Monday, October 3, 2011


When we sleep we go through different stages. When we first fall asleep we are in stage 1 which is a light sleep and progressively we move into deeper and deeper sleep (stage 4). We then cycle down until we approach stage 1 in which we enter a different kind of sleep Rapid Eye Movement (REM). It is in this stage in which we begin to dream. We then go back and forth in between REM and NREM (when we don't dream).

Something interesting happens when we are in REM, our bodies become immobilized which is a protection from acting out our dreams. Also a study was conducted by Dement that showed that we need to dream and in fact if a person goes without dreaming the next night they will end up dreaming more than usual. Also in the study it showed that there was a slight increase of weight gain by not being allowed to dream.

As we write sleep into our characters lives we need to understand their sleep patterns and how they work. Are they getting deprivation of sleep and/or dreams? They should be having the "big" dreams in the morning when more people have dreams or is this what makes the dream unique because it happens immediately upon falling asleep.?. Dreams can be a great way to move our characters and to give insight into our story to our readers. It is also a great way to show foreshadowing.

How do the dreams affect our characters? Do they believe in the dreams they are having? Are they grouchy for the rest of the day? You know the days I'm talking about you wake up after dreaming about fighting with significant other and you are angry at them for the rest of the day.

Keep in mind the sleep patterns of your characters and how all that sleeping on hard ground is affecting them. How do you interpret your dreams?


  1. I think it is funny that I dream, and remember my dreams, almost every night and have never really thought about having my characters dream. I like the idea of their attitudes changing because of a dream. It can be that they are grouchy or mad at someone because of what happened in a dream, or maybe they are terrified by something, even if it irrational. Nice post.

  2. Other than instances when the character knew that their dream meant something, I can't think of a book that really used dreams to affect a character's nature. It would be interesting to play around with.

  3. Ah, if only I could get to stage 4. I never seem to fall into that deep, deep sleep.

  4. I always have the wildebeest dreams in the morning. Usually after already having been awake for a bit and then going back to sleep. That would be the perfect time for a foreshadow dream!

  5. That's supposed to say "Wildest", not wildebeest...don't know where that came from. :D

  6. yes stage 4 would be a great place to be :) thanks for the comments!

  7. I wouldn't like to interrept my dreams as they're so vivid and not always pleasant.
    Most interesting about sleep's pattern.



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