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Sleep

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This might seem like an odd goal to have on an ambitious 101-in-1001 list, but for me, it’s quite important. It’s a revived task from the previous list, one I actually accomplished but have since forgotten. I tend to sleep in something similar to a recovery position, which is quite good for most people, but since I have problem with my back now and then, sleeping on my back is a lot more comfortable. The problem is that I can’t sleep if I lie on my back. Or at least I couldn’t a couple of months ago.

The trick is to try things like this when you’re really tired and it doesn’t matter in which position you’re in, sleep will still come more or less immediately. Then, gradually, I started lying on my back more and more frequently, and after a month or so, I was able to fall asleep even when I wasn’t very tired. Now, I’ve reached a level where I can even take power naps on my back! That’s extraordinary progress and will probably mitigate my back problems somewhat. I consider this task accomplished!

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More lucid dreaming

Since I decided to take up lucid dreaming again, I have not written anything concerning this project, simply because nothing of interest has happened until now. Earlier today, I took a nap and experienced the fourth lucid dream in my life. Before I explain what happened, I will introduce the concept of lucid dreaming for those of you who are not familiar with it. I also refer to my first entry about lucid dreaming, written roughly ten months ago.

Lucid dreaming is easy to explain, but difficult to understand if one has not experience the phenomenon (most people never have, but some people seem to have lucid dreams every night without thinking that it is strange). I do not care to elaborate further on how extraordinary fascinating the experience of lucid dreams is, because I have already done so in my first post. In short, a lucid dream is a dream in which the dreamer is perfectly conscious of the fact that it is a dream. It feels exactly like being awake, the mind is working clearly and logically (lucidly). The environment, however, is still that of dreamland, which makes the experience very strange and, occasionally, frightening.

I say that today’s lucid dream was my fourth. Regarding the first one, I have already provided a link to an entry describing it in detail. The second one was only a few seconds long, but extremely frightening; I woke up almost immediately. The third one was very pleasant and I had some control of the environment (I decided to go skiing, and the good feeling that that instilled lingered throughout the day). However, the third one was also very short; it felt like less than one minute. That being said, let me move on to the fourth one.

I normally sleep around six hours every night, adding complementary naps during the day if necessary. Last night, I went to bed around three o’clock and woke up slightly after nine. Planning to go out for a while, I decided to take a nap between 11:40 and 12:00. I know I dreamed something the first half, but I cannot remember what. The second half, however, I remember very clearly.

It was in the form of some sort of computer game, and it was about some mysterious, hostile figures all dressed in black. The scene was a large shopping mall with two floors, everything impeccably white and shiny. The reason it felt like a computer game was that I knew what to expect. For instance, I knew that if I tried the window leading out to a small alley, I would be remorselessly gunned down. Also, I knew roughly where the enemies were, because I had played this scene before, so to speak.. So, instead, I ran for some other part of the shopping mall I had not yet tried. Then, suddenly, as I was crouching down behind a low wall for protection, I asked myself why I should be so caution; it is only a simulation anyway. This is the instance I became lucid.

Once lucid, I deliberately tried two things: to stay lucid and to relax. I did not want the dream to go away, so I focused on my every action, being conscious of movements and things around me (I have read on forums that this is generally advisable if one wants to stay lucid). I also did not want to panic as I did for my first two lucid dreams, so I also tried to relax. This was no problem this time, I only felt elation as I began to explore the upper floor of the shopping mall.

The first thing wanted to do was to interact with somebody. I tried to run towards a man walking away from me, but my motions were very slow, and he eventually escaped. I turned around to find somebody else. Since I wanted to do something with impact, I decided to hit the nearest person. It happened to be a man in a grey, tweed suit, but when I came closer, it turned out that he was a giant; I only reached to his chest, not his head as I had intended. Feeling a little bit intimidated by this discovery, I nevertheless reached out to touch him. However, my hand touched the wall next to my bed, and thus I woke up.

I am not quite familiar with the way lucid dreamers classify their dreams, but this one was certainly more lucid than the three before. I was able to relax and focus on the fact that this was a lucid dream. However, it was unsatisfactorily short, and I hope that I will be able to explore the dream more fully next time. This dream was very important though, because it tells me that I can become lucid just by focusing on my dreams for a while (it took three weeks this time). Extrapolating from previous dreams, I predict even more lucid dreams in the future. Stay tuned.

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Title: An Introduction to the Psychology of Dreaming
Author:
Kelly Bulkeley
Year: 1997

After browsing the library’s catalogue of sleep-oriented psychological literature, I came up with a handful of titles I thought would serve as good introductions. Kelly Bulkeley’s An Introduction to the Psychology of Dreaming seemed to contain the basics of both sleeping and dreaming, albeit focused on the latter. Spanning merely 144 pages, it is a concise and well-written introduction. The chapters are dedicated to various theorists and psychologists, as well as to phenomena related to dreaming (such as REM sleep and sleep cycles).

The book’s contents are heavily weighted towards psychoanalytic theory. This is not strange considering that these theorists have been dominating dream research since Freud’s days. But even if it is not controversial to give them much space in a book entitled An Introduction to the Psychology of Dreaming, I find it a bit annoying since I do not like psychoanalysis at all; some of the chapters are therefore only interesting in a historical point of view.

This book is really good in many ways. The author manages to describe many theories and scientific results in a concise, yet lucid way. The language flows beautifully and without interruption. Also, the disposition of the text is very good and gives an impression of order and neatness. Much of it is speculative theory like Freud and Jung, but some of it are more scientifically sound hypotheses formulated during the latter half of the previous century. Regardless of how one might regard the content, the presentation of it is very good.

Since this book is exactly what it sets out to be, I highly recommend it if you are interested in what psychologists have had to say (and say today, or at least in 1997) about dreaming.

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Lucid dreaming

There probably exist things more boring than people talking about their dreams, but they are not numerous. This, however, is precisely what I am now going to do. I slept only four hours last night, setting the alarm for 7:30 AM although I have no lectures scheduled for today. I went up as usual and got a lot of things done. Then, around ten or something, I slept for half an hour. Nothing peculiar. I got up again and studied Chinese for an hour and then went back to sleep again, around 1:00 AM, setting the alarm for 1:30 AM (it still has not gone off).

Now to the weird bit. Like ordinary dreams, I cannot remember when it begun, but I found myself being someplace familiar, probably at a friend’s place, nothing fancy. And just like ordinary dreams, there was nothing coherent or lucid about anything so far. I was sitting cross-legged on the floor beside a small table, talking to whomever was in the room with me. Then, suddenly, a girl cuddles me from behind, kissing my neck softly and saying something, a greeting perhaps. This is where the dream stops being a dream and everything is perfectly lucid.

The crux is, of course, that I have no girlfriend, and, in the dream, I knew that I had not (if you like, I think you will find it easy to boil this narrative down to some sort of fantasy, but even though it might be true, that is not the point). Somehow, the scene had changed and when I opened my eyes and looked around, I was lying in my bed (exactly like I was lying when I woke up a few minutes later). I was conscious, rational, coherent and awake.

So, I woke up, what is the big deal? The girl was still there. I cannot possibly describe how odd that felt. I knew it could not be. I know for certain I have never seen her before (all I can remember now is that she had dark hair). She did not ever remind me of someone I know. I though things over for a couple of seconds, trying to find rational solutions to this conundrum. Perhaps someone had sneaked into my room while I was asleep? A practical joke of some kind? Ludicrous.

Then I realised I was still dreaming, a realisation which struck me with wonder and fear. It might be hard for you to believe this, but for several minutes I was absolutely convinced that I was awake. Yes, I felt drowsy, but something like this has never ever happened to be before. I was not simply conscious of dreaming, I was fully aware of everything that happened and, in my mind, I could reason and comment on what was going on. Having at least two friends who are interested in lucid dreaming, I had heard them speaking about it, so I actually realised that I was dreaming lucidly as well. My first thought was to get out off bed and jump (one of the friends mentioned above, said that would tell you if you were indeed dreaming or not), but the girl was sitting on the floor beside the bed and I stumbled over her.

Fear was gradually replaced by panic and mounting anxiety, why I do not know. I desperately tried to open my eyes, which were somehow still closed. All the while I struggled, the girl laughed at me, not malignantly or something, but she laughed warmly as though there was nothing more amusing in the world. Then I opened my eyes again and it stopped.

Now, thirty minutes after I woke up, the memory of the lucid dream begins to fade rapidly. I write this down because it is possibly the most incredible thing that has happened to me for a long, long time. I write it down so as not to forget how it was. I know that there are people who actively try to reach a state of lucid dreaming, but I have never counted myself among their numbers, this was purely by accident. Perhaps it would be worthwhile to explore this phenomenon more determinedly.

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Sleeping habits

About a year ago, I conducted an experiment in sleeping on regular times. For those of you not fluent in Swedish, my conclusion was, not surprisingly, that sleeping on regular times is an excellent way of minimising time spent on sleeping while retaining the benefits of sleeping. I found that getting up at the same time every morning was especially effective and tended to remove the stupor I normally experience after waking up.

Since I do not benefit from sleeping too much (I suffer from headache if I sleep more than about eight hours), I want to avoid sleeping too much, but lack in self-discipline has kept me from doing so lately. This post is an attempt to alleviate the problem, since I tend to be more serious with projects published on this website. Therefore, I am now instigating a ten-day project to rise at seven thirty every morning, regardless of when I go to sleep.

I start today, which means that the alarm will sound in roughly five hours. In ten days, I will post another article telling you about how the project is going. Hopefully, I will report success and more stability in my sleeping and therefore my life in general. Wish me good luck!

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The last couple of weeks I have been lazy or busy, depending on how one choose to regard it, which has had the effect of my not updating the 101 in 1001 for a while. Instead of posting a load of separate accounts of the various tasks, I have decided to deal with them jointly in a single post.

Bad news first. Or rather, challenging news first. I just browsed through the list and realised I have a long way to go. Sure, I have been able to complete some demanding tasks (like swimming 10 000 metres, for instance), but with a year and a half remaining of the 1001 days, I still have 84 tasks to go. Challenging indeed. I decide not to call it bad news, since I still think it is possible to accomplish everything I have set out for. However, I will have to develelop a much more aggressive attitude towards achieving my goal.

Then some good news. There are some tasks on the list I have finished, but not written about:

– Have read a total of 10 books by Philip K. Dick: Few authors fascinate me in the same way as Philip K. Dick. His books often surreal, bizarre and philosophical. They are always expertly written. His mind works in a way truly original and produces ideas which lie far beyond anything I myself would have come up with. Novels written by him are not always spot on, but they are always worthwhile.

1. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
2. The Man in the High Castle
3. A Scanner Darkly
4. Ubik
5. Galactic Pot-healer
6. Martian Time-Slip<
7. Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said
8. A Maze of Death
9. The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch
10. The Father-thing

– Have read a total of 5 books by Ray Bradbury: I have actually read more than five books and all of them have been reviewed. The best of Ray Bradbury is extremely good, but the problem is that there are too many mediocre stories that pull down the average quite a bit. Here are the books.

1. Fahrenheit 451
2. The Day it Rained Forever
3. S is for Space
4. Something Wicked This Way Comes
5. From the Dust Returned

– Have read a total of 5 books by Neil Gaiman: Not including The Sandman (comic), I have read more than five books by Neil Gaiman (with The Sandman it becomes sixteen). In recent years, Neil Gaiman has ascended to the position of being one of my two favourite authors, equalled only by Philip K. Dick. Here are the five first books:

1. American Gods
2. Coraline
3. Good Omens
4. Stardust
5. Neverwhere

– Finish my freelancing praject “Tornet mot stjärnorna”: It took roughly 150 hours of writing to accomplish this, not including time not spent with pen and paper (i.e. thinking, dreaming and talking about it). Although there are still mechanical things left (correcting errors reported by proof readers), I consider this project done.

– Learn to sleep comfortably on my back: This is a somewhat old task as well, since I finished it last autumn. I cannot say that I sleep as comfortably on my back as I do in other positions, but I can do it when I want to.

– Make someone change from Qwerty to Dvorak: I accomplished this some time ago when a friend of mine, Gastono, changed from Qwerty to Dvorak. To my knowledge, he seems satisfied with the change.

Hopefully, these insights into this project will help me to finish it and hopefully it will also lead to more activity online regarding the 101 in 1001. Wish me good luck and I will probably be seeing you soon again!

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Med den här rapporten slutför jag mitt sovexperiment (länk till första rapporten och andra rapporten) efter de trettio dagar jag hade planerat från början. Innan jag kommenterar det hela ska jag dock presentera siffrorna så att det finns något att utgå ifrån.

Datum Sova Vakna Tid Nap Pigg
070216 01:00 07:00 360 25 5
070215 01:00 07:00 360 30 5
070214 00:00 07:00 420 30 3
070213 23:00 07:00 480 00 3
070212 01:00 07:00 360 00 3
070211 23:30 07:00 450 30 5
070210 02:00 07:00 300 00 4
070209 01:30 07:00 330 00 4
070208 01:00 07:00 360 30 4
070207 01:00 07:00 360 30 4

Jag har kommit fram till två saker efter det här experimentet. Det första är ganska självklart och går ut på att det är en bra idé att gå upp samma tid varje dag. Det är dock viss skillnad på att uppleva det och att ha fått det berättat för sig. Fördelarna med att gå upp vid samma tid varje dag är omfattande och handlar framförallt om att det är mycket lättare att komma upp och att man slipper vara trött på morgonen.

Den andra slutsatsen jag drar av experimentet är att sex timmars sömn på natten och en halvtimmes på eftermiddagen är optimalt för mig. Då är jag som piggast, samtidigt som jag maximerar antalet vakna timmar per dygn. Naturligtvis kommer jag inte att följa detta lika slaviskt nu när experimentet är avslutat, men jag kommer att göra det i mycket högre utsträckning än tidigare.

Nu gäller ju inte det här för alla, eftersom sömn är något tämligen individuellt. Däremot tror jag att de flesta skulle vinna på att våga experimentera lite med sin sömn för att komma underfund med hur den fungerar. Även om målet inte är att maximera antalet vakna timmar, kan man ändå få en mer behaglig sömn och därmed en mer harmonisk tillvaro. Att prova skadar sällan och i det här fallet har i alla fall jag tjänat mycket på det.

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Ytterligare tio dagar har förflutit sedan min förra rapport om mitt sömnexperiment. Generellt betraktat tycker jag att det går bra, men det finns en hel del jag måste rätta till. Även om jag nu lyckats få bättre kontroll på när jag går och lägger mig, har jag varit dålig med att sova på eftermiddagen, vilket verkar göra att jag blir rejält mycket tröttare. Ska jag sova i snitt sex timmar per natt behöver jag sova på eftermiddagen, så är det bara. Så här såg de senaste tio dagarna ut:

Datum Sova Vakna Tid Nap Pigg
070206 01:00 07:00 360 00 3
070205 01:30 07:00 330 00 3
070204 01:30 07:00 330 50 3
070203 04:00 07:00 180 70 4
070202 02:00 07:00 300 00 4
070201 01:00 07:00 360 00 4
070131 01:00 07:00 360 45 4
070130 01:00 07:00 360 45 4
070129 01:00 07:00 360 30 4
070128 00:30 07:00 390 40 5

Det syns tydligt att det fungerade bättre i början av perioden då jag fortfarande sov på eftermiddagen. Sedan mot slutet när jag slarvat med det, går det tydligt utför. Ett annat problem är att det ibland är svårt att ta sig upp, även om jag är pigg när jag väl kommer upp. Under de nästa tio dagarna ska jag prova att gå upp exakt när klockan ringer och direkt ta två varv runt kvarteret. Vi får se om en sådan chockstart på dagen fungerar bättre (chock är verkligen vad det handlar om när det är så här kallt, brr!). Nu är det dock dags att för en gångs skull sova lite på eftermiddagen. Tjing!

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För några dagar sedan skrev jag om ett sömnexperiment jag har för avsikt att underhålla mig själv med nu när Alva är i Indien. Det har nu gått tio dagar sedan jag började och jag tänkte kommentera läget. Först kommer en sammanfattning på hur jag har sovit de senaste tio dagarna:

Datum Sova Vakna Lur Pigghet

070127 00:30 07:00 00 4
070126 02:45 07:00 40 4
070125 00:30 07:00 25 5
070124 04:30 07:00 40 4
070123 01:30 07:00 30 5
070122 00:30 07:00 40 4
070121 04:00 07:00 00 4
070120 02:00 07:00 40 4
070119 02:00 07:00 30 4
070118 03:00 07:00 30 3

I tabellen anges datum, när jag gick och lade mig, när jag vaknade (inte när jag gick upp, eftersom jag snoozar drygt tio minuter), hur mycket jag sov på eftermiddagen samt hur pigg jag känt mig under dagen på en skala mellan 1 och 5. Om man summerar mängden sömn blir det exakt 3200 minuter, eller 53 timmar och 20 minuter om man så vill. Det ger förstås ett snitt på 5,33 timmar per dygn. Om vi kikar i pigghetskolumnen så kan vi också se att jag känt mig förhållandevis pigg, förutom första dagen. Jag vet inte om detta är början på en trend, men det tycks som att det går bättre och bättre ju längre jag håller på.

Det jag inte är nöjd med hittills är de gånger jag gör något väldigt roligt (spelar Antioch exempelvis) och kommer i säng väldigt sent (två gånger vid klockan 04:00 eller senare). Om det här ska fungera måste jag ta mig i skinnet och avstyra sådana vansinniga upptåg. Att gå och lägga sig framåt två-tre är inget som helst problem, men drygt två timmar är alldeles för lite att sova.

Sammanfattningsvis är jag nöjd med de tio första dagarna. Det återstår att se hur detta fungerar i längden, men jag känner på mig att det största hindret är min egen oförmåga att gå och lägga mig i rimlig tid.

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Sömnexperiment

Sömn är något som intresserar mig ganska mycket och jag har tidigare experimenterat lite med att sova på okonventionella sätt. Nu när Alva är i Indien hade jag tänkt att testa en sak, nämligen att gå upp exakt samma tid varje morgon (det gäller förstås även helger). Eftersom jag då och då har föreläsningar eller lektioner klockan 08:15, har jag beslutat mig för att 07:00 är lagom att sätta klockan på och 07:10 går jag upp. Någonstans här brukar det vara bra att stoppa in en promenad för att komma igång, sedan nei kung och därpå en dusch. Det hinner jag inte riktigt om jag börjar 08:15, men det händer inte varje dag i alla fall.

Nu leder förstås det här till att det blir mycket mindre sömn än åtta timmar per natt, men det vägs upp av att jag sover ungefär en halvtimme på eftermiddagen. Tanken är att jag kombinerar fördelarna med att vakna på en bestämd tid (har ni inte provat det borde ni göra det, för kroppen lär sig väldigt fort att vakna till om man bara låter den vänja sig vid det) och fördelen att sova relativt korta perioder under dagen. Jag har gjort det i kanske fyra dagar nu, men jag får lov att återkomma om någon vecka eller så för en första rapport.

Uppdatering: Jag kanske borde tillägga att mitt schema tvingar mig att gå upp vid den här tiden i snitt två till tre gånger per vecka. Hade det varit så att jag alltid började 08:15 hade det inte varit så stor poäng med experimentet, men dagar som idag (då jag börjar 12:00), har jag gått upp fem timmar innan jag började och har hunnit med mycket trevligt. Men nu ska jag iväg och simma innan min lektion börjar. Tjing!

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