Jun 01 2012

Reading Dement’s The Promise of Sleep

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from The Promise Of Sleep by William C. Dement, M.D., Ph.D.

During REM sleep our bodies are almost completely paralyzed. The nerve signals for movement, which normally travel from the brain to the muscles, are intercepted along the spinal cord and blocked. If this didn’t happen, we would physically act out our dreams…REM paralysis isn’t absolute: If someone is very motivated to move or has strong feelings in the dream, the paralysis is occasionally overcome. People who are especially disturbed by dreams may jerk their limbs or mumble while asleep…Besides the heart and lungs, another part of the body is not paralyzed during REM sleep: the penis. Normal men always have an erection during REM sleep. When one of my colleagues was asked, for the umpteenth time, where dreams come from, he answered, “I don’t know where they come from, but I think that the erect penis serves as the antenna to receive them.”

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