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The Columbia Press

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Senior Moments: Dreams can help us with real-world problems

Emma Edwards
By Emma Edwards, Thursday, April 29, 2021

I’ve been hearing a lot about how real dreams can be, especially for seniors.

I remember many of my dreams and have never had a spam or telemarketer call in a dream.

My dreams solve some of what I once called problems, but sometimes they present others. We older people remember when we used to say, “Sweet dreams, sleep tight and don’t let the bedbugs bite.”

That little line originated in 1896 in New England. In a book about signs, sayings and superstitions, we learn that, back then, mattresses were often filled with straw and feathers and set on a latticework of ropes. The first draft of “sleep tight” referred to the ropes, which were drawn tight so they didn’t sag or drag on the floor, inviting bedbugs.

More than half a century ago, Dr. Martin Luther King gave his famous “I have a dream” speech. Most of us older folk will vividly remember that speech. It might be good to go to the internet to listen to it or read it again.

I may not be that eloquent, but my dreams have their way of speaking to me.

We all dream. Sometimes I jump up and write down a dream so I can remember to share it when appropriate. The scary dreams I keep to myself.

I do find that generations get jumbled up in my dreams and, perhaps, someone born in the 1800s is with someone who’s 6 years old now. I seldom see faces, especially those who are or were close to me, but I know it is them. The essence of them is unmistakable.

And, contrary to what some may believe, I eat very well in my dreams and my dreams are mostly in Technicolor.

Have you noticed that when we “sleep on a problem,” we can more easily process data or situations without the interference of prejudice and social interaction. Dreams usually rid us of bias.

When making a large purchase, it’s not a bad idea to say, “Thank you, but I think I’ll sleep on it.”

We are reminded in the Bible that God spoke again and again, although people didn’t always recognize his voice. “He whispers in their ears and speaks in dreams, in visions of the night when deep sleep falls on people as they lie in their beds.” (Job 33:14-16).

That same God speaks to us now.

There are few "work" dreams (if any) in my repertoire of dreams; I may dream of a clean house, but I never actually dream I’m doing the cleaning.

It’s been said that a dream touches your heart and soul, uniting fantasy and reality.

Now how can I resist saying, “nighty-night, sweet dreams, sleep tight and don't let the bedbugs bite.”


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