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Sweet Dreams Are Made of Serotonin: Baz Science Lesson No. 2

Arthur Wardle, RBA Fellow, 1894. Incidentally, how we expect you to feel after reading our latest blog. 

Arthur Wardle, RBA Fellow, 1894. Incidentally, how we expect you to feel after reading our latest blog. 

Hello again Bazzers! It’s time for us to delve yet again into the murky world of sleep, dreams and just exactly why you keep dreaming of a cactus in a sombrero dancing to ‘Walking in the Air’ by Aled Jones (actually there is nothing we can do to help you with that, you might be on your own there: we suggest you get that sorted. Pronto.) But it is weird isn’t it? It’s not just us – right? Sort of lying unconscious, sort of paralysed, for at least eight hours, Every night.

Freaked out yet?

Well never fear – Baz and our resident brain-box PJ are back with facts about sleep that are more awesome than the cool side of the pillow – so settle down under the blanket with your hot water bottle and your CD of whale noises and let us tell you all about it…So. What is sleep? We all spend, people have theorised, a third of our entire lives doing it. Even educated fleas do it. (Sorry) Basically, it’s a restorative natural impulse, and good night will usually encompass the three states/cycles in the brain and set you up for the day: Wakefulness (where your brain bids you a good night, releases Orexin neurons to moan at you if you decide to just watch one more episode of Homeland) Rapid Eye Movement (when your eyes are going crazy and you are literally all up in that high speed car chase with Scooby Doo) to Non-Rapid Eye Movement  (that weird Inception-like place where not much is happening but what is, is confusing – sorry Chris Nolan, bit harsh?)  It’s in that REM state though, that the drama happens – REM Behaviour Disorders, or sleepwalking/fighting/Irish dancing occur, and the normal state of paralysis is completely bypassed. There’s also the cheery prospect of Narcolepsy, or Sleep Apnea – two disorders that greatly affect the individual’s life in ways that show just how important and all-pervading sleep can be.

Of course, there are your bog-standard Nightmares too – and this is what Baz is particularly interested in with our Dream Play – it is one of the few things like breathing, laughing and crying that we all share, sure, but you can’t tell Baz that you’ve not had that naked at school/embarrassing dream about a teacher episode. Well, it can go even deeper than that, and into something called Dream Reality Confusion – which , like it suggests, can make things get really weird. And lucid. To which we here at Baz say – awesome. And “can you write that down for us?”

This kind of information, this science, is just as important to Baz’s vision as the work it produces for the simple reason that it’s fascinating –  kind of miraculous and every day simultaneously, providing real insight into what it means to be human on an individual basis: subconscious desire, an unknown ambition, an anxitety you just don’t face during the day – and it is one of our main aims to provide enlightened, important and educational work to our audiences. Even about sleep. Plus is cool to know that the Melatonin chemical is the fun one, and the Serotonin one wakes you up. Pull that out at dinner parties.

Most interestingly, however, these cycles of different sleep patterns occur roughly every hour and a half, signalling the next big change. Ninety minutes. Kind of like the length of a play…


Just leaving that there.

Sleep well! Dream it up! (Baz dreamt of lighthouses all last night. No matter the situation.  Callback to Aldeburgh last year where Baz devised Dream Play in around the South Lookout at HighTide, perhaps?  Nonetheless, it did make a nice feature of that leisure centre, though.)

Sleep tight! (anyone else suddenly really sleepy now?)


And thanks again to the Almighty PJ making our lives, blogs and dreams just that little bit easier to understand.


Baz x