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Category Archives: REM Sleep

Take Sleep Seriously!

Meet Russell Foster, a circadian neuroscientist who studies sleep patterns in the brain. In the following video, he speaks about a range of topics relating to the importance of sleep.

He first describes three theories on the main function of sleep, as well as which theory he subscribes to. He then discusses what happens to a person (and the person’s brain) when sleep is lacking, as well as ideas about how to improve sleep quality and duration. Foster debunks some common myths and misconceptions about sleep, then speaks about the correlation between mental health and sleep disruption. He urges people to take sleep more seriously and realize the huge role that it plays in making us happy and healthy.

Watch to learn more:

Why Do We Dream?

Dreams are a very mysterious nightly phenomenon. We can only speculate on the purpose of dreams, but they are usually extraordinary in nature and a bit confusing to analyze. Why is it that most of the time we forget what we dreamt about as soon as we wake? Why are our accounts of dreams often unreliable or distorted?

The following video delves into theories about REM sleep and how important it is for forming and storing memories. It also discusses lucid dreams, sleepwalking, and a theory behind why we have so many negative feelings like anxiety and anger while dreaming.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7GGzc3x9WJU

Have you napped today?

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Napping can be a great way to gain more energy. There are many benefits of napping, but how long should you nap? Here is a fun video that discusses the science behind napping.

So grab a pillow and snuggle up to recharge your brain with a quick power nap!

 

Insomnia: Causes and Effects

Everyone has had a sleepless night here and there, whether it is because of an exciting event the next day or one too many cups of coffee. For one-third of Americans, insomnia is a nightly problem that affects their daily lives.

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There are a variety of causes that can be attributed to this problem. For some it can be caused by stress at home or work, a change in location, depression, anxiety, or certain medical conditions. For others it may be about sleep habits and environment. Some people eat poorly and too late in the day, others do not have a steady sleep schedule, and most have an unsupportive and uncomfortable mattress.

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There are many long-term effects that can result from insomnia. It can slow reaction times, result in poor performance at work, or cause weight gain or loss, irritability, anxiety, or depression, and it may put you at a higher risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.

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A proper environment and schedule are key to getting great sleep, night after night. Setting up a sleeping and eating schedule can dramatically help with insomnia. Eat healthy foods earlier in the evening and make sure to give yourself a dedicated 8 hours of sleep per night. Also it is important to have a comfortable and supportive mattress. This will help to keep you from waking in the night from aches and pains. For more serious or continual insomnia cases, please seek help from a doctor.

25 Facts You May Not Know About Dreaming

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Check out these great and unusual facts, compiled by List 25, that you may have never heard before.

If you do not have time to watch the video we have written them out for you:

25. The average human spends 6 years of his or her life dreaming.

24. Ancient Romans submitted their significant or unusual dreams to the Senate for interpretation.

23. The Beatty Papyrus is the oldest dream dictionary in existence. It was written around 1350 B.C.

P._Chester_Beatty_I,_folio_13-14,_recto 22. Birth order influences the world of progression of dreams. Men generally dream about more violence, and first-born females tend to have more aggressive characters. On the other hand, first-born males tend to dream about themselves in a more positive light than their younger siblings.

21. People who grew up watching black-and-white TV when they were younger dream in more monochrome settings while people who grew up watching color TV have more vivid and colorful dreams.

Family_watching_television_1958 20. Visually impaired people dream too. Those who lost their sight later in life can see visual images in their dreams, while blind people who don’t dream visually can dream in sound, smell, and touch.

19.  We only dream of faces of real people we have encountered but might not remember, because people usually see hundreds of faces every day.

18. Between 18 – 38% of people say they have experienced at least one precognitive dream, and about 70% have experienced déjà vu.

17. Daydreaming, according to psychologists, may be related to dreams that occurred during sleep.  However, they require different mental processes.

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16. Within 5 minutes of waking up, half of dreams are forgotten. Within 10 minutes, 90% are forgotten. In just 10 minutes, however, people are more likely to remember their dreams when they are awakened during REM sleep.

15. Dreams of unpreparedness, falling, flying, and public humiliation come from common human anxieties and seem to transcend social and economic boundaries.

Flying_to_Paradise_Stock_7_by_SimplyBackgrounds 14. The inventor of the sewing machine, Elias Howe, said the cannibals who chased him in his nightmares held spears that looked like the needle he designed.

13. Falling dreams typically occur in the early stages of sleep. The muscle spasms of these dreams are called “myoclonic jerks.”

12. Even fetuses in the womb dream.  Even with the lack of visual stimuli, scientists think their dreams come from sound and touch sensations.

11. Experienced by 40% of the population, sleep paralysis occurs when a sleeper awakens and recognizes his or her surroundings, but is unable to move for up to one minute.

10. Around 70% of characters in men’s dreams are other men, whereas women dream of an equal amount of men and women.

9. Plato believed that dreams originate in the organs of the belly. He described the liver as the “biological seed of the dreams.”

8. Research involving students suggests that waking someone up at the beginning of REM stage of sleep can cause irritability and hallucinations, and can eventually lead to psychosis.

7. William Shakespeare used dreams to help develop characters and advance the plot in many of his plays.

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6. The Greeks regarded dreams as messages from the gods, and would sometimes sleep in sacred places to conjure significant dreams.

5. Children tend to have shorter dreams than adults do, and 40% of them are nightmares.  Scientists believe this is because dreams act as a coping mechanism.

4. Studies have revealed that animals (mammals in particular) dream just like humans.

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3. Known as “Dream Incorporation,” while sleeping you may include or incorporate sounds and stimuli from your surrounding environment into your dream. For example, if your brother is playing a loud guitar next door, you may dream you are at a concert.

2. The word “dream” is most related to the West Germanic “draugmus,” meaning “deception,” “illusion,” or “phantom.”

1. Toddlers do not appear in their own dreams until the age of 3 or 4.

Which fact did you find the most surprising?  Comment below!

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