If diets cause extra cravings, then does lack of sleep cause extra dreams?
I’ve been busy working two jobs for over a month now, and I’m getting pretty tired. I’m not so keen on working to begin with so a 12-hour day and the pressures of meeting deadlines and being creative at job #2 are wearing me down. (Creativity takes time, but without deadlines I’m quite sure nothing would ever be created.) As I get older, I find I need less sleep than I did when I was in high school or college, now able to squeak by on slightly less than 8 a night for a good length of time. (This may sound sissy to some of you but it’s pretty good for me.) Lately though I’ve been getting less than 7 each weeknight, overcompensating on the weekends but still failing to feel refreshed.
It’s resulted in some vivid dreams though. I think the body, when pressed for sleep over a long period of time, gets into the REM cycle more quickly than normal. Anyway, I stopped watching police procedurals a couple of months ago because of the disturbing nightmares I was having. It’s helped tremendously. I also read an interesting article (which I can’t find anymore) on how certain types of food cause certain types of dreams. So the proverbial question is, of course, what the hell did I eat (or watch) last night?
Now I am a happily married person and I say what I am about to say knowing full well that I am oh-so-occasionally bumped from the starring role in my husband’s dreams by young Hollywood starlets. And there are lots of young actors whom I would love to meet in a dream (or real life, for that matter.) Ryan Reynolds, Robert Downey, Jr. and James Roday (Psych) are all impossibly charming. John Cusack, David Duchovny and Jon Hamm (Mad Men) are quite handsome fellows. And in fact my dream last night involved me falling in love and running away with someone from the cast of my favorite program. But was it dashing, debonair Don Draper himself? Nope. Maybe the older but charismatic (and rich) Roger Sterling? Nope. Swinging bachelor Ken Cosgrove? Nada. It was Harry Crane, head of Sterling Cooper’s one-man television department. What?
In my defense, the actor, Rich Sommer, has been on The Office in the past and had a very funny turn as an obnoxious fireman on Ugly Betty just last week, which may help explain his leap from supporting actor on AMC to leading man in my subconscious. He was also, of course, but a simulacrum of himself, conjured up by my brain and probably unrecognizable to himself.
Also in my defense, the starring role could have been a lot more embarrassing. At least this particular person is my age. (You said you loved me, Paul McCartney! How could you?!?). Still there was one thing in this dream that was different from the many, many, many other dreams in which I have met and been swept away by a famous person. In these other dreams, I always have a moment in which I realize, “hey wait a minute, I’m married! I can’t run off with you, I’d miss my husband too much.” Not only did I not have a moment like that in my dream last night, but I’m pretty sure my simulacrum was not married. I was just a single gal, fortuitously seated between two cast members from Mad Men at a play, smiling at the one on her left – a big, ridiculous smile – until he looked at me and said, “Oh no. You’re a fan, aren’t you?”
It progressed from there though the details are hazy. I mean, come on, a play?!? What play? I haven’t been to a play since I was in London in 2001. Should I meet him again, I’m definitely going to keep smiling until I get a bit part on the show.