The hypnopompic state (or hypnopompia) is the state of consciousness leading out of sleep, a term coined by the psychical researcher Frederic Myers. Its mirror is the hypnagogic state at sleep onset; though often conflated, the two states are not identical. The hypnagogic state is rational waking cognition trying to make sense of non-linear images and associations; the hypnopompic state is emotional and credulous dreaming cognition trying to make sense of real world stolidity. They have a different phenomenological character. Depressed frontal lobe function in the first few minutes after waking – known as "sleep inertia" – causes slowed reaction time and impaired short-term memory. Sleepers often wake confused, or speak without making sense, a phenomenon the psychologist Peter McKeller calls "hypnopompic speech". When the awakening occurs out of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, in which most dreams occur, the hypnopompic state is sometimes accompanied by lingering vivid imagery. Some of the creative insights attributed to dreams actually happen in this moment of awakening from REM. In Deirdre Barrett's The Committee of Sleep, Margie Profet's McArthur Award-winning biology experiment is shown to be one of these.
- T. Balkin, A. Braun, et al., "The process of awakening: A PET study of regional brain activity patterns mediating the reestablishment of alertness and consciousness," Brain, vol. 125, 2002, pp. 2308–19.
- P. Tassi and A. Muzet, "Sleep inertia," Sleep Medicine Review, vol. 4, no. 4, 2000, pp. 341–53.
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