I hadn’t been at the football training camp long, but I was excited to attend one run by such a famous coach.  I ran the shuttle drill for Coach, doing my best to improve each time.  After one such run I rested on my haunches to catch my breath.  On the ground before me was a large three-ring binder.  Curious, I picked it up.  Inside was an exhaustive sampling of every math test and paper I’d ever turned in during the 6th grade, all written on thick construction paper.  It also held a log detailing all my shuttle times I ran back then, including my personal best of 5.2 seconds.

I waved the binder at Coach.  “Hey, I wonder if I can beat my best time.”

While I waited for my next shot at the drill, a yellow lab came trotting up to me.  It was Vegas, my much beloved dog I had cherished from puppy-hood to her death a few years ago.  Seeing her back alive and well brought tears of joy streaming from my eyes.  I hugged her close, hugged her tighter.

I woke up sobbing, with an empty hole in my chest, because I knew it was just a dream.

Super Vitamin Dreaming

Posted: April 7, 2012 in Reality
Tags: ,

Maybe I’ll have to give this a shot.  Via io9.

Vitamin B-6 may help people remember their dreams

 

Tired of waking up in the morning with nothing you can use to bore your co-workers or classmates? Sick of restful sleep unburdened by the constant thought of waking life? A lot of rumors, and one study, indicate that Vitamin B-6 might be for you.

Although supposedly we dream every night, the substance of these dreams is lost. This makes sense, in a way. Dreams are thoughts, we flip through many of them per night just as we rush through many of them during the day. Recalling a dream should be as hard as recalling on of the random thoughts you’ve had in the last hour. Then again, dreams are more vivid than thoughts. They’re experienced, not thought, and they can be vivid and surreal. And yet so many of them go missing.

For a great deal of time, it was thought that large doses of B vitamins would help dream recall. Some people used them to boost the vividness of their dreams, some used them to remember the dream at all. Some even believed they would help induce lucid dreaming. The Mayo Clinic has ‘dream recall and sleep enhancement’ listed as one of the uses for Vitamin B, but the use is listed under ‘uses based on tradition or theory,’ rather than based on any studies.

In fact, there has been a study done on Vitamin B-6. In 2002, a study was done using twelve university students. Four were given 100 milligrams of B-6, four were given 250 milligrams of B-6, and four were given a placebo. Each were given these over a period of five days. The one who got the biggest dose of the B-6 had a higher rate of dream salience as determined by vividness, bizareness, emotionality, and color. What’s causing this? There is a theory that Vitamin B-6 converts the amino acid tryptophan into serotonin, which wakes up the brain during REM sleep, and helps the mind both enhance and take stock of what it’s seeing. This is what may have helped those students remember their dreams.

Of course, it’s understandable why a single study didn’t lead the Mayo Clinic to change its designation of the use. The study runners themselves say that more research in more controlled conditions is necessary before any definite conclusions can be drawn. Recalling dreams may seem fun, but overdoses of Vitamin B can cause hearth palpitations, cramps, insomnia, high blood pressure, and panic attacks. Still, it’s a small piece of evidence in favor of dream recall.

That’s if one even wants to recall one’s dreams. I asked one person, who was directed to take extra Vitamin B for an unrelated condition, what it was like to recall dreams. The answer is, confusing and boring. Imagine seeing yourself taking out the garbage again and again and again for what seem like hours. Although there are plenty of bizarre dreams to be had in everyone’s mind, there are even more mundane ones. And there’s plenty of time to focus on the mundane while awake.

I woke up with this title in my head.  I don’t think I’ve ever named a dream while still asleep.

A shabbily dressed homeless man stood in the middle of the street, autumn leaves blowing past him in the light breeze.  I stood transfixed on the sidewalk.  He was plucking an acoustic guitar, singing The Weight with his scratchy voice.

 

His voice wasn’t what captivated me, it was the fact that he had no hands.  His arms ended in stumps, yet he was still able to play quite well.   A class of schoolchildren on a field trip approached him in a line, their teacher at the head.  Each child held a bowl of applesauce and a spoon.  The teacher approached the man and scooped out a spoon of applesauce, holding it up to him.  He happily ate it and kept on playing.

One by one, still in their line behind the street musician, the children turned and fed the child behind them a single scoop of applesauce.   A woman came jogging by on the sidewalk dressed head to toe in sweats, but still style-conscious enough to be attired with many fine earrings, necklaces and rings.

“What a noble thing you kids are doing, “she said as she came to a stop.  “I can help out too.”

She plucked a ring from her finger, a flat golden heart-shaped band, and tossed it to the school kids.  It was a poor throw, and the ring bounced in the middle of the street and rolled under a nearby parked car.  My sister, who had apparently been standing beside me this whole time, ran over and stooped under the car to retrieve the ring.  She returned and gave it to me.

“Is it gold?” she asked. “You’ll know if it’s gold if it’s still warm.”  I put the ring to my cheek to test.

“Yup, it’s gold.”