help! i'm falling!

Hi Janet - 

Have you ever considered how it is that we somehow seem to be standing up in all our dreams - and running around in a right-side-up world - when the truth of the matter is that we really are laying down sleeping in our beds? How come we don’t dream that we are laying on our sides - if that is the position that our body really is in - or on our backs or stomachs for that matter? 

The answer, of course, is that our balance gets switched around when we fall asleep. The area of the brain that is responsible for balance is located in the inner ear. When we fall alseep - this mechanism stops sending balance signals to the brain. Accordingly, this is what causes you to feel like you are “losing your balance” - you really are! Normally we make this transition without noticing it - but if we are having a light dream as we fall asleep - called a “hypnogogic hallucination” - sometimes the disconnection becomes included in the story-line of a dream. Usually we dream that we “slip” or “trip” over something - just like you do in your dreams. 

If you haven’t been getting enough sleep recently, that may be why you are having a lot of these dreams lately. Your body is actually hurrying to get into REM sleep (dreaming) - and so you are dreaming as soon as you close your eyes. What’s the solution? Try getting a little more sleep than you currently are - and see if that doesn’t “snap you out of it!” 

Thanks for sending in a great question!

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