Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
15 Dec

The Importance of Dreaming

Some consider it the ultimate Primal ground – a terrain unapologetically wild and forever untamable. It’s the last place a man or woman can live out every deep seated instinct and inclination with no interference from cultural authorities, no entanglement with others and their needs or opinion. I’m talking of course about dreams. (Those titles ruin all the mystery, don’t they?) Yes, I mean those baffling vignettes that take over when we think we’ve finally let go of the day and retreated to peacefully impervious hours. The brain, however, has other plans and sets out with its own agenda. Sometimes we wake unaware of the fictional muddle we’ve witnessed the night before. Other times we’re roused in a cold sweat, physically and emotionally gripped for hours by some bewildering, miserable ordeal. On a few lucky occasions, we’re treated to the good stuff, a stream of reverie worth luxuriating in if it weren’t for the cursed alarm clock. What’s the deal with all this drama anyway? The Primal Blueprint, of course, extols the importance of adequate quantity, high quality sleep. But what is sleep without dreams? According to research, not much.

Our need for sleep as a whole to this day confounds experts. What a waste of 33% of a day! The useless extravagance, the vexing inconvenience, the staggering vulnerability of this state stuns. Is this some kind of massive evolutionary flub? Add in the nightly circus of often incomprehensible dream segments, and it can seem like some genetically orchestrated joke.

But sleep, as we know, is the professional organizer of our daily experiences. Without it, our brains would reflect an overflowing mental mess analogous to an episode of Hoarders. And as for our emotions, we’d live along a continually ragged edge of psychic strain if it weren’t for the role of dreams.

Just as sleep allows our brains to process information, to file and discard extraneous detail, REM sleep (i.e. dream sleep) reconstitutes difficult emotional experiences. As research demonstrates, dreams regularly engage the emotionally charged memories of our day and compose them into more psychologically manageable narratives.  Scans of study participants has revealed that the same brain areas involved in acting out particular experiences during waking hours also operate during dreams about the same content.  (The researchers used so-called “lucid” dreamers who can consciously control and steer their dreaming. Radical stuff, eh?)

In other words, the brain essentially relives our most poignant experiences in order to organize them. There’s a key difference, however, as researchers have found. During dreaming, the brain can retrieve and process emotional experiences with the body’s stress response in low mode.

Yes, as illogical as dreams may seem, they actually process our memories more rationally because of the simultaneous reduction in neurochemical reactivity. Professor Matthew Walker, senior author of the University of Berkley study explains, “By reprocessing previous emotional experiences in this neuro-chemically safe environment of low norepinephrine during REM sleep, we wake up the next day, and those experiences have been softened in their emotional strength. We feel better about them, we feel we can cope.”  Some dreams, as mentioned, are so emotional that we wake up clearly feeling like we’ve been through the wringer. Nonetheless, we’ve still benefited from the significantly dampened neurochemical backdrop for processing whatever experiences inhabited these particularly vivid dreams.

Underscoring the difference normal REM sleep makes, we find the influence of sleep disruption on psychological conditions like PTSD and depression. Although these conditions don’t begin with sleep disturbance, the characteristic disruption of sleep becomes part of a persistent, vicious cycle. Professor Walker explains the PTSD connection that guided his research on the role of reduced norepinephrine in normal REM sleep. Another doctor from the local V.A. hospital shared the success he’d had treating patients who suffered from PTSD with a blood pressure drug, which Walker noticed also reduced levels of norepinephrine. The patients, as a result of the drug, were able to experience more normal REM sleep, which helped alleviate their PTSD symptoms.

Add to this, of course, the overall benefits of sleep. Among the primary theories behind our need for sleep is synaptic homeostasis. During our waking hours, our synapses respond to the myriad of stimulation we encounter. (The more “enriched” (or stressful) our days, the more the synapses grow.) But we can literally only take so much stimulation.  Our brain’s synaptic activity accounts for some 80% of its overall energy usage. In other words, over the course of a day we literally drain our brain. Sleep allows the synapses to return to their baseline measures. The result? We wake up better able to deal with whatever happened the day before and more capable of meeting the challenges of the present day. The whole of our sleep experience, it turns out, has both profound psychological and physiological impact within our brains.

In traditional societies, sleep – and dreaming in particular – was associated with healing and access to a deeper dimension of insight inaccessible during waking life. Theorists like Anthony Stevens and Carl Jung have suggested that dreams contain shadows of evolutionary instinct, “phylogenetically ancient structures” that help us “rehearse” life scenarios and even problem solve by accessing intuitive wisdom unrelated to conscious rationality. As Jung wrote, “Go to bed. Think on your problem. See what you dream. Perhaps the Great Man, the 2,000,000 year old man, will speak. Only in a cul-de-sac do you hear his voice.”

Jung’s quote, for me, is a kind of grand metaphor. It makes me think about how many sources of feedback we tend to devalue in modern life – the roots of intuition, the connection between the emotional and physiological, the benefits of sleep, the processing of dreams.

In a modern 24-7 world, it’s easy to cheat on sleep and dismiss the messages the body gives us. During busy times a full seven to eight hours can seem like an absurd obligation that we either grudgingly fulfill or reject in the name of bigger fish to fry. Science, however, warns us otherwise as does practical experience if we’re willing to learn from that sort of thing. In our attempts to live and work more “efficiently,” we end up short changing our overall well-being. The body has its own model for emotional and physical efficiency, much of which we can’t fathom. It’s a bigger and much grander picture than we give it credit for.

Thanks for reading today. Let me know your thoughts on sleep, dreaming, and that enigmatic 2,000,000-year-old man.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. I’ve always been curious, even given good sleep, why recurring dreams occur and how it is that in the mind’s infinite supply of memories and imagery, that it focuses on certain things on multiple nights of sleep.
    Although I dream of specific events again and again – I’ve never dreamt of why I dream the same things again and again…hmmmm….

    Jeff Pickett wrote on December 15th, 2011
    • Me, too! I’ll have similar dreams in the same fictional settings again and again, sometimes years apart. Am I trying to resolve some horrible thing that I can’t remember? And why have I actually FOUND some of those fictional places?! Makes my spine crawl even now, to know that the fictional places are probably all very real, but are not from my lifetime. In one dream I was at a dam in a black and white sequence involving a girl and a shack (not the fun way!) and years later, when I moved to a new state, I randomly got dragged along to a local dam picnic, and it was the exact place, but where the shack stood were only posts and a concrete slab. W. T. F.

      knifegill wrote on December 15th, 2011
      • I had this years ago, as a child. I used to ride – something not many people do in London. I wasn’t very happy with the riding stables I went to and one night dreamed about seeing horses being ridden around a sandy ring surrounded by trees. A few years later I tried out another stables in Wimbledon and turns out they had no indoor school but rode to a ring on the nearby common. Which was almost identical to the one I’d dreamed about. Spooky! But I rode there happily for several years until I went off to university.

        Indiscreet wrote on December 15th, 2011
    • I’ve also experienced a lot recurring dreams, or rather recurring events, people, etc. in dreams.

      The first one I remember began when I was 15, shortly after I’d been a passenger in a terrible car accident. For years after that I had dreams in which I was driving, even though I didn’t know how to drive. I finally learned to drive when I was 21, and since then I’ve never had another dream about driving (I’m now 64).

      I’ve had a half dozen or so recurring dreams, but nowadays as soon as I realize something is recurring, I immediately focus on those dreams, especially what I’m feeling in them, because it seems they are always the opposite of my waking feelings. For example, when I dreamt about driving, I was always happy and having a grand time, when in fact I was always scared when I was in a car. I didn’t make the connection between the driving dreams and the fact that I didn’t drive until I realized the dreams had stopped–up until then they just struck me as weird.

      I know some people believe there’s a lot of symbolism in our dreams, and maybe that’s true, but it’s not something I’ve ever wondered or worried about. Like most people, I don’t even remember most of my dreams. But since my experience with the driving dream, I’ve paid attention to recurrance because it’s always seemed that such dreams are one part of my brain trying to get a message to another part. And, as soon as the message is received, they stop.

      ColoradoCarol wrote on December 15th, 2011
    • A recurring dream I have is being in school and forgetting everything… locker combination, attending a class for an entire semester, etc. It’s always incredibly weird and different. I dream about failing or almost failing a class, etc. I’m not in school and haven’t been for over 3 years… wtf?!

      Lol. 99% of the time I completely forget about my dreams!

      Primal Toad wrote on December 15th, 2011
      • I have the same reoccurring dreams! I show up to class(high school) and realize I haven’t been attending class and I don’t have the assignments I need and will probably be failing. Or I’m living life, in my dream, then suddenly I get this terrible realization that I have forgotten to go class for quite a while it’s so strange. I’ve had those for so long now I can actually tell myself it’s over, you’ve graduated, you’re 43 years old!!

        kathyboBathy wrote on December 18th, 2011
        • I have had those same school themes and have been out of school for over thirty years. Had one not too long ago. I also have layered recurring dreams. They are very vivid and in this most recent I deamed I was dreaming about this again and knew it was this recurring dream. I have had the recurring dream about 6 times and spans 20 years. I have 4 dreams that keep recurring. They stay with me for weeks sometimes. I also get lots of instances where places and events occur that I have dreamed. One of my dogs is a big dreamer.
          Weird stuff.

          Caron wrote on July 12th, 2012
  2. Great post!

    rose wrote on December 15th, 2011
  3. love it. going to daydream in my composition class now

    Steffo wrote on December 15th, 2011
    • You could have just told me that you have fantasies about me…

      WiltonDeportes wrote on December 15th, 2011
  4. I have vivid dreams almost every night. Sometimes they are so intense that I literally wake up laughing (or sometimes crying). I gotta say I love it

    Becca wrote on December 15th, 2011
    • Me too. Especially if I sleep in one day, I’ll have crazy dreams right before I get up, and I’ll keep hitting the snooze button on my alarm until I’m finished with the dream. And I can’t even remotely figure out what my dreams are related to.

      Deanna wrote on December 16th, 2011
  5. I’ve experienced recurring dreams and times of my life where I have crazy vivid dreams and always wondered what they meant. I never realized it was my mind organizing events. That’s cool what they’re doing with PTSD patients.

    Sparta wrote on December 15th, 2011
  6. And another reason to go easy on the alcohol. It can help you fall asleep, but it interferes with your REM sleep.

    Stan the Man wrote on December 15th, 2011
    • I’ve heard that, too, but forgot I had heard it – or dreamt it. Thanks for the reminder.

      Jeff Pickett wrote on December 15th, 2011
  7. Dreaming is awesome. I encourage everyone to check out a book on Lucid dreaming..it makes your asleep life much more interesting and useful when you learn to do it.

    Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming by Stephen LaBerge is a great starter.

    Max wrote on December 15th, 2011
    • Carl Jung’s work concerning dreams and the “collective unconscious” (referred to above as “shadow instinct”) is explored in depth by Robert Moore’s series of books, “King, Warrior, Magician, Lover.” It’s how I initially found out about Primal Blueprint.

      Pete wrote on December 16th, 2011
  8. The importance of dreaming is probably best understood by those who can’t dream. Those who have sleep apnea often have difficulty entering a dream state. There lives are miserable. I know several people with sleep apnea who’s lives were changed, once they went on a CPAP device and were able to dream again. Although dreams are not always pleasant we obviously need them.

    Michelle wrote on December 15th, 2011
  9. This is an awesome post! I have VERY wierd dreams. Extremely wierd. If someone read my dream diary, they’d have me locked up in a mental hospital. Perhaps its a sign my life is chaotic, or something! I want to tinker around with lucid dreaming…

    Milla wrote on December 15th, 2011
    • You got nothing. In a dream I had, my mom walked into the room holding her uterus with six ovaries begging me to take the drooping, mushy organ and explain what was going on and if she’d be alright.

      In a sequence of dreams, I learned how to fly. From jumping higher and higher to coasting horizontally to full out vertical Neo-like take-offs, I remember practicing, making mistakes, and refining this skill. In dreams, over years. But to this day, if I try to turn my head while flying in a dream, I instantly wake up, as if I broke some rule in the dream code and had to reboot.

      Top. That.

      knifegill wrote on December 15th, 2011
      • The jumping and flying dreams are my favorites! I remember starting off skip-jumping, then jumping and landing on homes, then jumping over trees! Always woke up with a smile on my face :)

        beachbound wrote on December 15th, 2011
        • I used to have *great* flying dreams. It didn’t matter that I was always trying to get away from some one or some thing that was chasing me with intent to kill. Once I was in the air I was ecstatic. The last one I remember, a giant lumbering Sasquatch-like beast way chasing me. He couldn’t fly, but he climbed the sides of buildings quite well and kept coming very close to reaching me. I was flying for so long trying to stay ahead of him that I finally got really tired, stopped, and asked him why he was chasing me. He said “I want another nutter butter peanut butter sandwich cookie.”

          He’d tried to go into the stores to buy some of the cookies, but people kept running away in fear. So he wanted me to buy some for him.

          That ad was my brother’s favorite when we were kids…the one with the catch phrase “I want another nutter butter peanut butter sandwich cookie.” So I wasn’t too surprised it was a part of my dream. But as far as I can recall, I’ve never dreamed of flying again. I miss those dreams.

          Susan wrote on December 15th, 2011
      • I learned how to fly in a sequence of dreams, too. In my case, I was at a relative’s house, in their three-season room on the second floor. It had a ceiling fan, but it only had three walls. I jumped on the couch, grabbed the fan, spun around a few times, and when I let go I was flying.

        Then I dreamed that I was trying to save this girl from a band of marauders in a desert wasteland. She got “trapped” because she was standing in the bed of a pick-up truck in a parking lot and couldn’t run away because she had bare feet and the pavement was too hot. I tried to have her sit on my back so I could fly away with her, but she was too heavy and I couldn’t fly with her. I woke up freaked out because I couldn’t save her.

        I frequently dream that all my teeth are rotting out or that I go to the garbage can and spit them out. But once I had a dream where I felt a cavity, went to look in the mirror, and saw a big gaping hole in a molar. Then the molar started filling up with a liquid like beaten eggs and it overflowed and filled my mouth. So I reached in and pulled out three teeth.

        I had a dream that a man was in a bookstore at the bottom of a hotel, and he asked the concierge if there was any room available. I knew that the concierge was a vampire, but I couldn’t say anything, and I knew he was lying when he said the only room was the executive suite. But there was nothing I could do. Then, while the man was taking a shower, the vampire went into a secret room, opened a hidden door about the size of a mail slot, and stabbed the man to death with a fork, and the blood oozed out from under the glass of the shower stall. There was an inscription in the shower door frame, but I don’t remember what it was.

        Okay, they’re not throbbing uterus dreams, but I’ve had some colorful ones myself. Basically every night.

        Unfortunately for my amazingly awesome dreams, I don’t remember them except when I wake up for a moment, go, “Wow, that was sweet!” and go back to sleep with a smile.

        Deanna wrote on December 16th, 2011
  10. So timely…I was just talking with a friend who’s a professional counselor and I was telling her about the crazy dreams I had for months after 9/11.

    Know what she told me? The same stuff you say right here, esp that our brains are busily plugging away at important tasks (like dealing with stress and processing grief in this example.

    (Key takeaway: get enough sleep!)

    Anne wrote on December 15th, 2011
  11. Since I got on my CPAP, I almost never dream!

    Weird. I finally am getting quality sleep, and the dreams that used to wake me up have almost gone away completely.

    Ash wrote on December 15th, 2011
  12. very interesting post, indeed! i was particularly struck by the idea of reprocessing emotional experiences in a “safe” neuro-chemical environment….

    if someone has insight into this science, i’d be interested to know why i only seem to have nightmares while i’m running a fever — what neuro-chemical thing is going on, THEN?

    tess wrote on December 15th, 2011
  13. Here is what I am curious about. If anyone has similar dreams or knows why I dream this way, let me know.

    On occasion I have extremely vivid visual dreams. I am in a place I have never been before and can see in exquisite detail the patterns in the lace, the grain in the wood, etc. I am visually aware of every tiny detail.

    Until I was 30 yrs old or so, I thought everyone dreamed like this. After expressing my amazement that we dream like this to a friend, she said, Sharon, most people do not dream in such detail.

    I have asked many people since and have not found anyone who says their dreams have this kind of detail.

    Anyone?

    Sharon wrote on December 15th, 2011
    • Yes, I do dream in great detail as well. But I believe the places we are dreaming about are real, because I’ve found some of the ones I dreamed of when I could never have seen them before.

      knifegill wrote on December 15th, 2011
  14. Last night I dreamed i ate the worlds biggets marshmellow………….when i woke up this morning my pillow was missing………….

    Kurt wrote on December 15th, 2011
    • lol

      Alyssa wrote on December 15th, 2011
  15. Interesting article. There’s one sentence that bugs me though, where it is stated that after stressful days “the synapses grow”… Since a ‘synapse’ is basically just a gap between neurons, I don’t understand that bit. They can’t mean that there’s a bigger gap, right?

    Trillian wrote on December 15th, 2011
    • Synapses strengthen. The terminal button (sending end) will actually get wider and more receptors may form on the receiving dendrite.

      Rachel wrote on December 15th, 2011
  16. I just started graveyard shift. I sleep at least eight hours straight when I get home, and can have ten if I make the wife drive to work. I have dreams and wake pretty refreshed. I truly feel no stress from this schedule. I sleep during the day, in mild light, and achieve REM. It is that simple? Can my body just jump ship like THAT and take up a new sleep time on a whim? Shouldn’t I feel some exhaustion or something? I am, for the record, a lucid dreamer when I feel like it, and usually meditate myself to sleep. I hope my adrenal system adjusts…

    knifegill wrote on December 15th, 2011
  17. Interesting post. What’s weird is that sometimes – like last night – I’ll dream about something almost exactly relevant to the most important experience I had that day, whereas other days I’ll have dreams about stuff and people I haven’t thought of in years.

    Josh Frey wrote on December 15th, 2011
  18. I’ve always loved your content but I I don’t think I realized until now that your writing style is great too.

    Mountain wrote on December 15th, 2011
  19. And the odd thing for me is that I almost NEVER remember a single dream. My wife always remembers hers, it seems. But when I wake 99% of the time, there is zero remembrance of anything other than what I did the evening before. FWIW, I usually have no trouble sleeping 8 hours undisturbed through the night.

    Will wrote on December 15th, 2011
    • Is it possible that one doesn’t have to remember the dreams in order to benefit from them? I often wake aware that I was dreaming but not remembering more than perhaps the mood of the dream.

      Teresa Ensslin wrote on January 27th, 2012
  20. Loved the one about the marshmallow!

    I’ve been plagued by an Rx prescription for sleeping pills on which I am completely dependent. Now, it interferes with that part of sleep and I hate it since I used to have amazing dreams and rarely do now.

    Though there is one weird thing. I’ve never even once had a nightmare;

    Nossar wrote on December 15th, 2011
  21. I rarely dream. I can’t even the last time I dreamed, and the dreams I’ve had were few and far between. People tell me that of course I dream, it’s just that I don’t remember, but I have my doubts.

    I rarely drink and–the last few so-stressful-I-want-eat-face weeks notwithstanding–I get plenty of sleep every night. And I’ve always been a very deep sleeper.

    Lena wrote on December 15th, 2011
  22. I know theer are many that sleep during the day & work nights. Has anyone heard of any studies that uncover any short or long term effects of sleeping through that “sun up” window & being up in a relatively low or no sun environment? I can’t see that working long term.

    John s wrote on December 15th, 2011
  23. alot of “experts” have tried to explain dreams and there are alot of dream interpretors…. dreams are messages….God speaks to us when we are sleeping as well as when we are awake..see the Bible….

    Amanda wrote on December 15th, 2011
  24. Read somewhere that most women’s dreams take place indoors and most men’s outdoors. Don’t know if that’s true but I’m a dude and my dreams are almost always outdoors.

    Rojo wrote on December 15th, 2011
  25. I’d like to recommend an interesting fairly new book written by a Jungian psychologist, titled “Living your unlived life”. I believe the authors last name is Johnson. It discusses dreams quite a bit and also some different types of exercises/meditations you can try to come understand your dreams and come to terms with “unfulfilled” parts of your life’s desires.

    philip wrote on December 15th, 2011
  26. last night I dreamt of celery and awoke in a cold sweat!

    There is no such thing as death , life is only a dream and we are the imagination of ourselves.
    here’s tom with the weather.
    -Bill Hicks

    alex wrote on December 15th, 2011
    • channeling Rene Descartes :-)

      bbuddha wrote on December 15th, 2011
  27. I have recurring dreams every few months…they date back to when I was in school and younger. Typically I have 2-4 dreams a night that I can recall with vivid clarity and the kicker, I have had a couple become Deja vu…Crazy no?

    If you work at it..you can even control your dreams. Cool stuff!

    Barbara wrote on December 15th, 2011
  28. I rarely remember my dreams, when I do they are really freaky. I do tend to dream in “broad strokes” not a lot of detail

    bbuddha wrote on December 15th, 2011
  29. Giving everything over to the 2,000+ year old man is the only way I get any sleep. Gotta get that exercise program going.

    Kathryn wrote on December 15th, 2011
  30. For the past year or so, I would have this dream where I was in southern California with a few of my close friends and/or family…and I was showing them around the city, etc, and I was always trying to show them the ocean, but we would never get there. In the dream they always would have to fly back home, while I stayed in SoCal. Well I’ve wanted to move to SoCal for about 10+ years. I’ve applied to around 13 programs for grad school, and guess which ONE of them accepted me?!? That’s right- one in Los Angeles! (my dreams came true!!) I believe that this is God talking to me and preparing me for what lie ahead!

    Tina wrote on December 15th, 2011
  31. I dream well and remember them when I sleep outside with my feet pointing north, and head pointing south. If my heads pointing north, I still dream, but I have trouble recalling them, and they appear scattered and TOO random.

    If I sleep in-doors my dreams a kinda crappy, and uninteresting. Also have trouble remembering them. Leaving the windows wide open to let fresh air in doesn’t help.

    Ousama wrote on December 15th, 2011
  32. interesting…as an adult, I have always been a heavy sleeper and vivid dreamer. As a child I did sleepwalk when in a stressful situation. I do believe we can “access” intuitive insight in a dream state that our conscious self does not allow. Does that make any sense?
    As a young adolescent I had a dream and a visual representation of my knee ( I was having pain/problems) I drew it for my mother, even though it made no sense to me, it was an exact representation of my soon to be done Xray. Hmmm. I have listened to what my body is trying to tell me ever since.
    I have vivid “work” dreams, when everything is impossible to do, and failure is imminent. I have had religious dreams as a young woman, of not physically being able to make it to the altar for communion (Catholic), was I already parting with the Church?
    Deja Vu, frequent at certain times of my life, when I seem to be bombarded with insightful (unwanted) information,,anyone who thinks they can offer a rational explanation for that, please do. I always think it is a natural neurological happening, until it happens again, and it throws me.
    My father is such a vivid dreamer (and Catholic) and has been so terrified by the content of his dreams, that he actually believes that people who die in their sleep do so out of fright for what they have seen. (?!) I dream vividly, and sometimes I awake Relieved that it was just a dream, but “terrified”? Not really. P.S. My Dad is tough guy…Psychoanalytical free for all!
    Thanks Mark…Sleep tight! Sorry for the long post, thinking out loud again!

    juliemama wrote on December 15th, 2011
    • To make some sense of the conundrum, I am a very emotionally controlled person in my waking life. I am the rock you want in a crisis. I never panic. I have learned to be practical first, and evidently, I can work out my actual FEELINGS in my sleep-dreamworld…and if I suppress extra during times of stress, (when I need to be “together”) it’s no wonder I have such a vivid dream states…I am OK with that if that is how MY Grokette evolved…I’ve always thought my emotional control issues were some sort of survival mechanism anyway…

      juliemama wrote on December 15th, 2011
  33. I often have violent dreams where i’m kicking some ass… I distinctly remember one dream that ended with girl in a hospital with marks all over her face from my favorite ring that i wore all the time (a star and a moon. I woke up feeling awesome and weirded out.

    Maureen wrote on December 16th, 2011
  34. Dreams generate some interesting experiences. Just a few days ago I dreamed of the Moon and in the morning I accidentally heard on the radio that there was a lunar eclipse. Really weird! Maybe I’ve heard it before (don’t remember though to hear about an eclipse) and it was a subconscious information, or maybe I had a great hunch.

    Paul Alexander wrote on December 16th, 2011
  35. I really like this post. My favorite part: “Our brain’s synaptic activity accounts for some 80% of its overall energy usage. In other words, over the course of a day we literally drain our brain. Sleep allows the synapses to return to their baseline measures.”

    I recently read a book called “Sleep for Success” by James Maas and it changed my thoughts on sleep. I’ve been trying to get 8 hours each night and when I do, I feel, think and look SO MUCH better.

    John wrote on December 16th, 2011
  36. I find it interesting that many people will stay up late into the night watching tv/movies (I’ve done it too!) only to sleep poorly and so not dream. You’re just swapping one piece of fiction for another!

    ElleHad wrote on December 16th, 2011
  37. Roughly 3-4 years ago I kept having this recurring dream. In the dream I was running down the street I lived on. The dream was vivid, I could feel myself racing against the wind, feel every part of my body working in unison to propel my body forward, and my body was in great shape! Yet as real as the dream was I knew it was only a dream. Because I knew outside of this dream my I could not run, my body was not in shape I was morbidly obese. I would wake up in a cold sweat and feeling depressed. I have not had this dream in roughly 2 years because I do not need the dream. I can run all I want while I am awake! Dreams are very important to me so I am sure to put in those 8 hours of dream time every night!

    Brian McKenna wrote on December 16th, 2011
  38. Hey

    I’ve recently started taking varenicline (chantix/champix)to quit smoking. Its working well (2 weeks off smokes and very little temptation to go back)

    Side effect is they give you very lucid dreams you remember as if they’re real when you wake up.

    Anyone any thoughts on this effect? could it be damaging in terms of sleep?

    Rory Mulhern wrote on December 16th, 2011
  39. I had some CRAZY dreams on Chantix, as I have been on it several times, and although I never found them frightening, some were outlandishly foolish and some were “WTF was THAT!?” kind of dream..”entertaining” I liked to call them!I never felt exhausted from those dreams the way I do if I have “work dreams” or if I talk in my sleep all night,(stress times). Those nights definitely kick my ass. Chantix dreams made me chuckle over my coffee…but feel fine otherwise throughout the day.

    juliemama wrote on December 16th, 2011
  40. 33% of the day. That’s a good joke.
    I consistently sleep 11-12 hours when I don’t have the constraint of school.

    Harry wrote on December 17th, 2011

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