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Upcoming talk to address the meanings of dreams

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Alex McIntyre and Photo Illustration by Alex McIntyre | The Daily Wildcat Chrissy Hall, a neuroscience and cognitive science senior, lays in bed for a photo illustration in her home on Tuesday, Jan. 24. Hall acted as a student coordinator for the project, and helped survey the athletes and provide intervention education throughout the study. (Alex McIntyre/The Daily Wildcat)

Two dream specialists will hold the first “Dream On” talk with the University of Arizona Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine on Wednesday, April 24, from 5:30-7 p.m. in the Copper Room of the Student Union Memorial Center. “Dream On” is free and open to the public. 

UA clinical assistant professor of medicine Rubin Naiman and dream practitioner Leah Bolen, both members of the International Association of the Study of Dreams, will discuss the importance of dreaming and answer questions about dreams from the audience. Questions can be anything related to dreams, including nightmares, precognitive dreams and dream analysis.

“It is very important to share knowledge with students,” Naiman said.

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According to Naiman, the importance of dreaming is often misunderstood. There is evidence dreams have influence on memories, emotions and creativity. Sleep loss leads to dream loss, and dream loss leads to depression, poor academic achievement and other negative effects

Conversation with dreams is close to dream analysis, but they are different, according to Bolen.

According to Bolen when people dream, their subconscious is trying to deal with emotions, memories and ideas their conscious mind does not pick up. Therefore, even if two people have the same dream, the situation and context are different because they have different experience in waking life. Then the meaning of the dream also must be different as well.

“I do dream analysis,” Bolen said. “But I am a firm believer that when we look outside of ourselves and try to use a dream dictionary or try to get someone else to tell us what that dream means to us, we are getting further from the truth because they’re so personal.”

Bolen said when people sleep eight hours, they have five dreams at night on average, but they can only remember the last dream or even nothing.

“It’s very common that people don’t remember their dreams, mostly because we’re so busy,” Bolen said. “We wake up with an alarm clock … there’s a very different cognition we have in dream versus waking and as soon as we wake up, we don’t focus on [what dreams we were having]. Those memories go very quickly.”

Spending some time in bed focusing on your dream is an important step in remembering your dream, Bolen said. Focusing and training are keys to improving your dream memory.

One effective way of dream memory training is a dream log. Bolen has logged her dream for about 30 years, since she had an impressive precognitive dream, which brought her to the study of dreams.

She said keeping some bullet points of keywords is enough for starters. If you keep logging your dreams, you will be able to remember dreams in detail and write more. Bolen now writes pages and pages about a single dream.

What she noticed over the years is the content of a dream is usually linked to events or concerns from the past few days. The subconscious can also suggest solutions for a problem you have through a dream. Knowing about your dreams equals facing your life and yourself, she said.  

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Bolen and Naiman met a year ago as members of the International Association for the Study of Dreams. Within the Tucson community, the pair planned to co-host a free outlet to have an “open dialogue” about dreams.

“Throughout history, dreams have been shared among communities,” Bolen said. “In more recent times, it’s been lost. It’s a lost sharing that we just wanna encourage.”


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