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The edge of sleep

 

Disciplines HypnotismArticles > The edge of sleep

It's not sleep | It's like sleep | At the edge of sleep | See also

 

 

What, exactly, is hypnosis? What does it feel like? What happens when a person is hypnotised?

It's not sleep

The title of the article is perhaps a bit confusing. Hypnosis is sleep, although the metaphor of sleep is often used. Sleep is a state of unconsciousness. Hypnosis is a state where the unconscious mind is perhaps more awake.

It's like sleep

The hypnotic trance does have some similarity to sleep in that the conscious mind is less active whilst the unconscious mind comes more to the fore. In sleep, the conscious mind pretty much disappears, whilst the unconscious mind keeps going.

Sleep is a kind of mental state. So is hypnosis. In hypnosis it is called a 'trance'.

At the edge of sleep

When you are just nodding off or waking up or perhaps at times during the night, your conscious mind is active, such that you experience what your unconscious mind is presenting to you. Your conscious is less of a censor and more of a passive observer or director.

The state at the edge of sleep can be very relaxed and pleasant. Likewise hypnosis typically involves deep relaxation, although memories and experiences can lead to great agitation, something like a bad dream.

What do you remember?

After sleeping, most people forget their dreams very quickly unless the dreams are particularly vivid. In hypnosis, the conscious mind is often more engaged and is likely to remember the experience.

In a deeper trance, the hypnotist may suggest that the subject does not remember particular things. This can be used to keep unpleasant memories buried and allow suggestions to take natural effect.

Memory is a very imperfect thing and false memories can easily be created, even in a waking state. In this way, the hypnotist may change or create new 'memories'.

See also

Memory

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