- Books, Literature, and Writing
'At Dead Of Night'; Poem about family now past offering comfort in thoughts & in dreams
The Small Hours
How many of you have lain awake at night, usually in the early hours of the morning, and had thoughts of people and places just invade your head seemingly at random?
I'm sure there are many who think of past deeds, past times, a past life with all its joys and sorrows. There are some memories that come to me very often and in melancholy moments the small hours can bring heavy emotions indeed.
My parents were wonderful people; they suffered not a little because of me but they were always there to make me feel better. They never failed me though I worry I failed them. I know, too, that they forgave me but the guilt floods back in those dark hours.
This is for them.
Support & Comfort
At Dead of Night
At dead of night
the dead come bright
into my head,
not causing fright,
more seeking right
to soothe my plight,
allow my flight
to peaceful sleep.
Past deeds not right
always in sight,
a guilt too deep.
My sorrow might
abate by light
when dawn creeps up,
though aching head
at my Mum’s bed
I still feel now.
Then she smiles bright
and holds me tight
to ease my pain.
My Dad comes steady
a huge hug ready
to lift my soul.
At dead of night
the dead come bright
into my head.
Of course, these 'thoughts' I had were probably mostly in a state of dreaming, though they seemed real enough to me.
The brain functions in many ways whilst one is asleep. I decided to do a little research into what the brain can do during sleep and I found some interesting facts.
REM & Non-REM Sleep
As some of you will know, REM refers to Rapid Eye Movement. REM sleep happens in a cycle once you are asleep.
Usually, it first occurs 90 minutes after you fall asleep, the first period typically lasting 10 minutes. Each REM stage last longer, the final episode possibly lasting up to one hour. Heart rate and breathing quickens and you can have intense dreams during the REM because your brain is more active.
There are three phases of non-REM sleep. Each can last from 5 to 15 minutes; all three phases can be experienced before reaching REM sleep.
Stage of Non-REM Sleep
- The eyes are closed but it's easy to wake up; lasts from 5 to 10 minutes.
- Your are in a light sleep. Heart rate slows and body temperature drops. The body is getting ready for deep sleep.
- The deep sleep stage. It's harder to be woken up and, should someone wake you, you would feel disorientated for a few minutes.
- During the deep sates of Non-REM sleep, the body repairs and regrows tissues, builds bone and muscle and strengthens the immune system.
- As you get older, you sleep more lightly and get less deep sleep. Ageing is also linked to shorted time spans of sleep, although studies show you still need as much sleep as when you were younger.
What does the Brain do while You Sleep?
- makes decisions. It can process information and prepare for actions during sleep.
- creates and consolidates memories. While you're asleep, the brain is busy forming new memories, consolidating older ones and linking more recent with earlier memories. For this reason, sleep plays a very important rôle in learning.
- makes creative connections. Sleep can be a powerful creativity-booster, as the in an unconscious resting state can make surprising new connections that it perhaps wouldn't have made in a waking state.
- clears out toxins. A series of 2013 studies found that an important function of sleep may be to give the brain a chance to do a little housekeeping. Researchers at the University of Rochester found that during sleep, the brains of mice clear out damaging molecules associated with neurodegeneration. So if we're not getting enough sleep, our brains don't have adequate time to clear out toxins, which could potentially have the effect of accelerating neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.
- learns and remembers how to perform physical tasks. The
brain stores information into long-term memory through short bursts of brain waves at strong frequencies that occur during REM sleep.
This process can be particularly helpful for storing information related to motor tasks, like driving, swinging a tennis racquet or practicing a new dance move, so that these tasks become automatic.
So perhaps my 'dreams' were a voyage into my memories taking the creative step of seeing my parents comfort me whilst my body was at rest.
(5 Amazing Things Your Brain Does While You Sleep)
What About You?
Do you Worry about the Past?
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© 2013 Ann Carr