** Please note: This blog post was written in whole or in part as an assignment for a class that I was taking. If you decide to use some of my work in your own assignments, please give credit where credit is due and cite your source! Thanks :) **
For this journal entry assignment relating to the reading chapter on Consciousness, we were to discuss our dreams, specifically:
- Do you remember your dreams? If so, are they more vivid at times of creativity? Describe some common themes in your dreams.
- Has there ever been a time, other than in sleep, when your consciousness was significantly altered? What happened? How did you transition back to consciousness?
- Have you ever been sleep-deprived (have you been jetlagged or have you pulled an all-nighter)? How did you feel? Describe how your circadian rhythm affected your sleepiness, if at all.
I remember many of my dreams. I may not remember them from one day to the next, or even beyond the first few minutes of waking up, but I usually remember something of them to some degree.
I have not noticed that my dreams have been more vivid during any particular event occurring in my life, or at any point in my week where I have felt more creative. I have definitely had vivid dreams but I don’t notice a pattern of anything that triggers them more often than other times, except maybe when I am more stressed or more upset about something.
When I was younger I frequently had recurring dreams that went on for years. One was somewhat of a mild nightmare in which a group of myself and my friends would go to the house across the street and find that it wasn’t a house but an old convenience store that had been abandoned and was falling down. We could see some stairs leading down into darkness but would never want to go and see what was down there. In the end of the dream I would venture down alone usually, but sometimes with one friend, and as we reached the bottom we would run screaming back up the stairs and I would wake up. I never found out what was down there that scared me so much.
Another recurring dream that I had as a child actually grew up with me. It started when I was fairly young and in the dream I had found a whole secret room that I could get into through the back of my grandmothers kitchen cupboard. When I got through I had to squeeze through some narrow openings and climb up a hole in the ceiling and then there was a whole place to sit and imaginary creatures to talk to and books to read. As I got older it got harder and harder for me to squeeze through the cupboard and climb through the whole until one time I finally made it through and sat down with my “friends” and told them that I wouldn’t be able to come back again. I was so sad in the dream and sad when I woke up. I never had the dream again after that, but I still remember it, and remember what it felt like to know that I wouldn’t be going back.
I have never had any times where my consciousness was altered. I have never been knocked unconscious and I have never fainted. I don’t even drink very much, so I have never experienced even a self-induced altering of consciousness.
I have, however, been sleep-deprived due to various reasons. I was always a “night owl” when I was younger and frequently worked the afternoon or later shifts at work. I had a job once where we did events for kids that were sometimes overnight. Since I was already awake earlier in the day and didn’t like to take naps, I would just stay up through the event and into the next day. Since I was young, I didn’t really notice much of an issue with staying up for 24 hours or more, except to sleep for a long time after I finally got to bed!
Now that I’m older, I have a hard time functioning if I have to stay awake for too long. A couple of years ago I went to Las Vegas. We had a very early morning flight so I didn’t get much sleep the night before, and when we got there it was earlier because of the time zones. Since it was still early in the day we didn’t want to waste time going to our hotel and sleeping, so we stayed up and saw the sights, well into the night. By the time we decided to head back to the hotel I remember walking along the sidewalk not really understanding how to walk and just moving forward by rote. I know that I don’t remember seeing anything that we passed by on the street because the next day I couldn’t remember much of anything past a certain point.
I think that I definitely feel the circadian rhythm more now that I’m older. I know that if I had to switch to a job that had afternoon or midnight shifts now that I would have a very difficult time adjusting to it!