Writer’s Workshop: What Dreams May Come

First, an announcement: this is post #3000 here on The Sound Of One Hand Typing!


Image by Ouz Gnl from Pixabay

I’ve talked about sleep and dreams here before (here and here, for starters). I’ve mentioned that I think dreams result from the mind performing maintenance on itself, and I’ve talked about some of the weird and vivid dreams I have had.

I realized when I woke up this morning that there was something missing from having dreams: continuity. Have you ever awakened from a dream at an inopportune time, before something big was about to happen, and wished that you were able to resume that dream where you left off, kind of like a movie you’re streaming, to find out what happens next? Or had a dream that was populated with so many cool people that you wish you could have them return in another dream? Maybe even mix the casts from two or more dreams in a brand new one?

Of course, from what we know about dreams — that we dream all night and only remember a portion of them — it’s possible that already happens.

Okay, how about this: when I’m having an especially good dream, suppose I opened Evernote in the dream and noted everything I liked about it (names, places, events etc.) so that, when I woke up, all my notes would be in Evernote for me? And, as an added bonus, I could not only document the dreams I could remember, but the dreams that I couldn’t…

In one of my dreams from last night, there were two cats, an orange tabby and a tuxedo. As I remember, they were huge. I’d definitely want to run into them again.

Pleasant dreams, everyone…

Writer’s Workshop: Perchance To Dream

Lately, I’ve been trying to go to bed around 11:00. I decided a few weeks ago that I really have no reason to stay up much later than that. I can remember when the night’s festivities were just getting started around then. No more.

I sleep well most nights, but after dinner I start falling asleep. I’ve already checked that it isn’t diabetes, so that isn’t the issue. I’ll be playing Slices on my phone, and the next thing you know I’m waking up from a nap. Not a long one, but I’ll know I’ve been sleeping and won’t have a clue when I fell asleep.

I have really vivid dreams. Maybe it’s the bupropion I take before bed or all the stuff I take to keep my blood pressure at an acceptable level, but I go to sleep and weird things start happening in my head. One recent night, I dreamt I was walking around in a cubicle farm, looking for my desk. Another time, I dreamt about getting up. When I woke up, it was time to get up, and I had to do it all over again.

This morning, I had a dream where my conscious mind was talking to my unconscious self. That’s never happened before. It was like I had access to the real world from my dream. I wish I could go the other way, and be able to enter my dream world from the conscious one, because weird things happen. Like I’ll be on the “L” in Chicago (the elevated trains, especially the ones that circle the downtown area, which is why Chicagoans call it “the Loop”), and when I get off the train I’m in Marshall Field’s. I’ll walk out the door and be in the lobby of Harris Bank (where I used to work), take the elevator to one of the floors and get off into a hallway in a Courtyard Hotel (I stayed at them a lot when I was traveling). I’ll go into one of the rooms and find myself in the grill at Norris Center at Northwestern. And it’ll just go on like that. Sometimes I wake up so tired I have to go back to sleep.

I wish I could remember some of the weirder stuff. Maybe I should try recording it.

SONG LYRIC SUNDAY: “Good Night”

Someone else will probably think of this, and I’m OK with that.

The last song on The Beatles’ 1968 “white album” (actually named The Beatles) was “Good Night.” It was written by John Lennon (credited to Lennon-McCartney) and sung by Ringo Starr, backed by an orchestra and chorus directed by George Martin. It was a popular choice for radio stations’ sign-off sequence, back when radio stations actually signed off (usually Sunday night-early Sunday morning).

Now it’s time to say good night
Good night, sleep tight
Now the sun turns out his light
Good night, sleep tight
Dream sweet dreams for me (Dream sweet)
Dream sweet dreams for you

Close your eyes and I’ll close mine
Good night, sleep tight
Now the moon begins to shine
Good night, sleep tight
Dream sweet dreams for me (Dream sweet)
Dream sweet dreams for you

Mmmmmmm
Mmmmmmm
Mmmmmmmmmm

Close your eyes and I’ll close mine
Good night, sleep tight
Now the sun turns out his light
Good night, sleep tight
Dream sweet dreams for me (Dream sweet)
Dream sweet dreams for you

Good night, good night, everybody
Everybody everywhere
Good night

Thanks to MetroLyrics for the lyrics, Universal Music Group for the video, and Helen for choosing the topic. That’s Song Lyric Sunday for September 23, 2018.

Perchance To Dream…

 

I like this prompt from Mama Kat…

Write a blog post inspired by the word: sleep.

 

I was a fan of The Beatles from pretty much when they made their first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964, and think all their albums are works of art. One of my favorites is The Beatles, better known as “the white album.” I like all the songs on it (and don’t mind “Revolution 9,” not so much a song as a sound experiment by John & Yoko), especially the ones on Record 1, Side 2. Here’s one of them… “I’m So Tired.”

I don’t sleep well, and haven’t since my stroke nine years ago. I wake up several times during the night to answer nature’s call, and my brain kicks into high gear.

I do my best to make sure it doesn’t happen too often: I have my phone charging most nights, and have the sound of rain going all night on my iPod. Still, there are times when I just can’t get back to sleep.

I read somewhere that it’s normal to wake up in the middle of the night for an hour or more, and that people used to do this all the time. Some would even get up and go visit neighbors, or have something to eat, or just lie in bed and contemplate the great mysteries of life. I’ve tried treating it that way; the problem is, my brain kicks into high gear and doesn’t let me sleep.

When I do sleep well, I have some pretty vivid dreams. It’s like the memory of everywhere I’ve ever been mashes up together to sometimes comedic effect. I’ll be walking down the hall in my old high school, walk into a room, and be in a hotel lobby. I’ll walk into the bathroom in the hotel lobby and be on a CTA train. I’ll get off the train and be in my bedroom on Glenwood Avenue, where I lived in grammar school. I’ll go into the closet and find myself in an industrial kitchen, or maybe it’s a boiler room.

I really ought to write down my dreams immediately upon waking. Problem is, my writing hand was affected by the stroke. I could put a note in Evernote on my phone, but I really don’t want to do that. Then I know I’ll be awake for the night.

On the other hand, maybe it’s best I just remember the really crazy stuff.

What are your nights like? Do you remember your dreams?

It’s Only Natural

The other day, I talked about how the brain flushes all of the toxic material that’s a by-product of thinking and functioning during the day, and the role sleep plays in the process. Basically, the brain cleans itself out while you’re asleep because it’s busy using its energy to think during the day, and it can’t handle both the cleanup and the thinking at the same time.

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While I was reading up on sleep, I heard about Roger Ekirch, a history professor at Virginia Tech and author of the book At Day’s Close: Night in Times Past. I got the book (well, the Kindle version) and am looking forward to reading it.

One of the things he discusses in the book is how sleep patterns have changed since the Industrial Revolution. He makes the case that, before electricity and artificial light was generally available, people who couldn’t afford candles would go to bed when it got dark and get up at sunrise, but wouldn’t sleep the entire time. Instead, they would sleep in two four-hour chunks, waking up after the first four hours and spending an hour or two reading, thinking, praying, talking to their bedmate, having sex, etc. before going back to sleep. Contrast that to now, when artificial light, TV, work, and the Internet keep us awake longer and force us to get our eight hours of sleep all at one time. He maintains that bi-phasic sleep, where the eight hours of sleep is divided into two parts, is likely more natural than a single eight-hour block. Experiments that deprive people of light for up to fourteen hours at a time for a period of a month or more result in people falling into a bi-phasic pattern.

The more I think about this, the more sense it makes. One of the times that the Liturgy of the Hours is said is at 3 AM (“Matins”). No doubt, it was set in place to coincide with this waking up in the middle of the night. When I was in the hospital after my stroke, it always seemed to be the time when someone would show up to do something. I’m thinking specifically of the especially perky phlebotomist who would show up, put on every light in the room, and want to engage me in conversation as he drew my blood. (If you’re sick, the worst place to be is in the hospital.)

So, the next time you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep, maybe it’s not insomnia. Maybe it’s the way nature intended it.

Do you wake up in the middle of the night and stay awake for an hour or more? What do you do during that time?