Tag Archives: life and dreams

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. 

Luna formula : How can we show a correlation that the moon phase is linked to our dreams

Dreaming statistics is a area a lot of people seem interested in. Mainly as with statistics we can show things like the moon phase is linked to our dreams. The issue here is that a heck of a lot of other things are at work. Here is a list of the main physically external and internal bodily things that you will have to also take into consideration:

  • Nighttime temperature (outside and inside)
  • Time you went to bed
  • Time you wake
  • Amount of time in bed
  • Amount of sleep
  • Overall sleep quality
  • Feelings as you go to bed and wake (happy, sad, angry, etc)
  • Bedpartners
  • Stress
  • Cycle (if you are female)
  • Physical state (sore, fine, well, sick, etc)
  • Medication taken
  • Alcohol consumes
  • Caffeine taken

You will need to measure all of these AS WELL AS the phase of the moon for each night for at least a year. Given about 300 odd days worth of data (assuming you miss a few days) you will then need to somehow work out how much the moon was a influence and how much all of these other things are. They are all significant factors and none can be dismissed as trivial and you will find each one causes your sleep to be different and therefor influences your dreams to some extent.  However with 300 days worth of data there will be at least a considerable number of days when all of these conditions are similar enough to be taken out of the equation, leaving only the moon phases. The more data that’s similar in each of these other factors, the better. If you have more than 100 similar days then your getting somewhere for fining enough data for a coloration between moon phase and dreams.

But how would the moon actuly affect our dreams? Gravity? Well no. The moons pull is significant, but the actual color, shape and presence of the moon in the sky is a psychological trigger. Considering everything else that has to be dismissed, arguing the moon has a physical effect on your dreams is pretty much impossible to get enough significant data on. The very fact you are measuring the moon as a possible impact on dream content, will in fact impact on dream content . Remember that dream content are made up of memory and psychology (88-99%) and the rest is neurology (0-12%) and physical states (0-12%), the fact that the moon phase fits in the psychology section more than it ever will in the physical section.

Why? Well most of the effect that people cite is tides. The moon accounts for roughly 2/3rds of the tides with the rest coming from (mostly) the Sun and the rotation of the Earth, wind and so on. But the moon has this effect over a very large area of water. Although you are made of (mostly) water, the moons physical effect on you is no more significant gravitationally then the seat you are sitting at. We can basically dismiss any claims the moon has a physical effect on you.

So how do I show a psychological correlation in my stats?Firstly don’t use a Gregorian calendar. Instead in your sheet use a 365 day calendar with day 1 being when you started. The reason for this is the Gregorian calendar is confusing and only makes sense in for when you want to work out what season it is, not for when you want to do calculations.

Secondly measure as MANY of the other physical and psychological triggers as possible (the list above is a good start, but by no means comprehensive).

The moon orbits roughly 13.36 times a year and each orbit lasts 27.32 days with the Earth orbiting 365.25 days. The error here is significant, but you can decrease it by increasing the detail in each of these numbers.

The moon “phase” is generally what people tell me “relates” to dream psychology. The “full” phase is the main one and opinion differs on how long the moon is “full”, technically we want to be a scientific about this as possible so using local time data to calculate when the moon is “full” exactly and use your stats sheet to then calculable the date of the next full moon. It should be 27.32 days apart each time, so if its full on day 1, it should be full again on day 27, then again day 54, then again day 82 (not 81), 109, etc. Day 13 should be “new”, days in between waxing (before full) and waning (after full). You will need to correct for error the longer you keep the calculation going, the more accurate you keep it the better.

Once you have this and worked out how many times you have very similar conditions in all the other stats you keep (“filtering” options in modern spreadsheets make this far easier) you can then calculate a correlation.

So lets say you have say 12 waxing days similar and 12 waning days similar and 1 new and full moon that are similar. Clearly you need to keep on keeping stats for a correlation for full and new moons you will need at least 10 comparable days when all the other stats are similar to get data that makes sense.

For each day you have comparable physical stats you need to have dreams stats plus dream content stats. When you have these lined up you can compare how each of these days are similar.

Thus lets say you dream more on waxing days, say you have 2.32 dreams a night on these days and then show that most are “normal” or “fear” dreams. You then compare these to waning days where you have only 1.2 dreams a night, almost all “normal” dreams. There for on those days the moon phase affects you:

1.2 more dreams per every waxing period (11.6 days) then every waning period as long as conditions are the same or similar to those days when these dreams happened.

So now you can see how hard it is to get enough data to show this for a full or new moon, each of the full moons in the year will not have the same conditions, so to get 10 days of similar data you need probably at least 5 years of recording. I am certain you can do it, but it will take a lot of effort and even then the data is only relevant when conditions are similar. So really I am not sure what your aim is, other than showing to yourself that your dreams are psychologically impacted by the full moon, which is almost certainly a given anyway.

10 big dreaming myths

1. Everyone dreams

Not true. Some people can’t due to the fact they have brain damage or are on medication that inhibit the dreaming state. Some medical conditions cause a lessening of the REM or nREM state (and other dream states).

Almost all people do dream (including blind and deaf people), recall of dreams however is harder for some people. Lifestyle, medication, sleep time, desire to recall and even personality can effect this.

2. People go crazy when they don’t sleep/dream

Yes possible, but very unlikely. Generally go without sleep for long enough and you will go into a coma or be hospitalized and they will force you to sleep. When sleep deprived you will do more risky things and be inhibited. The more sleep deprived, the more likely it is to cause a problem.

Insomnia is a real problem for which a GP or sleep doctor is needed to assist.

3. Animals don’t dream

Completely false, Google scholar “mammalian dream states”. Dolphins, Rats, Dogs and Cats (most dog/cats owner can tell you this), Rabits, Cows, etc. Even Snakes and reptiles have a state their mind enters into when asleep, they do not enter a coma. It can be reasonably assumed almost all animals with a brain and central nervous system dreams. Weather or not this indicated consciousness or if they are aware of dreams is a argument for the ages.

4. Lucid dreaming will make me X

Go mad, be sexier, scared, silly, stupid, etc. Most of these claims are false. Lucid dreaming is completely safe and almost always leads to the dreamer having a awesome nights sleep, nothing more.

5. You can get trapped in dreams

Not true, but you can have a “false awakening” attack were you wake up again and again but are still actually asleep. These dreams are unnervingly real and look and feel real, its often not till you are awake you notice the difference. If you suffer from them, best keep a log of the differences you notice. The movie Groundhog Day reminds me very much of someone having a false awakening attack.

Reoccurring dreams are also an issue, best thing to do is to attempt lucid dreaming and or seek professional advice from a GP or sleep doctor.

6. My dreams tell me the future

Unlikely. I published a post about this here. Generally most claims of dream prediction have turned out to be false. Its possible, but VERY unlikely. Actual credited accounts backed up by multiple independent people are completely nonexistent.

7. I can talk to God/Spirit/Goddess/Jesus/etc. in my dream

This is completely YOUR experience and for you it is truth and for everyone else it is, well you talking to your mind. In reality that god/etc you talked you is really your own subconscious and thats fine, talking to your subconscious is awesome and I am glad you do it, but claiming to anyone but yourself that this is the TRUE WORD OF GOD is likely to get resounding bouts of laughter. Also note you REALLY DONT have to do anything this God/Spirit etc tells you to do, really, make these decisions with your waking mind with evidence and support and counsel of your partner or friends or whoever.

8. I can die while dreaming

Yes you can, but not from dreaming in of itself. Stroke, heart attack, hit by an asteroid, suffocate on your pillow, all possible while dreaming. Its not the dreaming state that kills you though.

9. Waking a sleepwalker is dangerous

Not true, wake that sucker for their safety. People have done crazy things like get in the car, get milk from the shop, cook dinner and leave the stove on while asleep. If you know your a sleepwalker and live alone, use some method to wake yourself, such as a alarm that goes off when you open your bedroom door, a bell tied to your feet, something.  Problem sleepwalkers should also consult a GP or sleep doctor.

10. Dreams are inspirational

Yes, yes they are.

Now for some discussion about OBEE’s

OBE or OOBE or OBEE (chose your acronym of preference):
Note: I will use OBE to mean Outside (or Out) of body experiences in this post, I am entering any current discussion of their relation to NDE or Near Death experiences at this stage. Please also note OBE and lucid dreams are generally considered distinct to one another (though you can slip from one to the other).

Current science
Hypnagogic imagery and OBE are a petty big topic. Although (Cortex 45: pp. 236–242, 2009) tells us there is now a fairly clear distinction between the two states, Blanke and Mohr (1,2) also let us know that there is much to be studied in this area. It is pretty much cutting edge science from that point of view. New studies on this topic are often hard to find in peer-reviewed literature and without full text access to major neurology and psychology database (the best I can do is Informit and Google scholar which are great but not brilliant for this really cutting edge stuff). One however is at a loss to discus one without the other.
For OBE’s Many older “How to do it” publications confuse the two simply either due to lack of knowledge or the fact that at that stage science had not even studied such brain activities. Of the most comprehensive “how to do it” books Ophiel (3) is by and by the outright winner, listing no less than five different ways to achieve an OBE. More recent authors such as Barham and Greene (4), Eby (5), and Peterson (6) have all made fairly useful reading for a good background to the modern day OBE practitioner and the science behind the activity of achieving this stage. Rincpoche (7) talks about “Dreams of clarity” but as his methods are culturally specific I don’t choose to compare them to the others, all of which fit in with modern 70’s to 00’s western culture. There was some rumor that someone had perfected a method to obtain OBE scientifically using machines, but I have never been able to find any real facts behind this claim which are either easily obtainable or cost noting I am not unfortunately a very rich man and I can’t waste my money on every “guaranteed to work” method that, unsurprisingly doesn’t work. I do understand that those who make these methods need to eat as well, but its not for me to test them all, maybe someone else will.
Hypnagogic imagery is less of a “clear” part of this discussion, its mostly classified as the a state which the body goes into between awake and sleep (or sleep and awake which some call Hypergogic imagery, Eby goes on a major rant about this in her book) and pretty much its left as just that. Its really hard to define what is and is not hypnagogic imagery and what is an is no OBE due to this fairly poor definition. Essentially always most people will experience hypnagogic imagery before getting OBE, and one major hypnagogic imagery is the old granny syndrome of which I talked about in this post. False awakenings (FA) can sometimes also be a type of hypnagogic imagery, they are often experiences just before awakening and often contain almost “reality” duplicate to the real life you currently live in their imagery and content. False awakenings are the bane of many a dreameworker and dealing with them can be a major pastime for some who experience them as a problem in their lives let alone in their dreamwork, the “falling dream”, “naked at work/school dream” and the “can’t find a toilet dream” are all classic false awakenings.

Dreamworking with OBE
From a dreamwork point of view, OBES have been something many dream workers have been working with or obtaining for many years, getting better at coming up with new ways to reach a state of OBE or one like it. Another other than those already notes is the work of those who have come up with Binaural beats. Science has little to say so far for “hemispheric synchronisation” via “modulated strophic beats” (this is what scientists call them) but its practitioners often praise it like the holy grail of all dream working tools. I myself remain skeptical, I have tried it and found that it, like a lot of methods requires a specific set up and methodology which was fairly hard to consistently use for the length of time I needed to produce useful results for myself, let alone give me any solid data. I find it is far more useful during meditation and use it frequently for that purpose.
I have had naturally occurring OBE, and have been able to control them with a number of standard lucid dream methods such as the questioning methods: “what was I doing just then?”, “am I dreaming”, “is this my hand?”, ” what is the time? is it still the same time?”, “can I breathe with my noose blocked” (note: the “pinch my arm” method rarely works for me) and the continual statements of affirmation “I will remain lucid” “I will continue dreaming” etc. We will return to these tools in later blog posts as they apply to lucid dreaming as well as OBE.
My most trustworthy method has been the “Light body” method which Opheil (3) calls “The body of light” and his method is neither new nor hard to modify, I have found no less than 6 unique versions of his method in different places in the world of dreamwork and out of it as well and thus its likely you can find one that works best for you (or read these and other OBE books and find one that does work for you).
Unfortunately like all dream phenomenon there will be some of you who will be unable to achieve OBE states for whatever reason, some medical, others simply due to lifestyle or even stress levels, its hard to ascertain without exploring every different possibility and some we simply don’t know about yet.

1. Blanke O, Landis T, Spinelli L, and Seeck M. Out-of-body experience and autoscopy of neurological origin. Brain, 127: 243–258, 2004.
2. Blanke O, Mohr C, Michel CM, Pascual-Leone A, Brugger P, Seeck M, et al. Linking out-of-body experience and self processing to mental own-body imagery at the temporoparietal junction. Journal of Neuroscience, 25: 550–557, 2005.
3. Ophiel, The Art and Practice of Astral Projection, Weiser, 1974
4. Barham, M. J., Greene, J. T., The silver cord : lifeline to the unobstructed, DeVoss & Co, 1986
5. Eby, Carol., Astral Odyssey : exploring out of body experiences, 1996
6. Peterson, Robert., Out of Body Experiences : how to have them and what to expect, [Unknown], 1997
7. Rinpoche, Tenzin Wangyal, The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep, Snow Lion Publications, 1998

Creating a dream dictionary for yourself

Creating a dream dictionary is often said in dreaming books to be a fantastic way of interacting with your dreams. This always frustrated me as there was no actual guide as to how to do it, or how to use it. As this blog is mostly about dreaming and how to interact with characters in your dreams, I would fall short of my goal if I failed to describe how to create what I describe a major way of interacting.

Goal
When you have decided to start your own dictionary of dreams is to write the goals you aimed to achieve with your dreamwork. Each of these goals should be given a number and name, this is to help you decipher influence on your meanings from your goals. Of course creating a dictionary of your dreams is something you can add to this set of goals.

Meanings

Meaning of a dream is a big topic that can’t be covers in a single book let alone my blog, but we always talk about it. The question of what dreams mean is one that has driven people to create whole cultures based on. The meaning of a single dream is determined by its elements or makeup. Some assign meaning to each element were as others look at a wider context of what that element is doing. An angry growling dog may mean danger, a happy playing dog could mean play, a shy reserved dog might mean sadness and so on. This of course depends on culture and your own thinking and feelings of the meaning of the dreams you have had. Culture may have little or everything to do with the interpretations you build. Use your dream elements to decide a meaning.
You may find a meaning in other dreams, books on psychology, philosophy, books on culture, even published dream dictionaries, sometimes oracle decks, tarot cards, runes, ogham, the Internet, googlemancy might even be useful. Make sure you write down what you use to find a meaning, this will be useful to create a list of references.

Elements

Often each individual part of a dream is given a meaning, an element in its context. As we describe each element in detail in our dream log we can find repeat elements. Repeating elements we will find a meaning for, will follow or align closely. Each time this happens the assignment of a meaning will be confirmed stronger. Of course we will have dreams that break the general rule and these we can call non conformist and often find a new pattern to use a second definition for, or give each a contextual definition. Our meaning may be one that is close or not at all related to those in already built dictionaries.

Reference

Each dream we log is a new reference. This is why it is so vital to log your numerous dreams. Numbering (or naming) them in nights you have more than one dream in. When creating a new meaning entry in your dictionary add a reference to the dreams in which it’s constituent element or elements appear. You can also add references to other things such as other dictionaries, oracle decks, daily events, feelings, philosophy and anything you think is relevant to the meaning you have created.

Sharing meaning

One word of warning, sharing your meaning may find you doubting it. A meaning you have created will be personal and others may not easily find relevance in it. If you decide to share your dictionary make sure you are ready to accept critique and questioning. Making all your dreams public and tracing your references may help stay this critique, however opening your dreams like this is often very exposing and can leave one feeling deprived of personal privacy. Privately sharing your dreams is a different matter, doing so can be much less invasive and input from others often helps add to your interpretation of the dreams meanings, however choose someone wisely, a negative reaction can be quite detrimental to your ego.

Sleep disorders and recall

Question: How does having a sleep disorder affect dream recall? For a lot of people, it’s not easy to increase their night time sleep.

It really depends on the disorder, really. If you can’t increese sleep then best to try and improve recall by having a set of or sets of recall aids, i.e. Note pad and pen etc, a meditaion/mantra on recall (“Remeber this nights dreams” is a good one), and realising that the best recall you can have won’t be the same as the best recall others can have.

Sleep disorders can be helped by seeing your GP/medical professional about them, though if he perscribes sleep aids such as sleeping tablets, expect recall to get worse as the medication doesn’t help the dreaming state (this is a very complicated subject involving states of sleep and REM vs xREM sleep).

Herbal remidies such as Passionflower, Medowsweat, St Johns Wart, Valarian Root, Caradmon, Corriander Root, and Camomile all have differing effects, remeber only take this with GP/medical practioner concent as the active ingrident in herbal remidies often conflicts or adds to the effect of perscribed drugs.

You are not weird.

I started this blog due to what I would call the… ahem. Amount of crap there is out there about dreaming. There is a lot of bad stuff on the web, most of it as reliable as a drunk guy writing left handed on a pub toilet wall. I would like to be at least 10 times more reliable, I at least want you to know I am not talking shit here. IF I make a mistake, research something wrong, post something that you don’t agree with, please tell me.

Disclamair aside I also wanted to say that you can ask me questions. When I go around saying I do dreamwork, I don’t just mean I do it for me. I do. But I also do it for other people, if they ask nicely. In the same way I can’t say I am a complete expert here. The other thing is that there are three important things I need to say about dreams.

1. You are not weird, crazy, nuts, a fruit-loop, or anything else for dreaming something. If you suspect you have psychological problems get help (if you can, I live in a relatively wealthy country were this is fairly easy for most), if you don’t think what they are saying helps you find someone else.

2. You are not wrong or sinful for dreaming something.

3. You are not weird.

I know why these things need saying and I could cover how much it pisses me off when someone comes to me and tells me that they have “Weird” dreams. I always say that the weird dreaming curse is something of a good thing, it means you are healthy, you probably have a good imagination and no matter what you are not weird in a bad way. I can’t say that enough. Being weird, different, silly, strange, out of the crowd. These are good things. Most of my friends are weird. I am weird. Weird can be positive, and I can’t stress that enough either.

If you have someone telling you that you are sinful for dreaming something, I don’t care what it is, you are NOT. I am not a Christian (for the record I am polytheist) but if you are (and I really don’t care if you are) look at places like http://ld4all.com and look in the forums for the Christian support section there is heaps of discussion about the bible and dreams and how lucid dreaming isn’t sinful, and nor is sex in dreams (no matter who or what your partner is). Sex in dreams isn’t wrong (nor is nocturnal emissions from them) and they are a NORMAL biological process (this has been proved so comprehensively I am not bothering with links, but will provide if you REALLY can’t use google scholar yourself).

NOR is it weird to have dreams of death, destruction, magic, monsters, unicorns, three-eyed fish, Jesus, whatever. Its not. You may think is is, but trust me I have heard many dream tales and not one of them is truly weird.

Its not wrong to want to know why you dream these things either, and that is were I can help, sometimes.

The other person who can help is you. You need to take a step and say “Hey, I am dreaming, what I dream is in my mind, I am my mind, and therefor it can’t be wrong.” Say this affirmation as often as you like, especially before bed, and you to can start to live a guilt free dreaming life.