Many explanations have arisen to explain why one has a nightmare,
whether it be a message being sent, just bad luck, or just a bad
sandwich. Although the topic remains open, in this experiment Scientific
AmeriKen explores the possibility that nightmares might actually
serve a useful purpose. Namely, that nightmares might be a method
by which the body increases the heart rate of a sleeping individual
and ultimately causes a return to consciousness. The idea stems
from a nap Scientific AmeriKen was enjoying when a cat decided to
jump atop the stomach - the result of which induced a nightmare
that seemed to rationalized the action of the cat - and now awake,
allowing Scientific AmeriKen to "deal" with said cat.
Thus the purpose of this experiment will be to take this experience
one step further and explore the possibility that given the right
circumstances, a nightmare can be induced.
After speculating upon this possibility for several years, Scientific
AmeriKen suspects multiple stimuli have the possibility of inducing
a nightmare, such as a room that is too hot, a loud unexpected sound,
snoring, and a wife made angry by snoring, and others. It is the
hypothesis of this experiment that limbs left outside the covers
in direct line of an air conditioning unit will induce a nightmare.
This experiment was carried out in two stages - the first was taking
a dream log of all nightmares and attempts to write down any possible
circumstances surrounding the nightmare. For this part of the experiment
a pen and paper or cell phone notepad was required. It is noted
that the details should be written immediately upon waking as dreams
are strangely easily forgotten.
In the second phase of the experiment an air condition was used.
Feet were left outside the covers and the feet were nearly in a
direct line of the air flow from the device. Sleep was then attempted
and notes to be written following waking up.
Dream/nightmare logs were taken in the two months leading up to
the attempt to induce a nightmare. It is noted that melatonin supplementation
(5 mg/nightly) during the first month of this phase may have increased
the rate as most dreams/nightmares were recorded during the first
month. We also note that several dreams (quite a few actually) were
not recorded as they were quickly forgotten.
Nightmares during this phase include:
Dream: "Child sounding so far far away...
But can't get to him" - Possible cause:
he is calling me from his bedroom
Dream:- "Classic dream of having trouble/difficulty
giving a public speech" - Possible cause:
Time to wake up to go to work
Dream: Forgotton - Possible cause: Kid
wakes me up at 3 AM asking for water.
Dream:-"Wife has salacious rumors about
someone she knows who is having an inproper relationship - I start
believing it is one of my friends and was worried about telling
her"- Possible cause: Kid attacks me in
the early morning
Dream: "Was resting in a tent thing when
I start hearing something walking outside, then a gnome sticks its
head inside the tent"-- Possible cause:
wife was walking around the bed
Dream: "Was hosting the Queen of England
in our house along with my mom and dad, but I was younger. I was
in my pajamas as I was telling her what I do with my science -
but she had no reaction to it." Possible cause:
Kid woke me up to celebrate father's day.
Wife's Dream: "Someone was making forged
scandalous tapes and husband was blaming wife for it, but then
wife checked it out and it wasn't her at all and was then super
mad at husband" - Possible Cause: woke up
because it was very hot because husband turned off AC and did
not put fan on and wife was angry.
Dream: "Was in an MMA fight against an Amazon
warrior lady - it was mostly a set up fight, but I still had to
make it look real. In any case I was doing really well until I
was punched in the face and woke up." Possible cause:
No reason was found for the dream, but I was aware that I needed
to wake up early.
Dream: "Was in a hidden room behind a false
wall as somebody was rustling outside - so I quietly started searching
for the hidden room within the hidden room."
Possible cause: When I awoke there was a bitey kitten
walking around on the bed.
Next an attempt was made to induce a nightmare. Time to nightmare
was not recorded but believe to be approximately 2-3 hours. It was
noted that following the nightmare the feet were ice cold but still
remained functional. The nightmare is as follows:
"Was driving along through a tunnel with the kid in the
back of the car - Then a crazy guy drops down on the windshield
staring at me (image below)-- he quickly enters through the
passenger window then starts choking me -- I keep trying to
drive to keep from crashing during this when I start feeling
like I am having a heart attack. I try to tell the assailant
that so we don't crash but then I wake up and my feet are frozen!
The assailant looked like Regis Philbin or Bob from Twin Peaks"
The data seem to suggest the hypothesis was proven correct and
nightmares can be induced. Although this experiment should be repeated,
Scientific AmeriKen has no desire to confront Bob from twin peaks
ever again. However, if this is true, one possible reason for nightmares is that they evolved to rouse a sleeping individual to deal with a potential threat.
Aside from the possibility that nightmares can be caused
or that certain environmental factors increase the risk of a nightmare,
the experiment had several other interesting findings. These include
the possibility that melatonin supplementation possibly increases dreaming, that dreams are so easily forgotten, and that
dreams/nightmares happen at very quickly in the
sense that a dream that seems to last minutes may have actually
occurred in a second or two. Although there may be many causes of
nightmares, these findings might be useful to reduce the risk of
nightmares by making sure rooms are kept at proper temperatures
and that one sleeps in an isolated chamber away from jumpy
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