Monday 1 July 2013

What happens when we have had *enough* sleep?


In my experience, the same dream is recycled with only minor variations.

I get stuck in a dream - a dream that repeats with minor variations - or, at least, a continuation of a theme without closure or any apparent tendency for closure.

A situation which is dull, annoying, futile; indeed it feels counter-productive, such that it feels like sleep is doing more harm than good.

That is the point where restorative sleep tips over into over-sleeping - when more sleep makes me more tired.



JamesP said...

Oversleeping usually helps achieve lucid dreaming.

What's your opinion on lucid dreaming?

Bruce Charlton said...

@JamesP - Clearly lucid dreaming is not physiologically nor psychologically necessary, and indeed the sleep wake cycle is set up to exclude lucid dreaming (by short term memory being physiologically suppressed during dremaing sleep), such that lucid dreaming is a dissociation state; that is, a mixture of the features of sleep and waking, and less efficient at performing either of the functions of sleeping and waking.

Is it therefore pathological? It may be.

Can it serve some use? Yes, it *can*. As could any kind of dreaming. But usefulness is not what it is *for*.

Would it be good if all/ most dreaming was lucid? Certainly not - it would be a bad thing to subordinate the processes of dreaming sleep to the awake-state of short-term memory; since this is to impose a much narrower (and more 'rational' and less creative) order upon the much more widely associative actuality of dreaming sleep.

So I would regard lucid dreaming as either essentially a side-show, either a mild sleep pathology when occuring unintentionally; or if sought or controlled as an alternative-reality/ fantasy experience, a recreation - to be indulged occassionally and sparingly.

I distinguish here the kind of (exceedingly rare) prophectic lucid dream of divine origin (eg. the dreams of St Joseph, earthly father of Jesus, in the New Testament) - which clearly has a very different and revelatory function.