say again and again “hypnagogia!” This will result in tiredness and some images may appear.

Mind-machine visual stimulation. The best one is Casina which creates strong illusions.

Seeding — this is the implanting of mental images into the visual field and waiting for a response in the form of a visual image. Sound implanting is also possible, e.g. a piece of short music in order to achieve short-term “musical hallucinations”.

Eye scanning. Here the viewer imitates the REM eye movement hoping to induce the REM-like state by slowly moving eyes from right to left and back and observing the visual field.

Deconcentration of attention, similar to SSILD lucid dream inducing technics. The more we put attention to the visual field, the less likely is hypnagogia, but more likely is eyes tiredness. Here, we try to the opposite trick — to make the field of attention as wide as possible.

Not-doing. The full stop of attempts to do anything inside the mind, including active attempts to stop internal dialogue, visualize or observe something. Just not engage in internal dialogue. This result in greater relaxation and appearing of hypnagogia.

Coffee and other stimulants suppress hypnagogia, and relaxants (but not alcohol) increase the chances of hypnagogia. But the use of chemicals should not be encouraged as it may have long-term negative effects. The best drug for hypnagogia — safe and legal — is not yet found. Surely, some hallucinogens may help in hypnagogia.

The anecdotal report tells us that oxiracetam could help.

Melatonin megadosing — doses of around 10–20 mg of melatonin may induce some form of stimulation, but also REM dreaming-like activity. The risk is deregulation of sleep. Smaller doses like 0.2 mg are good for “normal sleepiness”. Theanine megadosing.

I found a book in the topic: Mavromatis, Andreas (1987). “Hypnagogia: the Unique State of Consciousness Between Wakefulness and Sleep.”

Any other ideas?