Have you ever heard of an increase in vividness and detail of dreams while on a smoke break?
I’ve noticed it before and find it fascinating. At first, I didn’t know if it was real or not. But after asking friends about it, I found out I’m not the only person who has experienced it. My friends recollect the same thing I did – crazy clear dreams that they remember. After some online research, I stumbled upon a bunch of personal anecdotes describing exactly what I experienced, as well as the scientific rationale.
Apparently, it has to do with REM sleep. Sleep is not created equal – there are different stages. One of those stages is REM, standing for rapid eye movement. Dreams take place during this stage. The more time you spend in REM sleep, the more you dream. If you wake up directly from REM sleep, you’ll probably remember the dream you were having.
But why are my dreams more vivid when I don’t smoke before I go to sleep?
Scientists believe that marijuana suppresses REM sleep. With this rationale, it makes sense that dreams aren’t as vivid in marijuana-induced sleep. But if you’re an avid smoker and then go on a break, something changes. We respond to suppressed REM sleep by increasing it when it’s not suppressed. This is called REM rebound.
It’s the same phenomena with naps. If you don’t get a lot of sleep any given night, you consequently don’t get as much REM sleep. Many people take naps the day after a night of little sleep to catch up on Z's, sending them into REM rebound and an experience of unbelievably clear and vivid dreams, similar to the REM rebound associated with smoke breaks.
Personally, I love dreams. It’s fascinating to think about the wild scenes the subconscious creates.
So, what’s the point?
While I’ve experienced the REM rebound induced by smoke breaks, I’ve never experienced it with the knowledge of why it was happening.
So, I’ve decided to create a two-part series.
From now until the next time I post (Wednesday the 18th), I’m going to not smoke and document my dreams.
After each night of sleep, I’ll document (1) quality of sleep (2) vividness of my dream and (3) content of my dream.
I’m excited to see what comes out of this. I’m going to try to report what goes on as objectively as possible.
So, if you’re interested in my little experiment, tune in next week to see what I find.