Sometimes when I lie in bed, with my eyes closed, I get the sense that my head is actually at the bottom of the bed, where my feet usually are, when I know it is still resting on the pillow on the top pat of the bed. Sometimes, I get the sense that my head is turned towards one side of the room, when I know is turned to the other side of the room.

Basically, there is a disconnect between my conscious knowledge of my head's direction, and what my "senses" are telling me. If I open my eyes, I am never laying in the direction my senses told me. Sometimes, I can induce this effect, by just visualizing myself laying in a different direction than the one I know I'm laying in.

What could be the cause of this effect? Is it a malfunction of proprioception, a corruption of memory, a near-sleep phenomenon, a malfunction of magnetoception (although that hasn't been proven to be human sense last I checked), or something else? Is this even a phenomenon that anybody knows about?

EDIT: I asked this questions on three different subreddits, and a lot of people had some very interesting speculations on the subject.




  • $\begingroup$ Do you have any balance affecting condition? The vestibular system in the inner ear is the primary method that the brain relies on to determine orientation and motion. Vision is the backup mechanism for this, but it's no help with closed eyes. Even if you can logically determine your position, incorrect balance information is fighting it. $\endgroup$
    – user3169
    Dec 14, 2020 at 7:13
  • $\begingroup$ @user3169 I do not think that I have such a condition. I don't have a great balance, especially when I close my eyes, but I don't think it is severe enough to be a condition. $\endgroup$
    – A. Kvåle
    Dec 14, 2020 at 9:13
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I wasn't implying it was a condition, but if not functioning properly could be a symptom of one. Just to be better informed, you can read the vestibular system or elsewhere online. Honestly it's a very complex system. $\endgroup$
    – user3169
    Dec 16, 2020 at 6:30