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Medical Falling in a dream

  1. Apr 23, 2007 #1
    I'm sure everyone has had the sensation of falling from when your almost asleep. It feels like you hit a brick wall and you shift in bed. The question is what it is and how it happens.

  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 23, 2007 #2


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    Yes, this has been happening to me more often lately. Just when I'm about to fall asleep, sometimes I get that feeling that you describe. I notice that it happens only when I'm falling asleep in the "wrong" position.

    I can't seem to find a reason behind it.
  4. Apr 23, 2007 #3


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    This might help you!
  5. Apr 24, 2007 #4
    I didnt check that link but are you talking about falling or feeling your body drop for a second? Falling represents complete hopeless-ness
  6. Apr 24, 2007 #5
    That's natural. You fall asleep, don't you? (Sorry. :biggrin:)

    I don't seem to recall experiencing this. But I do get this "inability-to-move syndrome" sometimes. And when that happens it scares me to some extent! I come to border between dreamland and reality, knowing that I need to wake up, somehow, and I have to force myself to open my eyes.
  7. Apr 24, 2007 #6


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    Uhm no.

    I suggest you read the link.
  8. Apr 25, 2007 #7
    I am sorry, when I posted this I was in class. Thats what I always related to when I fell in a dream. I wasnt flying :S
  9. Apr 25, 2007 #8
    I'd like to add an observation, first that falling dreams might result from the disconnect between ones brain and body, such that the interpretation becomes one of falling. This is a normal process that occurs whenever we fall asleep.

    My question has to do with flying, leaping, bounding dreams? As a kid I enjoyed these regularly. As an adult seldom or none, until I took up skiing again, A burst then, now nothing???
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2007
  10. Apr 25, 2007 #9
    The sensation you are feeling is probably a glimpse into sleep paralysis.

    The sleep pattern starts like this :

    - Hypnagogic stage - This is easy to identify. This is the stage where you are still awake, but begin to doze off and start having odd thoughts or almost small dreams or events playing in your head. Some people call these "mini dreams" or even "day dreams."

    If you stay away long enough in this stage without going to sleep (or without thinking too much and being awake) you'll eventually get hypnagogic hallucinations. These are made specifically to try to "hypnotise" the brain into going to sleep. The hallucinations can be from noises, "sights" (your eyes are closed), smells, tastes, etc.

    If you keep going, you will enter sleep paralysis (some people go into this regularly without choice.) This is when your brain "paralyses" the body so your body does not act out dreams. If you can stay aware in this phase of sleeping, it is described by heavy hypnagogic hallucinations and bodily sensations. Most sensations represent : floating, feelings of sinking into the bed, feelings of rolling off the bed, feeling of pressure being put upon the chest (if lying on the back.) etc. Many people mistake this part of the sleep process as being abducted by aliens, seeing angels, seeing demons, etc. You will hallucinated on top of having these body sensations.

    After that is full blown dreams. If you are skilled, you can have a "lucid dream." This is when you can keep awake (better put: aware) while your body falls alseep and induce dreaming. At this point you can control your dreams (with practice). There are other ways to induce lucid dreams.

    Anyways it's sleep paralysis.
  11. Apr 25, 2007 #10
    That was my take too, that the fall occurs coincident with onset of sleep paralysis. Do you have any idea why then people can sleepwalk, etc or do these parasomniac behaviors occur during non-REM sleep states?
  12. Apr 25, 2007 #11


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    Last edited: Apr 25, 2007
  13. Apr 25, 2007 #12


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    Carl Sagen's book, Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence,

    discusses some possible origins of falling dreams.


    Do you think Sagan is hinting at genetic memory? Or instinctual reflexs that surface from the subconscious during sleep?
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2007
  14. Apr 26, 2007 #13
    Interesting thread, Sagan may have hit on something which I hadn't thought about before. We have arboreal ancestors, and since it appears that dreams for whatever reason--lie deep within our mammalian ancestry for reasons still unperfectly understood, it would place a selective pressure on those animals who don't act out their dreams and thus fall out of the tree.
  15. Apr 27, 2007 #14
    I don't know if you you believe this but, when someone meditates,the feeling they get is the same one as when your in those foggy moments right before sleep and for a split second you feel that off balance, falling sensation. Some one who mediates would tell you; it's your soul about ready to transcend (or whatever it does). Haven't you ever experienced that same feeling while in a "right" position?
  16. Apr 27, 2007 #15
    I am suprised no one has posted anything about thetawaves : P
  17. Apr 27, 2007 #16


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    It could be a sub-cognitive exageration of the slightest movement in the body while asleep. If the arm moved .5 mm it would be translated by the sleeping brain as perhaps a complete dislocation from "nest" or branch and this would act to awaken the subject and ensure less broken bones and/or reduced loss of life.

    Today it would be a common reflex since, as you say, the descendants of primates that didn't develop the reflex are not around today, as a result of this deficiency.
  18. Apr 27, 2007 #17
    Exactly, and why sleep paralysis is there in the first place. You ever watch dogs dream though? At least I assume they are dreaming when they move their legs at times while sleeping--of course canines diverged from arboreal life sometime before primates, and have perhaps shed some of the sleep paralysis circuitry.
  19. Apr 29, 2007 #18


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    Its true that dogs run and growl and have great social lives in their sleep. However, I don't know of any dogs that have anscesters who lived in trees.:rolleyes: So one would not expect there to be a "sleep paralysis" reflex nor even the alarm system associated with falling out of a tree. But they are extremely sensitive to sound while asleep (with exception due to breeding) as well as changes in light and shadow. There is a wide range of early warning systems that have developed in animals. The "falling dream" appears to be one of them that remains with us today. (role credits, National Geographic logo, run next weeks preview)
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2007
  20. Apr 29, 2007 #19
  21. Apr 29, 2007 #20


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    That's cool. They were actually the "small shrew-like creatures called Cimolestes"(quote from your link). More like a ground squirrel or rather rat-like! I'm sure it wasn't long before they were living in trees but if you think about it, the bolide incident that impeded the dinosaur's evolution also started a fire storm that took out a large portion of life on earth, including the trees. So, it would have been some time before there were trees in which to make one's habitat.
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