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Friday, August 01, 2008
By PETER GOTT, M.D. Newspaper Enterprise Association
8/1/2008 Last Modified: 8/1/2008 2:34 AM
Dear Dr. Gott: Are dreams healthful?
Dear Reader: Yes, they are. Dreams occur during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep stages. A sequence of dreams in a progressive pattern often appears to resolve emotional issues by working through them in a step-by-step manner and by comparing them to successful challenges from the past. A dreamer is likely to awaken in an uplifted mood after such an evening of dreams. Sometimes dreams fail to resolve emotional problems, and the dreamer awakens in a bad mood.
It is often said that people solve problems when they dream. They might awaken abruptly from a sound sleep with those thoughts still fresh in their minds. A resolution is apparent, and restful sleep follows.
Then there is the person who can’t remember a single facet of a dream once awakening in the middle of the night. It’s difficult to analyze whether this is good or a sign of something else.
There are several circumstances that appear to prevent dreams from occurring. Numerous over-the-counter and prescription medications (particularly antidepressants) and alcohol hold back the normal dreaming process. Researchers have found a connection between the loss of dreaming and serious illness.
Philosophers, inventors, writers and people from every walk of life have attributed dreams to inspiration for painting masterpieces, poetry, prize-winning novels and more. So, to say the least, most dreams are good.
To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report “Sleep/Wake Disorders.” Other readers who would like a copy should send a self-addressed, stamped No. 10 envelope and $2 to Newsletter, PO Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092. Be sure to mention the title.