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People Had More Intense Dreams After Sept. 11, 2001, Sleep Research Shows

Date:
February 2, 2008
Source:
American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Summary:
The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, changed our lives in a number of different ways, not only socially and politically, but also in the way in which we dream. According to the results, dreams after 9/11 showed more intense images, but were not longer, more dreamlike or more bizarre. In addition, they did not contain more images of airplanes or tall buildings. In fact, not a single dream involved planes flying into towers, or anything close to that, even though all participants had seen those images many times on TV.
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The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, changed our lives in a number of different ways, not only socially and politically, but also in the way in which we dream, according to a new study.

The study, authored by Ernest Hartmann, MD, of Tufts University and Newton Newton-Wellesley Hospital in Boston, Mass., focused on 44 people (11 men and 33 women) living in the United States, all between the ages of 22-70 years, and who had been recording all their dreams for at least two years. Each of the subjects provided 20 consecutive dreams from their records, with the last 10 recorded before 9/11/01 and the first 10 after 9/11/01.

According to the results, dreams after 9/11 showed more intense images, but were not longer, more dreamlike or more bizarre. In addition, they did not contain more images of airplanes or tall buildings. In fact, not a single dream involved planes flying into towers, or anything close to that, even though all participants had seen those images many times on TV.

"The more intense imagery is very consistent with findings in people who have experienced trauma of various kinds," said Dr. Hartmann. "The idea is that we all experienced at least some trauma on 9/11/01."

It is recommended that adults get between seven and eight hours of nightly sleep.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) offers the following tips on how to get a good night's sleep:

  • Follow a consistent bedtime routine.
  • Establish a relaxing setting at bedtime.
  • Get a full night's sleep every night.
  • Avoid foods or drinks that contain caffeine, as well as any medicine that has a stimulant, prior to bedtime.
  • Do not bring your worries to bed with you.
  • Do not go to bed hungry, but don't eat a big meal before bedtime either.
  • Avoid any rigorous exercise within six hours of your bedtime.
  • Make your bedroom quiet, dark and a little bit cool.
  • Get up at the same time every morning.

The article, “A systematic change in dreams after 9/11/01”, was published in the February 1 issue of the journal Sleep.


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The above post is reprinted from materials provided by American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


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American Academy of Sleep Medicine. "People Had More Intense Dreams After Sept. 11, 2001, Sleep Research Shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 February 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080201085736.htm>.
American Academy of Sleep Medicine. (2008, February 2). People Had More Intense Dreams After Sept. 11, 2001, Sleep Research Shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080201085736.htm
American Academy of Sleep Medicine. "People Had More Intense Dreams After Sept. 11, 2001, Sleep Research Shows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080201085736.htm (accessed July 30, 2015).

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