I'm still having a few nightmares and some very vivid ordinary dreams which I remember but are too hard to articulate. I came across some information in a New Scientist article on Near Death Experience.
....."REM Intrusion" is a glitch in the brain's circuitry that, in times of extreme stress, may flip it into a mixed state of awareness where it is both in REM sleep and partially awake at the same time. "The concept that our brain is either 100 per cent awake or 100 per cent in REM sleep is absolutely erroneous," says Mark Mahowald, a neurologist at the Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorders Centre in Minneapolis. "We can have pieces of one state intruding into another, and that's when things get interesting."
But REM intrusion can affect anyone, and frequently does. Recent estimates suggest that up to 40 per cent of people have experienced "sleep paralysis", a form of REM intrusion in which you awaken with part of your brain still in REM sleep and your body paralysed. Often the result is a terrifying feeling of being unable to move, accompanied by visual or auditory hallucinations and pressure on the chest.........total paralysis is a hallmark of REM and REM Intrusion is usually a frightening experience.
REM is Rapid Eye Movement sleep where the activity of the brain's neurons is similar to that of waking hours. It is physiologically different from the other phases of sleep.
Extreme stress, had plenty of that lately. Total paralysis, had that in every nightmare but in every case I've been able to overcome it with great difficulty. No visual hallucinations but auditory ones, check. I've only had one with the pressure on the chest and that was really frightening but reading this article has put everything in its place. The paralysis nightmare has been accompanied by extreme fear as I try to move to dial the phone for help or get to the door to lock it. The auditory hallucinations involved someone circling the house, crashing through bushes and branches and the back door being repeatedly banged open. I had forgotten about the chest pressure until I read this and I had to go back quite a few months to where I had recorded that nightmare.
As soon as I wake up properly the fear goes, I'm just left with the memory, enough to write it down clearly. The reason for this clarity is the combination of the wakefulness and dreaming peculiar to REM Intrusion. I've had stress before without these nightmares so I'm blaming the cat for sleeping on the bed and giving me that extra nudge towards wakefulness which in turn starts the REM Intrusion. It doesn't help to wake up and find two big gold eyes peering into mine and the word "food" being beamed towards my brain.
My dreams are totally different. They're full of colour and detail. I'm also 6 inches taller, 40kgs lighter and 20 years younger and the men are so gorgeous they have to be hallucinations.