The Horrors of Sleep

I’ve talked about the good side of sleep: the fascinating dreams that make you want to spend your entire life sleeping and escaping reality. But is sleep really a relaxing, peaceful condition we all enjoy? Not always. Among many other things that can happen to you during the night and make you dread sleeping, nightmares and sleep paralysis happen to be the two most known, yet terrifying.

Nightmares:

Do you remember a time you woke up at night after a terrifying nightmare and was afraid to go back to sleep? You’re definitely not the only one. Nightmares are a normal occurrence, but that doesn’t make them any less scary. A nightmare is a bad dream, but not all bad dreams are nightmares. Nightmares result in feelings of strong terror, fear, distress, or anxiety,  usually involve a threat of danger, and most often wake the dreamer from their sleep. A bad dream, on the other hand, is simply a dream that involves an unpleasant plot.

Although it differs from person to person, most adults report having at least two nightmares a year. The number of nightmares a person has depends on their lifestyle and health. For example, a person that stresses a lot or has extreme anxiety may have double the number of nightmares the average person has. Also, some medications are reported to increase nightmares, like antidepressants and antihypertensives.

Photo Credit: kbetart Flickr via Compfight cc

 

Sleep Paralysis

Sleep paralysis is one of the most terrifying sleep disorders one could experience. If you haven’t experienced it before, count yourself lucky. According to studies, up to four out of ten people may have sleep paralysis; it is most common among young adults, and those who are sleep deprived.

In case you don’t know what sleep paralysis is, it’s a sleep disorder where your mind wakes up, but your body is still asleep. It occurs either while you are falling asleep, or while you are waking up. Many accounts of sleep paralysis are something like this: you wake up from your sleep, and you know that you’re awake. But when you try to speak or move, you find that you are unable to. It feels as if your whole body is paralyzed, the only thing you can move being your eyes.

You are in a state of panic, and you feel as if something is sitting on your chest, preventing you from getting up. You desperately try to call for help or move but to no avail. After what seems like hours, you are finally able to gain control of your body and move normally.

It’s obviously scarier in real life, and it’s something that I definitely don’t want to experience. You can’t pull yourself out of it, you just have to wait it out. Most episodes of sleep paralysis last for less than a minute, but to the person, it feels much longer. There is no way to prevent sleep paralysis; however, there are a few things you can do to make it less likely to happen: avoid sleeping on your back, eating heavy meals before bed, and try to get a good amount of sleep every night.

How many nightmares do you usually have? Are your nightmares reoccurring? Have you ever experienced sleep paralysis? Do you know anyone who did? What was it like? Do you have anything else to add about nightmares and/or sleep paralysis? Let me know.

The Phenomena of Dreams

Have you ever been so exhausted that the only thing you wanted to do was sleep, just because dreams are better than reality? Honestly, same. The concept of dreaming is simply surreal. Why do we see these bizarre scenarios in our heads when we are sleeping? Shouldn’t our brains be asleep too? These questions all lead to the same main question: why do we dream?

Why Do We Dream?

There’s actually no definite answer to this question. There have been several theories put forward in an attempt to explain the reason behind why we dream, but none of them is 100% correct. One proposes that dreams work with sleep to help the brain sort through everything it collects during the day. That actually makes sense; sometimes when we face a difficult problem, we may be able to solve it once we get some sleep. While we sleep, our brain goes through all the information we absorbed and decides what’s relevant and what’s not.

Dreams typically reflect our emotions. Have you ever been really worried and stressed about something and decide to get some rest, only to dream about it during the night? That’s usually because your brain is focusing on that one thing during the day, and continues to focus on it during the night, too.

Some scientists think that dreaming doesn’t have a function and that dreams are just random meaningless images that occur because our brain is working during the night. Although there is some evidence to back up this theory, I personally think this is not the case. If there really was no purpose behind dreaming, would we spend a portion of every night doing it?

Photo Credit: nerdcoregirl Flickr via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: nerdcoregirl Flickr via Compfight cc

Interesting Facts About Dreams:

  • You forget 90% of your dreams within 10 minutes of waking up.
  • In your dreams, we only see faces we already know. It may seem that it was a complete stranger in your dream, but in fact, it’s a person that you met at some point in your life.
  • You can have four to seven dreams per night, and you spend an average of one to two hours dreaming each night.
  • Our mind takes external sounds while we are asleep, and makes them part of our dream. For example, if music is playing near you while you are sleeping, you may dream you are at a concert or party.
  • Dreams are symbolic, so it is usually difficult to interpret the real meaning behind a specific dream.
  • 4.4% of the dreams of under-25-year-olds are in black and white, while the remaining number of dreams is in full color.
  • The three most common emotions felt during dreaming are anger, anxiety, and fear. Therefore, dreams are more often negative than positive- I know, it sucks.

What are your thoughts on the function of dreams? Do you think they have a vital role, or do you think they are just meaningless images? Are you one to remember most of the dreams you had during the night?
~~Ola

 

 

Digital Me

Like I said in my previous post, Commenting: Good v.s. Bad, having an appropriate profile picture is important since it shows up every time you comment on a post. It is also the main way for others to identify you, so your profile picture should be of you or something that represents you, rather a random image you found online.

However, some people may not want to share their personal image, but at the same time want others to recognize them. This is where an avatar comes in handy.

Being one of those people, I created an avatar of me using DoppelMe, a website that specializes in making avatars. To get access to more features, you simply need to sign up by filling out the necessary fields, then wait for the verification email. Through this email, you receive a password that you use to sign in, then you can start creating your personal avatar.

There is a variety of things you can use to customize your avatar, like shoes, hats, tops, hair, and other accessories. You can also change your avatar’s skin color, eye color, and background. With the many options, it becomes easy to create a realistic avatar that resembles you.

Created by me via DoppelMe
Created by me via DoppelMe

This is my avatar. Being a Muslim, I wear a hijab, or headscarf, so I decided to include that in my avatar. My hijab is light blue since that is one of my favorite colors, and I’m wearing a black dress to resemble an abaya. I may not wear an abaya that often, but it is a nice way to present myself as a Muslim.

Aside from clothing, I’ve added a soccer ball and a lightning scar on my forehead. I’ve always been an active person, and soccer is my favorite sport to play and watch, so I thought including a soccer ball would be a good way reflect my personality. I really love reading, and the Harry Potter books are one of my favorite books, so I chose the lightning scar for my accessory.

There were lots of different backgrounds to choose from, so I picked this background since I’m not a morning person and prefer nighttime. If there was a background illustrating a sunset I would have chosen it without second thoughts; I’m in love with the sky, especially when the sun is setting or rising.

However, one improvement this site could make is the accuracy of the color pigments. All the eye color options, like brown and blue, essentially appear as a shade of grey rather than the shade you actually picked. Same with the skin colors; the brown shade appears almost purple, the black as grey, and the lighter skin tones are all deathly white. I had originally chosen a light brown shade for my skin color, but it appeared as blue so I decided on a yellow shade instead. A

Also, you can only chose one accessory, which I found disappointing since I wanted to include a stack of books along with the soccer ball. If I was able to include both of them, the avatar would portray me perfectly.

Overall, DoppelMe is a user- friendly tool that helps you create your own unique avatar, which will make the perfect profile picture. I especially liked that there were cultural accessories available, like hijabs and turbans, which you may not find on other websites. If anyone’s wanting to create an avatar, I recommend you give DoppelMe a try.

Ola

 

Commenting: Good v.s. Bad

Commenting on other blogger’s post drives people over to your own blog, motivates and helps bloggers to write more, and may get you noticed. But that can only happen when your comment is well- written. “How can I write a good comment?“, you might ask. Well, I can help you with that! Here are some ways to write good comments, and some ways to stay away from bad comments.

Using Powtoon, I made a video on commenting. Make sure to check it out!

How to Write Good Comments:

  • Start with a friendly greeting. It is important to acknowledge the post’s author if you want them to even notice you. This can be done by simply say a greeting followed by the author’s name. Takes just a few seconds but starts you off on the right track.
  • Give them a sincere compliment. If you enjoyed the blog post enough to make you want to leave a comment, then let the author know. It encourages them to write more, makes them feel better about themselves and gives a good first impression of you. You can compliment the blogger specifically, their post, or both; just make sure it’s an honest compliment, otherwise it means nothing.
  • Be specific and add value to your comments. When the blogger is reading your comment, he/she will be looking for useful feedback or an opinion. Therefore, just commenting “Post is great! I liked it!”, won’t help them. Make sure to be specific, which can be done by informing them which parts from the post you especially liked, which parts they could improve, or your overall thoughts on the post.
  • Be insightful. Most importantly, a good comment is insightful. Make it obvious you actually took the time to read their post, and not just quickly skimmed through it. Try to challenge their ideas, pose questions on the topic, and add your own thoughts to the discussion. If you disagree with their points, you can tell them why by nicely stating your opinion in the comment.
Photo Credit: Jim Makos Flickr via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Jim Makos Flickr via Compfight cc

Some things to avoid:

  • Including more than one link. It is okay to include a link in your comment, as long as it’s relevant and contributes to the discussion. For example, if you’re trying to prove a point, you can provide a link as reference or backup. However, when you put more than one link, it comes off as you advertising rather than commenting on the blog post. The author of the post may label your comment as spam, which will definitely ruin any chance you had of being noticed.
  • Not reading the post thoroughly before you comment. Like I said, it is important that your comment is insightful, and you can only have insight if you actually read the post carefully. If you just skim through it or not even bother looking at it, high chances are you will say something unintelligent and embarrass yourself.
  • Repeating what the post said. Comments that repeat part of the post word for word, or even in different wording, are useless and provide no benefit to the blogger. When you write a comment, you’re trying to help the blogger out, and repeating what they said for sure won’t. These types of comments do not pose questions, add to the conversation, or even challenge the ideas in the post, which defeats the purpose of commenting.
  • Too many words. A long-winded blog comment, by its very length, defends itself against the risk of being read.”Kevin Duncan. Long comments may look almost intimidating, and encourage the blogger to just skip them. However, some good comments are long, so writing a long comment isn’t always bad, as long as it’s relevant and stays on topic. Remember, it’s the quality that matters, not quantity.

You must keep in mind that when you leave a comment, your screen name and profile picture show up as well. You have to make sure your profile looks professional, otherwise people may not be interested in your blog.

Some things that may affect your online reputation:

  • Using a silly image or a picture that does not represent you as your profile picture. When others read your comments, they want to know who they’re talking to, and the easiest way for them to identify you is from your profile picture. But if it’s just a random cartoon, that won’t help them and will often drive them away from your blog. Therefore, it’s best if you put a picture of yourself, or of something that represents you. If you do not want to include a personal picture but at the same time want others to recognize you, you can create an avatar, which is a cartoon or comic visual of yourself.
  • Using false names or unrelated nicknames. I’m sure “chubbycat101” isn’t your real name, and while you might find it funny, others will look at it as unprofessional and silly. It would be much easier for others to know who they are talking to and possibly connect with you if you include your real name. Also, weird screen names attached to comments may cause the comment to be mistaken for spam, so you should stay clear of funny nicknames.

I hope this post helped, thank you for reading!

~Ola

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

~Technology and Me~

Photo Credit: barnimages.com Flickr via Compfight cc

Like many others, I’ve always been very dependent on technology. I clearly remember spending a lot of time using electronics as a child. Although, back then I would mostly use it either to play online games, or to draw using the built in paint program.

Growing up, I found it more entertaining and satisfying to actually use utensils and physically draw on paper, so my use of technology decreased. The only reason I used a laptop or other devices was for educational purposes, like research and work.

Now though, I depend greatly on my phone and laptop to get me through the day. I mainly use my laptop to watch anime or do my homework, while my phone is used for everything else. I’m not one to text or call a lot however, in case that’s what you think I use my phone for.

If I was to break down what I use my phone for, it’d probably be something like: 10% music, 30% social media, 50% reading, and 10% non-internet uses. I really enjoy reading; it transports me into this beautiful imaginary world and takes my mind off everything worrying me. I find it much more convenient to read online rather than having to request a book, wait for it to arrive, then going to a library to pick it up. And you only have it temporarily, while online books you can reread anytime.

Anyway, I consider myself pretty good with technology- er most technology. This is my first time taking a proper technology class, and I’m quite excited for it. I may know enough, but I’m sure there’s a lot more that I don’t know about. Like when we started learning about Creative Commons the other day; it was my first time hearing about such a thing, which made me realize that this technology class will be useful.

The technology currently available is quite something. It’s amazing really, that we can search up basically anything we want and instantaneously get an answer for free. Same goes for communicating; with all these social media sites, it is very easy to connect with others worldwide, and to share your opinion with the rest of the online community. It’s hard to imagine school a few decades ago: you’d have to spend hours reading through books and newspapers just to get simple information for a school paper.

In this day and age, I doubt anyone would be able to survive a day without any form of technology; we have become so dependent on it that we may not even realize it. Also, technology is advancing rapidly, so a decade from now, the devices we currently have, including the latest iPhone, will all seem old fashioned and outdated.

Photo Credit: Diiesmiley Flickr via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Diiesmiley Flickr via Compfight cc