Sleep is broken into five distinct parts – Stages 1 through 4, plus REM, an acronym for rapid eye movement. REM and non-REM sleep are quite different, as different from each other as each is from being awake. Much remains unknown about each of the five sleep stages. Most dreaming occurs during REM sleep, a period when the eyeballs move rapidly beneath the closed lids. And whether they remember or not, all adults dream, usually four to six times a night.

Three types of mood are strongly related to some specific stage of sleep. Our friendly, aggressive, and sleepy feelings all relate to Stage 2 sleep, which accounts for most of our total sleep hours. Our friendly and sleepy feelings, but not our aggressive feelings, are affected as well by Stages 3 and 4, and by how long it takes us to fall asleep.

This means that if you get less sleep than normal – and people vary a great deal in how much sleep they normally require – you awake more friendly, more aggressive, but less sleepy. Researchers knew from their earlier work that sleep determines if people feel happier. Yet, when they studied the various sleep stages, they found no correlation between sleep physiology and the unhappy mood. They were puzzled by this.

To Sleep, Perhance To Dream
William Shakespeare – To Sleep, Perhance To Dream


Clearly sleep made a difference, but that difference didn’t relate to how much time one spent in each of the various sleep stages. The researchers decided the key to whether we feel happy or unhappy after sleep must lie in sleep’s psychological component – our dreams. So, they began studying dream content – what dreamers dreamed and who appeared in their dreams – to see how it affected mood. These findings have emerged from eight years of sleep and dream research at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio: – While sleep affects how sleepy, friendly, aggressive, and unhappy we feel after awakening, feelings of happiness or unhappiness depend most strongly on our dreams.

Each of us has a special dream character, a type of person whose appearance in our dreams makes us feel happier when we awake.  What we dream at night isn’t as important to how we feel in the morning as the number of people who populate our dreams. The more people we see, the better we feel. – Our sleep influences our mood. Our mood, in turn, affects our performance. And throughout the day, our levels of mood and performance remain closely linked.

to be or not to be
To Sleep, Perhance To Dream

Mark the statements as True (T), False (F) or No Information (Nl).

1. Rapid eye movements during sleep usually indicate that you are dreaming.

2. The amount of sleep required is the same for everybody.
3. People have difficulty in remembering their dreams if it has taken them a long time to fall asleep.

4. If few people appear in your dream, you are likely to feel bad when you wake up.

5. A person can perform well even if s/he is not in a good mood.

6. More time is spent in Stage 2 sleep than in other stages.

7. People wake up after Stage 4 sleep

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