Posts Tagged With: Sleep

Understanding Dreams

Understanding Dreams

By , About. com

 

What are Dreams?

Dreams happen during the rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep. In a typical night, you dream for a total of 2 hours, broken up by the sleep cycle. Researchers do not know much about how we dream or why. They do know that newborns dream and that depriving rats of REM sleep greatly shortens their lives. Other mammals and birds also have REM sleep stages, but cold-blooded animals such as turtles, lizards and fish do not.

REM Sleep and Dreaming

REM sleep usually begins after a period of deep sleep known as stage 4 sleep. An area of the brain called the pons–where REM sleep signals originate–shuts off signals to the spinal cord. That causes the body to be immobile during REM sleep. When the pons doesn’t shut down the spinal cord’s signals, people will act out their dreams. This can be dangerous because acting out dreams without input from the senses can lead a person to run into walls, fall down stairs or worse. This condition is rare and different from more common sleepwalking and known as “REM sleep behavior disorder.”The pons also sends signals to cerebral cortex by way of the thalamus (which is a filter and relay for sensory information and motor control functions deep in the brain). The cerebral cortex is the part of the brain involved with processing information (learning, thinking and organizing). The areas of the brain “turned on” during REM sleep seem to help learning and memory. Infants spend almost 50 percent of their sleep time in REM sleep (compared to 20 percent for adults), which may be explained by the tremendous amount of learning in infancy. If people are taught various skills and then deprived of REM sleep, they often cannot remember what they were taught.

The Meaning of Dreams

Dreams may be one way that the brain consolidates memories. The dream time could be a period when the brain can reorganize and review the day’s events and connect new experiences to older ones. Because the body is shut down, the brain can do this without additional input coming in or risking the body “acting out” the day’s memories.Some researchers believe that dreams are more like a background “noise” that is interpreted and organized. This theory states that dreams are merely the brain’s attempt to make sense of random signals occurring during sleep. Some people have more control over their dreams than others. For these people, the last thoughts before going to bed may influence the content of a dream.

Of course psychologists and most people look for greater meaning and insight in dreams. Here are some common dreams with interpretations:

  • Falling: Dreams of falling are said to indicate insecurity. Freud thought dreams of falling meant the contemplation of giving into a sexual urge.
  • Flying: Dreams of flying are said to indicate feeling in control or ‘on top of’ a situation.
  • The Naked Dream: Dreams of being naked are said to indicate that you are ashamed about something or have something to hide.

Personally, these interpretations feel a bit too pop psych to me. I think by engaging with your dreams and thinking about them you can determine what meaning might be conveyed for your life. (I keep having a dream about forgetting to wear socks, please leave comments if you have any insight).

You can develop your ability to remember your dreams by keeping a journal near your bed and writing down everything you can about your dreams when you first wake up. After a few weeks, your ability to remember your dreams will improve. Some people claim that they have lucid dreams which are dreams in which they can participate and change the dream as it develops. Lucid dreaming can be triggered through a number of techniques, though little research and lots of speculation has been done on it.

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The Stages of Sleep

The Stages of Sleep

By , About.com

There are five phases of sleep: stages 1, 2, 3, 4 and REM (rapid eye movement). Usually when you are sleeping, you begin at stage 1 and go through each stage until reaching REM sleep, and then you begin the cycle again. Each complete sleep cycle takes from 90 to 110 minutes. Your brain acts differently in each stage of sleep. In some of the stages, your body may make movements, but in others your arms and legs will be immobile. Having good sleep habits will make sure you get each type of sleep that you need. 

Stage 1

Stage 1 sleep is light sleep. You experience a drifting in and out of sleep. You can be easily woken up. Your eye movement and body movements slow down. You may experience sudden jerky movement of your legs or other muscles. These are known as hypnic myoclonia or myoclonic jerks. These “sleep starts” can give a sensation of falling. They are caused by the motor areas of the brain being spontaneously stimulated.

Stage 2

Around 50 percent of your time sleeping is spent in stage 2 sleep. During this stage, eye movement stops and your brain waves (a measure of the activity level of the brain) become slower. There will also be brief bursts of rapid brain activity called sleep spindles.

Stage 3

Stage 3 is the first stage of deep sleep. The brain waves are a combination of slow waves, known as delta waves, combined with faster waves. During stage 3 sleep it can be very difficult to wake someone up. If you are woken up during this stage, you may feel groggy and disoriented for several minutes.

Stage 4

Stage 4 sleep is the second stage of deep sleep. In this stage the brain is making the slow delta waves almost exclusively. In this stage it is also very difficult to wake someone up. Both stages of deep sleep are important for feeling refreshed in the morning. If these stages are too short, sleep will not feel satisfying.

REM Sleep – Rapid Eye Movement

REM sleep is the sleep stage in which dreaming occurs. When you enter into REM sleep, your breathing becomes fast, irregular and shallow. Your eyes will move rapidly and your muscles become immobile. Heart rate and blood pressure increase. Men may develop erections. About 20 percent of sleep is REM sleep for adults.REM sleep is also the phase of sleep in which you dream. This sleep phase begins about 70 to 90 minutes after you fall asleep. The first sleep cycle has a shorter phase of REM sleep. Toward morning, the time spent in REM sleep increases and the deep sleep stages decrease.

Researchers do not fully understand REM sleep and dreaming. They know it is important in the creation of long-term memories. If a person’s REM sleep is disrupted, the next sleep cycle does not follow the normal order, but often goes directly to REM sleep until the previous night’s lost REM time is made up.

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WOTC Special Mini-Series Part 1 – Wheel of the Day

THE WHEEL OF THE DAY

NE – It is just before sunrise. You begin to wake. For a moment you may wonder what day it is or even feel confused about where you are. Your mind is still in an open slate.

EAST – During sunrise or a bit after you are preparing for the day. In your mind you begin to plan. What will you get done this day and how will you do it?

SE – It is mid morning now. As you begin to carry out your plans you demonstrate ‘who you are’ in this day. You choose if you are going to display a positive or negative attitude.

SOUTH – It is noon and early afternoon. You are occupied in the activities of your day. Now is when you carry out your responsibilities to your family and your community.

SW – As your afternoon continues you realize that you cannot get everything done that you planned. You decide what you will do tomorrow. It is a time for finding balance in your day.

WEST – It is evening, The sun goes down. The active part of your day is done. You sit back and evaluate your day considering what went well and what you would do differently next time.

NW – As you retire for the night you gradually let go of thoughts about the day. Your mind becomes more receptive. You may drift between sleep and wakefulness for a while.

NORTH – It is deep in the night now. You sleep and dreams bring renewal that prepare you for the coming dawn when you will begin to travel another wheel of another day.

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Daily Feng Shui News for Jan. 3rd – ‘Festival of Sleep Day’

After a hectic holiday season it’s not surprising that today is ‘Festival of Sleep Day.’ But if you’re of the many living with insomnia, then sleep may be elusive. If so, sleep on cotton sheets in order to invite the Sandman to bed every night. According to eco-author Debra Lynn Dadd, polyester-cotton blend sheets are coated with formaldehyde, a harmful substance known to contribute to sleep problems. Sweet dreams.

By Ellen Whitehurst for Astrology.com

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The First Yule

The First Yule

Author:   Serenity Starbright Dilsworth (Owl)  

Once upon a time … before your mother was born … and before her mother was born …and even before your mother’s mother was born …. when the world was new and the Earth and the Sun gave birth to the first beings …the very first people … the very first animals … and the very first plants.

It was the season of Spring, which celebrates new life, and the Sun shone warm and smiled down upon the world from his lofty perch in the sky while Earth took pride in all her newborns and nurtured them tenderly and with love. It was a time of great joy!

The Moon waxed and waned and traveled the night skies and Earth’s Children grew healthy and strong through the warm Summer season. They laughed and worked, played and danced and The Earth and Sun watched over them lovingly.

Then came the Autumn season …and the Earth began to sleep longer with every passing day. She grew so tired and was not able to feed her children any longer. She did not have enough strength to bring forth new life. High overhead … the Sun grew distant … and took longer and longer to return each morning. The nights grew longer and cold winds replaced the gentle breezes of the Summer.

Then …one very cold day …the Earth went to sleep. She laid her head down upon a pile of fallen leaves and nestled under a pure white blanket of snow. And she slept … and she slept … and she slept and nothing the Children could do would disturb her Winter slumber. The children called and called to her, but she did not wake up.

The children looked to the skies for advice and comfort from the Sun … but he was so distant that he could no longer be seen at all …and the children were frightened and sad … it was the Longest Night they had ever known.

The people wept and wondered what would happen to them now for it was bitterly cold and the bounty from Spring and Summer was depleting. They were afraid that they would starve and freeze with Father Sun so far away and Mother Earth sleeping.

They went to the Moon … sister to the Sun … with all their concerns and worries … entreating her to have the Sun return and Moon listened quietly.

The Moon gazed upon the children and advised them gently:” Do not fear little ones … go climb the tallest of trees and the highest of mountains … turn your voices to the sky and yule a mighty song to reach the Sun.”

The children had never heard of a yule or a song. (In the Ancient Tongue, to yule means to yell or yodel … to call out loudly in song.) And they asked Moon to explain what it is because they very much wanted to reach the Sun in hopes he could wake the Earth.

The Moon smiled gently. “Look deep within yourselves and find your magick …find that thing that makes you the special person you are … find the thing that brings you joy …take your dreams and your desires … your hopes and your love … and weave all of that together into sound.”

So the children climbed the tallest trees and the highest mountains and closed their eyes to find the magick within them …they brought forth their hopes, their dreams, their joys and their love and when they opened their mouths … their voices rang across the skies in a symphony or harmony and the Sun heard them …he turned and began his journey back … the better to hear this glorious sound.

The closer he came … the more his warmth spread across the Earth … and the Earth smiled in her sleep and dreamt of Spring… The Wheel turned and hope and joy spread amongst the children.

And that …dear children …is the story of the first Yule.

This is an old story that has been told and retold many times. It is one I used to tell at Winter Solstice in the coven I belonged to when I lived in New England. I put it into writing so that the story may be preserved and enjoyed by others and it is my hope that folks will tell the tale to their children who in turn will eventually tell it to their children.

Yule is a time of joy, of hope, of dreams and wishes. On the Longest Night, it is good to gather with those that we love and cherish and stand upon the Earth as she slumbers and call out to the Sun in mighty song to herald his return and the fulfillment of dreams and wishes.

Rowan Pendragon explains: The winter solstice occurs when the Earth is tilted on its axis farthest away from the sun. This means that when the northern half of the Earth is pointed away from the sun at winter solstice then the southern part of the Earth is going to be tilted closest to the sun. This is why when we are celebrating winter solstice in the northern hemispheres our Pagan friends “down under” are celebrating summer solstice. We often celebrate Yule and the solstice on either December 20th or 21st but the fact is the date varies each year since the holiday is based on an astronomical event; when the event occurs is when the holiday takes place.

When the winter solstice comes we experiences the longest night of the year and the shortest day of light. On the night of Yule we first honor the death of the God and the decline of the sun, something that has been slowly happening from the day after the summer solstice. After we make this honoring we then begin to work acts of sympathetic magick to encourage the sun’s return and to aid the Goddess in her long night of labor as she prepares to birth the Son, the Child of Light, the Young God.

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Footnotes:
Day 1 of Yule – Preparing for Yule 2011 by Rowan Pendragon
Day 7 of Yule – The Return of The Light by Rowan Pendragon

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Daily OM for October 9th – Restorative Slumber

Restorative Slumber

The Importance of Napping

by Madisyn Taylor

A short nap during the afternoon is common in many countries and can provide an energy boost and clearer senses.

As we focus on the many obligations we gladly undertake in order to create the lives we want, sleep is often the first activity that we sacrifice. We’re compelled by both external and internal pressures to be productive during many of our waking hours. While this can lead to great feats of accomplishment, it also disrupts the body’s natural cycles and leaves us craving rest. Napping represents a pleasurable remedy to this widespread sleep deprivation. Though judged by many as a pastime of little children or the lazy, the need for a nap is a trait that all mammals share and an acceptable part of the day in many countries. It is also a free and effortless way to improve our health and lift our spirits. A nap is relaxing and can improve our mood, vision, reflexes, and memory.

Lack of sleep, whether ongoing or the result of a single night’s wakefulness, puts stress on the body and mind. It can negatively impact your physical and mental health. At one time, napping was considered a natural part of life. In the past hundred years, however, electricity and modern conveniences have provided us with more time to engage in personal and professional activities. Consequently there is now less time for sleep. A mere ten minutes of sleep in the middle of the day can leave you feeling more cheerful and alert. A half-hour long nap can sharpen your senses and refresh your energy reserves, and a shorter nap can even sustain you through a long day. Napping can help you make up for lost sleep and serves as a supplement to your usual sleep schedule. You may need to give yourself permission to nap by making naptime a part of your day.

Feelings of guilt about napping or being preoccupied with other activities can keep you awake when you are trying to take a nap. If you need help, surround yourself with soft pillows and blankets or soothing music. Try to take a nap at the same time each day and use an alarm clock to ensure that you don’t fall into too deep a sleep. Learning to nap and enjoying its benefits can help you reclaim your natural right to nap. You nourish your being every time you take a nap.

The Daily OM

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Current Moon Phase for July 26th – Waning Gibbous

Moon & Witch Comments & Graphics

Gibbous Moon

(waning /70% illumination)

This is a tremendous time of transmutation. All of the prior elements are coming together for a final burst of creative output. You have seen a clear view of your own needs and the posture of significant others. Now the accumulation of that input is leading to a deep, core change within you. In this phase, you will naturally be inclined to seek higher guidance so that you can emerge from this transformation successfully. The Disseminting Moon favors sharing what you have learned (and are learning) with others.

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Looks Like We Made It! May You Have A Very Blessed Saturday, Dear Brothers & Sisters!

Sorry Images
We have been trying to get on the internet since ten o’clock. We both slept late, we figured it wouldn’t hurt. Besides Lady A was up all night, Kiki was sick. On the other hand, I had a few drinks. I got relaxed and went to sleep. I woke up at 7 which is sleeping late for me, lol!  I saw what time it was an rushed to get ready. It takes me about twenty minutes to get to the office.

I finally got in the car and was on my way. Along the way I stopped at a local convenient store. Lady A loves Donut Sticks and it being Saturday, I decided to surprise her. The convenient store was out of everything for breakfast. What a waste of time. I got to the office and it was locked. Lady A was still asleep. I went and knocked on the cabin door. I liked to have never got her up. She finally woke up and got dressed. She grabbed Kiki and I told her I wanted to walk Razzy. She let me. I love Razzy. We enjoyed our walk to the office. Lady A mentioned she wanted to move an antique hall tree out of it spot today. She is planning on working on it some more. It is beautiful. It is about ten feet tall (seriously), has a huge mirror, brass coat/hat hooks down the side of the mirror. Then it has a very ornate bench and drawer under it. The first time I saw it, it took my breath away.

We got to the office and fixed some coffee. Talked about what we were going to publish today. Then we decided while we were waiting on the coffee to finish, we would move the hall tree. We went back there and we started walking it out. Then I heard Lady A scream, “I can’t tell you what she scream, just imagine.” I asked her, what, what? She told me to look at the back of the hall tree and I did. I started cussing and I can’t tell you what I said either. It looked like a pan they were using to dip their rollers and brushes in had been spilled all over it. Lady A was fighting mad. That part, she had it perfect. You could see every grain in the wood. Beautiful. We walked it out some more then I heard her scream, “THIS IS THE LAST M – F STRAW!” There was a big burn spot in the middle of the carpet. They used the hall tree to cover it up. Lady A told me that the tree was fine. For us to go back up front.

She went and phoned the head painter and told him to get his butt over here NOW! He was here in about 30 minutes. He looked at the floor and the tree. He could not apologize enough. He told Lady A to figure up the cost of labor on the tree and he would pay her. They have now gone to find matching carpet for that room. Lady A told me she wanted me with her as a witness to everything that was said.

They have been gone about an hour. I have been trying to get everything together but I got upset also. When I get upset, I talk a lot. Most of the time, I am quiet. I figured I will do a few daily postings, then put on some information about faeries. It seemed the other day, those posts receive a lot of reader. I must now get busy. I am sorry for being so late. Perhaps one day, our adventures with the painters will be over with. I wish you a very blessed Saturday, dear brothers & sisters of The Craft!

Mystie

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