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Running Back in Time (S&D)

I was at track practice, and we were doing something like 200 meter repetitions. I was feeling pretty bad about myself, because I used to be very good at track. Since I developed an autonomic nervous system disorder, however, at the end of my junior year of high school, it had become extremely difficult to even keep up with the slowest runners on the team.

After practice, I was with my best friends from my old high school track team, and a few other people who used to be very important in my life but who I have lost touch with. As our cool down (in high school we always had to run back to school from the park we practiced at for cross country practice), we had to run up a tunnel in the earth. We were running upward--like we had been underground and we needed to make it above ground. It was really tight, with a few green plants smothered in the dirt, and I remember thinking it may have been somewhere where archaeologists dig. I was running with my boyfriend, when all of a sudden the brother of the girl who had been my best friend when I was four years old cut between us. When we emerged on land, I saw my former best friend relaxing in the middle of Lake Michigan. As I noticed her, I passed briefly by her mother, who did not acknowledge me.

Somehow my boyfriend and my friend Caroline ended up at my mom’s old office with me. When I was young, I used to go there after daycare and indoor soccer practice, and this was very reminiscent of those times. While my mom finished up her work around the school (she was a principal), my friends and I sat in her office and tried to start our homework. I glanced at Caroline’s computer, and remembered that I had an IHUM paper due the next day. It looked like Caroline had already finished her paper and was working on something else, and she didn’t look anywhere near as stressed out as I was. I felt a strong sense of envy, which I think translates pretty well to my real feelings for her every once in a while (I used to be a significantly better runner than her, and now she runs in college and I can barely run half a mile without coming close to passing out).

All of a sudden I felt extremely tired, I think because my autonomic symptoms were kicking in. I went to my dad for help with my paper, because he always used to sit down with me and help me get my ideas flowing when I had history papers. But while he talked, I began to feel extremely drowsy, to the point that keeping my eyelids open was a huge struggle. I remember thinking, “This is what Dr. Dement meant,” because I rarely feel that out of control when it comes to getting drowsy. I was making a conscious effort to stay awake so I could hear my dad. I think I took a really deep breath and commanded myself to open my eyelids and wake up.

At that moment, I drowsily opened my eyelids and woke up from my sleep--my command to wake up had transcended the dream world!

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About This Site

Welcome! This site is continuously being created by students of Dr. William C. Dement's Sleep And Dreams course at Stanford University.

We made this site as a call to action for people all over the world to live healthier, happier, safer, and more productive lives by learning about their own sleep. We have faith that reading the information provided on this site will motivate you to be smart about your sleep deprivation and strategic about your alertness in order to live life to your fullest, most energetic potential.

In fact, we challenge you to do so! What do you say, are you up for the challenge?

A Note On Visitor-Submitted Questions:

Publishing sleep stories and questions from our visitors is meant to create a forum for open and proactive dialogue about an extremely important portion of our lives (one that occupies 1/3 of it and affects the other 2/3) that isn't talked about enough. It is not meant to substitute a trip to the doctor or the advice of a specialist. It's good to talk; it is not good to avoid consulting someone who's profession it is to help you with this kind of stuff.

If you are in any way concerned about your sleep health, don't wait for an answer on here, and don't necessarily rely on them. See a sleep specialist in your area as soon as possible.

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The Stanford Sleep Book

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Dr. Dement's pioneering textbook has been the core text for Sleep and Dreams since 1980, but it has just recently been made available to the wider public for the first time.

In it you'll find a more detailed account of the most important things you need to know about sleep, alertness, dreams, and sleep disorders. Studies, statistics, plus plenty of Dr. Dement's classic anecdotes painting the history of sleep medicine.

Preface | Intro | Contents | Get A Copy

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