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Curiouser and curiouser: A year’s worth of unusual sleep and dream stories

From the myth of counting sheep to people who lie about sleeping along the edges of cliffs to the sleepwalking 8-year-old girl rescued by a good Samaritan, stories about sleep continue to capture our attention.

month-long sleepover discusses dreams, bizarre sleep behaviors, sleep in space and more   A month-long sleepover should be a time to exchange stories that are entertaining, inspiring, funny, even outlandish and cautionary. Here are 30 stories (one for every night this month!) worthy of breaking the ice at any late-night gathering. Enjoy and Sweet Dreamzzz!

MAY 8: NBC Chicago
Good Samaritan Saves Sleepwalking Girl, 8, on Side of Road
From the blog: “The grateful mother launched a Facebook campaign to find the stranger who she says is a ‘hero.’ ”

MAY 5: The Sun
Megan McKenna reveals there was a secret sleeping area in Celebrity Big Brother
From the article: “The housemates were also convinced the hidden away bedroom was haunted.”

MAY 4: Kelly Bulkeley: Dream Research and Education
Short vs. Long Dreams: Are There Any Differences in Content?
From the blog: “A word search analysis of a five-year selection from my own dream journal reveals the same consistent patterns of content in both shorter and longer reports.”

APR 26: Bustle
In Honor Of Sleep Awareness Week, Here Are 6 Bizarre Beliefs About Dreams From History
From the website: “From spells to demons, livers to pregnancy, here are some of the oddest beliefs about dreams; your grandmother’s insistence that bad dreams come from indigestion looks basically sane by comparison.”

APR 25: Sleep Review
Editor’s Message: Testing the Waters of Float Therapy
From the website: ” ‘People always say they sleep better after floating. I know I do,’ Crash told me via phone. ‘It’s like if you were a can full of pressure and you went to bed with all of the pressure on you still. With floating, it’s as if you pop the top, let the pressure out, and then go to bed.’ In essence, Crash described floating as part of a pre-bedtime wind-down routine. This is emphasized when I asked what time a person hoping for sleep improvement should reserve a tank: right before bed, he responded.”

APR 24: Curbed
You Did Not Sleep There pokes fun at extravagant camping photos on Instagram
From the blog: “Individuals like Foster Huntington have quit their day jobs to travel across the United States in a camper, taking gorgeous photographs—and accumulating one million followers—along the way. …But sometimes, all that beauty seems a bit too good to be true. To poke fun at the ‘illogical campsites’ that proliferate the #VanLife hashtag and camping world, the Instagram account You Did Not Sleep There reposts the most bizarre photos of them all. What you’ll find are likely staged photos of people in sleeping bags on steep cliffs, camper vans sitting in lakes, and tents in other improbable locations.”

APR 4: HealthCentral
Which Sleep “Personality” Are You? (slideshow)
From the website: “According to a survey from the National Sleep Foundation, there are five sleep ‘personality’ types. The categories are based on sleep habits and more than 40 other factors, including age, marital status, gender, employment status, medical conditions, self-reported fatigue, and consumption of caffeinated beverages. Which one do you fit in?”

MAR 25: Psychology Today
New Study Identifies “Microdreams”
From the website: “An exciting new paper published in Neuroscience of Consciousness zooms in on a new avenue for dream research: The ‘microdream.’ These are short dream snippets, usually less than 1 second long, which sneak into your thoughts as you doze off to sleep. Researcher Tore Nielsen looks more closely at what these microdreams are made of and how they can be used in the study of dreams.”

MAR 19: Sleep Junkies
Science or myth: Does food really affect our dreams?
From the website: “The scientific community tends to be skeptical despite many a wives’ tale attributing certain types of dreams to specific foods or beverages. There’s been little research dedicated to solving the fact vs folklore debate, and what does exist tends to be ‘interest’ driven.”

MAR 13: National Geographic
Do Bugs Sleep? Why They’re Surprisingly Similar to People
From the article: “Fruit fly sleep is even similar to mammal sleep, since the flies respond to sleep-inducing chemicals and caffeine, just like people, Klein says.”

MAR 13: South China Morning Post
Sleep-deprived Chinese worker lashes out at snoring roommate in cleaver attack
From the article: “The two men were both loud snorers and had been assigned to the same company dormitory room after their nocturnal noises disrupted the sleep of other roommates, the report said. …But the tension between them soon mounted as their snoring affected each other.”

MAR 12: Refinery 29
Why Does Melatonin Give You Insane Dreams?
From the website: “Imagine seeing a building that looked like giant avocados on top of brick cylinders. Or ice skating with just your bare feet. Or being caught right in the crossfire of the beginning of World War III. Okay, what the hell are we talking about here? According to the people of Reddit, these are some of the things they dreamed about when they took the sleep supplement melatonin.”

NOV 15, 2016: Salk Institute
‘Princess Leia’ brainwaves help sleeping brain store memories
From the research article: “Every night while you sleep, electrical waves of brain activity circle around each side of your brain, tracing a pattern that, were it on the surface of your head, might look like the twin hair buns of Star Wars’ Princess Leia. The scientists who discovered these circular ‘Princess Leia’ oscillations think the waves are responsible each night for forming associations between different aspects of a day’s memories.”

NOV 7, 2016: The Independent
How Franz Kafka was inspired by those thoughts/dreams you get just before you fall asleep
From the article: ” ‘…again it was the power of my dreams, shining forth into wakefulness even before I fall asleep, which did not let me sleep.’ ”

OCT 31, 2016: The Independent
Pair to sleep in coffins at Dracula’s castle in Transylvania
From the article: “A Canadian brother and sister are passing Halloween night curled up in red velvet-lined coffins in the Transylvanian castle that inspired the Dracula legend, the first time in 70 years anyone has spent the night in the Gothic fortress.”

OCT 25, 2016: Merry Jane
Wake Up! How Cannabis Actually Affects Dreams
From the blog:As part of a larger sleep study, Roehrs and Lundahl …placed a group of heavy cannabis users in a sleep lab. Some nights they gave the stoners real weed, and on other, less fun nights they gave them placebo weed (weed with a teeny-tiny amount of THC). Turns out the REM sleep of the heavy pot-users was the same amount of time regardless of the amount of THC they consumed. They even got as much REM sleep as the non-weed-using control group.

SEPT 17, 2016: Vox
Ever wake up to a numb, dead arm? Here’s what’s happening.
From the website: “This phenomenon is really common, says James Dyck, a neurology researcher with the Mayo Clinic. And it’s actually a cool example of how the body can protect itself even during the paralysis of sleep.”

AUG 31, 2016: Stuff
Ikea shoppers in China caught napping
From the article: “Shopping for homewares at Ikea can be exhausting, but shoppers in China have found the perfect solution—they simply lie down where they are and take a nap. …They may first choose a sofa or the most comfy bed, and tuck themselves under a high threadcount duvet, but very quickly they fall asleep. …And they don’t even seem to mind if a complete stranger has already tucked himself into the other side of the bed.”

AUG 24, 2016: Metro
Girl falls asleep in chair, will deeply regret it when she awakes to find she’s become a viral sensation
From the website: “A girl at the Queensland University of Technology was spotted by one of her peers sneaking in a quick power nap in the student’s lounge. …Apparently, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to joke at her expense. …Which meant snapping a photo of her, uploading it to Reddit and letting the internet do its thing.”

AUG 10, 2016: Female First
Couples are sleep talking their way into arguments
From the website: “Half of respondents who said their partner talked in their sleep blamed it on the booze, however 71 percent revealed that their partner is a sleep talker regardless if they have any alcohol in their system or not.”

AUG 10, 2016: Laboratory Equipment
Brain Scans in Non-REM Sleep Show Dreams
From the website: ” ‘It is traditionally thought that dreaming occurs only in REM sleep,’ said Jaakko Nieminen, lead researcher, from Aalto University in Finland. ‘However, as our study demonstrates, subjects woken from NREM sleep are also able to give accounts of their dreams in more than half of cases.’ ”

JUL 20, 2016: Daily Mail
Why DO we jolt and ‘fall off a cliff’ as we drift into sleep? Expert reveals how coffee and exercise might be to blame
From the article: “This is known as a ‘hypnic jerk’ and is actually an evolutionary adaptation that protected us from prey, says Jason Ellis, Professor of Sleep Science at Northumbria University.”

JUL 6, 2016: Furthermore
Why do you sweat the bed?
From the website: “Bed sweating is not a topic for dinner party conversation, but it’s an issue for many people that can, in some instances, be refreshingly simple to addressed if acknowledged. Body temperature naturally drops during sleep; however, many people perspire at night, and sometimes excessively.”

JUN 30, 2016: BBC
The company that pays its staff to sleep
From the report: “Aetna staff that participate can earn $25 for every 20 nights in which they sleep seven hours or more, up to a limit of $300 every 12 months… Introduced in 2014, 17,300 of the firm’s 49,500 employees participated last year, an increase from 12,300 in 2014.”

JUN 15, 2016: Daily Post
Flintshire noisy neighbour in court for shouting vile abuse…but claimed he was ‘sleep talking’
From the article: “Michael Jones was accused of making his neighbour’s life hell by breaching a restraining order THREE TIMES in the space of just over a week.”

MAY 31, 2016: Daily Mail
The paw that rocks the cradle! Attentive French bulldog Buta helps a baby get to sleep with a gentle motion (video)
From the article: “The cute footage shows the black and white dog named Buta rocking a baby to sleep with his paw.”

MAY 25, 2016: New Scientist
5 Sleep Disorders You Didn’t Even Know Existed
From the article: “Ever shouted at your partner while you slept, or woken up unable to move? From apnea to exploding heads, here are some strange things that go bump in the night.”

MAY 17, 2016: LifeHacker
Counting Sheep Doesn’t Actually Work, and Other Misconceptions About Sleep
From the website: “Have you ever been told to count sheep to fall asleep? I know I have, and it never did a lick of good for me. What keeps me from properly concentrating on counting sheep ends up being the same thing that keeps me from falling asleep: a brain that just won’t shut the hell up.”

MAY 14, 2016: RT
NASA to invest in habitat & deep sleep chamber for Mars astronauts
From the website: “NASA said there is a range of cutting-edge concepts among the selected projects, including: an interplanetary habitat configured to induce deep sleep for astronauts on long-duration missions.”

MAY 10, 2016: Slate
In Defense of Absurdly Early Bedtimes
From the article: “I make my kids go to sleep by 7:30 p.m., without exception. They’re happier and might even be smarter and healthier because of it.”

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