Science Says Your Dreams Can Be Determined By The Sleeper’s Position
Can changing your sleep position alter your dreams?
I need the television on — and my socks off — and that’s just the way it’s been with me for as long as I can remember.
Frankly, I’ve never tried to switch it up. They say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” — so, over the years, I can’t really say I’ve been actively looking to improve my sleep habits.
At the end of the day (no pun intended), sleep habits are just that: habits. I doubt I’d even be able to switch it up if I tried.
After all, I’ve always considered the main objective of sleep (aside from recharging our tanks) to be comfort. I never thought too deeply into why I slept a certain way, like, on my side, for instance. As long as I was comfortable, I guess that was enough for me.
And everyone has his or her own special formula for a good night’s sleep, the same way I do. Some like to have the room very hot; others prefer things on the chilly side. Some people like the windows open; others, not so much.
Regardless of the specific preference itself, the fashion in which one puts themselves to bed does say something about them — what it says specifically, however, is a bit more complex.
According to Melissa Greer of Best Health Mag, it appears the position you sleep in may have a significant effect on the way you dream, a finding that originates from a 2012 study published in “The Effect of Sleep Position on Dream Experiences,” conducted by Calvin Kai-Ching Yu, which proposes the idea that sleep position directly determines the types of dreams you may be experiencing.
Using 700 test subjects, Yu found that certain sleep positions were more susceptible to producing certain types of dreams. “Different sleep positions may create pressure on different parts of the body, and body feelings may be the sources of dream elements,” Yu affirms.
For example, sleeping on your belly is supposed to lead to more erotic styles of dreaming.
Test subjects who were urged to sleep on their stomachs reported back more “intense, vivid and sexual” dreams, and some even felt as though they were getting tied up, as reported by Alice Martin of Everyday Health.
So I suppose if you’ve been striking out in the dating world, you could always just sleep on your belly and call it a night.
Yu continues to explain that everyone can play a more direct role in his or her resulting dreams by altering the position he or she sleeps in, but also illustrates the potential dangers of doing so.
In the mind of Yu, messing with your own sleep habits can detract from your own overall quality of sleep.
If you’re used to sleeping on your side, like I am, but itch for more erotic dreams — that’s something to consider before making the transition to full-on belly sleeping.
But it appears belly sleeping isn’t the only option if you’re looking to explore the prospect of tweaking your usual sleep position. As Martin continues to describe, almost every sleep position can have its own unique effect on you.
If you sleep on your side, which Martin highlights as the “most common sleep position,” the type of dreams you’ll be more prone to having depend on which specific side you sleep on.
Right-side sleepers are more inclined to have “positive dreams,” while those who sleep on their left sides — like, me, for instance — are known to have fewer nightmares. I, for one, experience my fair share of nightmares — but, rarely ever while sleeping, so the findings check out.
Apparently, sleeping on your back is probably the worst possible position to sleep in.
Aside from causing a slew of physical issues (like neck pain and sleep apnea), it can result in more frequent nightmares and, wait, here’s the kicker — snoring, too.
So if you’re significant other is known to pass out on his or her back, you might want to nip that habit in the bud before it leads to some serious snoring. Just make sure you tell him or her you’re concerned about the whole “frequent nightmare” thing.
Ultimately, as fun as this research might be to experiment with — it still needs more work, Yu says. More research needs to be conducted on the bigger picture and other factors that go into dreaming and sleep, in general.
But for now, play around with the position you sleep in, and see if it has any bearing on your type of dreams.
I have to say, the whole “belly sleeping” thing does sound tempting — although I’m not sure how I feel about the whole “tied up” aspect.
Although, I guess if Kate Moss popped up in one of my dreams, she could do whatever the f*ck she wanted.
I’ll just keep on dreaming.
See also: Food-poisoning Expert Reveals 9 Things He Refuses To Eat.
Some foods are more associated with illnesses than others, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But these foods are the worst, according to experts, who either take extra precautions, or avoid them altogether.
1. Raw shellfish
Oysters and other filter-feeding shellfish can contain viruses and bacteria. Raw or undercooked oysters can contain Vibrio bacteria, which can lead to an infection called vibriosis. Oysters harvested from contaminated waters can contain norovirus, which causes vomiting and diarrhea. To avoid food poisoning, cook your seafood.
2. Undercooked meat
The number one source of food poisoning is undercooked meat. “Most raw poultry contains Campylobacter. It also may contain Salmonella, Clostridium perfringens, and other bacteria. Raw meat may contain Salmonella, E. coli, Yersinia, and other bacteria,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Thoroughly cooking poultry and meat will destroy the bacteria, but you can’t tell if meat is properly cooked just by looking. Always use a meat thermometer and cook food to a safe internal temperature. Use this guide to find the right temperature for each type of meat, poultry and seafood.
3. Raw (unpasteurized) milk
Raw milk can carry harmful bacteria that can make you very sick. They include Campylobacter, Cryptosporidium, E. coli, Listeria, and Salmonella. Although liseriosis (the infection caused by Listeria) is rare, pregnant women are less capable of fighting it off, which means that it can be more deadly in pregnant women. In addition, it’s possible for the unborn baby to become ill as well. Older adults and people that have a compromised immune system are also in greater danger than the general population.
It’s best, therefore, for everyone to drink pasteurized milk. For those at greater risk, take the extra precaution of not eating any dairy products made from unpasteurized milk (raw cheeses, for example).
4. Leftover meat
Just because you cooked it once doesn’t mean it’s safe after it’s been relegated to leftovers. Leftovers should be refrigerated at 40°F or colder within 2 hours after preparation. Large cuts of meat, such as roasts or a whole turkey, should be divided into smaller quantities for refrigeration so they’ll cool quickly enough to prevent bacteria from growing. If you haven’t taken these precautions, when you use your leftovers in any of these leftovers recipes, you will need to cook your meat to the internal temperatures listed here. And please remember that when you use leftover meat in a cold salad, the same rule applies.
5. Raw sprouts
Wait, what? Aren’t sprouts like the ultimate health food? Yes, but, no. Sprouts are grown in warm, wet conditions, which makes them basically a petri dish for germs (including Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria). Thoroughly cooking sprouts kills the harmful germs. So, if you don’t totally LOVE sprouts, think about cooking them rather than serving them raw on your sandwiches and salads.
6. Canned foods
If your canned food is deeply dented, don’t eat it, advises the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, “A deep dent is one that you can lay your finger into. Deep dents often have sharp points.” A sharp dent on either the top or side seam can damage the seam and allow bacteria to enter the can, and you don’t want that.
7. Raw eggs
Eggs can contain Salmonella even if the egg looks clean and is uncracked. To avoid getting sick, cook eggs until the yolks and whites are firm. Cook foods containing eggs thoroughly. Keep your eggs at 40°F or colder, and don’t eat raw cookie dough or cake batter.
Notice how even our traditional eggnog recipe uses eggs that have been heated to a safe temperature (but not scrambled, we promise).
8. Unwashed fruits and veggies
Eating fresh produce provides important health benefits, but sometimes raw fruits and vegetables may contain Salmonella, E. coli, Listeria, and other bacteria. Contamination can occur anytime from the farm right to the table, including via cross-contamination in your own kitchen. So always wash your produce carefully. If your immune system is compromised for any reason (for example, if you’re undergoing chemotherapy, or you’ve recently had surgery), then wash them at least twice before eating. Here are four ways to wash the goodies you bring home from the farmer’s market.
By the way, this is true for fruits with peels as well, according to Registered Dietitian, Jodi Danen. That’s because you’re either touching the peel with your fingers or cutting through the peel, thereby cross-contaminating the flesh with germs from the peel. In addition, Danen points out that once fruits and veggies are sliced, they must be refrigerated within a four-hour window to prevent bacterial growth.
9. Raw flour
You’re probably thinking, “Ew! Why would I ever eat raw flour?” Hello, cookie dough? Harmful germs can contaminate grain while it’s still in the field, at every step of production and after it enters your home. You’re safe from those germs once you cook the flour. So just say no to licking the bowl. Here’s some more information about the dangers of eating raw flour (and raw dough and batter in general).
See also: Don’t Throw Them Away! 9 Awesome Uses For Silica Gel Packets.
Any woman who’s ever bought a new bag, new shoes, or even a bottle of Advil knows about those little silica gel packets that sternly order us to throw them away and not eat them. We’ve all tossed them (and, presumably, not eaten them), but it’s a safe bet that few of us know why they’re lurking inside all our new stuff.
Silica gel is a desiccant, which means it absorbs and holds water. The gel packs suck up water vapor from the air and keep our new products dry and fresh. They’re frequently found packaged with leather products and other items that don’t react well with moisture.
Although we’re told to throw the silica packs away, there are actually a pretty decent amount of surprising—and smart—uses for the little guys. We suggest keeping a few tucked away, especially now that you know what they actually do. Below, 9 times you can put those pesky little packs to good use.
1. Dry Flowers Faster
Dried flowers can serve as a memento of a special occasion, or can just look really cool in a vase. The problem? Letting them dry out can take a long time, and can cause a mess. If you place a bouquet in a plastic bag with silica gel packs, you can speed up the drying process—that’s important because, if the dying process takes to long, the flowers can begin to die before they’re totally dried. The Daily Mail suggests throwing a few more packs of silica gel into the plastic bag than you think you need, just to be safe.
2. Freshen a Gym Bag
Stinky gym bags are the absolute worst—but they’re also hard to avoid. You throw your sweaty workout clothes and sneakers in there, zip it up, and go about your day. If you keep a few silica gel packs in the bag, they’ll help to wick away some of the moisture (read: sweat) that gives gym bags a bad rap. Also, as Wonder How To points out, less moisture means less bacteria, which is something everyone wants. This seems like a no-brainer.
3. Keep Photos Looking New Longer
Although printing photos may seem like a thing of the past, when it comes to special occasions, nothing beats real, tangible photos that you can hold in your hand. Chances are, if you go through the effort to print a photo, you want that print to last. Store your photos and photo albums in sealed plastic boxes, and line those boxes with silica gel packs. Removing the moisture from the containers will keep the photos from curling and bending due to water exposure.
4. Dry Your Swimsuit While Traveling
There’s nothing more annoying (and gross) than having to travel with wet clothes. Don’t have time to let your swimsuit air dry? Silica gel packs can fix this, as My Thirsty Spot points out. Throw your suit in a large zip-top bag filled with silica gel packs—the more the better. Seal the bag tightly and let the silica wick away all the moisture from your bikini.
5. Save a Water-Logged Phone
We’ve all been there: One second your iphone is in your hands, the next it’s deep in the toilet (or a cocktail—no judgement.) While this is a death sentence for most devices, all hope isn’t lost if you have some silica gel packs saved up! Fill a plastic baggie with the packs and slip your phone it. Seal the bag and let the gel suck all the moisture from your phone. Be careful though” Make Life Lovely warns not to be overly eager and turn your phone on too quickly, as this could cause an electrical short and ruin your phone: Be sure to wait a full day or even two.
6. Preserve Razor Blades
Do you find that your expensive razor blades are oxidizing more quickly than you’d like? Wonder How To has a simple solution—instead of storing your razors in the open air, exposed to moisture that causes oxidization, keep them in a jar filled with silica gel packs instead. After you’re done showering and shaving, throw the wet blade into the jar and the silica will extract the excess water, nixing bacteria preventing oxidization.
7. Protect Silver From Tarnishing
When your silver jewelry or flatware starts to look dirty or less vibrant, it’s most likely tarnished. Tarnish is caused by a chemical reaction between elements in the air coming into contact with the silver. Humidity can expedite this process. A cure for humidity? Yup, silica gel packs. The Daily Mail suggests keeping a few silica gel packs in your jewelry box or silverware drawer in order to keep humidity in check.
8. Defog a Windshield
Foggy windshields are not only a nuisance and sometimes difficult to clear, they can also be seriously dangerous. Fog on windshields is condensation caused by humidity or a difference in temperature between the outside of your car and the inside of your car. An easy fix, as suggested by My Thirsty Spot, is to keep a few gel packs in your ride, specifically on the windshield. The packs should absorb some of the excess moisture caused by humidity and keep your windshields less foggy.
9. Stop Camera Condensation
Fashion bloggers out there, you’ll love this one. Nothing’s more frustrating than a foggy camera lens caused by condensation, especially when going from the cold back inside. My Thirsty Spot, a blogger herself, suggests removing your battery, memory card, and lens and placing them into a bowl of silica gel packs to suck up all that excess moisture.