Home Personal Psychology Sleeping/Dreaming Dorveille and Breath: Two Sleep-Enhancing Strategies

Dorveille and Breath: Two Sleep-Enhancing Strategies

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First, with regard to pleasure, we might savor some favorite food. Chocolate might not be so evil. Neither might many other kinds of comfort foods—a bowl of cereal, a glass of hot milk (perhaps with some flavoring), a piece of leftover Bar-B-Que chicken. We might instead read some poetry. Jungians would suggest that we might take out a book contains myths or fairy tales as a counter (or complement) to the shadow. We might bring in another medium by playing some relaxing music. There are wonderful adult lullabies (such as those recorded by Carol Rosenberger) There is always the option of viewing TV or checking out our mobile device. Perhaps a few minutes of our favorite sport or a short mini drama. We might even take in a few minutes of news.

One of the favorites suggested by a close friend (who lives in a part of the world that enjoys a warm climate year around) is to spend a few minutes outside during the bridge: view the stars, listen to the sounds of night. If living in a rural area, these might be the sounds of crickets, hooting owls, or trees rustling in the wind. My friend lives in a city, so he spends time listening to the late-night sounds of his city. Colin Whitehorse might agree that these urban sounds (whether in Harlem or in my friend’s city) can be quite soothing.

What about productive activities? The most important point to remember is that this is NOT the time for high level productivity. That outcome should be reserved from daytime activities. However, this might be the occasion to engage in some simple, pleasurable tasks such as cutting up vegetables for an upcoming dinner or rearranging a floral display in your living room.

There is an even more interesting—and distinctive—form of productive work that can be done. We know that creative ideas often emerge while we are falling asleep (hypnogogic sleep) and while we are waking up (hypnopompic sleep). We even know that rich insights can be generated while we are dreaming. Deirdre Barrett (2001) writes about the “committee of sleep” that can provide us with valuable ideas regarding a problem with which we are wrestling. We can record (write down) some of these insights and ideas during the period of time when we are awake between sleep episodes.

This is a great time to prepare bullet points or a rough outline. We can become the creative genius of Dorveille. The more fleshed out and polished version should await daytime, when we can engage our alert and more discerning self. When the sun rises and we review what we have prepared at night, the outcome might be glowing delight and appreciation for our nighttime self. It might instead be our daytime critique of a recording that is bizarre, obvious or simply silly. We might chuckle while reading this mis-mash. It has entertainment value if nothing else. We might be Dorveille genius at night but not during the day.

There is one other productive activity in which we might engage during the bridge between sleep segments. We can determine what we are going to do (if anything) that is different during the next sleep segment.

Differences in the Later Segments of Sleep

We often have a multitude of options available to us. If we live in a home or apartment with an unoccupied bedroom, we might choose to sleep in a different room. The couch or a reclining chair might also be an option. Another option is to make the bedroom in which we are now sleeping either cooler or warmer—by opening or closing a window, turning up or down the thermostat, or turning on or off a fan or air conditioner. We can add more blankets, take off blankets, add pillows, or take away pillows. This obviously gets a bit more complex if we are sleeping in the same bed with another person. Some negotiations would have to take place. This is why the move to a second bedroom is often the best option.

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