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Friday
Jan102014

Dreams Affecting Dreams

My dog sleeps in the bed with me. (Before you start: I know. Tsk tsk.)

Typically, I read a bit after I crawl under the covers. Ramona snuggles in and quickly drops into dozing. (Pity the poor dogs, who cannot read.) On occasion, she’ll start to dream. And the other evening, she had a vigorous mentalscape that clearly involved a chase—twitching legs, fluttering eyelids, muffled yips.

I wondered:

Had I fallen asleep, would her dream influence mine? Would I, too, chase something, clearly alarmed? Do the dreams of creatures with which we sleep—dogs, sure, but humans, too—affect our own dreams?

I did a little research, as I do. I found a surprising number of people asking about how to enter others’ dreams. (Really, folks? Is this prompted by romance, concern, or Freddy-Krueger-ish aspirations?) I read many an anecdote about hearing noises that prompted dreams, such as a chugging dishwasher evoking a train or an alarm clock generating a siren.

I only found one academic study into the matter, which German researchers presented at a conference in 2008. The study found that what people smell as they sleep influences their dreams. Rotten eggs prompted negative dreams and roses brought on positive ones.

So, despite or due to little academic evidence, I’ll assume that the dreams of one person typically do not affect the dreams of another person sharing a bed. (Though the notion sure sparks my imagination.)

However, I’d posit that if someone with whom you sleep makes sounds or creates smells in a dream, it could, indeed, alter your dreamscape—provided his stinky, loud dream does not awaken you. (A boyfriend once hollered and then tackled me out of the bed one night, having dreamed a game of football. Fortunately, he emitted no severe smells at the same moment. This experience did not affect my dreams that evening because, as you can well imagine, I woke up.)

Your thoughts?

Have the dreams of your bedmates influenced your own? Do you believe they could?

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