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  • 10 Things You Didn't Know About Dreams



    1. No one knows for sure why you dream.

    "That's the one part of sleep medicine we know the least about," says Charles Bae, a sleep medicine specialist at the Cleveland Clinic. "I think dreams help people process the multiple kinds of sensory input that come in through the day." Some people report experiencing eureka moments during dreams.

    In her book about Lyndon Johnson, biographer Doris Kearns Goodwin wrote that LBJ dreamed he had a stroke and became paralyzed — and then a few months later chose not to run for president in 1968. "He had made a decision in his dream," says Myron Glucksman, author of  Dreaming: An Opportunity for Change, and psychiatrist in New York City and Redding, Connecticut. "Dreams are like an internal diary. They're a nightly commentary on your life."

    2. You dream throughout the night, not just during REM sleep.
    Forget what you heard in college about dreams only occurring during REM sleep. You can remember stories from throughout the night, though not all are created equal. REM-sleep dreams, which are more common in the second half of the night, tend to seem more vivid and unrealistic. "If you dream you jumped out of a plane, and you saw rockets around you, that's almost certainly a REM sleep dream," says Jerry Siegel, professor of psychiatry and director of the Center for Sleep Research at UCLA. Dreams during the first three (of the four) stages of sleep may seem more mundane.

    3. You remember a dream if you awake during it.
    "The primary determinant of whether you'll remember a dream is being awakened during the dream," says Mark Mahowald, professor of neurology at the University of Minnesota Medical School and visiting professor of psychiatry and behavioral medicine at Stanford University. "If you don't wake up during the dream, the memory is gone. We're on a self-erasing tape while we're asleep."

    4. Spicy foods may make you remember more dreams and nightmares.
    "The meal makes it more likely you're going to wake up during sleep," says Mahowald. "The heavy meal has nothing to do with dream generation. It has to do with dream recall." In order to recall a dream, you have to be awake, at least for a few minutes. "Our brain isn't able to convert from short-term to long-term memory while we're asleep," says psychologist Lisa Medalie, a behavioral sleep specialist at the  University of Chicago.

    5. You may be able to change bad dreams.
    Many therapists believe it's possible to "re-write" nightmares. People who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, for instance, can train themselves to recognize when they're in a dream. They tell themselves, "This is only a dream," says sleep researcher Ursula Voss, a psychology professor at the University of Frankfurt. Some of her patients came up with an idea that works: They make a bracelet that they wear to sleep. "If the bracelet is not in the dream, they know it's a dream," she says. They look out for "something that's bizarre" and then try to shift the direction of the dream.

    Shelby Harris, director of behavioral sleep medicine at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, uses "imagery rehearsal therapy" with her patients. She encourages them to clearly envision a new scenario when dreams take a bad turn. One patient kept dreaming she was surrounded by sharks and was starting to drown. "She just changed the sharks to dolphins," says Harris. "We wrote out a whole new storyline."

    6. The brain is still hard at work while you're sleeping and dreaming.
    "REM sleep is not a time of rest for the brain," says Mahowald. "The brain is being stimulated at an incredibly high level throughout dream sleep. The stimulation is what generates the dream imagery. And then the function of the brain is to make sense of what it's presented with. When we're awake, we're presented with the real world. When we're asleep, what the brain is presented with is dream imagery. The brain tries to make sense of all these random and presumably meaningless images and thoughts and sounds. The brain constructs the dream out of all this imagery. When we're awake, the brain perceives the real world as it is."

    7. It's hard to separate the function of sleep from the function of dreams.
    "The function of sleep is to downscale things so that the brain is ready and able to learn the next morning," says Mahowald. "I think that dreaming is something the brain has to generate in the process of re-equilibrating." If you start with 100 points of synapses at the beginning of the day and have 125 by the end of it, you need to rearrange it down to 100 — or you'd have 150 the next day, he says. "At some point it would not be sustainable. You'd have too many synapses to fill your scale."

    8. Dreams may help people process and consolidate memories.
    In one study, Harvard researchers asked subjects to navigate through a 3D maze and then either nap for 90 minutes or stay awake but quiet. Nappers who said they dreamed about the experience got much better at navigating the maze. "The brain seems to be encoding in pictures, visually," says Voss.

    9. Dreams do not foretell the future.
    "Everyone wants dreams to be prophetic," says Mahowald. "You forget about the 500 dreams you had about phone calls that didn't come true the next day. All of these dream-related prophecies are just pure statistical phenomenon." People want to find meaning in these night stories. "They want them to be supernatural," he says.

    10. No one agrees about the meaning of dreams.
    Freud called dreams "the guardians of sleep." And he believed their purpose was the censor basic impulses, such as aggression and sex, says Glucksman. Some people insist Freud was right, and others think dreams hold no meaning. "Treat it as a present, and do whatever you want with it," says Voss.

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  • Why does the tiny pocket above your jeans pocket exist?


    #1 What's Up With This Tiny Pocket?

    If your like millions of denim jeans wearers, you have no doubt asked yourself 'WTF is this little teeny weeny pocket inside my front pocket for?'

    #2 Here's How This Pocket Got Started..

    The Levi Strauss Company began selling jeans in the early 1800's, and were soon followed by the Lee Denim Wear Company. Levi was the first to add the fifth pocket, but of course, the Lee Jean soon came out with it's own version of that extra pocket. But what for?


    #3 It's A Watch Pocket!

    Back in the 1800's, cowboys used to wear their watches on chains and kept them in their waistcosts. To keep them from getting broken, Levis introduced this small pocket where they could keep their watch. The watch on a chain, called a fob, was slipped into the pocket easily and pulled out by the chain to view the time.

    #4 Now It's Called A Coin Pocket!

    At the turn of the 20th century, pocket watches fell out of style and became obsolete. As a result, the jeans were refreshed in 1901 with a few notable changes. Lee Jeans actually remade their jeans first, and yes, Levi followed suit this time making most jeans with that little unusable pocket. The watch pocket got downsized from about 3.5” to 3” now that bulky watch fobs were less commonly carried. To reflect the change in design and purpose, the watch pocket was renamed the “coin pocket” that you’re familiar with today.

    #5 But You Can Now Use That Pocket To Store Lot's Of Things.

    As a testament to its versatility, the fifth pocket goes by many names depending on its usage, such as the match pocket, condom pocket, mint pocket, and as mentioned before, watch pocket and coin pocket. So unless you are still carrying around a watch on a chain, you can use it for anything you wish.. here are some fun examples:

    #6 You Can Always Keep Condiments On Hand.

    One sugar and maybe 2 packets of salt will fit snug in there.

    #7 Keep A Piece Of Candy At The Ready..

    Just one piece. In case of a sweet tooth attack!

    #8 Use That Pocket For Carrying A Thumb Drive.

    Or snap a pager/beeper to, if you're stuck in the 90's.


    #9 Never Be Without Lip Balm Or Skin Cream.

    A tube of something personal like maybe a Chapstick fits pretty nicely in the pocket.

    #10 It's Also Great For Nail Clippers Or Swiss Army Knives.

    Like the fifth pocket itself, our list is fairly small compared to the number of pocketable possibilities out there. Now that you know it's not just a design or fashion statement, make use of that space!

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