Recurring nightmares linked to Earth’s magnetic field

April 1st, 2009 - 2:28 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Apr 1 (ANI): Stopped watching horror movies because of recurring nightmares? Well, don’t give up on your ‘telly-diet’, for the reason behind the eventful nights is the Earth’s magnetic field.

According to Darren Lipnicki, a psychologist formerly at the Center for Space Medicine in Berlin, Germany, there’s a correlation between the bizarreness of dreams and extremes in local geomagnetic activity, reports New Scientist.

Earlier studies have associated low geomagnetic activity with increases in the production of the melatonin, a potent hormone that helps set the body’s circadian clock. So, based on evidence that melatonin supplements used as a sleeping aid can cause off-kilter dreams, Lipnicki wondered whether local magnetic fields could induce the same effects.

To reach the conclusion, Darren kept meticulous records of his nightly reveries between 1990 and 1997.

For the study, he devised a five-point scoring system to rate the bizarreness of these dreams. On the low end are dreams completely representative of reality - “I am sitting at a table doing some maths or physics homework,” for instance.

Dreams that scored a three could happen, but seemed unlikely. For example: “A friend is in the backyard of my house, building a wooden platform atop of 7-foot high stilts.”

The most bizarre dreams that Lipnicki recorded had little or no connection with reality: “I was stranded on a foreign coastline with a monkey that spoke English and a woman that suddenly became small, almost doll-sized. Then I was at home.”

Lipnicki looked up daily geomagnetic activity in Perth, Australia - his home at the time. A scale called the k-index quantifies local geomagnetic activity, and he included only days that scored on the extremes of this index. This whittled his dream log down to 66 days of low geomagnetic activity and 70 days of high activity.

Using these figures, Lipnicki uncovered a statistical correlation between dream bizarreness and geomagnetic activity, with freakier dreams occurring on days with the least geomagnetic activity.

The study has been published in the journal Medical Hypotheses. (ANI)

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