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Lux [userpic]
by Lux (bloodyeye_mari)
at February 28th, 2005 (08:31 pm)

current mood: aggravated

A shorter version of an article from http://my.webmd.com/content/article/70/80946.htm
I don't know whether this is accurate, since I know someone who cannot recall her dreams but I consider her to be creative.

Researchers say almost every human dreams several times at night, but the average person only remembers dreaming about half the time. And while some people remember every night's dreams, others have virtually no dream recall.

For 14 weeks, 193 college students were asked to keep track of what time they woke up each morning, what time they had gone to bed, whether they had consumed alcohol or caffeine within four hours of bedtime, and whether they remembered any dreams when they woke up. The students also filled out questionnaires that assessed their personality traits.

Consistent with previous studies, researchers found that the participants remembered dreaming in their sleep about half the time and there was great variation in the degree of dream recall. Overall, the students recalled dreams about three or four days per week. But students who had inconsistent sleep schedules tended to report more dreams during sleep.

When researchers looked at personality traits that contributed to dream recall, they found people who were prone to absorption, imaginativeness, daydreaming, and fantasizing were most likely to remember their dreams. The study also found that people who had more vivid, unusual, and interesting dreams had better dream recall.

"There is a fundamental continuity between how people experience the world during the day and at night," says researcher David Watson, a professor of psychology at the University of Iowa, in a news release. "People who are prone to daydreaming and fantasy have less of a barrier between states of sleep and wakefulness and seem to more easily pass between them."

Short version from <http://my.webmd.com/content/article/25/1728_58332.htm>

Both very weird dreams and delirium states -- in which a person who is awake sees and hears images, sounds, and events that aren't really there -- may be caused by changes in brain wave patterns that occur during sleep, says J. Lee Kavanau, PhD, a professor of organismic biology, ecology, and evolution at UCLA.

Kavanau tells WebMD that realistic and unrealistic dreams and mental disorders occur as a result of both abnormal and normal brain waves that affect the wiring in the brain.

According to the study, dreams are thought to be a by-product of the brain's process for consolidating and storing recent memories and reinforcing older memories that are already stored, like the way a computer's hard disk drive can be "defragmented," or reorganized for more efficient data storage, while the user is away from his desk. This brain process may involve wiring that is not used often during waking hours but becomes activated in various phases of the sleep cycle by brain waves generated during sleep.

Memory processing associated with sleep may also rely on the strength of synapses. If the strength of the bridges is damaged or altered, the dreams may become mildly disturbed, such as containing images of distorted faces, scenes, or animals. Or the dreams may become "incoherent, bizarre, or impossible," Kavanau says.

Building on this theory, Kavanau proposes that the highly controversial treatment "shock therapy" does for the brain what defibrillators do for a heart in unstable rhythm: shock it, if only temporarily, back to a normal state.

You know, I'm terrified just at the thought of shock therapies! I dread psychiatrists, those strange people who claim to know what's best for you. I'd rather dream my impossible dreams.^^