Sorry for that clickbait-y headline. I generally don’t dream when I sleep (more about this later).

However this week, for the past 4 days, I had been having 3 dreams every night. I don’t know how I remember I have exactly 3 dreams because I can only remember 1 or 2 of them every day, but I have a feeling that I have had 3 dreams every night. And they were bad dreams. Not exactly nightmares, but bad dreams nonetheless. And definitely weird and surreal. For example, in one of them, a relative was firing at me with a machine gun and an RPG. I don’t even hate this relative. In another dream, I am flying a kite on the bank of a lake but instead of a kite, there is a flying fish attached at the end of the string. I would control the flying fish/kite so that it dips into the water for a few seconds and apparently that was important.

So by yesterday I was perturbed. My sleep is VERY important to me and the rest of my day depends on how well I sleep. So I messed around online to try and find if I could do anything about this. I learned a few things.

I am not going to get too technical here since I myself don’t know a lot and most of the knowledge I have on the subject has been acquired online. There are basically 2 important phases of sleep- REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep and Non-REM sleep which are then further divided into various stages. We dream most of the time we are asleep but mostly remember those dreams which occur during REM sleep. REM sleep lasts approximately 90-120 minutes. REM sleep is a very fascinating and divisive subject as it seems that it has a positive effect on procedural memory and spatial memory and probably also aids creativity. Lack of REM sleep is problematic as it leads to lethargy, irritation, hallucinations etc.

I read up about all this to try and see if I could change anything about my dreams. The weird part was that these dreams weren’t exactly nightmares but were more surreal and random in nature. I have had nightmares and I can get through those. For example, I always fall extremely ill once a year and during these times, I always have the same recurring nightmares. I can’t exactly describe my dreams because even though I have vivid memories of them, they are fleeting rather than continuous in nature. In these nightmares, I am stuck in a circle/loop and I am trying to run away from something or somebody. I feel very threatened during this dream as this something/somebody always seems to be gaining on me, no matter how hard I run. This nightmare keeps on happening and since I take antibiotics when I’m ill, I wake up every few hours drenched in sweat.

Dreams are at the same time both fascinating and pointless. You would like to know why you dream what you dream because there has to be some kind of stimulus for your brain to respond in the way it does. But on the other hand, I also think that it’s pointless to read too much into your dreams.

Another thing that’s been happening to me is that I can no longer tell that I’m dreaming when I dream. Earlier, I was always aware that I was dreaming and that gave me a sense of control in the dream. It felt as if I was allowing the dream to proceed because I could control what was happening, even if sometimes that wasn’t the case. This week, I could never realize that I was in a dream and the dreams felt very real when I was in them. It is so hard to describe dreams because I have certain visuals embedded in my head but translating them into words would be futile because they’re a single frame in a larger picture that I cannot describe.

So I was clearly perturbed and dissatisfied with my sleep. Now, I have 2 pillows- one I use like a regular pillow and put it under my head (lets call this pillow A) and the other I hug and cling on to (let’s call this pillow Megatron because what is life without whimsy). Both these pillows are exactly the same and the only difference between them is the different covers that both have. I had changed the pillows’ position a week ago for some reason and so this week I was hugging A and putting Megatron under my head. So yesterday I changed it back to the way it was a week before. And as soon as I lied down to sleep, I knew I would sleep well. I don’t know why. And I got up today well rested and much happier. I dreamt something but it was something ordinary and I didn’t remember it. My head wasn’t aching like it had been for the past 4 days and I felt well rested. What a weird way to solve a weird problem.

I don’t know what to take out of this episode. I have been having a weird few weeks. It’s probably because college is coming to end and I might never see my friends and I’ll never be as happy again etc etc. I will miss college a lot. I don’t express my emotions very well but I think I am sad that college is ending. I have experienced a lot of new things that I never imagined I would. This thing with the dreams made me reflect a lot about my life till now. I’m young but I do have 21 years of experiences and memories that I cherish. So today I will sleep a good night’s sleep, all because Megatron likes to be cuddled.

If anybody has had any weird dreams, or recurring dreams, or any unusual experiences with dreams, feel free to share it.

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4 thoughts on “When I Tried to Stop Dreaming

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