The Meaning of Dreams

Posted on April 9, 2019


This week, Life in the Boomer Lane dreamt that she was with Prince Charles, shortly after Diana’s death. Prince Charles was represented in the dream by the persona of a close friend of LBL. LBL coached him (the actual Charles, inside of LBL’s friend) in a concise, transformational way about the meaning of his life, after Diana’s death. He cried and told a third person in the room (LBL has no idea who this was), “That’s why I love this woman so much!” (meaning LBL, not Camilla, who was probably waiting offstage to grab the now-available prince).

The dream has stayed vividly with LBL since then, while almost all other dreams have vaporized in the same way as Trump’s thousands of utterances, emanating from some place in his body other than his brain.

Coincidently, a friend of LBL then told her that she (the friend) had just attended a seminar about dreams. These two instances together were a clear sign fom Blog Heaven that LBL should be writing a post about dreams. She has already done so in another post, conveniently titled “The Meaning of Dreams,” which Loyal Readers will immediately remember.  Such Readers may now be asking “Why another blog post about dreams?” or “Why the same title?” or “Will Trump actually allow Stephen Miller to remake the Department of Homeland Security in his own Gollum-like image?”

LBL doesn’t know the answer to these questions, but she doesn know that talking about dreams is always fun, unless your dream involves being in a stalled elevator with the aforementioned Stephen Miller.  So here goes:

According to a team from The Swansea University Sleep Lab in the UK, dreaming really does help us process the memories and emotions we experience during our waking lives.

They recruited 20 student volunteers for the study, all of whom were able to recall their dreams frequently. The students kept detailed journals of their daily lives for 10 days, as well as significant personal and emotional events. They rated their own emotions. After that, they spent time in a sleep lab being monitored with “non-invasive electroencephalography caps.”  (Note to Readers: Do not, under any circumstances ask LBL to explain the meaning of “non-invasive electroencephalography caps.” LBL believes they are like those brain-crushing rubber caps that salons used to use to highlight hair.) Researchers were able to observe and record the activity of the brain waves associated with slow-wave sleep (large irregular activity, or LIA) and rapid-eye movement sleep (theta activity).

After 10 minutes of each of these sleep cycles, the researchers would wake the students and ask them what they were dreaming. These dreams were then compared with the journals to see if there was any sort of correlation.  (This is especially interesting, since these were students, i.e. young people.  LBL finds it fascinating that any researchers survived.)

Here’s what they found: More activity during the day equaled more intense theta waves (deep REM sleep).  In addition,  dreams that had a higher emotional impact were more likely to be incorporated into the sleeper’s dreams than boring, humdrum everyday stuff.  The most interesting finding was that this only applied to recent events, not old memories.  This might pose a problem for those of us whose new experiences came to a grinding halt somewhere in the 1990s.

What does all this mean?   It might mean that eventually, REM sleep and theta brain waves could be manipulated as a form of therapy, allowing people to better process uncomfortable events.  At the very least, it might mean that the researchers had a vicarious field day listening to the dreams of nubile, young college kids.

For those readers who would like to keep up with the latest on dream research, you can check out the dream research and education site and see all the dream research scheduled for 2019. Topics include:

Do Dreams Have Paranormal Power: Maybe, If Cats Are Involved

Dangerous Dreaming: The Spanish Inquisition’s Trial of A Prophetic Dreamer

Feel free to send LBL your dreams for her own uneducated, biased, and highly political interpretations.  She accepts all subject matter, with the exception of flesh-eating bacteria and Stephen Miller.