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A Different Kind of Dream? (BYB)

January 13, 2008 on 8:30 pm | In Answer Dreams, Dream Types | 1 Comment

This is a reminder that there are different levels of dreaming. That is, we dream differently at different levels of sleep.

Hardly anyone can remember their dreams from the deepest levels of sleep, deeper than the normal rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep that most people think of as dreaming. At those deeper levels we do dream, but even in dream research labs the dreamers were able to recall only the faintest, vaguest wisps of dreams.

Most of us think of only the classic REM-sleep dreams as dreaming. Those are the dreams we have when we know we were asleep.

Many of us remember them vividly. And even those who don’t remember and claim not to dream at all have them. It appears that cats, dogs, and other animals have them, too.

But there are other kinds of dreams that occur at very shallow levels of sleep, when we are barely dozing. Often these are the problem-solving dreams. If you have ever waked up feeling as though you had worked all night, as though the night had been one long dream of working, you have probably experienced such dreams.

You may not have really thought of them as dreams. You may have just thought that you didn’t sleep well. Many of those dreams are simply your mind being unable to relax enough to go into a deeper sleep. Instead you are hashing over the days events and problems ahead, because you can’t let go.

If you pay attention, you may find that you wake up with the solution to your problem. That makes it sort of worth waking up tired, don’t you think?

In an earlier post, I mentioned getting creative ideas and solving work problems in dreams. I think some people thought I meant the REM “real” dreams, but generally I didn’t. The very shallow-sleep dreams—and even the reverie or half-asleep stage as you drift off to sleep or slowly awaken can be extremely productive.

If you are able to awaken slowly, without an alarm or children, pets or spouse demanding your immediate attention, you may be surprised at the creative ideas and solutions to problems that you may wake up with.

If you can’t wake up slowly, it is best to concentrate on the time when you are drifting off to sleep. Train yourself to remember all the images and ideas that come as you are falling asleep. You may find that some of them are answers to questions that are on your mind.

Sometimes you can drift into a similar, valuable reverie where you get creative ideas if you can completely relax. Medication, yoga, massage, all kinds of things can help you reach that relaxed, creative state.

Here is an example of a problem-solving dream. This week I had promised to create a flyer for my drum teacher to take to an audition or “showcase” where he will be performing in hopes of getting more drumming gigs. He needed a bio (professional biographical information) with a photo and contact information.

I have photos of him, and I’ve written a lot of flyers and blurbs and things about him, but I still didn’t know what to do. He left it open to do whatever I wanted, but it just wasn’t coming together in my head. It would not gel.

I had promised to get it to him on Saturday or Sunday, so I “hardly slept” Friday night. I woke up with the feeling that I had worked on the project all night. But I had an idea! I knew what I wanted to do, and I got it done Saturday morning.

So that “sleepless night” (which was not really sleepless, just mostly troubled dozing) was very valuable. I woke up with my idea and thought, “What a blessing!” So I thought I’d share it with you.

Look carefully at your dreams, even the ones that don’t feel like normal dreaming. Pay attention even to the ones that feel like “daydreaming” just before or after sleep. If you do, often you may find them to be valuable.

Sweet dreams!

One comment on “A Different Kind of Dream? (BYB)

  1. This is informative and helpful. Thanks. Happy BYB Sunday.

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