Thursday, August 25, 2011

Dreams and Nightmares

A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams.

- John Barrymore

According to some research I stumbled upon recently, when we sleep up to 70 percent of our dreams are negative ones. This really surprised me, but I suppose it must be true -- I know that I am one of those people who are prone to bad dreams and nightmares, especially when I am stressed out. Generally I sleep very well, but when I get nightmares, they are really something. Recent money and career worries have spiked an increase in my zombie dreams. Not fun.

I always interpret my dreams, especially those that stand in my mind as particularly meaningful, vivid or interesting. So when I got the chance to do some paid work on an article about dreams, I really jumped at the chance! It didn't have much to do with dream interpretation - instead  the focus was on the effects of herbal supplements on bad dreams. Naturally I assumed the assignment would lead me down the trail of woo-woo web sites trying to sell dream pillows and dream essential oils and dream incense -- but what I found instead was surprising. And in the course of it I found some useful communities of people who share their dreams online, I found research on creative and lucid dreaming, and learned a heck of a lot about why people experience the nightmares they do.

Some interesting links to check out..

National Radio Broadcast's interview with Natalie Angier and Kelly Bulkeley on the science of nightmares.
 A Suite101 article by Maija Haavisto on the effects of drugs and herbs on dreams.
The American Family Physician talks about the research on sleep disorders and nightmares.
 The Lucidity Institute - a great resource of instructions, research and literature on lucid dreaming.

Perhaps I will learn to become a lucid dreamer -- then I will really kick some zombie butt! 

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