Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Dreams, Dream Scenes and Dream Themes

It's strange isn't it?  You wake up in the middle of the night with a story in your head. Sometimes, it makes sense, but usually it's just odd. You're certain that you'll remember. "There's no way I'll forget that one," you think. The next morning comes. You know you had an unusual dream. You wrack your brain, but nothing comes back. Once in awhile, you're lucky, or unlucky, whichever the case may be and there it is, front and centre. You repeat it to someone, your spouse or children, for example. It sounds ridiculous as you vocalize it, when in fact, it seemed to make sense in the silence and darkness, several hours earlier.

Last night, I had a vivid dream. I woke up. My body ached and was so sore that I felt as though I had run a marathon. I was momentarily alert, then drowsy again. "Perhaps I should write it down," I thought."Naw, I'll remember," I said to myself as I nodded back off to dreamland, unwilling to make the effort.

There was a stretch of time in my life when I didn't sleep well. I was a single parent to two young children. Just as I began to get a bit more rest, they reached their teen years. When I was able to nod off, I found that I had many  stress or work related dreams. I finally kept a note pad by the bed to jot down thoughts and ideas during the night. I also wrote down my dreams. On some occasions, what I had written made sense, other times, my scribblings were illegible. Once, I dreamt up an entire school musical complete with a singing watering can and dancing carrots. The seemingly absurd came to fruition and was fabulous!

Last night's dream was one that actually stayed with me. I was in a "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" type of elevator going this way and that way until it finally flipped over, spilling the occupants onto the rooftop of a skyscraper. The wind howled and we grabbed hold of things grasping as best we could, while trying to crawl along the roof and away from the strong squall. Odd. After that, I was running around with a comedic looking large animal that resembled a green rubber version of Bulbasaur from Pokemon. I realized that I wasn't afraid of it but rather, that it wanted to play with me. Ok, so my dreams are a bit immature.

I tried to figure out why I was so sore. Hanging on for dear life, crawling around on a roof or chasing a large cartoon animal could do it, if these things had happened in real life. But in a dream? I wondered whether our muscles react and simulate movement in our dreams even though we might be motionless, thus creating the aches and pains which I experienced. This required further research.

I learned that in fact the opposite of my theory was true. I am not describing any type of sleep disorder here, just normal REM sleep. Apparently while people are in this state, they experience a muscle paralysis. This prevents bodily movement that could be dangerous while sleeping and dreaming. In fact, all voluntary muscle activity stops. That too explains the aches. Laying still or in any one position for a length of time can definitely result in pain.

I don't think I needed to interpret my dream beyond the obvious...last night's rustling wind, a future trip to New York City and running around playing with Amber the dog. What I do need to do, however, is some stretching, walking and bending to try to alleviate my residual REM soreness. Now if only my dream had been about something worth the pain!

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