Monday, May 20, 2013

Dreams, Sleep and brain studies

The scientific literature on dreams and sleep have been kept fairly separate in the past, as two bodies of literature. The sleep literature has it's theories and studies as does the dreams literature. Only recently have the two been put together in a new model of sleep and dreaming which also measures brain activity during the period of dreaming. Why is it important to now amalgamate the two bodies of research and how can this be helpful to the growing science of dreaming?

62 comments:

  1. It is important to combine dream and sleep research for one does not occur without the other. Since both dreams and sleep are continuously parallel with one another, it would be hard to isolate and/or control for the other in an experiment. Thus, I would think the two bodies of research overlap significantly enough that they could be combined. A model of sleep which takes no consideration of dreams into account seems to me like an incomplete model, and vice versa for a dream model.

    Combining sleep research with dream research could be helpful to dream research for it will allow for scientific theories and discoveries already founded within the sleep research to be applied to dreams. Since this research has already been tested and reviewed by the scientific community; it will help dream research grow and develop faster. If a sleep model can be applied or modified to become a dream model, essentially a large body of dream research is already completed for a majority of the sleep research can be applied to dreams.

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  2. I agree with Nicole Drumm in terms of the overlapping nature of sleeping and dreaming and I also believe that the amalgamation of these two topics is extremely beneficial. First of all, the amalgamation of interests ensures the amalgamation of scientists and researchers studying these topics, therefore increasing the sheer manpower behind the operation as well as allowing them to share information and knowledge. This would in turn enrich the understanding of both sleeping and dreaming and how the two work together. This enrichment could uncover new theories and knowledge that may have remained hidden had the two topics continued to be approached separately. For example, it is now known that there are four stages of the sleeping process as well as a REM, or rapid eye movement, period of sleep during which time images are created by the dreamer and dreaming occurs. This revelation would not have occurred without studying dreaming in conjunction with sleeping. Thus, the amalgamation of the two topics can only be helpful for further developing the science of dreaming as it may shed some light on the darker areas of our dreaming and sleeping minds yet untouched by the scientific community.

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  3. I agree with the comments noted above. As Nicole mentioned, the two obviously occur together, so it would only make sense to combine the two in many studies. As well, just as Carly had mentioned, the stages of sleep (i.e. 1-4 & REM) may have a significant impact on studies involving dreaming.
    For example, some studies have reported that lucid dreaming takes place during REM (LaBerge, n.d.). Many authors have taken up research in lucid dreaming, and in tandem have studied sleep and wakefulness in regards to when people report lucid dreaming (LaBerge, n.d.). People have also studied which areas in our brain are active in sleep versus during wakefulness to determine if our "sleeping" brains mimic our "awake" brains (LaBerge, n.d.). Many areas (i.e. occipital lobe) are activated in a similar fashion, even while we sleep.
    I believe that studies of sleep could be separated from dream studies, however, I think dream studies should be combined with examining the stages of sleep as well as to question if there are stages of wakefulness (LaBerge, n.d.), as this information could provide us with very useful data about dreams and dreaming.

    Reference

    LaBerge, S. (n.d.). Lucid dreaming: Psychophysiological studies of consciousness during REM sleep. Retrieved from:
    http://www.lucidity.com/SleepAndCognition.html

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  4. Angelica Palillo-BucknallMay 20, 2013 at 1:34 PM

    Merging the two bodies of sleep and dreaming research is important because it allows researchers to see a correlation between brain waves and brain activity during sleep and the changes that may occur during dreaming in sleep. Researchers have learnt that dreaming occurs in REM sleep, a deep stage of sleep following stage 4 sleep. This enables researchers to know exactly when dreaming is occurring and the length of time dreaming can occur throughout the night. The more frequent the amount of REM a person has per night, the more likely they are to dream or have numerous dreams. This can be helpful to the growing science of dreaming because sleep and dream researchers are better able to predict when dreaming is likely to occur and when to wake dreamers from deep sleep leading to better chance of more detail in recording and recalling dreams. As we know, the more detail a person can remember when they wake, the more efficient dream analysis will be. Dream and sleep research can be used to gain a better understanding of the relationship between sleep, REM, wakefulness, dreams and dream predictors.

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  5. Samantha BayntonMay 20, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    A dream occurs while an individual is sleeping hence why I think it is important to integrate the two bodies of research together. I agree with Nicole that dreams and sleep are parallel with one another and it would be hard to isolate them.

    Often the question asked “why do we dream?” has no consensual answer. Even though we spend a lot of time in the sleep state research still finds that it hard to pin point the purpose of dreams. I think by having the understanding of sleep, the purpose of dreaming will become clear. It is important to understand the brain mechanisms in order to fully understand how a dream works. For instance, it is known that dreams occur vividly during the REM period of sleeping. This shows that the two bodies of research work hand in hand in figuring out the true meaning behind dreams. This can be helpful to the growing science of dreaming because it will give a further in depth look within the dreaming world and answer all of the unknown questions that cannot be answered without looking at the two areas.

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    1. Hi Samantha!

      I think you have the same point that I have too.
      It is little strange to think that sleep and dream are two different things. I have never even thought that past literatures are not relating between sleep and dreams together before this discussion topic. However, if you think about the past when we did not have any clues about the brain activity for example, how the brain waves are like while we are sleeping, it is understandable. Back then, we did not even know that they were different stages of sleep cycles.

      Now that we know about REM and non-REM sleep phases, it is non-sense to us not putting dreams and sleeping together. I have not really considered about my dreams and how they are related to my walking life before I have tried the first lab "The Storytelling Method (TSM)". From the method, I found out that I stress myself over nothing that I could have easily let go. The stress that I had would not go away for a month. But after since that I had practiced TSM, I do not think about the subject that makes me stressful before.

      I, myself, experienced how the dreams are related to my waking life and they reflect my willings of suppressing something that I could not forgive myself. I am very excited about new researches on dreams and sleep. Just like what I have experienced, people who might have stress over little things that they do not aware of could be easily solved with dream interpretation methods that are clinically proven.

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    2. Danielle LachanceMay 22, 2013 at 7:08 PM

      I also agree that it is important to study sleep and dreaming together because not only do the two coincide, but they may also provide invaluable information that might not have otherwise been gained through studying the two separately.
      I think you raise an interesting point, Samantha. The reason why we dream is as much of an ongoing debate as the reason why we sleep. However, maybe further insight can be gained with the two areas considered together. The reason why we breathe would be difficult to fully understand if we considered the function of the lungs, heart, and brain separately. However, knowing the role each organ plays and how they interact with one another has expanded our knowledge of the human body and how it functions and survives in momentous ways. Perhaps sleep and dreaming considered together can piece together a puzzle of significant importance in obtaining knowledge that would otherwise remain somewhat mysterious.

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  6. As a whole dreams and sleep will always be correlated in one category as you really don't have one without the other. Studying the two topics together is logical as it allows for control and examination as to how one affects the other and also how they interact. A few people have mentioned REM sleep and how it is the time were dreams are most vivid. It could be used to see the diffences the brain has during REM sleep and the other stages in order to determine how the brain is developing more vivid images in one type of sleep over the other. I also think that studying both together means that researchers will be able to better account for their interactions rather than not accounting how they affect one another.

    I find the concept of isolating each topic as its own to be very unproductive as it tends to not study the whole picture but rather just focuses on one small topic. Opening the topic up by combining the interactions between sleep and dreaming allows researchers the opportunity to dive into the real issues and find answers to key questions such as; why we dream and why is REM dreaming the most vivid. It opens up a world of possibilities for further research into the brain activity during sleep and how it interacts with dreams. It also allows researchers to learn how different sleeping patterns affect the way people dream such as those people who tend to stay up later compared to go to bed early or those who obtain their recommended 8 hours of sleep compared to those who get less.

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  7. I believe it is important that dreaming and sleep be examined together and separately. For we understand that without one the other cannot occur. This is mostly true, however there are exceptions that I learned from my previous sleep and arousal. For example, we investigated individuals that underwent sleep deprivation for days, and the one individual began to have intense hallucination and delusions, this can occur partly because the brain is trying to sleep while the body is still awake, causing the individual to be partially dreaming. I found this very interesting and shows that there is an unusual connection between sleeping and dreaming, that they can occur without the other in ways. Therefore, I believe that it is important to understand that there is a large connection between sleeping and dreaming, but we also need to examine sleeping and dreaming on its own to fully understand its function and meaning.

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  8. It is extremely important to match dream research and sleep research because they are infinitely related. Without pairing research of brain activity and neurology of dreaming then we would be very limited in terms of medical advances. With knowing how the brain works and how it reacts to certain drugs, we can use drugs and develop them to be more efficacious when directed towards sleep benefits.
    Pairing sleep research and dream research is also beneficial because it gives us better insight to what goes on during our dreams. From studying brain activity during sleep it has been found that there is an increase in brain activity (when compared to typical sleep periods) during lucid dreaming, especially in the prefrontal cortex. The more we know about the brain's functions during dreaming, the more we will be able to manipulate and understand our dreams.

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  9. It is important to amalgamate sleep and dreams because research indicates that our nights and what we dream about are influenced by what were doing during the day. We gather a lot of information during the day, and while we keep most of it, a large portion we discard as well.Overtime while the brain has become quite complex the ability to solve the problem of memory processing was brought forth from the division of the night into two types of sleep, slow wave sleep (SWS) and rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep. We can, and do, dream in either phase of sleep, however the characteristics of our dream differs greatly. When in SWS the hippocampus is busy showing visual depictions to the frontal cortex, and during this stage of sleep our dreams are more static. Furthermore, when we transition into REM sleep our hippocampus shuts down, and our dreams tend to feel "real". Sleep and dream research can work together to help better predict when dreaming is likely to occur, thus leading to better recall of dreams and more detail in the recording process. In addition, dreams occuring in REM sleep provides evidence that the two bodies of research (dreams and sleep) work together when interpreting and understanding dreams.
    Like many individuals above have mentioned above, it is important to combine dream and sleep research because as research indicates, one does not occur without the other. Both dreams and sleep are parallel and isolation or control for both would be near impossible due to the brain mechanisms that are in play during sleep and dreams. Overall, it is important to understand the connection between sleep and dreaming in order to understand the function and meaning of dreams, and a huge part of our waking day is influenced by what we dream about and vice versa. Both sleep and dreams work together in understanding and interpreting our dreams.

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  10. Dreaming does not happen without sleeping. Sleeping and Dreaming occur together; therefore it is hard to continue scientific research of one without the other. By including sleeping patterns, and brain activity during sleep, researchers have been able increase data on dreaming. For example, researchers are now able to pinpoint at what stage of sleep an individual dreams. Research has evolved since the two topics were used together and can continue to evolve as brain activity during sleep, and dreaming are researched together.

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  11. It is important to bring together sleep and dreaming research as I believe they have a strong reciprocal relationship that can provide insight on understanding the science of dreaming. I believe that a person can be affected by sleep problems or disorders affecting their dreams and conversely, dreams can affect the sleep patterns a person has. Connecting dreaming to sleep research will provide more detail on what we currently know about what, when, where, and how we dream.

    Segregating sleep and dreaming as separate functions really limits the connections that need to be made between these two innate behaviours. Perhaps, one of the reasons for the delay of combining sleep and dream research together was due to the history of dreams being unnatural and not a natural necessary biological human function. However, with the increase in research, many know that this is not the case and with the growing science literature on dreaming, people can begin to understand, with legitimacy, the characteristics related to dreaming. With the current research, many are already aware about the benefits of sleeping and dreaming including rest, reflection, and reorganization of our waking day thoughts. We can combine research together in order to attain optimal health with sleep and psychological wellbeing.

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  12. It is important to integrate sleep and dream research and literature for a number of reasons. Most importantly because sleeping and dreaming are obviously very closely related to one another. Sleeping is what allows dreaming to occur and more importantly dreaming cannot occur without sleep. Sleeping, dreaming and brain functioning are all important for our overall well-being and health and can all be related to our waking life. When we have knowledge of all 3 aspects we understand just how and why these can be related to our waking life. As mentioned, separate theories have already been generated regarding sleep and dreams however if we are able to relate these theories to the other body of research or combine these theories we will gain a better understanding of these individual theories. For example we already know that dreaming occurs during REM sleep, so being able to understand REM sleep and the brain areas involved in this stage of sleep we can grasp a better understanding of why dreaming occurs here and what characteristics are necessary for dreaming to occur (sleep stage/brain characteristics). By combining these two areas of research we can see how sleep patterns affect our dreams but we can also see how dreams can affect our sleep. The reciprocal relationship between the two is an important aid for overall understanding. Another important area of research in general is abnormalities and disorders that occur in individuals. The examination of both sleep patterns and dreaming can provide insight regarding these disorders. For example, symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can be seen in individual sleep patterns and dreams (they tend to be different from the norm). By examining sleep and dreams in these individuals we gain a better understanding of PTSD, which would be the same for a variety of other disorders.


    This is helpful in terms of the science of dreaming because when we further examine sleep and sleep patterns as well as brain characteristics during sleep we gain a better understanding of what characteristics must be present in order for dreaming to occur. Not all individuals sleep and dream in the same way, but there are similar characteristics that must be present in order for dreaming to even occur. As previously mentioned it has been found that one must be in the REM stage of sleep for dreaming to occur which involves specific brain activity. Not everyone sleeps or dreams in the same way. For example some individuals sleep walk and some act out their dreams which is definitely different from normal sleeping behaviour. These types of studies may also reveal different types of dreams and why these occur at different times and in different stages. Overall the combination of knowledge provides further insight regarding how, why and when dreaming occurs.

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  13. It is important to amalgamate sleep and dream research because the two processes are so intricately related. That is, an understanding of how/why sleep occurs will lead to a better understanding of how/why dreaming occurs and vice versa. This is particularly important in regards to the physiological measures of sleep, which by extension also reveal significant information about our dreams.

    For example, EEG measures have demonstrated that sleep occurs in five distinct stages, and that dreams occur in stage 5, or REM, sleep. It has been found that the body paralyses itself during this stage, a proposed adaptive function that prevents us from acting out our dreams. In this way, the examination of dreams is useful in that it can help to explain properties of sleep that may have otherwise been difficult to describe. Through this example, it is clear that examinations of sleep and dreaming frequently interact, as each process can be brought to light as a result of an analysis of the other. As such, combining sleep and dream research can be helpful to the growing science of dreaming as much of the current sleep research may be found to be applicable to dreams as well.

    ~ Ellen Coombs

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  14. Breanne McErleanMay 21, 2013 at 12:09 PM

    Dreaming occurs when a person is asleep making the two related. I agree with the comments posted above that you can have one without the other making it hard to study one without noting the other’s influence.
    Researching both sleep and dreams in combination will help with the understanding of each topic. Findings in sleep may offer beneficial clues to dream research and vice versa. With correlations found between dreams and sleep, sleep patterns can be altered to see the effects on dreams and dream discoveries may alter sleep patterns or even benefit an individual with better sleep. With dreams and sleep so closely correlated it is very likely that one discovery may lead to many more in the opposite category.

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  15. It is important to learn and research both sleeping and dreaming together because they are interconnected and dreaming could not occur without a person sleeping. Sleeping has many important benefits for our body both mentally and phyiscally and dreams as well affect our body both mentally and physically. Bringing the two together just seems obvious as they relate to one another very closely. For example, sleep helps a person physiologically but also emotionally. Dreams and dream interpretation can help a person physiologically as well as emotionally and if one can interpret their dreams to better their waking life then they can better their sleep at night as well. It seems odd that people would think the two, sleep and dreaming, are so separate from one another when in fact they should be studied together.
    As a few have said above, combining research of sleep and dreaming would open up more research and learning opportunities and provide insight into sleep and dream research that was not provided before. More information could be learned about dreams if sleep was an important component of dream research and vice versa. Does lack of sleep or too much sleep affect the way a person dreams or maybe the type of dreams a person has affetcs their sleep such as nightmares. These are important questions of both sleep and dreaming and they obviously cannot be answered without researching both sleep and dreaming.

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  16. Dream and sleep research are symbiotic bodies of research that function together rather than separately. Without sleep the dreamer can not dream. Sleeping allows to tap into the unconscious mind of the dreamer during REM sleep cycles. As mentioned above sleep has many beneficial health properties but clearly has advantages to incorporate dreaming into therapeutic plans for individuals to understand relationships, past events ect. Thus advances in this area can correlate with increased physical and mental health. Ideally this will present insight into the individuals life better explaining events one would not normally be bale to understand on their own.

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  17. It is important to study and examine dreams and sleep since they coincide together; one does not occur without the other. If research needed to be done on sleep or on dreams it would be difficult to study one and not the other. In sleep studies and research it has allowed us to understand that our sleep cycles consist of REM and NREM sleep. Further studies have allowed us to learn that dreaming occurs during REM sleep. It is understandable that research on sleep does not necessarily mean you have to understand dreams but, I believe since individuals dream during their sleep, it is important to further research sleep while trying to research dreams and dream analysis. However, during sleep we are still conscious, so examining brain waves and brain activity will allow us to understand how the brain functions during sleep, and during dreams.

    Understanding the importance and meaning to the dreams that occur lies within the study of sleep. It is important to research sleep and dreams together because it could better help understand how we process information during NREM to REM allowing us to have lucid dreams and to allow us to have such creative, phenomenal dreams. Understanding the brain activity and the thought process from the moment we go to bed to the moment we fall asleep could create discoveries on further understandings of our sleep states.

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  18. While dreaming occurs, the brain is asleep so it only makes sense that the two streams of science work together continuously to do more research and work on therapies.
    By having the researchers and scientists working together in both disciplines therefore creating the same definitions and topics so everyone in the field has the same background and purpose.
    Dreams occur during sleep therefore knowing what cycles of sleep that we dream in are important. We can then know and study even more the dreams or brain functions that occur during sleep.
    It is also important to know that during the waking day consciousness there are connections between sleep and the dreams that occur during the sleep.
    These reasons and more are important in linking the two studies of dreams and sleep together.

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  19. I think it is very important to amalgamate the research on sleep and dreaming in the same way it is important to amalgamate the body and the mind when diagnosing or treating illnesses. The mind can cause stress which can in turn make the body ill and weaken the immune system to help fight off disease and illnesses. The two areas of study, sleep and dreaming, are connected in this same way. We cannot dream without sleep and we do not sleep without dreaming. One impacts the other. Therefore it is important to investigate these two areas of study as one because of their interrelatedness in terms of what is happening in the waking world effects how well we sleep and what happens in the waking world effects out dreams and the content of our dreams. Since our waking day effects both sleep and dreams, one would assume that they are connected and studying these two areas needs to take into consideration of one another because they both affect one another. Another reason for studying dreams and sleep as one topic is to help possibly with sleep issues. Perhaps an individual who is not sleeping well may be having issues because of some waking day event. If that person interrogated their dreams using one of the methods in “The Giant Compass” than it would be possible to figure out and gain insight as to what issues this person is having in their waking day and how these issues can be resolved using dream recall techniques then investigating the meaning. This may help the person solve the issues that they may be having in their waking day life and therefore get better sleep at night. Therefore both sleep and dreaming should be studied together.

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  20. In today’s advanced society it seems obscure that research involving sleep and dreams are not conducted together. However, looking through history this same pattern of discovery happened between the mind and body. It is important to look at both bodies of research, sleep and dreams, separately to gain background knowledge. Currently, the knowledge available has led to further research involving the interactions between the sleep cycle and dreaming. Since research is available on both entities separately it is easier to visualize the interaction between them. Combined research will deepen our understanding surrounding what happens when we are sleeping and dreaming.

    Research has determined that the mind does not rest while it is sleeping. Instead it is a continual process in which it organizes and stores information absorbed during the waking day. It has been established that during specific times of sleep the mind enters a state of dreaming. Dreaming occurs during the rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Since dreaming occurs during sleep it makes sense that it would be studied in context of it. Now that this connection has been established research involving the questions who, what, where, when, why and how can begin to be answered. As well, dream therapy is used in a clinical setting to help individuals become more connected and involved in their waking life. Therapeutic techniques are also used for individuals suffering from mental illness. Understanding dreams as a whole will help these therapeutic techniques to become more reliable and beneficial to the clients. There are a lot of positive elements that can come out of studying dreams, however dreams cannot be studied without the context of sleep.

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  21. Maureen PartridgeMay 21, 2013 at 5:11 PM

    As we have read, all throughout history, as documented in the Van de Castle book, every civilization since 3100 B.C., has produced their own theory on what messages, symbols and meanings dreams posess. It's seems only natural, and essential that dreams and sleep are co-researched, as obviously you can't have one without the other. Basing further research on what others have already discovered, about both bodies of study, as well as combining the realms together in one research entity can only provide more learning, education and explanation of our dreams, their imagery, and the messages our brains are trying to tell us.

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    1. I agree that by combining the two fields of study a clearer interpretation of human dreams is/can be achieved.

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  22. Even in the earliest times in history dreams have been associated with sleep. As listed in the textbook, certain groups of people had symbols carved into their headboards to prevent evil dreams, thus depicting a known association between dreaming and sleep. Although the two have not been studied together until recently, it is important that researchers study both together for the following reasons. Firstly, dreams occur during sleep, specifically during REM sleep. It is during sleep that dream-like images and thoughts can occur and thus studying dreams in isolation from sleep would not make sense. Through studying the two together, researchers can view brain wave activity during REM sleep, to try to better understand dreams. Secondly, dreams can also affect sleep. It was found in one study that participants had disturbed sleep as a result of “bad” dreams. If researchers study dreams and sleeping concurrently, specifically dream’s affect on sleeping, they would be better able to help these individuals.

    Dreaming is very individualized, as the individual is the only one that experiences their dreams. Resultantly, when sleep and dreams were studied separately, the knowledge of dreams likely relied much on self-report. Studying sleeping and dreams together through tests such as brain waves, allows researchers to have an inside look at dreams, which minimizes their sole reliance on self-report.

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  23. I believe that we must consider why the two theories have been kept separate in the past.
    Usually, theories and scientific studies pertaining to sleep are used to try to understand why people are not sleeping well, and are often focused on trying to find a medical condition. For example, things that disturb sleep, such as sleep apnea can be caused by several upper respiratory tract conditions, as can snoring or night time waking. Due to this, most research surrounds measuring air intake, rate of breathing, heart rate and hydration status.
    On the other hand, dreaming has been classically thought of as having a more emotional basis. Much research focusing on emotions and feelings of the dreamer, or trying to help diagnose a mental disturbance.
    Perhaps the newer research can and will continue to try to link the two. Does an increased emotional state cause a medical condition? Can the medical condition cause the body to increase disturbing dreams to try to alert the patient to the underlying problem? Perhaps the newer research on dreaming that takes sleep patterns into account will some day help to solve medical conditions. Learning to interpret dreams may help us to pinpoint underlying causes.

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  24. (Maggie) Stephanie SobleMay 21, 2013 at 6:28 PM

    It makes sense to have both dreaming and sleep research amalgamated because of their co-dependent relationship. Dreaming does not occur without sleep and sleep undoubtedly involves dreaming! Through combining these two bodies of research, a new perspective on the two can be born. A look at brain activity and at REM sleep can be considered during times in which certain types of dreams occur and to what intensity. Even looking at when dreams are better remembered in waking day life when the dream occurs during REM sleep and a person wakes shortly after (by being woken by something) or when the sleep cycle naturally ends. This could prove helpful to the science of dreaming as one could consider this research in its effects on helping an individual through dream therapy. Through further understanding on what occurs during sleep, if certain sleep conditions effect their person's dreams and dreaming, and what that means for that individual, could all prove useful in dream therapy. This could help the individual to have some answers as to why they have the sleep and dreaming behaviours/ patterns they are experiencing and how it can be helped.

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    1. Hi Maggie!

      Have you ever dreamt about something that stays with you for very long time and you can still fill about it?

      One day I dreamt about a white swan in a very clear water. I felt very calm and peaceful. It was a short dream but I felt so good that I do not forget about the dream and my feeling for more than 10 years. I am still not sure that what my dream meant to me back then, but I still think about the dream once in a while and feel good about myself. Even though my dream sounds good now, it could of meant something different at the time when I dreamt.

      In the future, it would be good to have a dictionary like a "Dream dictionary" that we can easily get ideas from our dreams. So people can get some ideas about the meaning of their dreams for their waking lives.

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    2. (Maggie) Stephanie SobleMay 22, 2013 at 7:52 PM

      Hi Mijung!

      I definitely have had dreams in which I can remember for years to come. Some are rather pointless (like dreaming about having spaghetti for Christmas Eve dinner- not a tradition in my house!) and one in particular is very abstract and unlike any other dreams I've ever had. I won't get into all the details, but it involved 3 types of animals, one that could fly, one that ran on ground, and one that swam, and there was this high speed boat chase in an huge underground water canal. Very strange. But I've remembered it for years!

      As for a "Dream dictionary"? I do know of a couple different Dream Encyclopedias. I had the privilege to look through a huge one once! I know Amazon has a few for sale online, and I'm sure Chapters would have something too! They are certainly interesting to compare and see what others have interpreted what certain things symbolize when they appear in a dream. That being said, I think it is also important to interpret what things mean to you and what your own meaning of their appearance is in your dreams. I think that this is what Dream therapy focuses on. It would be nice to give someone a book and say "look it up!" but everything is so individualized that it is hard to generalize a meaning of any one particular symbol.

      Thank you so much for sharing your dream! It does sound very peaceful! I hope you are able to recall that one and the peace it gave you during more stressful times in your life. It sounds like it would be a great "happy place".

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  25. Dreaming and sleep must be both researched due to the fact that they are correlated to one another. We must sleep in order to have dreams and the amount of sleep we get can be critical to our overall well being and health. I believe that by looking at our dreams and studying what certain dreams can do to the brain activity during an individuals sleep can tell us certain things. Perhaps for example it would be interesting to see what the brain activity looks like during a nightmare. Another point I would like to make is that we go through many sleep cycles within a night, it would be rather interesting to see which cycles develop dreams, which dreams are more vivid to the patient and so on. Another aspect that dreams and sleeping could prove beneficial to future research on this matter could be dealing with specific sleep issues. Sleeping disorders are very common in today's society and dreams could be the underlining reason for this and many other sleeping patterns/problems we all face at least once in our lives.

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    1. I agree, I think more research needs to be done on dreams and dreaming and how it affects sleep. Lack of sleep or inability to fall asleep are often treated by medications instead of getting at the real source of the problem. This could be perhaps the bodies reflexive response to bad dreams or possibly dreams revealing the true issues at hand and us not wanting to face this.

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  26. I agree, I think that it is important to research both sleep and dreams because without one you would not have the other. Sleep and dreams coincide with one another and in order to gain a greater understanding of sleep I think that the study of dreams is also important. Sleep is also very important to our over all health and can be very beneficial to individuals. By merging the study of sleep and dreams I think that it will help researchers gain a better understanding of sleep as well as the impact dreams can have on individuals and their sleep. By not studying dreams and sleep together researchers will not be able to fully understand the effects of sleep on individuals and the potential benefits it can have for them. Like the previous post, I also think that studying dreams could help unlock the mysteries of sleep disorders and sleeping patterns because dreams come from the unconscious; thoughts, memories, and desires that are not in ones conscious.

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  27. I think that because dreams and sleep are interrelated that it would be beneficial to research them as a whole, rather than focusing on the two separately. I do however think that the prior research of the separate studies is beneficial, because if an individual is experiencing a difficulty of sleeping there could be a medical cause or a psychological cause, it is important to distinguish the difference between the two; in order for an appropriate treatment plan to be made. I think by merging the study it would allow for researchers to gain vital information about how sleep and dreaming impact each other. Personally, I would like to see research focus on the individuals who cannot verbalize or communicate their dreams, for example those with intellectual disabilities that are non-verbal. I think it would be extremely interesting to determine if said individuals have and remember their dreams in anyway.

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    1. I find it interesting that you brought up the communication of dreams for people who are verbally or intellectually disabled. I am very interested to examine the differences of dreams from congenitally blind individuals, adulthood blindness, and 20/20 sighted individuals. The imaginative nature of the human brain could be explored, and the interpretation of dreams would probably be much more difficult. I think this is also an area where the amalgamation of sleep and dream research could become vital.

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    2. I also like that you brought up the potential to understand the dreams of those with intellectual disabilities or are non-verbal. That might open many doors in better understanding issues they may be facing or thought processes. Knowing and understanding their dreams might assist with better accommodating their needs and wishes. If these could be explored as Aaron states, although pose a difficulty in interpreting it would be a fascinating area of research.

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    3. Maureen PartridgeMay 23, 2013 at 6:58 PM

      I too find this concept very interesting, I work with non-verbal students with Autism and most of them have difficulty sleeping. Teaching them to communicate in their waking day life is definitely a daily challenge, I wonder if having them communicate their dreams would give us any insight on how their brains work differently than a neuro-typical brain!

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  28. Why do I sleep? I sleep because I am tired and I know that I dream during my sleep. Sometime I can recall that I have dreamt many dreams, but usually I only remember one or two. Some dreams are very clear and vivid, but others are not. Sometimes, I wake up because I can hear my laughing from my dreams, but other times I wake up because I hear myself crying out loud.

    I guess the scientific literatures of dreams and sleeping were separated in the past because they could not prove the association between them scientifically. Just like the reason why I sleep, people might of thought sleeping is needed as a source of relaxation that stops functions of both mind and body. Therefore, it might have been difficult to prove the association between dreams and sleep because dreams are very similar to our walking life.

    Now, we know that our mind does not stop functioning while we sleep (Kostopoulos, 2012). There are two different sleep phases: Rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep and non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep (Kostopoulos, 2012). During sleep, four stages of NREM sleep is followed by a REM sleep (Kostopoulos, 2012). Dreams occur during the REM sleep (Kostopoulos, 2012). During REM sleep, the brain is active very similar to awake or alert but in a very relaxed way (Kostopoulos, 2012). Actually, dreams occur throughout the night, but we only remember those that occur during REM sleep (Kostopoulos, 2012). According to research, dreams are continuous of waking life that means dreams are related to our waking life (Neikrug & Ancoli-Israel, 2012). According to DeCicco (2007), dream interpretation methods can help dreamer's to discover their waking life. Research shows that the dream interpretations can be beneficial for some disorders (i.e. cancer, postraumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety, addictions) (DeCicco, 2007). Neikrug and Ancoli-Israel (2012) suggested that if REM sleep is deprived, people are more likely to be irritable, anxious, or depressed. If we can study to control the length or the quality of REM sleep by using similar wave of electroencephalogram, we might be able to help people who cannot have the REM sleep. Or, we may be able to make people to have REM sleep only instead of going through the cycle of four stages of NREM sleep and a REM sleep during a dream interpretation therapy.

    I believe by understanding the association between dreams and sleep, we can bridge between the walking life and the dreaming life and we may even be able to use the dream interpretation methods as a tool of diagnose.



    DeCicco, T. L (2007). What is the story telling? Examining discovery with the storytelling method (TSM) and testing with a control group. Dreaming, 17(4), 227-238.

    Kostopoulos, G. K. (2012). Recent advances in sleep physiology of interest to psychoanalysis. International Forum of Psychoanalysis, 21(3-4), 229-238.

    Neikrug, A. B., & Ancoli-Israel, S. (2012). Diagnostic tools for REM sleep behavior disorder. Sleep Medicine Reviews, 16(5), 415-429.

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  29. I think that it is important to connect the two bodies of research as they do not occur in isolation but are intermingled with each other and cannot be separated. Without sleep dreams just simply wouldnt occur as they do in the REM stage of sleep.

    This would be benifical for research because it would allow for people to expereience the benfits of intreprataing and processing theinformation from their dreams that they may not be aware is occuring if they have never heard of dream therapy and its related branches of research. Because everyone experiences dreams differently, increased knowledge and exposure to the concept would allow for a variety of different outcomes which otherwise wouldnt be obtainable from peoples varying experiences.

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  30. Samantha EllertonMay 22, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    It is important to merge sleep and dream research together as others have noted, because of the strong connection between the two. Studies of dreams are conducted when those being studied are sleeping and when studies on sleep are conducted it could be possible that the person is also dreaming at such time. Furthermore I believe that not only can these two fields of research be connected in terms of occurring at the same time, I am sure it is possible for each of these subjects to influence the other. Depending on how well you are able to sleep could possibly determine the vividness of dreams that are dreamt or perhaps even disturb the natural process of REM sleep that we go through. In return if we are able to understand and come to discovery with our dreams, it could help some people sleep better and in a sense not worry about what they may possibly dream about.

    I believe it would not be beneficial to isolate these two fields based on the logical and empirical research possibly already examined on the correlation between sleeping and dreaming. If sleep is combined with dreaming it can assist in dream research for the better, as the possible influential factors that sleep has on dreams in terms of vividness, ability to understand dreams and recall dreams can be established and addressed. This then can hopefully result in richer interpretations of dreams and a greater success at discovery within our dreams.

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  31. The amalgamation of sleep and dream research would be beneficial for understanding the aetiology of sleep and dream phenomena. Sleep research is often concerned with sleep disorders, and the risks of sleep deprivation rather than the importance of sleep to dreaming. Sleep and dreaming should be considered one cohesive entity since they both rely on each other to influence an individual's psychological, social, and physical functioning. A comprehensive model considering both dreaming and sleep theories may be more effective in establishing associative mechanisms for sleep disorders. From what I've read in the "Giant Compass" and "Our Dreaming Mind", dreams have been very important in self-reflection of our own behaviours and health. Sleep research could provide a physiological approach that could connect the mind-body relationship concept past conventional dream theories. A greater understanding of REM sleep may be beneficial for both dream science and sleep sciences. For example, if sleep science was able to validate the importance of dreams to the function of sleeping through physiological pretences - I believe many people would critical analyze their dreams more.
    The science of dreaming requires more validation from sleep researchers to thrive in a society that follows a medical model, in which when someone becomes sick they treat the physical sickness rather than the bigger picture (psychological effects, social effects etc.). Sleep science can provide a greater understanding of the dreaming process based on brain activity (EEG) and molecular approaches to determine the state of the brain during dreams. The applications of dream-sleep research are endless since it can incorporate two similar ends of research just as genetics and environment formed the research field of epigenetics.

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  32. Jennifer KerswillMay 22, 2013 at 5:47 PM

    The amalgamation of sleep and dreaming seems like it should be obvious, as they happen at the same time and both provoke bodily responses. Dreams through strong emotional responses elicited from dream imagery, whether it be fear or elation, and sleeping through the distinct stages of the sleep cycle which induce the release of chemicals in the brain. Both of these happening simultaneously is not coincidence. There has to be a relationship that is yet to be discovered.

    This would be very helpful to the growing science of dreaming as I think that dreams have in recent years been viewed as whimsical and not based in science whereas sleep has been extensively studied as we now know the different stages of sleep and the brain responses to these and what is happening to our bodies at the time. If we could place this same importance on the dreaming component I think it would be beneficial to how dreams are viewed and increase the "value" of dreams as they relate to our daily lives and what they are trying to reveal to us.

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  33. I think it is important to amalgamate the studies of dreaming and sleeping because you cannot dream without sleep, and normally cannot sleep without dreams. One doesn't tend to come without the other. Therefore, they are intertwined. To truly understand something, like the new field of dream science is attempting to do, one must study everything involved. Sleeping is involved in dreaming. Therefore, to help discover the world of dreams, one needs to study sleep. The more research that is done on sleep and REM the more information we will have about dreams. This means we will be closer to understanding how dreams occur and what they mean.

    If sleep is studied separate from dreams, any psychology which could help people with sleeping disorders due to dreaming problems would be obsolete. Dream therapy and interpretation can help people improve their everyday waking life, which could improve their sleeping life as well.

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  34. Michelle McGrathMay 22, 2013 at 6:01 PM

    I agree with the above comments that research of sleep and dreams should work together and can benefit one another as they most often occur simultaneously. Through sleep research it is believed that dreams occur during the REM phase of sleep, and this was only discovered by combining the two bodies of research. According to Van de Castle (1994), sleep oriented researchers have often discounted the phenomenon of lucid dreaming, as this type of dreaming is thought to occur when a person has conscious awareness of their dream while it is occurring. However, by combining the study of REM sleep and lucid dreaming in laboratory controlled sleep studies, there has been evidence to support the existence of lucid dreaming. This is just one example of how the study of both sleep and dreams can enhance the understanding of the other.

    Van de Castle, R. (1994). Our dreaming mind. Washington: Random House.

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  35. It is important to combine these two areas of study to better understand the human brain. I find it hard to grasp the concept of sleep without dreaming, but through the amalgamation of these research areas, we can better understand how brain activity during sleep corresponds to dreaming. This helps us understand concepts such as the phenomenon of lucid dream, as Michelle discussed. By studying the value of dreams within sleep, we can develop strategies for improving both sleep and dream habits. The value of sleep is continually evolving, but we know that there are significant periods of learning consolidation and problem solving during sleep. By combining the effects of dreaming within sleep research, we can better understand waking life impacts of both sleep and dreaming. Ultimately, this research could lead to strategies for improving learning and problem solving.

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    1. Hannah, I agree. The greater understanding of dreams and sleeping would help us solve problems and have a greater insight into our lives than our waking selves can perceive. I do think by dissecting the dreaming process into physical actions the research takes a side-step away from the philosophical spectrum of dream query.

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  36. Courtney FriedrichMay 22, 2013 at 7:11 PM

    During sleep, it is believed that the mind works hard, and thus provides us with dreams. Therefore, without sleep one cannot dream. Thus it only makes sense to study them in unison. The study of dreaming focus' on the types of dreaming and the theories around dreams, while the study of sleep focuses on how the body responds and works during sleep.
    Through the research of sleep, particularly with the brain, we have seen that there tends to be peak periods of brain activity. When put along side the study of dreaming, we can see that these peak brain activity periods coincide with peak dreaming periods, meaning they must be correlated.
    I believe that it is important to study these two fields together, as they generally occur together, however this should only be done once they have been understood and studied separately. This can allow for a greater understanding when the two fields are amalgamated. This amalgamation can help open new doors of research and understanding in these fields of study.

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  37. I initially found it surprising to think that dreams and sleep were two separate fields of study. Upon reflection, I came to understand the logic behind it. Sleeping can be assessed as a purely physically experience, while dreaming can be regarded as a purely psychological experience. That being said, to integrate the two fields of study could prove exceedingly beneficial.

    Linking the physical state of the sleeping body to particular dreams could enlighten researchers and individual participants alike. Doing so could give greater insight to the dreamer regarding the emotions that they are/were experiencing, as brain activity in particular areas can be linked to particular emotions. In turn, it would be interesting to assess how certain types of dreams can physically affect a sleeping person, or the sleep state itself. It could also be interesting to assess the similarities/differences between day-dreams and dreams that occur during the sleep state.

    That being said, there are benefits to studying each field on its own. Studying sleep can be an important medical effort for those whose health is negatively affected by difficulties sleeping/sleep deprivation.
    Valuable information can be collected from studying the two fields separately, as well as from studying them as a working unit.

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  38. Recently, the study of dreams and sleep has amalgamated into the same body of research because science recognizes the importance of the physiological processes of dreams. Studying dreams in the same model as sleep allows you access to electrical brain activity (EEG), muscle (EMG) and eye movement (EOG) information about the subject. This type of information is what researchers use to determine if someone is in a dreaming state (REM sleep) (Van de Castle, 2004). With this information, we can then determine how often someone is in a dream state, for how long they are in a dream state and lastly what their EEG, EOG and EMG frequencies look like in a dream state. It is also stated that REM dreams are correlated with changes in a person’s physiological systems. Studying the process of sleep in this scientific way allows you to measure the activity of a person’s physiological systems (heart rate, lungs and hand muscles), to determine if they reveal normal or abnormal patterns while dreaming. For example, it has been suggested that people who suffer from mental illnesses differ not only in dream content, but also how they physiologically experience dreams. In a study conducted with patients who had schizophrenia, it was shown through EEG testing that the schizophrenic patients had significantly poorer REM sleep quality than the control group (Van de Castle, 2004). Ultimately, none of this important information regarding sleep stages and physiological processes could be obtained in dream studies without amalgamating with the study of sleep. In order to improve this growing science of dream research it is imperative to work alongside the scientific study of sleep.

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  39. It is important to amalgamate the two bodies of research (sleeping and dreaming) because it is known that one cannot exist without the other. How can one dream without sleep? Without combining these areas of research, we would not have discovered that dreaming occurs during REM sleep. Furthermore, by combining the two bodies of literature, we can now assess each stage of sleep and determine what occurs in the mind during each stage. We can now question WHY these dream-like characters occur during these different stages. Furthermore by combining the areas of sleep and dream literature, we gain insight into the growing body of discoveries for years to come. It is also known that sleeping helps restore the body; for example, one needs to sleep in order to better form memories. Therefore, if dreams are direct images of a person's life including memories for everything that has ever occurred, sleep can better aid at restoring these memories and help one discover their true self.

    That being said, it is integral to not take away the importance of studying each science on its own. Both sleeping and dreaming offer important aspects as separate pieces of literature and it is only when one understands each body of literature separately that they can then combine sleep and dreaming as a whole.

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  40. Danielle LachanceMay 22, 2013 at 8:36 PM

    I also believe that sleep and dreaming research should be almalgamated as well as studied separately, as the two areas have distinct characteristics but also have a distinct relationship.
    As researchers begin to study the two in combination, I think significant findings to unanswered questions as well as questions we've never thought to ask will be discovered. Perhaps a greater understanding of causal relationships will be realized, for instance, maybe some who experience sleep disturbances and/or disorders could be treated with dream therapy rather than regarding dreams solely as a symptom or a result of a disorder.
    I also think the combination of sleep and dream research will improve our understanding of specific brain regions and functions. As mentioned above, the type of dream one has in NREM sleep differs from REM sleep dreams and corresponds to activation in different brain regions. Similarly, and as also mentioned above, lucid dreaming demonstrates a greater activation in the prefrontal cortex compared to nonlucid dreams. Perhaps research will continue to find different types of dreams and that they occur at different stages of sleep or activate different brain regions than other types of dreams. I'd be curious to find out if precognitive dreams demonstrate a different pattern than dreams that support the continuity hypothesis.
    I also think combining the two areas of research may help explain why some dreams leave us feeling both physically and emotionally exhausted, as if we were living the dream throughout the night and did not acquire any sleep at all, despite EEG recordings indicating otherwise. As well, whether or not such dreams actually leave us ego depleted and physically drained or if it's all just "in our head."
    Finally, I think combining sleep and dreaming research may lead to the realization that dreaming is more vital to our existence than we realize. I find it interesting that the longer we're sleep deprived, the quicker we fall into REM sleep. Is there something vital about the dreams we experience in REM that contributes to this?

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  41. Dreams and sleep have recently been combined due to helpful information that both possess. They work together as one better than people thought. This is especially true because we know that one needs to sleep in order to dream. "Day dreaming" and other terms have been coined, however. It is made out that dreams are more of a physiological state and sleep is more of a physical state. In the past, sleep has been researched in terms of REM sleep and so on. These things are physical that the body does. On the other hand, dreams are more mental and not physical.
    When combined, sleep and dreams can highly contribute to research. They can help with people with sleep problems. Dreams often reflect waking day life so that is helpful with people with sleep issues such as insomnia. We can use dreams to help with sleep patterns or we can use sleep patterns to help with dreams such as nightmares. Now, researchers are looking past the physical aspects and also mental aspects. They used to look at things that were more biologically necessary or concerning. This is relatable to the diagnosis of mental disorders now. Individuals are diagnosed with certain disorders now whereas back then, they were just called "crazy." Times have changed and have positively influenced our culture. Combining the disciplines of sleep and dreams is very important to research.

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  42. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Combining sleeping and dreaming research is very important because it helps the clinical researchers to the clear picture of the correlation between sleep and dream. As we all know, dream is images and thoughts which occur in rapid eye movement, one of the stages of sleep. Therefore, amalgamation of both sleep and dream research will lead to discovery of other psychological disorders such as PTSD and well-being

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  43. Amalgamating the two bodies of research is important and can be helpful to the growing science of dreaming. Studying not only dream theories, types of dreams and dreams themselves, but looking at what is going on in the brain and body physiologically will contribute resourceful information to this science. According to Van De Castle (1994), it is said that dreams occur during the REM phase of sleep. It has been found that increased dreaming periods run parallel with similar brain activity periods. Studies have also shown that dreams can affect physiological aspects of the body. One study I read discussed how individuals taking part had interrupted sleep because they kept waking up from bad dreams. Looking into the affect that dreams have on sleep and the sleep cycle may also be an interesting area to study.

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    1. I agree that this is a very interesting area of research in terms of the sleep-dreams interaction. It demonstrates that not only are the two phenomena directly related, and that examining one may lead to conclusions about the other, but that combining them may also reveal discoveries relating to health and well-being, which is one of the foundations of dream research.

      ~ Ellen Coombs

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  44. Sleep and dreaming research should be combined to better understand the subjective experiences of the patient. Sleep is a necessary essential for good health and well-being. And as we discussed in the previous blog, dreams give us information about our waking life state that we may not have learned otherwise, including physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. At this point, I question the relevance of studying sleep without studying dreams. I think that to study sleep, one must study dreams, and to study dreams on must study sleep.
    MRIs have been used to map the activity of the brain during REM state when the patient to better understand the body's physical reaction to subjective perceptions during dreaming. Although the two fields of research have previously been very separate, the void closes with time. Advanced technology now allows for the mapping of subjective dream experiences for outside party review: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/japan/3705790/Scientists-develop-software-that-can-map-dreams.html

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  45. Bethany de KoningMay 23, 2013 at 11:49 AM

    Dreaming occurs when a person is sleeping and therefore occur simulataneously. I think it is important to study both dreams and sleep together because if they occur at the same time then there could be connections between them. Studying them together could reveal how sleep affects dreaming and vice versa. It will lead to more discoveries of different variables that can have an affect on both sleep and dreaming. If we know these connections, we will be able to maximize the best way to sleep and dream and have better sleep and dream outcomes.

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  46. I think it is important to study both dreams and sleep together as well as separately. There is always something new to learn about the brain, for example how it works while an individual is sleeping and dreaming. In order to have a good understanding of how the brain works during sleep I believe that it is necessary to also understand the brains role in dreaming. It is important to study sleep and dreaming together to fully understand how they work together and how they affect each other. Having a better understanding of both sleep and dreaming will help in many other fields of work as well.

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  47. Ashleigh-Anne GureckasMay 23, 2013 at 5:41 PM

    Combining knowledge from sleep studies and studies regarding dreaming is very important in my opinion. Dreams occur while we are asleep, and therefore are obviously hypothesized as having a correlation.
    As we now know, dreams occur when a sleeper reaches REM sleep, and the study of sleep in this (and the other four) stages of sleep combined with the study of dreaming can help us understand if there is a correlation, and why it is occurring. Whether that is something physiological, spiritual, cognitive, if we keep these disciplines separate we loose out on understanding and interpreting knowledge that may be a correlating and connected factor of sleeps and dreams being connected - or unconnected.
    I believe that each discipline should be studied on its own to promote the most in depth research and specialization, but literature and science should not ignore the other discipline when interpreting meaning to sleep and dreaming because it seems that the information and science of one can help us understand many things about the other.

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  48. I honestly dont know how one can be truly understood without the other. Although dreaming is a fascinating study in itself and infact sleep is to, I don't think you can truly understand one without the other. I think it is important to study the two together because we already understand that as you sleep this is the time when the brain is sorting through the information throughout the day and putting it into your memory. Obviously as this is all happening there is some subconscious information that is stored in the dreamers brain that makes it's way into the mind of the dreamer as they are sleeping. The ability to track brain signals and understand the specific time when dreaming occurs is extremely important for understanding what it takes for an individual to dream, be able to remember their dream and what exactly is happening at that time when the individual is dreaming and the process behind dreaming.
    It is helpful that each can be studied on its own because there is obviosuly so much information and detail that can be explored in each, but I truly believe to fully understand both sleep and specifically for this course; dreaming, both should be considered when discussing the process, time and meaning of dreams.

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  49. It is important to combine the two because they are both so strongly related. Dreaming occurs mostly in REM sleep which is part of the sleep cycle. in order to understand dreaming, you must understand sleep. By understanding the processes of sleep, such as the physiological responses and the effects, you can understand how dreaming works and the potential outcomes it has on the dreamer.

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  50. Nathylova NesmonMay 24, 2013 at 10:09 AM

    Although it makes sense to study both dreams and sleep separately, as the science discipline were attempting to understand both aspects on its' own. Generally, everyone would agree that dreams on its' own is an extremely fascinating topic to study. Thus it can be studied without sleep in relation to individuals waking life. In addition, we also dream while we are awake (daydream) which reveals another way that dreams can be scientifically studied without involving sleep.

    On the other hand, the study of sleep itself contains a mass amount of information. For example we know that there are four stages of sleep through the scientific studies of sleep. the information obtained from these studies should be applied to dreams.

    As stated above, since dreams mostly occur while sleeping, it is beneficial to integrate both disciplines. One cannot be fully understood without the other because of a strong correlation. amalgamating both bodies of research together will expand the scientific theories for both disciplines and lead to new discoveries. As a result, it will increase public's knowledge of brain activities during sleep, and it will lead to a more understanding of one's own dreams.

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