Why A Lot Of People Remember Seeing ‘Kaleidoscope Lights’ Right Before They Fell Asleep As Children

Do you remember this as a kid?

woman holding sleeping child and kaleidoscope lights Jonathan Sanchez via Unsplash / arsgera, Sparklestroke and genphoto_art via Canva

Do you remember seeing strange visuals before you fell asleep as a child? If so, you're not alone, as many people are recalling the childhood phenomenon that seems to have disappeared in adulthood.

Recently, a woman named Brooke who shares "stories" and "unsolicited knowledge" to the video-sharing app TikTok, explained the phenomena in one of her videos. After hearing it, several people shared their own experiences.


A lot of people remember seeing 'kaleidoscope lights' right before they fell asleep as children. 

"Lots of people have mentioned that one of their childhood memories was seeing lights like this before they'd go to sleep," Brooke said in front of a colorful pixelated background.



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She claimed that some eye doctors have pointed out that this could be attributed to an eye condition known as "pixel vision" or "Kaleidoscope vision." But those who've experienced these lights are quick to say that it's not the same. 

"These people all agree that they only saw these lights when they were kids, and it was most intense when they were around the age of four, and it stopped when they were around the age of seven," she said.

For those who have lived this mysterious experience, the memories are far from troubling.

In fact, they describe them as overwhelmingly positive. The lights, whether in color or black and white, seem to have brought joy and calm before falling asleep. On top of that, they came in many different forms.

"A lot of these people say that the lights came in lines, speckles, dots, or full pixeled vision, and that it didn't blur out anything else inside of their bedroom that was still visible with the lights off," Brooke explained further.


Moreover, some claimed an even more profound connection with these lights, feeling they could physically manipulate them. 

"There's also a really big handful of people that say they only saw black and white lights and that they'd actually be able to push the lights around with their hands," Brooke said.

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This description brought forth a torrent of responses from people who shared their own unique memories and interpretations of the phenomena. 

Some of them confirmed that the hallucinations were malleable and under their control. 

"I would watch them turn into shapes and pictures and little things would fly all around me," one person commented.


"Mine turned into whatever shape I wanted. My favorite was to turn them into all different shapes and colors," another added.

These fascinating visual experiences were not confined to mere shapes and playful visions. For some, the kaleidoscope lights served as soothing entities, guiding them into a restful sleep. 

"Yes!! It was such a happy calm feeling. They'd fly around and like, lull me to sleep," one person wrote.

So, is there an explanation for all of this?

study published in 2014 in the National Library of Medicine explores this phenomenon. They call the visions people, predominantly children, get before falling asleep "hypnagogic hallucinations." The study classified children who experience these hallucinations into two groups: those with psychosis and those without.


Children who develop psychosis and have these hallucinations are in need of clinical care to treat them. However, those who experience them without psychosis do not need any additional care. 

Why do they disappear when you get older? The study found that they spontaneously disappear in most children who get them. The most common reason for experiencing these visions is during "periods of anxiety and stressful events."

So if stressful events and anxiety cause you to see some pretty lights, don't worry and let the light lull you into a sleepful abyss.


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Ethan Cotler is a writer and frequent contributor to YourTango living in Boston. His writing covers entertainment, news, and human interest stories.