samedi 10 août 2019
Research has shown that we all dream several times each night. Even people who say that they don't dream, can't remember them, have in fact dreamt several times throughout the night. On occasion, people who say that they don't sleep have been proven to have actually been asleep, dreaming that they are awake. Dreams are a very complex part of our psyche.
Animals dream too. Watch a sleeping dog and you'll be able to tell when he's chasing a rabbit, his feet will be twitching. Dolphins apparently dream in their sleep, keeping one half of their brain awake at a time.
Now an experiment is being conducted into the advantages of manipulating our dreams in order to ensure that we have pleasant dreams and then awaken after a refreshing nights sleep. 10000 volunteers are going to have their dreams influenced using a phone application as a way of helping treat depression, stress and being more productive.
My thoughts on this?
- In principle it sounds like a brilliant concept. Anything that helps treat or even intercept depression has got to be encouraged. Providing the means by which people become more upbeat, motivated and positive is a valuable innovation. But treating the symptoms is not always the best option. Many people are good at self-medicating; they already do it with alcohol, gambling, sex, food or even prescriptions from their family doctor. Learning to deal more effectively with bad experiences is part of the challenge in becoming a healthy adult.
- Some people are already able to choose the topics they wish to dream about in advance. They are able to manage their unconscious thought processes through practice and mental exercises. Other people who wish to influence their dreams can purchase little bags of dolls designed for the purpose. Each doll then represents a specific issue or problem and is placed under the pillow, the premise being that the matter will be dealt with through sleeping dreams. Then there are people who have lucid dreams, where they are aware that they are dreaming and can determine what happens in their dreams. Many people are fascinated by dreams, buy dream catchers, books on dream interpretation and are intrigued by what happens when they are asleep.
- My reservation on deliberately influencing our dreams is that dreams are the one time when our minds are able to run free and uninhibited. Not so long ago we could sit on a long train journey and daydream. We were unable to be contacted and could sit undisturbed for a while. Nowadays we are in constant contact with the world; many people work every minute they can and rarely have any free personal time. Dreams are time for us to freely process the mayhem of daily life. Bad dreams are a way of receiving a prompt that all is not well and that there are areas of life that need to be dealt with.
- Yes, medication, diet, alcohol, scary late night films may impact on our dreams and determine how restful our sleep is. But stressful times, arguments, difficult decisions, distressing situations are often easier after a good nights sleep. We use our dreams to process what is happening in our lives and as a way of allowing our unconscious minds to explore alternative options.
- How many times does someone advise 'sleep on it' to deter a friend from making a rash or hasty decision. The next day things often seem a lot clearer as the unconscious mind has freely worked through the situation, in a bid to make better sense; sometimes even finding a solution to the problem.
- Repetitive dreams sometimes disturb people, especially at intermittent times of stress and disruption. They may feel stuck in a scenario that seems impossible to resolve, continuously replaying it out in their dreams, trying to find a solution to their struggles. Hypnotherapy is a way of successfully treating repetitive dreams, regarding them as carriers of information that need to be worked through and resolved. The underlying factors can then be treated with hypnotherapy and the original issues causing the repetitive dream dealt with.