During experiments to monitor the brain activity of animals and humans while asleep, it was noted that the brain seemed to move through a series of levels of activity. In deep sleep there are slow rhythmic brainwaves. These at times would give way to faster rhythms of a more dynamic nature. This was at first called desynchronised’ sleep because during it the muscular system relaxed deeply, even though the brain was active. It was also known as paradoxical sleep, but more recently has become internationally known as ‘active sleep’. During active sleep the rapid eye movements (REM) characteristic of dreaming occur.
The brain’s activity was found to be a better indicator of dreaming in animals than REM because some creatures, such as owls, do not move their eyes. In this way, all mammals were seen to exhibit active sleep or dreaming. Birds also dream, and, measured in this way, so do many types of fish, reptiles and some amphibians. See science, sleep and dreams. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
There have been many claims that one can learn while asleep—possibly with the aid of a recorded series of suggestions or information being spoken from a speaker under one’s pillow. Different research projects have arrived at a variety of conclusions.
The major scientific conclusion is that we do not learn from what we hear while asleep. Sleep is important in the process of learning, however.
If one learns a list of nonsense words, memory of them eight or twenty-four hours later is better if we have slept; memory eight hours later without sleep is not as efficient as twenty- four hours later with intervening sleep. This suggests memory traces are strengthened during sleep.
That we do learn, in the sense of creating new information or perception, while we sleep is generally accepted. Albert Einstein suggested that the creative scientists are those who have access to their dreams. He meant that in order to be innovative we must be able periodically to leave behind the practical everyday path of commonsense and rational thought.
The rational tends to move in areas of thought connected with what is already known.
To create something new, to find a new direction, we may need to be capable of retrieving apparently irrational ideas, sift them and reconstruct them in practical ways.
Dreams have this ability to fantasise, to look at and experience the irrational, to take an idea and move it completely out of its old setting or viewpoint. Because our mind can do this in sleep, we can touch not only our creativity, but also our ability to problem solve. As a personal test of this, try the following experiment. At the end of this explanation a problem will be set. It is one that requires no special training or information to solve.
The solution is simple and will be seen as conect when reached. But do not even begin to think about the problem until you go to bed! It would discount the experiment if you did. On going to bed, think about the problem for no more than 15 minutes.
If you solve the problem note how long it took.
If not, stop thinking about it and go to sleep, making the resolve to remember any dreams. It is likely that you will dream the answer.
If not, on waking spend a funher 15 minutes trying to reach the answer.
The letters 0,T,T,F,F,-,-, form the beginning of an intelligible series. Add two more letters which make it obvious that an infinite number of letters could be added. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
Sometimes in the practice of deep relaxation, meditation or sensory deprivation, our being enters into a state akin to sleep, yet we maintain a personal waking awareness. This is like a journey into a deep interior world of mind and body where our senses no longer function in their waking manner, where the brain works in a different way, and where awareness is introverted in a degree we do not usually experience. It can be a frightening world, simply because we are not accustomed to it. In a similar way a measure of waking awareness can arise while dreaming. This is called lucid dreaming. During it we can change or wilfully direct what is happening in the dream in a way not usual to the dream state.
Example: 4I had backed my car into a big yard, a commercial area. My wife, two of my sons and I got out of the car. As we stood in the yard talking I realised there was a motorbike where my car should be. I said to everyone, “There was a car here a moment ago, now it’s a motorbike. Do you know what that means? It means we are dreaming.” Mark my son was now with us, and my ex-wife. I asked them if they realised they were dreaming. They got very vague and didn’t reply. I asked them again and felt very clearly awake’ (William V). William’s is a fairly typical lucid dream, but there are features which it does not illustrate. During the days or weeks prior to a lucid dream, many people experience an increase in (lying dreams.
The next example shows another common feature.
Example: In many of my dreams I become aware that I am dreaming. Also, if anything unpleasant threatens me in the dream I get away from it by waking myself (Alan). Lucidity often has this feature of enabling the dreamer to avoid unpleasant elements of the dream.
The decision to avoid any unpleasant internal emotions is a common feature of a person’s conscious life, so this aspect of lucidity is simply a way of taking such a decision into the dream. Some writers even suggest it as a way of dealing with frightening dreams. Avoidance does not solve the problem, it simply pushes the emotion deeper into the unconscious where it can do damage more surreptitiously. Recent findings regarding suppressed gnef and stress, which connects them with a higher incidence of cancer, suggests that suppression is not a healthy way of dealing with feelings.
Another approach to lucidity is that it can be a son of playground where one can walk through walls, jump from high buildings and fly, change the sofa into an attractive lover, and so on. True, the realisation that our dream life is a different world and that it does have completely different principles at work than our waking world is imponant. Often people introven into their dream life the morals and fears which are only relevant to being awake in physical life.
To avoid a charging bull is cenainly imponant in waking life. In our dream life, though, to meet its charge is to integrate the enormous energy which the bull represents, an energy which is our own but which we may have been avoiding or running away’ from previously. Realising such simple differences revolutionises the way we relate to our own internal events and possibilities.
To treat lucid dreams as if they offered no other attainable expenence than to manipulate the dream environment, or avoid an encounter, is to miss an amazing feature of human potential.
Example: ‘In my dream I was watching a fern grow. It was small but opened out very rapidly. As I watched I became aware that the fern was simply an image representing a process occurring within myself which I grew increasingly aware of as I watched. Then I was fully awake in my dream and realised that my dream, perhaps any dream, was an expression of actual and real events occurring in my body and mind. I felt enormous excitement, as if I were witnessing something of great importance’ (Francis P). It is now acceptable, through the work of Freud, Jung and many others, to consider that within images of the dream lie valuable information about what is occurring within the dreamer, perhaps unconsciously. Strangely, though, it is almost never considered that one can have direct perception into this level of internal ‘events’ without the dream. What Francis describes is an experience of being on the cusp of symbols and direct perception. Considering the enormous advantage of such direct information gathering, it is surprising it is seldom mentioned except in the writings of Corriere and Han, The Dream Makers.
Example: After defining why I had not woken in sleep recently, i.e. loss of belief, I had the following experience. I awoke in my sleep and began to see, without any symbols, that my attitudes and sleep movements expressed a feeling of restrained antagonism or irritation to my wife. I could also observe the feelings were arising from my discipline of sexuality. Realising I did not want those feelings I altered them and woke enough to turn towards her’ (Francis P). After the first of his direct perception dreams, Francis attempted to use this function again, resulting in the above, and other, such dreams. Just as classic dream interpretation says that the dream symbols represent psychobiological logical processes which might be uncovered by dream processing, what we see in Francis’ lucidity is a direct route to self insight, and through it a rapid personal growth to improved life experience. Such dreams provide not only psychological insight, but very frequently a direct perception of processes occurring in the body, as the following example illustrates.
Example: ‘Although deeply asleep I was wide awake without any shape or form. I had direct experience, without any pictures, of the action of the energies in my body. I had no awareness of body shape, only of the flow of activities in the organs. I checked over what I could observe, and noticed a tension in my neck was interfering with the flow and exchange of energies between the head and trunk. It was also obvious from what I could see that the tension was due to an attitude I had to authority, and if the tension remained it could lead to physical ill health’ (Tony C).
An effective way to develop lucidity is frequently to consider the events of waking life as if they were a dream. Try to see events as one might see dream symbols. What do they mean in terms of one’s motivations, fears, personal growth? What do they suggest about oneself? For instance a person who works in a photographic darkroom developing films and prints might see they were trying to bnng to consciousness the latent—unconscious—side of themselves.
A banker might feel they were working at how best to deal with their sexual and personal resources. In this way one might actually apply what is said in this dream dictionary to one’s outer circumstances.
The second instruction is, on waking, at a convenient moment, imagine oneself standing within one’s recent dream. As you get a sense of this dream environment, realise that you are taking waking awareness into the dream. From the standpoint of being fully aware of the dream action and events, what will you now do in and with the dream? Re-dream it with consciousness.
For example the things you run from in your normal dreaming you could now face. See dream processing for fun her suggestions. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
In 1937 through the use of the electroencephalograph (EEG) measuring tiny electrical brain impulses, Loomis and his associates discovered that the form of brainwaves changes with the onset of sleep.
The next leap forward in understanding came when Aserinsky and Kleitman found rapid eye movements (REM) in 1953. In 1957 the REM were linked with dreaming. This defined sleep into two different observable states, REM sleep, and NREM (non-rapid eye movement or non-rem) sleep. Within NREM three different stages have been identified. These are defined by the different EEG patterns of electrical activity in the brain. They are measured by the height (amplitude) of the brain waves and frequency of up and down movement. There are also electrical changes occurring in the muscles (measured using an electro- myograph or EMG), and in movement of the eyeballs (measured using an electro-oculograph or EOG).
While awake the height is low and frequency fast. As we relax prior to sleep the EEG shifts to what are called alpha waves, at 8 to 12 cps (cycles per second). Stage one of sleep is the transition between this drowsy state of alpha waves to sleeping, in which theta waves occur, at 3 to 7 cps. In this first stage we experience random images and thoughts. This lasts about 10 minutes, followed by stage two, in which ‘sleep spindles’ occur which have 12 to 14 cps on the EEG. These last from 1/2 to 2 seconds, with K complexes following, which are slow large EEG waves. About half our sleep period is spent in this second stage of sleep. Deep sleep is reached when our brain exhibits delta waves, with 1/2 to 2 cps.
After approximately an hour and a half from falling into deep sleep, an exciting change occurs. We return to level two and REM occur. Suddenly the brain is alert and active, though the person is asleep and difficult to wake. This level has been called paradoxical sleep because of this fact. Voluntary muscular activity is suppressed and the body is essentially paralysed. Morrison has pointed out that, although the brain is transmitting full muscular activity messages, these are usually suppressed by an area of the brain in the pons. But bursts of short actions occur, such as rapid eyeball jerks, twitches of the muscles, changes in the size of the pupil, contractions in the middle ear, and erection of the penis. It may be that similar excitation occurs in the vagina. Also, autonomic storms’ occur dunng which large erratic changes occur in heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate and in other autonomic nervous system functions. These are the changes accompanying our dreams.
If we slept for eight hours, a typical pattern would be to pass into delta sleep, stay there for about 70 to 90 minutes, then return to stage two and dream for about five minutes. We then move back into delta sleep, stay for a short period and shift back to level two, but without dreaming, then back into level three.
The next return to stage two is longer, almost an hour, with a period of dreaming lasting about 19 minutes, and also a short period of return to waking. There is only one short period of return to stage three sleep which occurs nearly four hours after falling asleep. From there on we remain in level two sleep, with three or four lengthening periods of dreaming, and returns to brief wakefulness.
The average amount of body shifting is once every 15 minutes.
1- In undergoing 205 hours of sleep deprivation, four healthy males showed various physiological and psychological changes. Some of these were headache, lack of concentration, hallucination, memory loss, tremor and, in some, paranoia. In all cases one night’s sleep restored normal functioning.
2- One in ten people who complain of excessive daytime drowsiness suffer from sleep apnoea, which is a stoppage of breathing while asleep.
3- A condition called narcolepsy causes sufferers to fall asleep at inappropriate times—while making love, walking, playing tennis, working.
4- As we age we usually sleep less. Our REM sleep in particular decreases sharply. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
Example: Many times in my adult life I have woken to find I have made love to my wife while asleep. Or I wake to discover myself in the middle of the sexual act. At such times I have usually been avoiding my sexual drive and it has burst through to fulfil itself while I was asleep or under the sway of dreams.
For instance most times this happened I have been in the middle of a dream in which there is a sense of absolute imperative that I must make love/have sex.
It is like being lost in a storm of glamour and fantasy or vision in which I am totally involved.
The whirl of the “dream” is towards the wonder, totality of the need to have sex. As this imperative is expressed in my still spontaneous, dreaming physical action, the experience of sex is also visionary and enormous’ (Charles W).
This fairly common dreaming experience demonstrates powerfully how dreams are an expression of a self regulatory or compensatory action in the psyche and body. Charles says that he had been restraining his sexual activity. This shows the enormous gulf which can exist between what we will to do as a conscious personality, and what our being needs to do or wishes to do outside conscious decision making.
The ‘glamour and fantasy’ Charles describes are regular features of how these deeper needs make themselves known, or attempt to coerce the conscious mind, into fulfilling the need.
If we reject the fantasy, the unconscious processes will attempt a more radical approach, as in actual physical movement while we sleep. This may have given rise to ideas about possession or devils in past ages, when it was not understood that we can split our mind by such conflicts. Fear of the possessing’ influence actually heightens its power through suggestion. It is much better to understand what one’s needs are, and seek an acceptable fulfilment. See abreaction. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
Sleeping in a dream means heedlessness or joblessness. In general, sleeping or feeling sleepy in a dream has negative connotations except for someone who is scared, or who expects an adversities or sufferings he may experience otherwise. This is because sleep abates all fears, annihilates them and clams one’s distress. Sleeping in a graveyard in a dream means a sickness. Sleeping over a grave in a dream means death for a sick person and joblessness for a healthy person. Sleeping in a dream also means stagnation, heedlessness, or infringingupon God’s commands, or discrediting or denying the consequences of negating them. Sleeping in a dream also could represent a blessed journey, such as seeking knowledge or doing good deeds. It also means disregard for worldly attractions, or despite for its glitters. Sleeping people in a dream also represent mass annihilation, death, murders, rising prices, or it could denote things which people are unaware of.
If in fact the people are unaware or uncertain about something, and if one sees them in such a state of slumber in a dream, it means that God Almighty will remove that blind, and they will see things clearly.
If one sees himself sleeping or laying on his back in a dream, it means that he will gain power and financial success in the world. Sleeping with the face down in a dream means losing one’s job, or it could mean poverty. Sleeping on the floor in a dream means owning a land, being a rich person, or 396 having children. Sleeping for an unmarried woman in a dream means that she will get married shortly.
The sleeping of an unjust ruler in a dream means a temporary relief for the people. Sleeping in a dream also means intoxication of the mind, ecstasy, a sickness, neglecting one’s duties, disunity, humiliation, or death. Sleeping under a tree in a dream means having a large progeny. (Also see Doze; Sleeping on the stomach Slumber; Turning in one’s sleep)... Islamic Dream Interpretation
If you dream of being asleep, then this signifies apathy, depression and a desire to check out. Dreams of sleeping also signify vulnerability and a feeling of being out of control and disengaged.... Strangest Dream Explanations
Adrian Morrison at the University of Pennsylvania, investigating narcolepsy, a condition producing sleep in the middle of activity, found that a small area of the brain, the pons, suppresses full muscular movement while we dream.
If this area is damaged or suppressed, humans or animals make full muscular movements in connection with what is dreamt. He observed that cats would stalk, crouch and spring at imaginary prey. These very imponant findings suggest a number of things.
The unconscious process behind dreaming, apan from creating a non-volitional fantasy, can also reproduce movements we have not consciously decided upon. This shows we have at least two centres of will which can direct body and mental processes. Christopher Evans, linking with the work of Nicholas Humphrey at Cambridge University, sees the movements of dreaming cats as expressions of survival ‘programs’ in the biological computer. These ‘programs’ or strategies for survival need to be replayed in order not only to keep in practice, but also to modify them in connection with the influx of extra experience and information. In the human realm, our survival strategies and the way we relate to our social, sexual, marriage and work roles may also be replayed and modified in our dreaming.
Such movements are not linked simply to survival or social programs’.
An important aspect of dreaming is releasing painful emotions or trauma, and moving toward psychological growth. Also, the process producing these movements does not keep strictly to the realm of sleep. It is observable that many muscular spasms, ticks, or unwilled waking movements arise from this source—the will’ of the unconscious—attempting to release trauma or initiate a necessary programme of psychological growth. That such dream’ activities as spontaneous movement or verbalisation should occur during waking would appear to suggest that a dream must occur with them. Research shows this is unlikely. It does however show that a dream may be imagery produced to express this mental, muscular, emotional ‘self regulation’.
The imagery may not be necessary if the process is consciously experienced.
Because the self-regulatory process produces spontaneous movements, emotions and verbalisation, it is likely there is a connection between it and many ancient religious practices such as pentecostalism, shaktipat in India, subud in Indonesia and seitai in Japan. These are forms of psychotherapy practised by other cultures. They create an environment in which practitioners can allow spontaneous movement and fantasy while awake. Because consciousness is then involved, and can co-operate with the self-regulating or healing activities of the unconscious, such practice can lead to better health and utilisation of unconscious functions.
The older religious forms of this practice relied on belief systems of spirits or gods. Once the connection between these practices and the dream is realised, much in them which was obscure becomes understandable. In my book Mind and Movement I explain the connection between the dream process, self regulatory healing, extended perception and waking consciousness. See abreaction; sleep walking; dream as therapist and healer. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
Oswald (as related in his book Sleep) observed active rocking in some children and adults during sleep. These rocking movements were very powerful, occurring at a rate of one per second during REM sleep. They occur more frequently in the blind or to people institutionalised during childhood. As rocking is a movement used by primates and humans to comfon themselves during stress or unhappi- ness, it is possible that the rocking accompanies disturbing dreams.
The dream probably evokes unhappy feelings or conditions from the past, as the person used rocking to cope with their past distress, it occurs as an habitual accompaniment of the distressing dream. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
Very common with some people, especially during adolescence or times of stress. Sometimes accompanied by hallucinations. Sleep walking is normal as an occasional event in children.
If the child is agitated, excited or acting in a manner to injure themselves during the sleep walking, then it may be a sign of emotional distress.
The same applies to adults. Many sleep walkers perform complex acts without coming to harm.
A young Ponsmouth boy drove his father’s car 27 miles before waking in Southampton.
The police checked his story and did not charge him. But sometimes severe injury is inflicted either upon themselves or others. During a dream phone-in on London Broadcasting Company, a man told me his experience of smashing through a glass window, cutting an artery and nearly bleeding to death. In America and England homicidal acts have been committed while the person claimed to be sleepwalking, and the people involved were acquitted of murder.
Because of such powerful activity during sleep, many people who experience this type of sleep walking are worried about what they might do to a partner sleeping next to them.
In most cases one wakes as the contact is made, or the involved person wakes one, but the element of risk cannot be denied. Where such worry exists, hope can be gained by understanding what was observed with many men who began to sleep walk after war combat. In their cases the movements, speech and emotions were observably connected with trauma occurring during their war experience.
The self regulatory process in dreams was thereby attempting to release the tension, horror or emotional pain of the events. Where these emotions could be met consciously, perhaps with the help of a psychotherapist, the sleep movements stopped. This suggests that dramatic activity while sleep walking has similar roots, and can be dealt with. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
Sleeping during a dream may be symbolic of peace or rest from troubles in your life, Prov.19:23. Sleeping while others are working is symbolic of shame, poverty, and unwise behavior, Prov. 10:5... Christian Dream Symbols
Not being aware, avoidance of feeling or looking at something, surrender of waking self. Idioms: lose sleep over, sleep around; put it to sleep; sleep in; sleeping panner; sleep like a log, let sleeping dogs lie; sleep off; sleep on something; sleep together, sleep with; sleep rough. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
The story of Aurora, the princess who was put under the spell or curse of a long sleep, may appear to present a lesson to a woman who is cursed by evil jealousy and kept from recognizing her own beauty. She may point to a woman who lives in a dreamworld and needs to wake up out of the spell of self-loathing.... Ariadne's Book of Dream
Vision: Looking at people sleeping means great happiness ahead. Looking at one person sleeping: your love relationship will deepen. Sleeping outdoors: a trip in the near future is possible. Sleeping in a wagon or boat: restless days are ahead; be on guard and don’t let people talk you into anything. Looking at a bedroom: your greatest wish is not to be alone anymore— to find someone.
Depth Psychology: Sleep is the symbol of your unconscious fear of or flight from reality. Do you have unknown talents you need to “wake up” ? A bedroom is a sign of your sexual needs. Bedroom dreams usually appear when something is wrong in an intimate relationship. See House, Room.... Dreamers Dictionary
(Insomnia) In a dream, sleeplessness means loss of a beloved, the death of a child, separation between lovers, or leaving one’s family and travelling to a foreign country.... Islamic Dream Interpretation
Most people who have kept a dog have witnessed it bark while it is obviously dreaming. Calling out during a disturbing or active dream is common to humans also. Some people sleep talk very frequently, however, so much so they worry in case they disturb the sleep of others, or say things they regret. In some cases they will even respond to questions. One such person told me that she went to her mother s room and asked her about whether or not to get married.
The dreamer was single, so the subject of the talk may have been bothering her. Perhaps the most prolific and creative of sleep talkers was Edgar Cayce. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
If one sees himself turning in his sleep and putting his face down, or resting on his stomach in a dream, it means that he will turn away from his faith and lose both his earnings in this world and in the hereafter.
If one sees the reverse, which is turning from resting on one’s stomach to lying on his back in a dream, it means that he will repent for his sins. It also represents his willingness to face the people and to correct his wrongdoing.
If the subject is a woman, then sleeping on her stomach in a dream means that she is refusing to sleep with her husband. (Also see Running away; Take a flight; Sleep)... Islamic Dream Interpretation