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64801.  Tue Apr 11, 2006 5:54 am Reply with quote

This ought to fit into the Divination show: we could ask each panellist to describe a dream, and the others to interpret it.

Dreaming is associated with REM sleep - subjects awakened during REM usually report that they were dreaming (although a small number also report dreams in other phases of sleep). The neurology of dreaming is not well understood, and nor is it known what function dreams might perform. Freud and Jung both regarded them as an area of interaction between the conscious and the unconscious mind. Descartes and others pointed out that there is no objective basis for determining whether one is dreaming or awake at any given moment, with the consequence that one's perception of reality must be based on faith (because you've no way of knowing for sure that it is real).

Dreams have often been interpreted as divine messages or premonitions; predicting the future from dreams is called oneiromancy. EG: Jacob's dream of a ladder to Heaven, Joseph interpreting the dreams of Pharaoh (7 years of plenty and 7 of famine), and Daniel those of Nebuchadnezzar (the idol with the feet of clay). The nature of dreams seems to invite mystical speculation; in 1927 JW Dunne's "An Experiment With Time" postulated that you slip forwards and backwards in time when you dream:
"(These) were the ordinary, appropriate, expectable dreams; but they were occurring on the wrong nights... No, there was nothing unusual in any of these dreams as dreams. They were merely displaced in Time."
(Dunne was the designer and builder of the first British military aeroplane in 1906-7).

Recent research suggests that some animals may dream; certainly they do have REM sleep (one research method is to block the brain mechanism which paralyses the body during dreaming, so you can, for example, watch a cat act out its dream of playing with a mouse). The animal with the longest average periods of REM is the armadillo.

Lucid Dreaming is dreaming while you are aware that you are dreaming, and various ways of inducing such a state have been propounded.

189654.  Mon Jul 09, 2007 4:08 pm Reply with quote

The animal with the longest average periods of REM is the armadillo.

The animal with the most REM sleep is the duck-billed platypus, which has, depending on how the calculation is done, approximately 7-8 hours of REM sleep a day (Siegel et al. 1997; 1999).

The next contenders for the REM sleep championship are the black-footed ferret and the armadillo (Marks & Shaffery 1996; Prudom & Klemm 1973).

In general, marsupials and monotrenes have more REM sleep than placentals. The mammals with the least REM sleep are cetaceans (whales and dolphins). Early reports in captive animals did not detect any clear episodes of REM sleep (Mukhametov et al. 1977; Mukhametov 1987; Shurley et al 1969; Oleksenko et al. 1992; Flanigan 1974). Clearly if dolphins have any REM sleep at all, they can go without it for days or weeks. A more recent study on a captive grey whale demonstrated occasional twitches during sleep (Lyamin et al. 2000). The most generous estimates of the REM sleep total in these animals would be less than 15 minutes a day.

189725.  Tue Jul 10, 2007 3:11 am Reply with quote

Here's the platypus study for those interested.


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