Monday, 24 May 2010 21:23

Dreams - The keepers of sanity

Written by 
Rate this item
(1 Vote)


How your crazy dreams are keeping you sane.

We've all pulled an all nighter at some stage, where we've spent the entire night completing a work deadline, studying for an exam, travelling in transit or partying like it's 2009. And we've all experienced the drawbacks of this 'self-inflicted' sleep deprivation – fatigue, poor concentration and memory loss, moodiness, irritability and overall just feeling like complete merde.

However, the effects of dream deprivation vs sleep deprivation may have more far more drastic and far reaching consequences. According to an experiment conducted by Dement and Fischer (1959), whereby participants were either deprived of non REM sleep or REM sleep (dreaming), those that were woken up before the REM stage and restricted from dreaming throughout the night experienced signs of mental breakdown and clear psychotic episodes after just 4-5 nights. While the participants received the same amount of sleep and were woken the same number of times, it was the REM deprived subjects that displayed increased irritability, which eventuated in full-blown hallucinations.

Dement concluded that constant dream deprivation would result in 'catastrophic breakdown'.

 This was also evident in the curious case of Peter Tripp (1959), a radio DJ who underwent 8 days of sleep and dream deprivation to raise funds for charity. Although he managed to break the world record, it came at an alarming price. After just 2 days, Tripp experienced minor hallucinations and by the sixth day, he was so paranoid and disoriented, he had no concept of who or where he was. By the eighth day, he was convinced that the doctor performing a routine check up was an undertaker who had come to bury him. After he finally passed out from sheer exhaustion, he slept for thirteen hours, yet experienced minor depression for months afterwards and his wife and close friends reported that he was never the same again (see video).

So the question arises: why is dreaming so important to our mental health and emotional wellbeing?

According to Dr Quattrocchi in 'Dreamwork Uncovered' (2005), it is our spirit that guides us during our dreams and helps to navigate us through our waking life:

'if we don't sleep and dream, we lose sight of our path and focus. Nothing in the physical world makes sense. It's like trying to walk without our spine'.

Quattrocchi also states that our dreams are where we research, rehearse, plan, communicate with others to work out the details of our daily lives...

'dreams become our lifeline home; without them, we're hopelessly lost'.

So it appears that even our most bizarre and confusing dreams may be our very own keepers of sanity!

Remember this during the party season, be sure to make time for sleep and don't forget to dream!

Happy holidays and happy dreaming!

Love The Dream Doctor xx


Dream video:

Secrets of Sleep - Sleep Deprivation: Peter Tripp

Dim lights Embed Embed this video on your site


 Related links:


Quattrocchi, Marina (2005).  Dreamwork Uncovered. Insomniac Press, Canada

Cheung, Theresa (2006).  The Element Encyclopedia of 20,000 Dreams: The ultimate A-Z to interpret the secrets of your dreams.  Harper Collins, UK.


Read 35734 times Last modified on Thursday, 07 October 2010 20:29
Martina Kocian

Email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
More in this category: The Twilight Zone »

Dream Shop

dream owl


click here to visit the

dream shop


Dream owls, dream books, dream journals, dream jewelery and more...

In the Media


The Dream Doctor as featured in Sydney's 9-5 magazine.

Download PDF article

Ask the Dream Doctor

Have a burning question related to dreams or dreaming?

Ask the Dream Doctor here


Need your dream interpreted?

Click here to make a booking