Sleep and dreams


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Ma Zhenguo, a system engineer at Renren Inc in Beijing, sleeping at the office of the Chinese credit-management company on 27 April 2016. Photo by Jason Lee/Reuters

Essay/
Sleep and dreams
Here’s to naps and snoozes

American work culture, seeping around the globe, threatens to ruin the pleasures and benefits of public, communal sleep

Todd Pitock

‘The oppressive force in this case was neither a class nor a generation but the British empire itself.’ A British officer in India receives a pedicure from an Indian servant. Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images

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History
The empire dreamt back

To help rule its empire, Britain turned to psychoanalysis. But they weren’t willing to hear the truth it told

Erik Linstrum

Photo by Lucas Jackson/Reuters

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Politics and government
American dreaming 3.0

Embrace dreams as a counter to the naive realism of politics today, and they could become a potent democratic force

Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen

The Vision of Christ, drawing by William Blake, 19th century. Courtesy the Morgan Library & Museum, New York

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Sleep and dreams
Dreams and revelations

The world’s great religions and spiritual journeys emerged from dreams and visions. Neurochemistry tells us how

Patrick McNamara

Night and Sleep by Evelyn de Morgan (1878). Courtesy Wikimedia

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Sleep and dreams
Falling for sleep

When wakefulness is seen as the main event, no wonder so many have trouble sleeping. Can we rekindle the joy of slumber?

Rubin Naiman

Rythms of the night (and day). Illustration by Richard Wilkinson

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Sleep and dreams
Life in Circadia

The ticking of the bodyclock can help us fight cancer, safeguard our hearts, time our meals, and enhance our intelligence

Jessa Gamble

Illustration by Alastair Peat

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Sleep and dreams
Are dreams predictions?

Dreams might not be omens or prophecies in a mystical sense, but they do have a distinct psychological predictive power

Sue Llewellyn

Photo by Chang Szeling/Gallery Stock

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Consciousness and altered states
Night school

New evidence suggests that we can learn while we sleep, but do we really want to put our hours of rest to work?

Kenneth Miller

Photo by Michael Lewis/Gallery Stock

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Sleep and dreams
Broken sleep

People once woke up halfway through the night to think, write or make love. What have we lost by sleeping straight through?

Karen Emslie

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Consciousness and altered states
Hallucinogenic nights

Sleep paralysis has tormented me since childhood. But now it’s my portal to out-of-body travel and lucid dreams

Karen Emslie

In dreams; a beach-roamer, Germany, 1933. Photo by Herbert List/Magnum Photos

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Sex and sexuality
How sex rules our dreams

Gritty, emotional, smelly and dirty: new evidence supports Freud’s long-debunked theory that sex fuels our dreams

Patrick McNamara

Chicago glows through a blanket of clouds. Photo by Jim Richardson/National Geographic

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Astronomy
The end of night

An eternal electric day is creeping across the globe, but our brains and bodies cannot cope in a world without darkness

Rebecca Boyle

Photo by Toby Melville/Reuters

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Consciousness and altered states
Unhinged

Travel the world, but work on New York time. This is what I learned about circadian rhythms by unravelling my own

Cara Parks

Photo by Mary Kocol/Gallerystock

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Sleep and dreams
Stories in the night

Insomnia brings many gifts — the noises of the night, the twist of narrative, and a stolen march on time

Melanie McGrath

A US soldier takes a break during a night mission in the Pesh valley of Kunar Province, Afghanistan, 12 August 2009. Photo by Carlos Barria/Reuters

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Future of technology
The end of sleep?

New technologies are emerging that could radically reduce our need to sleep - if we can bear to use them

Jessa Gamble