Tell us about your experiences with weight management. Take our survey!

How Do Narcolepsy Dreams Impact Spirituality?

Narcolepsy is a neurological disease characterized by an inability to regulate sleep or wake cycles. This means that during the day when most people are awake, people with narcolepsy struggle to stay awake. And during the night when most people are sleeping soundly, people with narcolepsy struggle to stay asleep.

Vivid dreams

Narcolepsy doesn’t just impact our ability to stay conscious, though. People with narcolepsy also tend to have very vivid dreams since we experience intrusion of R.E.M. (or the dream cycle of sleep) in our daily lives. This includes at night when we are sleeping, or during the day when we appear awake. In these instances, R.E.M. intrusion can result in hallucinations. This is because we can get stuck in a neurological state that is not quite awake or asleep. Other times, especially when we are trying to sleep at night, R.E.M. intrusion results in endless back-to-back dreams that are vivid and often lucid.1,2

As a person with narcolepsy, chronic vivid and lucid dreams are a fact of life. When my narcolepsy first onset in my college years due to a viral infection, my dreams became terrifyingly vivid, with disturbing and even horrific thematic elements, and I was often scared of the hallucinations that came with R.E.M. intrusion.

Thankfully, with the help of medication, my dreams have become more mild and my hallucinations aren’t so realistic or frequent. Now I am better able to focus on positive ways that dreaming impacts my spirituality.

Subconscious symbolism

While my dreams have become less terrifying with medication, they are still quite vivid and extremely frequent. In one night, I have multiple storylines and multiple dreams that I weave in and out of. The best part of having so many vivid dreams is that I continually get a good look into my own subconscious. I find this to be beneficial spiritually, despite how exhausting vivid dreaming can be.

When dreaming vividly, I am able to see the characters of my subconscious acting out thematic elements of my life. This allows for deep personal introspection for me upon waking. Some dreams have shown me truths that I never would have uncovered about myself, otherwise. In these instances, dreams can serve as a mirror, showing me truths about my life that might be difficult to accept or perceive while awake.

Living past versions of myself in dreams

As I grow older, the more experiences I gain also result in the ending of other experiences. Sometimes when I dream, I relive these parts of my life that I’ve lost. For example, I still have many dreams about my childhood home and nuclear family, despite living states away and years apart. Sometimes it can be painful to wake up to an empty house. Other times it is a relief.

This experience of the dichotomy of suffering and joy is spiritual in its own right. In a way this allows me to see how far I’ve come since, and how much I’ve grown as a person.

Have vivid dreams ever impacted your spirituality? Share your experiences with our community!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.