Guest Series
May 8, 2024

Guest Series | Dr. Matt Walker: The Science of Dreams, Nightmares & Lucid Dreaming

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This is episode 6 of a 6-part special series on sleep with Dr. Matthew Walker, Ph.D., a professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California, Berkeley and a leading public educator on sleep for mental and physical health, learning and human performance. In this episode, we discuss dreaming, including the biological mechanism of dreams, what dreams mean and their role in daytime life.

We explore how dreams can enhance our creativity and emotional well-being and help us resolve various challenges and dilemmas. We discuss how to remember and interpret your dreams and the abstractions/symbols frequently present in dreams.

We also discuss nightmares and therapies to treat reoccurring nightmares. We explain what lucid dreaming is and if there are benefits or drawbacks to this type of dreaming.

Dr. Walker also answers frequently asked audience questions and discusses snoring, body position, sleep supplements, sleep challenges due to aging, menopause, stopping racing thoughts, and how to fall back asleep if you wake in the middle of the night.


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About this Guest

Dr. Matthew Walker

Matthew Walker, Ph.D., is a professor of neuroscience and psychology and founder of the Center for Human Sleep Science at the University of California, Berkley, and the author of the book, “Why We Sleep.”

  • 00:00:00 Dreaming
  • 00:01:13 Sponsors: BetterHelp, LMNT & Helix Sleep
  • 00:05:06 Dreams & REM Sleep
  • 00:12:20 Evolution of REM Sleep, Humans
  • 00:17:13 REM Sleep & PGO Waves; Dreams & Brain Activity
  • 00:24:26 Dreams, Images & Brain Activity; Sleepwalking & Sleep Talking
  • 00:30:51 Sponsor: AG1
  • 00:32:04 Dream Benefits, Creativity & Emotional Regulation; Challenge Resolution
  • 00:41:27 Daily Experience vs. Dreaming, Emotions
  • 00:45:08 Dream Interpretation & Freud, Dream Relevance
  • 00:52:59 Abstractions, Symbols, Experience & Dreams; “Fuzzy Logic”
  • 01:00:28 Sponsor: Whoop
  • 01:01:36 Nightmares; Recurring Nightmares & Therapy
  • 01:11:08 Targeted Memory Reactivation, Sounds & Nightmares
  • 01:15:38 Odor, Paired Associations, Learning & Sleep
  • 01:18:53 Fear Extinction, Memory & Sleep; Tool: Remembering Dreams
  • 01:25:38 Lucid Dreaming, REM Sleep, Paralysis
  • 01:32:33 Lucid Dreaming: Benefits? Unrestorative Sleep?
  • 01:44:07 Improve Lucid Dreaming
  • 01:49:30 Tool: Negative Rumination & Falling Asleep
  • 01:53:41 Tools: Body Position, Snoring & Sleep Apnea; Mid-Night Waking & Alarm Clock
  • 01:58:43 Sleep Banking?; Tool: Falling Back Asleep, Rest
  • 02:05:53 Tool: Older Adults & Early Waking; Sleep Medications
  • 02:11:25 Tool: Menopause & Sleep Disruption, Hot Flashes
  • 02:15:06 Remembering Dreams & Impacts Sleep Quality?
  • 02:18:32 Tool: Sleep Supplements
  • 02:26:48 Tool: Most Important Tip for Sleep
  • 02:30:56 Zero-Cost Support, Spotify & Apple Reviews, Sponsors, YouTube Feedback, Momentous, Social Media, Neural Network Newsletter

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