Sometimes I try to stay awake through the process of falling asleep. This doesn’t really make sense (you are either conscious or unconscious, right?) but the effort is interesting as you can get much closer to the edge, that point where you just fall, than you might think, and it’s an interesting and peculiar experience. Most often what happens is that sleep is merely postponed and you lay there wrestling against the fall into blankness, which is not what I am trying to do. I want to fall asleep and be aware of everything as it’s happening. So you stand guard and watch and you can actually get a sense of it approaching without having a sense of what IT actually is. You can ward it off, or let it come and take you, but you somehow aren’t allowed to watch what happens when it does.
Occasionally I notice that I seem to be entering a dream before I lose it and plunge into sleep, which is still a loss of awareness but with a thin slice of lucid dreaming at the leading edge. I’m assuming that my memory of this after waking back up is reliable. After experimenting with this for a while, I read somewhere that a very high Tibetan Lama, a really highly realized individual, had admitted to one of his students that he himself would lose the view briefly during the drift-off to sleep. Well, no wonder I can’t do it.