These dreams go on when I close my eyes
May 14, 2007 11:06 AM   Subscribe

Dream filter: My dreams wake me up occasionally. The dreams that wake me (or cause me to come back to consciousness briefly) are always about bugs. I am 24 - this has happened since I was a small child.

It should come as no surprise that I am paranoid about bugs in the bedroom, and get creeped out when I find one in the bedroom. I don't mind bugs in other areas of the house, but the bedroom is "sacred", if you will. I admit to being successful in the dreamy critter search once in my whole life - I believe I found a small spider crawling on the bed after I woke up when I was ... let's say 12.

The dream is typically some sort of creepy crawly that is invading the bedroom or bed in which I sleep. I "see" these things parading towards me or up the wall in my sleep and it causes me to wake up and inspect for the bugs usually after jumping up and turning on a light. More recently, and according to my fiance, I will wake up saying "oh god" and have a brief conversation with him about the bugs. The following morning, when he tells me what we talked about, I always remember these conversations, but I don't remember them if he doesn't tell me. In this state (I always called them half dreams), I would soon become aware that I had been dreaming, and would turn off the lights and go back to sleep. These always happen within 1-2 hours of falling asleep.

This... thing... is not a huge disruption in my life except that I always feel like I lose that time I spent sleeping before I had the half dream. Additionally, I'm sure my fiance would like to be able to sleep all night long, as well. Is there a name for this type of dream, and is there a way I can put a stop to it?

It has been happening more frequently of late as springtails have invaded the lower level of our house. I have no doubt that the infestation is causing the increased occurances, but I still want it to stop. It might be of importance to note that, on a week long vacation last week, this didn't happen at all, presumably because the risk of parading bugs on a cruise ship is pretty low.

How do I go about getting these dreams to stop?
posted by to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This is a phobia that is coming out in your dreams, so completely rational thinking won't work. However, sometimes you can trick your brain with semi-rational thinking. I'm being serious here, so bear with me through this example and I'll explain.

My child was scared of werewolves. Just really scared, for no discernible reason we could find, after simpy hearing the song, "Werewolves of London." I explained to him patiently that there were no monsters, werewolves don't exist, etc. Nothing worked until I went through the "math" with him--"Well, London is hundreds of miles away. It takes 8 hours to fly here from London on an airplane, non-stop. So if a werewolf left London when the moon was full, by the time he actually got here, he would no longer be a werewolf."

Worked like a charm.

If your brain thinks there could be bugs in your room, why not get mosquito netting and drape it, canopy style, over your bed. This should help trick your brain into thinking bugs can't get to you, with an added kink factor your boyfriend should enjoy.
posted by misha at 11:41 AM on May 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You should read my post about sleep on blue. this is apparently something that happens in a hypnagogic state. Don't know what you can do about it, exactly. Go to sleep specialist.
posted by chuckdarwin at 12:57 PM on May 14, 2007

Best answer: I have no advice, but this happens to me too -- non-existant bugs skittering away from me. Big fuckers, too. I don't normally have a phobia about insects, but it's sure jarring when it happens. I've been working on better sleep habits over the last year or so and my weird hypnagogic jerks and visions seem to have declined accordingly. My changes include more consistent sleep and wake times and less booze/caffiene/whatever in the evenings.
posted by sonofslim at 1:28 PM on May 14, 2007

Response by poster: Perhaps my impending move will help with this, then...
6 months ago, I moved in with my fiance and inherited a 1 hour commute each way and donated 1 hour of sleep every night to the gods of Atlanta's traffic. This Saturday, I'm moving back out (we're fine:)- right across the street from work. I get my sleep and my free time back, and I'm giddy! We'll get married some day. Presumably when we're filthy rich and can afford a place NTP (Near The Perimeter).
posted by at 1:47 PM on May 14, 2007

I get this too...the night before last i dreamt a wasp was chasing me and i woke up, and half-asleep thought i saw a spider in my bed. Jumped up, turned on lights, searched...nothing.

But then, last summer i woke up and there WAS a spider in my bed. About the size of my palm. Underneath my hand.

This incident did not help my arachnaphobia.

I guess if you're paranoid about something it will come out in your dreams...maybe try to overcome the fear in real life? Or like misha said, make your bedroom a place where you know bugs can't get!
posted by cardamine at 2:36 PM on May 14, 2007

*heh* I've searched through the various AskMefi threads for an answer to this question as well. Mainly the part where I don't want to remember my vivid unpleasant dreams. There are some good threads: AskMeFi Threads tagged with 'dreams'.

The ones that wake me up: filthy bathroom and I don't have any shoes on (yuck), malfunctioning elevators that usually will somehow result in me being crushed. Fun fun!

I also find that something that I have been focusing intently on tends to dominate a part of my dream that I can't see or focus on directly in the dream, which is weird. If I am learning a new computer game, or a new application that I am excited about using, I will meta-dream about it and never really get in to sleep, and then nearly anything wakes me up. It could be that you're focused on the infestation and it's sitting in your consciousness and you're brain is trying to figure out what to do with it.
posted by smallerdemon at 3:13 PM on May 14, 2007

Yeah, this sounds sort of like hypnogogic hallucinations. I've had them since I was 12 or 13 and even went to a neurologist and a sleep lab to try to get help. Barring the appearance of other components of narcolepsy it apparently can't be treated or even really diagnosed as anything more than just "you have hypnogogic hallucinations". (IANANeurologist)

Mine are almost always violent -- being dragged by my arms, being raped and not being able to see the rapist's face, part of my face coming off in my hand, really dark shit.
posted by loiseau at 3:58 PM on May 14, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for the comments, all! I'm so glad I finally have a name for this. And... at least it's just bugs. Goodness, Loiseau - I'd freak out if I had those dreams regularly. You are a stronger woman than I.
posted by at 5:41 PM on May 14, 2007

Response by poster:

Fuzzy Monster's thoughts on the hypnagogic hallucination section of the book that he's quoted in, for historical records.
posted by at 9:44 AM on October 12, 2007

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