Is your body trying to tell you something as you sleep? Harvard Psychologist Deirdre Barrett, Ph.D. confirms what people have always known; answers, ideas, and inspiration can come while we sleep.
Dr. Barrett has spent her career studying the science of dreaming and has some compelling insights on how you can first remember your dreams, then make them work for you!
Enjoy the show!
Follow along with the Transcript
Inspired Sleep – Putting Your Dreams to Work – Deirdre Barrett # 464
Links/Resources for Deirdre Barrett
- Deirdre on Dreaming!
- Nightmares, what can cause them?
- What substances can cause you to have different kinds of dreams?
- Deirdre on “The Committee of Sleep.”
- On losing dreams: “Late stage fetuses have the most REM time. God knows what they’re dreaming about, but then babies have the most of, I mean, post-birth creatures and then toddlers, a little less and older children a little less than that. It’s not a sudden, “Oh, they quit at this age.” It’s a very gradual decline that almost plateaus in the young adult years but actually there’s a slight loss of percentage of dream time even throughout the adult life cycle. But it’s mostly from babyhood to the start of young adulthood.”
- Can people have nightmares if they are getting sick? “A fair amount definitely make people report more nightmares and probably, they’re actually having more nightmares because the body is registering things are wrong.
- Is there some kind of like an attempt for the body to communicate with you through dreams?
- “But I think one phenomena is just that things that aren’t conscious by day often get through in our dreams because we don’t have to pay attention to all. Our band of consciousness is pretty narrow compared to everything going on in our brain.”
- Can Dreams be a sign of something going wrong in the body? “Just things that we wouldn’t notice by day because they’re being crowded out of our attention I think often get through into our dream content just because they don’t have to compete with all the sort of basic visual input.”
- Are you dreaming about a monster in your body? “I think that’s a function of just that our body is making antibodies even when they’re not working against infections and cancer and nerves are getting pushed out of the way.”
- Dierdre on sleepwalking.
- How do we put our dreams to work for us?
- What’s Dierdre’s take on the usefulness of dreams? Can we put them to work for us?
- Can people who aren’t particularly paying attention to their dreams can sometimes have breakthrough dreams.
- What is a dream incubator? “I definitely have spent a lot of time developing dream incubation techniques that help people guide their dreams toward particular questions and problems and those can really increase the rate at which our dreams give us really practical help.”
- What are some of those techniques?
- What are three different levels of steps?
- Why Deirdre thinks sleeping eight hours is just the single most important thing to increase your dream recall.
- “Just making an effort to remember more dreams, lots of people find just opens up a whole other world to them.”
- “The best forms of dream interpretation are not some expert telling you what they think your dream means.”
- What is a dog to you? “One person will say, “Well, they’re big, fierce, scary animals with short teeth that can bite you.” And the next person will say, “They’re loyal. They’re man’s best friends. They’re more reliable than your human friends.” And the next person will say, “Oh, they’re these cute little baby-like things that we need to protect.” For those three people, the dog in the dream will represent those three very different things.”
- Are there any supplements that help with lucid dreams?
- Psychological practices that you can do to have more lucid dreams.
- Techniques that work according to Dierdre. “Basically, the most effective low-tech approach is, if one’s not going to spend one’s life meditating, seemed to be a combination of what we call daytime reality checks where part of it is just asking yourself if you might be dreaming right now, and taking that question seriously, and thinking about it.”
- The idea that your dreams may solve problem at work, or tell you when a medical problem is developing in your body, or just very practical things.
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