A Fear of Dreams

Rosa Martínez

Havana at night.  Photo: Jose Armando Ocampo
Havana at night. Photo: Jose Armando Ocampo

HAVANA TIMES — I’ve been hearing that sleep is one of the most important activities in a person’s life since I was a little girl.

“Kids who sleep well grow up faster,” my mom used to say.

“People who don’t get enough hours of sleep are always irritable or in a bad mood,” my grandmother used to say.

At the time, I thought that was just a way of putting me to bed early, so they could get me out of their hair and get some rest.

I even thought it was some old folks’ tale, like those proverbs and customs handed down from one generation to another.

Later in life, I learned those were wise words indeed, that sleeping well is as important as having a balanced diet or exercising.

I’ve been unable to sleep well for several days in a row. I’ve barely managed to get any sleep these past few nights – one or two hours at most, and when I finally do fall asleep, I wake up several times during the night.

I have a sense of what’s keeping me up and, since it isn’t something I can fix in the short term, I started exercising in the afternoons to exhaust myself and be able to sleep the night through.

I’m resting better, but I still wake up with headaches and exhausted, as though I were spending the entire night running instead of doing dance therapy for 40 minutes.

My worst night was a few weeks ago. I spent the entire night dreaming I killed three of my neighbors and buried them in my parents’ backyard.

It was a terrible experience I hope I never have again, for I woke up with pains all over my body and with a feeling of anxiety in my chest that I couldn’t define well. The worst is that, since then, I am afraid to go to sleep and end up dreaming that I murder the entire neighborhood.

One thought on “A Fear of Dreams

  • I have read several articles recently that have to do with sleep.
    The latest said that people who regularly sleep more than eight hours per night are 49% more likely to have a stroke. The article did not give much detail of why this was so .
    Another study showed that during sleep , the brain tissues actually shrink to permit and facilitate a kind of cleaning process, necessary for good health . I am assuming lack of sleep would cause mental problems but again, I don’t have the clinical study details .
    I am sure the details are already available or will be on the net soon.
    Related to this, both the Europeans and the United States are “mapping” the brain studying it from two different approaches in very extensive studies .
    These studies will undoubtedly discover many things about the brain, sleep , learning etc that we do not know now.
    You should see a sleep professional if possible or at least your primary care physician. You could have a physical or chemical reason for your insomnia that could be easily remedied.

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