Tag Archives: sleep

Blue Light Dreams

Now and again, I have a weird sleep issue that I call “Blue Light Dreams.” It goes like this:


1. I’ll be having a dream which I usually don’t remember

2. I’ll wake up with sudden urgency and start carrying out some task of great importance that my mind is convinced is 100% real. This can be something like “the tunnel in the ceiling is open, now is our chance to get through!” and will end up with me literally standing up on the bed and hoisting up Davis so we can climb through the nonexistent tunnel in the ceiling that I’m scrambling to find.

3. A few moments later I’ll realize that I’ve woken from a dream and whatever I’ve just been acting out is actually ridiculous. Davis usually makes his confused “Mrrr?” sound.

4. 99% of the time these outbursts involve me seeing a blue light. Like in the previous example, I will have seen a bright blue light in the corner of the ceiling which is the signal that the tunnel is open. This looks like a reflection off the wall of a bright blue LED.

5. My brain will make up an excuse as to what the blue light was to get me to go back to sleep, but it’s always something that doesn’t make any sense when I go back and think about it. It’ll be like “oh it was just my clock” (my clock has a green light and usually is dimmed) or…and this is my favorite… “oh it was just the indiglo from my watch” (noting that I have not owned a watch, let alone a watch with indiglo, since high school). But in this state the excited part of my brain accepts whatever excuse the other part has come up with for the time being.

I hate when these Blue Light Dreams happen, because when I settle down from them, I get really anxious and distressed. I’m definitely awake when they happen, but I’m doing something just completely bonkers-crazy and absolutely thinking it is real. It’s like a brief little glimpse into what being a madman is like, and it scares me (I just had one now, and I can’t get back to sleep, which is why I’m up late writing this post). The blue light part is weird but consistent, and it has become a false reminder. Like I wake up and see a blue light and it reminds me that this is a familiar situation. But instead of reminding me “hey you just woke up from a dream, remember?” it’s more like “there’s the blue light! It’s a sign! You have to get up and figure out what it’s for RIGHT NOW and it’s VERY URGENT and DON’T FORGET TO GRAB THE CAT.”

Then, at the moment I should be thinking like a normal person again, I do another weirdly crazy thing – the made up excuse that doesn’t make any sense and the calm acceptance of the excuse as reality.

I’m really not sure what’s going on with these incidents – I’m certainly awake when they occur, and though I often act out with great energy I don’t do anything violent, and at most disturb Davis from sleep by grabbing him and picking him up suddenly. They seem harmless other than the fact that they make me feel like a crazy person, which is scary and distressing. And then sometimes it makes it so I can’t get back to sleep.

Stupid Blue Light Dreams. Does this happen to any of you?

Results of the Sleepathon

So, my internship at Schell Games has started in full swing and is awesome thus far! However, I thought I’d post about what I learned, or concluded…or just theorized from my 2 week sleep study.

1) I think I caught up on an amazing deficit. The first few days I was sleeping upwards of 14 hours a day, and eventually this tapered off somewhat to around 9 or 10 hours a night. I felt it was good, rejuvenating sleep, though. Kind of like the subconscious version of a 2 week cleanse.

2) I am, at heart, a night creature. I’ve denied this for ages, because for some reason I had some deep resolution that my being a night person was “bad.” The world, after all, does not cater to us very well. But screw that. I harbor tons of nocturnal energy, and this can’t be corrected by a rigid sleep schedule, which I think causes more harm than good. I’ve started working out at midnight, doing my grocery shopping at 1, going to bed around 2 or 3 and that’s okay, because that’s how I roll.

3) I’ve identified my napping needs more closely. I tend to need a small nap in the early afternoon, even if it’s just 45 minutes, to kick me back into gear. Around 3:00pm seems a good time. This is often followed by a longer, evening nap. I used to get so stressed about taking naps at 8:00 at night, worrying that it would “mess up my sleep schedule,” but now that I’ve embraced point number 2, I’m much less worried about it (and being less worried means I get to bed more easily when I do sleep at 2 or 3).

Overall during the test, my sleeping periods tended to be vastly erratic. At first I was concerned about this, but I think what I learned is that spaced out, shorter blocks of sleep just work better for me in general. This is roughly what my most comfortable sleep schedule has ended up being…

2:30am – 8:30am (6 hours, my “main” night time sleep)
3:00pm – 4:00pm (1 hourish, my afternoon nap)
8:00pm – 11:00pm (3 hours, my evening nap)

With this, I still get the 9-10 hours of sleep that I seem to need a day, and I’m not tired during the day or stressed out about the fact that I’m staying up late. I imagine that on the weekends I will let myself sleep more freely, to catch up on any deficit, and I will stop beating myself up over it.

One thing that has helped me IMMENSELY during this experiment was this little device, the Sleeptracker Pro: http://www.sleeptracker.com/

Jesse lent it to me. Basically, it is a watch with an accelerometer in it that you wear at night. It detects “near-awake” periods based on your movement. When you set your alarm to wake up, you give it a window of time instead of an exact time, and the alarm won’t go off until it detects a “near-awake” moment in your sleep cycle during that window. Thus, you’re more likely to get woken up when you are in the light stage of sleep, versus being yanked out of REM or stage 4 sleep, and all groggily.

I’m normally not one for gadgets, but I’m in love with this thing, and am going to get my own as soon as I am able (Jesse kindly is lending me his for the duration of my co-op, and I really think it will help).

So! There are my sleepy conclusions, and it’s midnight now…time to go to the gym! 😀