Saturday, September 24, 2011

Magnetic field inversely correlated with dream bizarreness

Sweet dreams are made of geomagnetic activity, published on April 1, 2009, doesn't sound like an April Fool's Day joke. The academic article associated with that mass media report is An association between geomagnetic activity and dream bizarreness, in the July 2009 issue of Medical Hypotheses[note].

So, this guy, a psychologist by profession, recorded his 2387 dreams and personally rated the bizarreness (how weird or unrealistic) each dream was, and correlated with the local geomagnetic index in Perth, Australia, where he lived. It turned out that the stronger the magnetic field, the less (not more!) bizarre his dream.

I'm curious about his finding and would like to expand on this research, by Internet search and book reading only though. It was documented before that if you take pills of melatonin, the hormone your pineal gland would naturally secrete during deep sleep, you'll have a very vivid dream or nightmare (see e.g. p.302 Dr. Rosenfeld's Guide to Alternative Medicine). If we consider a positive correlation between vividness with bizarreness, and combine the two correlations, we may conclude that magnetic field strength is inversely associated with the amount of melatonin. That is, the stronger the magnetic field, the less melatonin produced, and the less bizarre (or more realistic) the dream is. Since melatonin induces sleep (often used to fight jet lag as well as insomnia), it follows that the magnetic field disturbs sleep, and a vivid, bizarre dream is connected with the deeper sleep than a realistic dream or no dream at all.

The correlation I added as a hypothesis here, that magnetic field is inversely associated with endogenously secreted melatonin, can be easily tested, not involving any subjective measurement. I hope to see a study published by a researcher some day.

[note] While some researchers might reject articles in Medical Hypotheses as unworthy, they won't reject the fact that great discoveries in history often germinated from meer hypotheses, and the hypotheses in this journal definitely contain some science element to make further, well-controlled, research easier.

1 comment:

Yong Huang said...

I just read on Dr. Weil's web site ( that "mood disorders are strongly linked to abnormal patterns of dreaming. Conversely, dream researchers at Chicago's Rush Medical Center have found that people who dream - and remember those dreams - heal more quickly from depressive moods associated with divorce." So a vivid, can-recall type of dream is good, can lift you up from depression more efficiently.

By the way, it's also interesting to note that "Unfortunately, many prescription medications, including sleep aids and antidepressants, suppress dreaming."