Somnagogia and somnapompia (are they a thing?)

So I was thinking, hypnogogia and hypnopompia are liminal states between waking and dreaming. Are there analogous liminal states between deep sleep and other states? Between deep sleep and dreaming, and deep sleep and waking?

If they existed I suppose you could call them the somnagogic and somnapomic states. But I’m not sure they do exist, because I don’t hear anyone talking about them. Maybe they don’t. Or maybe they do but only advanced sleep yogis have access to them. Or maybe there are people talking about them, I just haven’t run across them yet.

Was just thinking if there was a liminal state like this it could be a powerful vehicle for inner transformation. Deep sleep from what I’ve heard is a storehouse of karma so if we could access it in a liminal state we might be able to release and clear some of it up.



I think this would be a fantastic question to ask Andrew as well, very curious what his thoughts aew.

I think you are definitely on to something. I have never done deep sleep awareness so I dont know what it is like getting in or out of it, but have heard accounts of people who have, and they say a Lucid dream is a good steping stone into deep sleep.

Somnagogia seems just like Hypnogogia, just with 1 foot in the dream, and 1 foot entering Nothingness.


I will. Thought I would ask here though as well in case I was missing something obvious.

Maybe it’s not possible to jump from a waking state to a deep sleep state. You must first go through a dream state, no matter how short. I wonder what people’s brainwaves look like when they are falling into deep sleep. Do they jump straight from alpha to delta or do they have to go through theta first? And the reverse too, coming out of deep sleep, do you jump straight to alpha/beta or go through theta first? Just theorizing though. My own experience falling into a deep sleep is just a black out. No transition. But maybe that’s due to my lack of awareness.

Maybe it’s only something you can encounter between the dream state and the deep sleep state. Sounds like that might be the case from the accounts you heard. In which case lucidity would be absolutely important in order to access them.

1 Like

I don’t know if it is exactly what is being looked for in this thread, but in the past when I put a lot more effort into awareness during sleep I was able to go from my waking state, through lucid dreams back to deep NREM states where my body began snoring and I could not feel my body from sleep paralysis.
After a pretty long period (20-30 minutes) the body would fall back into a REM dream which I would be lucid for also. This would continue until I carried my awareness and stillness for hours without a dream. A clear indicator it was time to get up.

This has convinced me that if you feel like putting enough effort into awareness you can be witness to the body 24/7 at which point all of the processes of bodily consciousness becomes illuminated.


Dont want to spoil the surprise, but Andrew recommends once you become lucid you try a neat trick:

Fall backwards

And see where it takes you…


@_mbready. If you can track all of that with awareness, then you are a very advanced sleep and dream yogi! Deep bow.


This chart from Liminal Dreaming basically answered my question. There is no direct transition from the waking to deep sleep state (unless you get woken up out of deep sleep) or the REM and deep sleep state. Deep sleep is always sandwiched by a theta state. A theta to REM transition happens though.

That’s pretty amazing, from what I’ve heard you need to be very advanced in order to do that. Did you feel a changing quality in the NREM states? Just wondering if there is a phenomenological difference between theta and detla states. Also did the transition to and from the dream state happen suddenly, or gradually?

1 Like

There were three transitions that stood out. One when I started snoring which was an involuntarily action similar to breathing when you don’t think about it.

The other stage that was noticable was the hypnagogic state. Normal stuff was happening there (confusing thoughts and light visual stuff).

The transition to REM is the most noticable. It always came with a feeling of free falling through the floor or the feeling of being pulled up through the roof. During the dreaming period I would be in and out of my dreams a couple times the indicator of a different cycle was when i would not be placed back into a dream.

Just remembered, there is usually a feeling of body numbness the whole time during the experience.

I didn’t experience any feelings of being overly tired the following fay. Usually I would have a lot of energy from thinking about the dreams I had the night before while walking around.

1 Like

Can you explain this finding in laymans terms?

1 Like

Well I’m a layperson too, so dunno how much help I can be. :sweat_smile: But in my understanding there are about four stages of sleep: stage 1 (hypnagogia)/ stage 2 (theta), stage 3/4 (deep sleep), and REM. They are associated with different brain wave patterns. Stage 1 is a chaotic mix between alpha and theta, stage 2 is associated with theta, stage 3/4 with delta. Stage 3/4 is what we typically think of as deep sleep. So as the chart shows, to go into deep sleep and out of deep sleep you first need to go through stage 2 theta. So there is no direct transition from waking alpha to deep sleep delta unless you get woken up out of deep sleep.

There is an alpha-theta transition though. And a REM-theta transition. Stage 2 theta isn’t exactly deep sleep but perhaps it does offer some access to seed consciousness. As you can see, the sleep stages don’t map exactly onto the waking-dreaming-deep sleep model that most spiritual traditions use.


Wow that’s really cool, thanks for sharing. Sounds like the shift to REM is pretty abrupt. Not a liminal stage like hypnagogia.


Usually it is, the space your exploring is right before a dream. It generally lasts 1-2 minutes before a transition into REM occurs. Getting familiar with the hypnogagic/liminal spaces will help tons when trying things like WILD in the future.

It is also worth adding some dreams start without body feelings too, but the majority for me have the feelings described.

1 Like

Yes, but I think its worth noting the X axies (time) has been heavily condensed and simplified. The actual printout of second by second wave activity could probably fill a room with paper. This oversimplification may gloss over some of the hidden or short term transition wave patterns.

Still think this would be a good question for Andrew or Sleep Doctor, or both. Very curious to know their take.


Fair point. The graph is a generalization of course. Haven’t actually seen what the transition period looks like in an actual EEG graph… nor would I be able to understand it if I did, since this isn’t my field.


Me either, and I also wonder if you can have multiple types of brain wave patterns clustered within a certain type of brain wave. Kind of like a heart rate monitor that is mostly steady, but speeds up briefly when the person sees something bad on tv, then quickly returns to normal when they switch the channel.

I think this is a brilliant question, hugely curious what the experts have to say on it, and if there is any disagreement amongst them.

1 Like