The Secret Life of Sleep is a fascinating read, and along the way I learned that the term for the sudden leg jerk that happens as you're falling asleep is called myoclonic kick or sleep start. We've all experienced this phenomenon: it feels like you're falling and jerk awake to stop yourself, getting a fright in the process.
I bet you didn't know though that the split-second dream you have of falling prior to the primitive reflex (leg jerk) is derived by our brain to explain the sensation. You might think the dream has caused the jerk to occur, but it's actually the other way around, absolutely fascinating!! (All explained in detail on Page 6).
Duff also elaborates on one of the most common themes in my dreams (hurried movement) in the following quote from Page 163:
"One of the most commonly described features of dreaming is the sense of hurried movement. It seems we are always jumping, falling, flying, running, or driving in our dreams, and if we finally come to a standstill, we usually wake up. We repeatedly encounter novel, confusing, and disturbing situations, get lost and run late, forever trying to get ourselves properly oriented in time and space." Page 163Here's another great tidbit from the book:
"Research indicates that many of us do not reach our full abilities for two hours after waking, something [to] try to remember in morning traffic." Page 188I also enjoyed reading about something I've been able to do for years, and that's manipulate my dreams. If I wake up during a dream, I'm able to go 'back in' and keep going with the theme/topic to enjoy it, or go 'back in' and change it to a better outcome (e.g. if I'm dreaming a loved one is hurt, I can go in and change the dream so that it doesn't happen). Kat Duff calls this ability lucid dreaming and Charles Dickens was a lucid dreamer; who knew?
The Secret Life of Sleep is an easy look at the ins and outs of sleep and dreaming, including the problems we have now in getting enough quality sleep, the use of stimulants and sleeping pills and the pressure to work on fewer hours of rest. This is a great read, my only wish would have been fewer personal anecdotes from the author; some were extremely relevant and interesting and others could have been edited out.
My rating = ***
Carpe Librum & Sweet Dreams!