Inspiring Sleep (@inspiring_sleep) — Inspirations + information about sleep and dreams, including a biweekly collective dream journal. 🍬😴💭 (A project created by Stephanie Gailing)
What’s on your nightstand? . Nightstands can play an important role in inspiring sleep and connection to our dreams. Having the things we need by our bedside—whether it be an alarm clock, a glass of water, a beautiful item that soothes and comforts us to look at, a device to play lullaby-esque music, et al.—can help us to settle into a more peaceful and sleep-revering mindset when we get into bed. Plus, a nightstand allows us a nearby spot where our dream journal and writing instrument can reside, so that it is accessible to us first thing in the morning when we have the best chance of capturing our dream memories. . Taking the care to design/arrange our nightstand helps us to create more thoughtful beauty in our sleep/dream space. Think of it as a functional and sacred sleep/dream altar. . What’s on your nightstand?
Oneirology is the scientific study of dreams, seeking to understand the neurophysiological processes and impacts associated with dreaming. The term is derived from the Greek words “oneiron” (dream) and “logia” (the study of). In Greek mythology the Oneiroi (dreams) were represented by Morpheus (Shape), Phobetor (Fear) and Phantasos (Imagination).
Paradoxical sleep is another name for REM sleep, the stage of slumber associated with dreaming. It’s been given the moniker “paradoxical” because it’s the period in which the brain is the most active and yet, besides from the eyes and diaphragm, the body is in deep rest, with no active muscle function. In fact, the brain is so active, reflecting the processing of a lot of input, that the electrical brainwave activity seems somewhat similar to that of the awake brain in some ways.
If it inspires you, share your dream—as much or as little as you want—below in the #WhatDidYouDreamLastNight collective dream journal. 🔍 If you want to share your dream, but don’t want anyone to reflect upon it, please share that. And if you feel inspired to reflect upon someone’s dream, I’ve found that starting the reflection with “If this were my dream…” holds space for the dreamer in a most beautiful way. 🔍 To start off this collective dream journal, I’ll share a part of my dream below. Here’s to your stellar dreams. . PS, if you have any dream-loving friends you think would be interesting, please tag them below. . 🌟😴💭 .. . . . . #inspiringsleep#sleep#dream#inspiringdreams#dreamwork#dreamjournals
Lettuce poultices were one of the traditional remedies to inspire sleep and now scientific research is supporting lettuce’s soporific (sleep-inducing) qualities. 🥬 Lettuce poultices are made by grinding up lettuce leaves and stems, usually with a mortar and pestle. To this mash, you add a little rose water and milk, and then spread this paste on a piece of linen or muslin. It was traditionally placed on the forehead (for not more than four hours); its cooling properties were thought to cool the mind and help inspire sleep. 🥬 The somnolent properties of lettuce are being born out by scientific research. Romaine lettuce leaves and seeds were found to be especially concentrated, compared to green and red lettuce, in a class of phytonutrients called lactucin known to have sleep-inducing qualities. 🥬 Not interested in making a lettuce poultice or having a salad before bed? Consider making a tea by pouring hot water over romaine leaves for ten minutes and then drinking before bedtime. Add a dot of honey if you want some sweetness.
Maere is an Old English word from which “nightmares” are derived. In folkloric legend, maere were entities/spirits that would torment sleepers. They would sneak into the bedroom at night, and lie upon a person’s body, pinning them under their weight, and bequeath them with bad dreams. . Maere were thought to enter through keyholes and numerous rituals were used to try to repel them including plugging up the keyhole and leaving a broom outside the door. And if the maere should be bearing down on you, it was thought that pressing your thumb into your hand could help to release them. . Other variants of maere include “mare” (Old English), mara (Swedish and Icelandic), and mahr (German).
>1 in 3 U.S. adults get less than 7 hours of sleep nightly, according to a 2014 comprehensive study by @cdcgov. The % of short sleepers, as they were referred to, didn’t vary by gender, but did by age: short sleepers were less common among those aged 65 years and older compared to those younger. . As we know, sleep is instrumental to well-being and this study supported this: The prevalence of chronic health conditions—such as asthma, arthritis, heart disease, depression, and six others—was higher in the short sleepers than those who got 7 or more hours each day. . Are you in the 35% who are considered short sleepers or the 65% who get more than 7 hours each night?
"The evolutionary stratification of the Psyche is more clearly discernible in the dream than in the conscious mind. In the dream, the psyche speaks in images, and gives expression to instincts, which derive from the most primitive levels of nature. Therefore, through the assimilation of unconscious contents, the momentary life of consciousness can once more be brought into harmony with the law of nature from which it all too easily departs, and the patient can be led back to the natural law of his own being.” - Carl G Jung
The irrational or abnormal fear of falling asleep is known as “somniphobia.” Numerous factors could cause somniphobia including traumatic events, sleep apnea, or a history of sleep walking, nightmares or night terrors. A fear of falling asleep is not only disconcerting and anxiety producing, but can lead to not getting adequate sleep and exhaustion. Speaking with a health professional who can help address the causes of somniphobia and then can help design a plan to move forward can be helpful. Somniphobia is sometimes referred to as hypnophobia.
Among its many negative impacts, lack of sleep may be an Alzheimer’s disease risk factor. The connection is highlighted in research findings that show that inadequate sleep results in increased levels of beta-amyloid, the toxic protein whose accumulation in the brain is associated with Alzheimer’s disease. . The link? When we sleep, the space between brain cells widens allowing more fluid to circulate and clear away debris. Known as the glymphatic system, it clears waste from the central nervous system, and is a focus of current research, including it being part of the mechanism that supports sleep’s role in good health. Regarding the link between sleep and Alzheimer’s disease, more research needs to be done to further clarify the relationship, yet the preliminary findings are quite interesting.
Taking a hot bath about 90 minutes before bedtime may inspire sleep. Not only is the practice itself relaxing but the temperature can help signal your body to sleep. Reduced body heat is associated with sleep; while you'll heat up in the bath, when you get out, your body will work to reduce your core temperature. Studies have also shown similar benefits from a 20-minute foot bath. (Researchers note that a 20-minute shower may mirror the benefits of a bath.) . Make bathing an even more relaxing ritual by lighting candles, using mineral salts and your favorite essential oils, and playing your favorite soothing music.
Tart cherries have concentrated amounts of melatonin, the hormone essential to regulating the sleep-wake cycle in humans. Some research studies have found that concentrated amounts—a cup or two each day—may positively impact sleep. If you’re interested in trying this, remember that tart cherries are different than the more commonly available sweet variety, which includes Bing and Rainier. Look for cherries or cherry juice from varieties such as Montmorency. Even if they don’t help you sleep better, cherries feature a wealth of health-promoting phytonutrients including anti-inflammatory anthocyanins. Plus they are delicious (albeit a bit tart).
Before the 19th century, segmented sleep was the norm. People would have their several-hours-long first sleep, then be awake for one to two hours, and then have their several-hours second sleep. The period between sleep was referred to as “The Watch” and was generally a time for reflection, dream pondering, and sex. Recent attention was drawn to segmented sleep at historian A. Roger Ekirch wrote about it in his book At Day’s Close: Night in Times Past.
If it inspires you, share your dream—as much or as little as you want—below in the #WhatDidYouDreamLastNight collective dream journal. 🔍 If you want to share your dream, but don’t want anyone to reflect upon it, please share that. And if you feel inspired to reflect upon someone’s dream, I’ve found that starting the reflection with “If this were my dream…” holds space for the dreamer in a most beautiful way. 🔍 To start off this collective dream journal, I’ll share a part of my dream below. Here’s to your stellar dreams. . PS, if you have any dream-loving friends you think would be interesting, please tag them below. . 🌟😴💭
Writing down dreams in a dream journal is not only something that many find helpful, but something that has quite a long history. While the dream journal’s genesis may have began even earlier than him, it was the 4th century Neo-Platonic philosopher Synesius, an advocate for dreams, who spoke of their benefit, and coined the term "night-book." As he notes: "One ought to keep both a "day-book" and a "night-book " (if the state permit such a novelty), and so have memoranda of what goes on in one's ordinary life and in one's dreams. I have tried to show that the life of Imagination is better or worse, according to the state of health in which the spirit finds itself. It has been said that "day-books" teach men to speak well on any subject, owing to their including both great and trivial matters among their contents. How far better in this line would "night-books" be, considering the fantastic and impossible things which they set forth!"