mad30: (uncleandy)
( Mar. 9th, 2010 02:10 am)

I recently came across this series of Forensic Pillow designs and couldn’t help thinking they are not the most relaxing things out there.

Imagine walking in on someone sleeping under this:


Sleep is supposed to be a time of peace and relaxation. Most of us drift from our waking lives into predictable cycles of deep, non-rapid-eye-movement sleep, followed by dream-filled rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep. But when the boundaries of these three phases of arousal get fuzzy, sleep can be downright scary. In fact, some sleep disorders seem more at home in horror films than in your bedroom.

It has been a big month for dreams in the news, with the New York Times and the New Yorker both weighing in on the subject. First up, the Times reports on a new theory advanced by Dr. Allan Hobson, who says that dreaming exists as a "warm-up" state for waking.

According to Dr. Hobson, dreaming is "a parallel state of consciousness that is continually running but normally suppressed during waking." But during sleep, dreaming comes to the forefront of the brain's activity, exercising it and "tuning the mind for conscious awareness."

Hobson has long been controversial for his insistence that dreams are the result of physiological process and have no inherent meaning. His new theory draws in part on studies of the brain activity of lucid dreamers--people who are aware that they are dreaming while still in the dream.

Brain wave patterns during lucid dreaming show a typical REM sleep pattern associated with dreaming, mixed in with patterns associated with waking awareness. The discovery of these "mixed states" give validity to the notion that we can hold two (or more?) different states of awareness simultaneously, and should give rise to some interesting research on altered states of consciousness.

Margaret Talbot also has a great recent article on nightmares in the New Yorker. The article focuses on imagery-rehearsal therapy, a technique where nightmare sufferers imagine how they would re-script a frightening dream, then "rehearse" it several times during the day and just before going to sleep at night.

Imagery-rehearsal therapy is surprisingly successful in many instances. Talbot speaks to a wide range of experts on dreams and nightmares, and the article gives a thorough, well-rounded picture of current thinking on why we have nightmares, and what to do about them.

These are exciting times to be a dream researcher, and an active dreamer! For nightmare sufferers, there have never been so many good options for coping with bad dreams. And for those of us who have occasional nightmares but aren't debilitated by them, we can extend our understanding of why these dreams come to us and what wisdom they might hold, like never before.

Makuragaeshi anatomical illustration from Shigeru Mizuki's Yokai Daizukai --
The Makura-gaeshi (”pillow-mover”) is a soul-stealing prankster known for moving pillows around while people sleep. The creature is invisible to adults and can only be seen by children. Anatomical features include an organ for storing souls stolen from children, another for converting the souls to energy and supplying it to the rest of the body, and a pouch containing magical sand that puts people to sleep when it gets in the eyes. In addition, the monster has two brains — one for devising pranks, and one for creating rainbow-colored light that it emits through its eyes.

More 'Anatomy of Japanese Monsters' at above link!

Fortunately, I don't believe I've ever seen this guy in my dreams, but I'm sure he'll be visiting my nightmares soon. Yeep!
In January 2006 in New York, the patient of a well-known psychiatrist draws the face of a man that has been repeatedly appearing in her dreams. That portrait lies forgotten on the psychiatrist's desk for a few days until one day another patient recognizes that face and says that the man has often visited him in his dreams.

The psychiatrist decides to send the portrait to some of his colleagues that have patients with recurrent dreams. Within a few months, four patients recognize the man as a frequent presence in their own dreams. All the patients refer to him as This Man.




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