Dreamless: the silent epidemic of REM sleep loss by Rubin Naiman

Dreamless: the silent epidemic of REM sleep loss by Rubin Naiman (complete paper)

Fascinating & very important paper on REM SLEEP LOSS - the many ways REM/dreaming is undermined, why it is essential, & how to get more of it. Hold on tight to your dreams!


We are at least as dream deprived as we are sleep deprived. Many of the health concerns attributed to sleep loss result from a silent epidemic of REM sleep deprivation. REM/dream loss is an unrecognized public health hazard that silently wreaks havoc with our lives, contributing to illness, depression, and an erosion of consciousness. This paper compiles data about the causes and extent of REM/dream loss associated with commonly used medications, endemic substance use disorders, rampant sleep disorders, and behavioral and lifestyle factors. It examines the consequences of REM/dream loss and concludes with recommendations for restoring healthy REM/dreaming.

Lose your dreams and you will lose your mind —The Rolling Stones


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Very interesting to read. I recently purchased some therapeutic rubbing cream from a local medical marijuana shop (legal in MA). I asked one of the Budtenders about MJ for sleeping and she showed me something she was using and recommended it. I asked her about her dreams and she told me that she hasn’t had any since she starting using the drug but didn’t made the connection until we started to talk about it.

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Interesting, @_Barry. I seem to recall reading elsewhere – maybe in Why We Sleep, not sure – that marijuana can genuinely help with sleep in the short term, but definitely has a negative impact if you use it for very many nights in a row. I’ve definitely read accounts of heavy cannabis users who quit cold turkey having vivid and intense dreaming for a while, which would make sense in terms of REM-rebound. In any case I don’t personally like the idea of using anything that kills my dreams!


I’ve been reading Why We Sleep and he talks about loss of REM sleep with alcoholics – he said that alcoholics accumulate such a REM deficit that delirium tremens is “aggressive intrusion of dreaming while they are wide awake. The pent-up REM sleep pressure erupts forcefully into waking consciousness, causing hallucinations, delusions, and gross disorientation.” Wow. Respect for the power of REM. I can easily imagine how crazy it would be to have dreaming and “day world” consciousness going on at the same time.