Category Archives: sleep phenomenon

Turkey dreams

Q: Does eating Turkey really help increase serotonin and make my xmass dreams more funky.

Firstly Turkey does help increase serotonin intake BUT this does not make xmass or thanksgiving dreams more funky.

If your like me, on xmass or thanksgiving day you eat some Turkey, some bread, fruits, salads, a few roast vegetables, maybe some dip and a whole lot of pudding. While you do this you often also drink a substantial amount of Alcohol.  Which as you can guess is actuly our “weirdness” culprit. Alcohol is the big doosey here for every article on how serotonin alone (not just Turkey) affects sleep, depression, etc., there are at least 5 more on Alcohol and its effect on sleep and the body. Your weird xmass dreams are also effected because, you guessed it, you expect to have them. You have had them in the past, everyone talks about them and its a fun way to spend the rest of the day when you wake up and don’t feel like moving as you have a pretty full belly.

Turkey and its effect on sleep is partly myth, partly reality. Preprocessed Turkey (like deli-meat) will be different to non-preprocessed (fresh cooked at home) as well, due what they do to processed meat (more salt, more fat, more accessible protein). If you really want a deit that will give you better “happy dreams” I am afraid that 1 meal Turkey is more likely to just give you a case of gas. Serotonin intake is also affected by everything else you consume on xmass day. And the thing is messing around with Serotonin isn’t something we should just do because we like weird dreams.

Serotonin doesn’t just give us the “happy” feeling, it also does other stuff, and having lots of it will actuly make you nuts. Were talking barking-foam-mad-dog mental asylum nuts here. You want to increase and decrease serotonin slowly and not without the help of real doctor or psychiatrist. 

Eating heaps of Turkey for a while may make your feelings, dreams and behavior change ever so slightly, but the serotonin is converted by your body, your body will stop converting it when you reach whatever level is normal for you and the rest will just end up in the toilet.

If you want to change your diet to get better dreams your better off doing, you guessed it, what every health expert pretty much tells you about diet. Mostly fruit and vegetables, medium grain and pulse, some meat and cheese; not to much and plenty of fresh water; Skip out on Caffeine and Alcohol drinks. Although yes alcohol helped you with the “weird” dream, the “weird” dream effect is diminishing. The longer and more alcohol you drink, the more likely you are to do damage and cause issues.

Republished due to high search count. 

Not a volunteer in dreams 

Previously I discussed how Jung thought (probably based on evidence at the time) that dreams were a Involentry state. I can’t find any evidence to say he changed from this view. It’s somewhat ironic that a lot of lucid dreaming texts use Jung as a basis for the archetypal interaction with dream characters. Lucid dreaming being, in of itself, purely voluntary. 

Modern Psychology tends to say that Jung was rather flawed in his views. Considering my reading of his texts I can see why. No one is above criticism, though it should if at all possible be objective. 

The creation of the archetype is however somewhat more. One can see such a concept being applied in the way people interact with myth, story and many of the way humans use their ability to  make sense and classify things. 

A “sense” of a area is assertianed, a set of attributes is listed and in short order a list of these things as they appear to be is made. This could be called a list of archetypes in this case. This leads to the idea that a archetypes might be a way to interact and understand the phenomenon of characters or concepts within dreams. 

This isn’t wrong. Let me say that clearly. It’s just not the whole picture of how a dream or a dream character could be interpreted. Like a novel character or like a tv show character. It’s a way of working out perhaps how you might continue to interact within a lucid dream or who you might tell your dreams to.

The point is, though their are many other factors to dream interpretation and that the Jungian method is unfortunately not entirely fool proof (though I am not aware of one that is). 

If you do use it, use it at your own risk and in the knowledge that dreams are not always Involentry. 

Making your own dreams

There are a lot of people who want to make a dream. Some want to re-dream they have had before. Some want to dream about a particular thing. Some want to not dream about a particular thing. They all have one thing in common. Lucid dreaming.

Write it down
The main stay of dream control before anything else is writing your dreams down. This is essential. The more recall you have the more you will be able to see what LeBarge and other lucid dreaming advocates call dream signs. This is basically about recognizing what your doing right now is dreaming. You will know as you spot a dream sign or you will do a reality cgeck out of habit. Reality checks are things you do when your dreaming. There are heaps of apps out their for mobile users (no I am not endorsing one or the other). For fans of pen and paper you can use that too. I put my dreams into my journal I use for day to day entries, but I will also voice record them to write later as I have limited time on weekdays (like most of us). I find the best time to do a reality check is every time I look at a clock or every time I look at my phone. Making it habitual is not an issue for this method. There are others, but most fall back on reality checks as a first line of defense for lucid dreaming. The only exceptions are Ophiels little system, the “light body” method (which is also in his book but it’s in pretty much every book I have read on the subject of lucid dreaming/astral projection). Ophiels symbol method is just a very specific reality check method. LeBarge is a much more modern and down to earth writer and his methods are both easier and don’t patronize you. I recommend his texts as being a better source for beginners.

Sleep
Ok this sounds stupid but it’s not. The number of times someone has told me they don’t get recall or can’t get started and I have worked out that they are not sleeping properly is pretty huge. The best thing for making your own dreams is making sure you have a good sleeping pattern. It’s possible that this is really hard or impossible for you. Maybe for medical reasons, maybe for work reasons. Either of these can mean using a method like LeBarge’s Wake Back To Bed (WBTB) method is better for your circumstances. Seeing a Sleep Doctor may also be a good idea.

Write down your day
This I find is pretty essential to recall. When I am slack about journaling, I slack in dreamland recall. So writing down your day is important to get better recall for me. You may find it’s not the case for you though. I think it’s a pretty good habit to get into as a lot of what you dream ends up coming from your day. You will also find writing your fantasies and desires really useful as well. The dreams you have that relate to those will increase with the amount you write about them.

Visulistions
The next step is making what you want to dream about possible. You want to make it as real as you can. As you learn your dreams you will learn what your dreams think is possible. It may be highly based on reality or highly based on fantastic worlds. Don’t feel disappointed if your one who dreams the first. This does not mean your not creative and you can’t make your dreams yours.

You need to write about the thing you want in the dream. In your dream journal. This is important as your mind will associate it with dreaming. It needs to be as well described as possible. Draw it. Paint it. Make a model of it of you can. Imagine what it smells like if it has a smell. Imagine what it tastes like if it has a taste. As much as possible you need to see it clearly in your mind. When you do a reality check imagine it in your next dream. When you go to bed imagine it next to your near your sleeping place. Eventually it will be there in your dream. It will have as much reality as you can give it.

I know quite a few people who imagined lucidity potions. They did things like drawing the flask is was in, then they imagined it’s taste and look and so on. Some even made a drink like it and drank it before bed (if you do this don’t make it contain a stimulant or other drug). They soon had this drink in their dreams and as soon as they drank it, they were lucid. Others imagined warrior figures who helped them fight their nightmares away. Some imagines dream rooms, painted a door in their bedroom and pretended to open it every night until they dreamed it and could go into their dreamworld through it. Still others took a clue from literature and went into their wardrobe every night, even sleeping their sometimes till they had a dreamlike space beyond.

Sex dreams

Christmas gets me the usual and annoying Turkey Dreams questions (https://dreamsandbass.wordpress.com/2012/12/18/turkey-dreams/) and then just after that it seems people ask me sex dream questions. Having not actually talked about sex dreams ever here, I thought it was time.

The reasoning behind sex dreams is easy, we in general as species desire sex. There are some whom do not desire sex, and as a consequence may not have any sex dreams.

Some dreams about sex are great. Fun. Happy. It’s also good practice for our mind when we get the real thing. Sex dreams often start to occur in the teenage years, before we generally have it. Please note these are general terms.

Having sex dreams is perfectly normal for all genders and sexualities. They also may step us out of our usual genders and sexualities. The normality of this is unknown. If your worried about your dreams about sex being normal a counsellor or psychologist would be a good place to seek help. (please, please do not send me your sex dreams asking if they are normal )

The basic gist is we are sexual beings. Having sex, seeing sex, being sexual in dreams is a normal thing.

Spiritual dreams

What exactly is a spiritual dream?

This is a question some may take entire books to answer. There are many theories but most depend to some extent on your religion. I of course can only speak of what I know, and that is pagan.

Spiritual dreams in paganism can range from a full in encounter with a deity or spirit, a communion with your own subconscious, and in a number of practices often can be related to phenomena in trace and OBE. Though these should not be confused. Each are different to some extent, but are in essence all a spiritual encounter and considers deeply real for the practitioner.

What may one encounter in a spiritual dream?

Symbology
Defined symbology is easy to come by and every religion has it, as well as every culture. Of course one thing in a certain culture can have a separate meaning in another. A red bull may be a bad omen or a soft drink advertisement, and on occasion both, or none.
Dream dictionaries often have such meanings and lists of them, but I highly suggest you make your own from experience and recording your own dreams. Some find runes and tarot of great use in interpretation, a subject we will come to later. Long story short symbology is a complex subject, and one set of symbolic meanings is different to any other.

Deity or a representative of deity
To be short gods and goddesses, spirits and others appear in dreams. This is a part of psychology, but also as in essence they may actually be appearing in your dreams. But here is the important part:
you don’t have to do what they say
This seems common sense, but not everyone likes me saying such things as they are apparently blasphemous. If you had someone telling you things you didn’t want to do on the street, would you do them? This does not mean our minds are an open platter, or anything of that sort. We are in some regards naturally open to interpret things as they seem to be. This leads us sometimes to make assumptions that are erroneous. I am not saying any particular dream is not important or not spiritual though.

The possibility exits that the being you have seen is the “true” one, but what they have communicated to you is referred to as personal gnosis. Personal gnosis is a strong spiritual experience that can be a great part of your own interaction with the gods involved, but it is personal not universal.

Some may say that talking to a god in your dreams is crazy. Yet such a argument is a logical fallacy.
This does not mean we should not be cautious with such experiences, just that reality of the waking world needs also to be taken into account.

People get a little (or a lot) agitated when I say these things as they think I am telling them they are not having a real experience. I am totally not saying that. What I am saying is that a deeply spiritual dream requires a deeply spiritual and practical response. We must think deeply and act only on what we know to be proportionally the best course of action.

I am saying this as a cautionary tale, I myself have acted on what has been told to me in a dream that was very spiritual to me and ended up hurting a lot of people, including myself. Thus I now take such dreams as a more representative fraction of a greater whole within my practice. I.e. I act holistically.

Do I have an example dream?
Yes I do.

On the night of the full moon, some years past
I am in a grove full if tall trees, the air is a crisp spring frost. I see the grows covers with turf and the refuge of the dying winter. Next to me stands a man, about 6’7″ and in front of me another 6’2″. The one in front of me is in a old white shirt and black pants. He speaks in a almost monosyllabic Irish accent “this is how we should cast a circle”. He then proceeds to show me each step in the process of casting a circle. “Here in the north we…” And so on. When we get to the element of water and he introduces the tall man whom had not been introduced. He wears a old leather suit and thongs. His hair is a odd color that seems to change. “And at this point you talk with my good friend Man here” and the other man says “Sup. Now next we wake you up”.

As usual I used my holistic interpretation model to help me with the interpretation of thus dream. 1. Memory: I had been working on circle casting and had managed to get something wrong when casting a circle that evening. As usual I was besting myself up a little about it. 2. I had been working with gods whom in my mind looked like these ones. Psychological: 1. I felt sad at getting it wrong and wasn’t sure how to get it right. 2. This dream happened on the night after the full moon which I see as significant. Neurological: 1. Full moon effects sleep patterns due to its brightness and psychological meaning.
I realized that this dream had significance as a personal lesson.

States of sleep

States of going to sleep

Thus us a general info post for my reference to later. Also for those whom like my non-nonsense writing. This is sorted into the “general hierarchy” which is erroneous due to its simplistic nature. It is also somewhat misleading as its more a cycle than a hierarchy. Pretty much all parts of this cycle happen multiple times during a nights sleep.

  • Awake
  • Your waking state. Its self explanatory what this is. Its the state in which you are in to read this blog post.

  • Pre-sleep
  • As you start to go to sleep, you go into a pre-sleep state. This is what is sometimes refer to as “transitive”. Some meditative states are very much like “pre-sleep”. Some dreams occur hear, often vague. The “pre-sleep” is much like a micosleep and does not induce sensory shut down.

  • Sensory shut down
  • This is where your body shuts down when you go to sleep. It does this to stop you hurting yourself as you brain has to remain a little active in all regions (including movement) while you sleep. Some sections of your brain “shut down”, more than others.

    Neurologically speaking this is often where things like sleepwalking and speaking while you sleep happens. It is a MYTH you should not wake a sleepwalker. Wake that sucker for their safety, or secure them if you are unable to.

    Sensory shut down can fail, and some sleepers will not enter this phase for any number of reasons. A sleep doctor may be able to help with this.

  • Hypnagogic OR Hynogagic state
  • This is in fact often while you have sensory shut down. This occurs both while you go to sleep and while you wake up. Both happen. Both are slightly different in term of the neurological stuff that goes on. There are nuerochemical, neuroelecrictal stuff that happens while you sleep, and nap. Both are slightly different. Explaining exactly what happens us a long and involved process for a later post.

    This is a first state of restful sleep. If you don’t go to this state you will probably wake without having rested. It is also “transitive” as you can go from here into full dreaming very quickly. OBEE’s also happen in this state and you can keep it going for some time. Shamans often can also enter into this state during trances. Again a big topic for future posts.

  • REM Sleep
  • Rapid Eye Movement sleep is when we enter a dreaming state. Most states if sleep involve a level of dreaming. During this stage one can actually see someone dreaming by looking at your eye movement. It’s from this movement that a lot of wearable REM lucid induction devices are based.

    Entering into REM sleep happens about 8-15 times a evening, and most naps enter REM but don’t go any further. Dreaming is often quite illogical in this state, but will easily be categorized into the memory, psychology and neurology model I have mentioned.

  • NREM sleep
  • This was the most vague of all states of sleep. It was also Scientifically very hard to pin down as NREM just means not REM which could be some of the states above REM and the others below it. Some campaign to name change this state, but no ones come up with a good name as of yet.

    NREM can include dreaming, having a dream in this state is usual. It used to be erroneously believed that this state was not dream conducive or you did not dream during it. Clearly proved incorrect now, this state is now defined by measuring brain activity. Certain brain waves where then used to define other states. Most of this work was done in the 1970s with some follow up, now MRI technology is being used to try an determine further steps in the dreaming/sleeping process and how neurological activity occurred.

    Dreams in this state are a more logical and more “sensible” type in comparison to REM dreams.

  • Deep sleep
  • You enter a deep sleep (also brain wave defined in the 70s) about 1-3 times a night. Lack of deep sleep in a long period is associated with depression and anxiety, as well as other health conditions. Often deep sleep is dreamless, but a dreamer may easily remember a dream from one “side” of a deep sleep to the other. Dreams can occur in this state, so it’s not certain exactly what is going on.

  • Unconscious
  • This is a interesting one as it is defined as both any state of sleep as well as a state if sleep beyond deep where no brain activity happens in the cortexes commonly associated with dreaming. It’s generally assumed that this state does not occur with natural sleep.

    Addressing the “Reality” of dreams

    The irony is that we all hear voices and see “things that aren’t there” when we dream, voice and visions that we do not consciously create — and that’s considered socially acceptable. It’s even acceptable, to a certain extent, to look to dreams for personal direction. But for some reason, it’s not acceptable to listen to these voices or pay attention to these images when we are awake. And the truth is that everyone hears voices and sees image in their head, even when we are awake. And I would hazard that most people have had the experience of hearing a voice or seeing an image which did not feel like it came from them. And sometimes these experiences feel … well, significant… (http://allergicpagan.wordpress.com/2013/06/02/hearing-voices-or-talking-to-ourselves/)

    Talking to “yourself” is nor acceptable as it is mentally unstable
    We could talk here about historical context, or even anthropology, we can take this to deep psychology or philosophy. The entire argument is a logical fallacy. The problem is that this is in fact http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fallacies). Having a considerable level of experience with mentally ill people in my real life I get REALLY annoyed at this argument. It essentially is saying that your mentally ill and therefor everything you say, do, or have ever done is therefor able to be ignored. Which you can tell is a pretty stupid argument. Especially when we consider the fact that most of us, especially those who read this blog regularly will know that dreams are in fact a projection of our unconsciousness mixed with a dash of psychology and some neurology thrown in for good measure. If you think people who interact with their own unconsciousness are nuts, then I will kindly show you the door.

    Reality
    Now we have addressed that, we will go onto the idea of “Reality.”

    Philosophically speaking our dreams are real. Not a different state or reality or a different universe. They are real. You experience thought in them, conduct actions, do things that seem as “real” as they do when you are awake. Sure they seem pretty silly, or “weird” (https://dreamsandbass.wordpress.com/2011/09/14/you-are-not-weird/) when you are awake. Last night I had a dream that combined George R.R. Martins Song of Ice and Fire with Rob Balder’s and Doctor Who. We are not talking fully surreal (see
    : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhXGxNgv6Iw ), but its pretty cool. Maybe some might say its “Weird” but we have already pretty much dismissed this sort of talk as logical fallacy and even possible bullying.

    My point is, don’t worry about how “real” things are unless you really want to get a decent headache.

    You want to interact with your dream characters? Do so. No really do. Interacting with your dreams is a awesome thing to do. Are they really spirits or gods? I can’t really answer that one for you. That really up to you, and I know what I think (but this is not a blog about my opinion on those matters, my opinions on religion/philosophy go elsewhere). And to be perfectly honest I think we have better things to do then argue ourselves into yet another debate that goes nowhere.

    Worried about your mental health? Seek help from your GP or psychologist.