7 surprising facts about sleep and dreaming

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book2My new book on sleep and dreaming, Night School, is published today.  It has been 2 years in the making and so I am very excited to see it out there!  Based on research, mass-participation experiments and the world’s largest archive of dream reports, it reveals how to…

…get the best night’s sleep of your life
…discover what your dreams really mean
…learn information while you sleep
….banish jet-lag, nightmares and snoring

To give you a flavour of the material, here are 7 surprising facts about sleep and dreaming…

1) If you want to feel sleepy when you head to bed …
Banish the blues: Blue light from computer screen and smartphones keeps you awake.  Try turning down the screen brightness or wearing glasses with amber-tinted lenses for two to three hours before you go the bed.

2)  If you want to fall asleep quickly…
Use positive imagery and the paradox principle: First, imagine yourself in a very pleasant scenario. Make the scenario as detailed as possible, but avoid anything that’s too exciting, perhaps planning your dream holiday or thinking about your perfect evening out. If that doesn’t work, try to stay awake. Strange as it sounds, forcing yourself to actually remain awake is one of the best ways of nodding off.

3) If you lie in bed feeling worried …
The list: If you have a lot on your mind, make a list of all of the things that you have to do the next day. If you are worrying about something specific, jot that down too and try to allow the thought to drift through your mind, rather than focusing on it.

 4) If you wake up in the middle of the night …
The jigsaw method: You might be experiencing a perfectly natural phenomenon known as ‘segmented sleep’, where people sleep in two long blocks, with a gap of roughly thirty minutes between them. However, if you lie awake for more than twenty minutes, get up and do something non-stimulating for a few minutes, such as working on a jigsaw.

5) If you want to help overcome jet lag…..
Book flights following the simple adage, ‘Fly east, fly early. Fly west, fly late’.

 6) If you are experiencing a recurring nightmare, or bad dream …
Imagery rehearsal therapy: Spend some time during the day describing your nightmare, creating a different ending for the episode, and then imagining this new and improved ending. Studies show that this simple technique stops nightmares 90 per cent of the time.

 7) If you want to gain an insight into your concerns and worries …
Dream work:Describe a striking dream in detail, look for ways in which it applies to your life, and then use this as the basis for change. Research shows that around 80 per cent of people find that this yields an important insight into their concerns.

 I hope you enjoy Night School!  You can buy the book in the UK here and in the US here.

 

 

23 comments on “7 surprising facts about sleep and dreaming

  1. Reblogged this on SleeplessPsyche and commented:
    Excellent psychologically evidenced advice on getting a good nights sleep!

  2. Adrian says:

    I don’t remember my dreams at all, unless I’ve got a fever, and then they’re just nonsensical semblances of reality. Any tips for actually remembering dreams, for those who don’t?

    P.S. If you do use a computer at night, I highly recommend a small app called ‘flux’ it was for Mac originally, but there’s a Windows version too. It gives your screen that amber tint, and it’s amazing. And free. Highly recommended.

  3. Eddie says:

    Anything about lucid dreaming in there? I reckon I do that sometimes.

  4. DAve says:

    Less than a minute. An easy puzzle this week

  5. Eddie says:

    “I hope you enjoy Night School! You can buy the book in the UK here and in the US here.” Why’s it so much more expensive in the UK?

    • Tapejara says:

      Because you’re comparing the USA’s Kindle and softback editions to the UK’s hardback edition. Hardback’s always more expensive, but the Kindle does sell at an equivalent price.

  6. Dyslexic Agnostic Insomniac says:

    I lie awake at night wondering if there is a Dog.

  7. I was curious if you ever considered changing the layout of your website?
    Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more
    in the way of content so people could connect with it better.
    Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or two pictures.
    Maybe you could space it out better?

  8. Because of the comment spam and now this “buzzfeed” article, I’m wondering if there isn’t a sad trend happening here. Makes me want to stop following your work, Richard. You should be well aware you need to fix your broken windows.

  9. fotoflex2013 says:

    Your new book is excellent! Only two minutes in, I was fast asleep.
    Luckily my workmates woke me up in time to go home.🙂

  10. karlo says:

    Por fin dormiré bien esta noche; sera estupendo leerlo y saber que descansare muy amena mente. Me agrada la idea.

  11. bert says:

    all i can say is i like you richard wiseman and all your books alot … a wonderful man always providing some little titbit that will make your life better …🙂

  12. Rachel says:

    This is great information. So many people have trouble falling asleep. I recommend practicing yoga, it really helps you to relax.

  13. Karen says:

    I banned worry from my night time a long time ago. Now I just think of all the cool things I will get to do when I retire. Or I count to 100 or I say a mantra. I am enjoying your book on 1-minute life improvemets but it is taking much longer to finish the book than 1 minute!

  14. M says:

    Is there an audio version of this book? I would like to listen to it while I sleep.

  15. DMD says:

    Regarding point 7 there is definitely truth in this. I have found when analysing my own dreams that they consist of two aspects – the items and imagery in the scenes, and the way it makes me feel. The imagery seems to come from things I’ve seen or am thinking about. But the way it makes me feel comes from things that are playing on my mind and bugging me.

    For example I might dream of a room containing lots of boxes and try as I might I cannot find the one I’m looking for. The boxes will relate to something I’ve seen in the day, perhaps I was thinking of getting some storage boxes to tidy up. The feeling of constantly trying but not being able to find the one I’m looking will relate to some part of my life where I am trying to gain control over a situation but am not able to, eg a problem with a relative that seems to be going in circles.

    I use these insights to help prioritise which areas of my life I want to deal with, on the basis that if they are bugging me enough to form feelings in a dream then they probably need more of my attention.

  16. cant dream says:

    Wot if u dont dream

  17. […] En als bonus 7 verrassende feiten over slapen en dromen van Richard Wiseman (de man heeft een boek t… […]

  18. […] Staying in bed when unable to get to sleep – if you can’t fall asleep within twenty minutes, get out of bed and do something that occupies your brain without stressing out. Sleep expert, Professor Richard Wiseman, suggests working on a jigsaw. […]

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