Am I Sleeping When I’m Hypnotized?

Even though you may have heard a hypnotist say the word “Sleep” to induce the hypnotic trance, the state of hypnosis is not quite the same as sleeping. Hypnosis is most similar to the state you are in right before you wake up and right before you fall asleep. This is also a good description of what hypnosis feels like. If someone were to talk to you right before you fall asleep, you will probably be aware of it and respond to it.

When I was younger, my need for sleep was quite significant, and sometimes my mother would come into my room and talk to me about things I should do for her. Later that day, I felt that I had talked to my mother but that I didn’t know what we had talked about. To find out what she had said, I would call her up at work and ask her if she had said anything to me. Every time this happened, she thought I would remember because I responded to her.

I’m sure that most people have had similar experiences right before they are awake or fall asleep. I have had one incident of catalepsy, where I felt awake but couldn’t move my legs or arms. This is also described in the hypnosis literature as a hypnotic phenomenon. To sum up, hypnosis is a state of focused concentration that is very similar to the state you’re in right before you wake up or fall asleep.