Friday, June 30, 2006

Fun with Z

A couple nights ago I had the good ol' sleep paralysis happen to me. It's been close to 2 years since I last had it. It is really spooky if you don't know what it is.

Basically, your brain is awakened from REM sleep before your body does. So you're fully conscious, but have no motor control. I do get the sensation that I can move my eyes about the room.

It's pretty cool in a horror movie adrenaline high kind of way. My natural reaction is to fight it, every time. I will my limbs to move and after awhile I break out of it. Mentally, it feels like 2-3 minutes before I have control. I feel pressure, but no hallucinations. No aliens, no monsters, no nothing. It must be because my mind is trained to be skeptical. I had bad nightmares when I was young though. I feel normal once I break out of it.

Then there's lucid dreaming. This is better than any game you will ever play in your life. This is as rare as sleep paralysis. I've had maybe 2 or 3 experiences total. And the last one was about 4 years ago.

It's fantastic. You're awake in the dream world and can influence the dream. You know you're dreaming. I've never had any control over the initial conditions of the dream, but I recall it's usually in a city. Then of course I go off and do crazy Neo-Superman things. Flying, deforming objects, creating objects, wooing teh wimmins. It's The Sims on a grand scale. I can see it now: Will Wright's SimSleep.

I can feel when I'm about to awaken from the lucid dream as things start vanishing into a white haze. Then my eyes open. What other stuff is there? Oh. Knowing you're about to enter REM but then losing control to REM sleep and unable to lucid dream. Dreaming you've woken up in your dream, going about your daily life, then waking up. I'm a deep REM sleeper I think. Occasionally waking up with numb limbs is fun. :) Loud noises snap me out of sleep.

I don't get enough sleep during the week so I make it all up during the weekend. Crossing the international date line always messes me up for about a week. I've found the easiest way for me to combat it, is to just force myself to stay awake those initial days. Then my body gets so bloody tired as to start a fresh sleep cycle timed to the new hours.

I find sleep science fascinating. What if we never slept? Meaning what if biology didn't need to power down and refresh? What would our world be like? Always on. Would we miss dreaming? Would we be less creative?

By TVT - 1:15 p.m. |

Steve Pavlina has a category on his site devoted to lucid dreaming, including a podcast. I haven't tried to induce a lucid dream deliberately, but apparently he talks about how to do so.
Weirdly the most vividly lucid dream I've ever had was the night after I watched Waking Life, which is actually kind of a pisser because I found the harping in the movie kind of annoying, even though visually it was stunning. Damn you for being on to something, Richard Linklater! ;)
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