Perchance to Dream: Sleeping and dreaming
Sleep is not unconsciousness, such as the state created by anaesthetics - after all, a sudden noise is all it takes to wake us up! The amount of sleep we need varies throughout our life - newborn babies seem to spend most of their time asleep, just waking up for food. We need less sleep as we grow older. Sleep has different stages: R.E.M. (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep occurs several times during a good night's sleep, and this is when dreaming is believed to take place. Although we benefit from the rest, we need to dream.
left: miniature bed created by Christina
W Bell. Photograph by Mark Galloway, copyright ©
Glasgow Caledonian University Archives, The Christina W Bell Collection
- Folklore collection of Alexander Carmichael (1832-1912) and W. J. Watson (1865-1948), includes prayers before sleep.
- James Thomson (1834-1882): pessimistic poet prone to sleep problems.
- Newscuttings collection: from English newspapers dating from 1890-1915; these include an article on "How to get to sleep".
- Hugh Boustead (1895–1980): recollections of Russia include a Cossack cradle song.
- James William Dell (born around 1880): took part in the British National Antarctic Expedition, 1901-1904 (leader Robert Falcon Scott); Dell used his sail-making skills to produce sleeping bags.
- George Steedman Riddell (1890-1973): Fife public health official, involved in matters of billeting and air raid shelters.
- Demonology collection: a 19th century manuscript which includes notes on incubi and succubi (demons said to visit us while we sleep).
- William Cowper (1731-1800): poet who kept dream diaries.
- Cadwaladr Davies ( fl 1740): Merioneth schoolmaster and poet with an interest in interpreting dreams.
- Georg Groddeck (1866-1934): a founder of psychosomatic medicine, who liked to recount his dreams.
- Sigmund Freud (1856-1939): founder of psychoanalysis and author of The interpretation of dreams, 1899.
- Gothic Nightmares: exhibition at Tate Modern, London (February 15th - May 1st, 2006). The exhibition includes The Nightmare, 1781, by Henry Fuseli (1741-1825)
- Shelters: during the 1940-1941 Blitz, many Londoners sheltered and slept in Tube stations (Imperial War Museum).
- Sleeping Well (Royal College of Psychiatrists)
- Sleep Council: non-profit organisation promoting the benefits of a good night's sleep and the importance of buying a good bed.
- British Sleep Society: professional organisation for medical, scientific and healthcare workers dealing with sleeping disorders [website requires frames]
- Sleep Research Centre (University of Loughborough)