Halloween is here. Pumpkins have been scraped out and positioned, homes have been decorated with all manner of scary cobwebs and spiders and face paint fangs and fearful masks ready to go once more, and I feel like hiding!
For some, like me, this time of year really is scary and it might even prevent us getting a good night’s sleep – fear not as I have news for you!
Having read my favourite bible Mathew Walker’s ‘Why we sleep’ in my perpetual research into why exactly our clothes help you sleep better, he has come up with some great insights into whether our dreams really do matter and can we interpret them to give us insights into daily life and most importantly can scary events such as Halloween is to me, really disturb our night’s sleep?
According to the well known expert on dreams, Freud was the first to deduce that our dreams are not the result of being sent from the gods as the Greeks believed, but in fact they come from our own minds.
Even before him it was Aristotle who dismissed the idea that dreams are sent from Heaven and believed that instead dreams have their origins in recent waking moments for example, my fears might be correct about disturbed sleep at Halloween.
However, Freud could at that time never prove his theory as no scientist had at that time, devised an experiment that could analytically verify his theory that the mind controls dreams and they came from unconscious wishes that have not been fulfilled and that there is a filter within the mind that camouflages these wishes and desires.
Without being able to prove Freud’s theory, scientists and particularly Mathew Walker are skeptical about where dreams come from and whether they can be interpreted at all.
He believes that to review your dream yourself is “a very helpful thing to do, as dreams do have a function and journaling your waking thoughts, feelings and concerns has a proven mental health benefit, and the same appears true of your dreams”
So writing down your dream can be a very healthy thing to do and we would expect as Aristotle thought, that recent experiences might appear in dreams – Freud called this ‘day residue’
Walker gives us undisputed evidence that this is in fact utterly untrue with an experiment led by his friend and colleague Robert Stickgold except for one thing:
Stickgold got twenty nine adults for two weeks to keep a log of what they did everyday, i.e. go to work, meals, friends, and he also got these volunteers to keep a dream journal, writing down their dreams first thing in the morning everyday to see if there were any similarities between location, actions, objects, characters, themes and emotions:
The similarity was only found in 1-2 % of the volunteers. In other words, we do not replay our day in our dreams and Halloween will not trouble my sleep tonight!
However, he did discover that between 35-55% of emotional themes and concerns participants were having during their day, DID resurface in their dreams at night time.
This leads to the conclusion that actually our emotional concerns do come back to us when we are asleep and Freud is incorrect – there is no filter or veil preventing them. Our dream sources are transparent and according to Walker, we don’t need any interpreter.
So, to reflect, although Halloween might frighten me because of the sights and sounds that I experience, it is the emotion of fear that I will experience, that could potentially affect my dreams and to stop this from happening in advance, my best trick and treat is to wear my Homebody pyjamas to bed and by enjoying the silky soft experience of Homebody, lulling into a perfect night’s sleep!
To experience for yourself, shop the collection here