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Tips To Psychoanalyze Your Own Dreams, with Dr. Shane Creado

Dr Daniel Amen and Tana Amen BSN RN On The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast

Dreams, and the inherent meaning behind them, have always been one of life’s most intriguing mysteries. What do our dreams reveal about us? Do they show us a truer side of ourselves? Do they predict the future? In the fourth and final episode of a series with author and sleep expert Dr. Shane Creado, he and the Amens discuss where our dreams may come from, and what the connection is between our dreams and our brains.

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Dr. Daniel Amen:
Welcome to The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast. I'm Dr. Daniel Amen.
Tana Amen, BSN RN:
And I'm Tana Amen. In our podcast, we provide you with the tools you need to become a warrior for the health of your brain and body.
Dr. Daniel Amen:
The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast is brought to you by Amen Clinics, where we have been transforming lives for 30 years, using tools like brain SPECT imaging to personalize treatment to your brain. For more information, visit amenclinics.com.
Tana Amen, BSN RN:
The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast is also brought to you by BrainMD, where we produce the highest quality nutraceuticals to support the health of your brain and body. To learn more, go to brainmd.com.
Welcome back. We're on our fourth episode with Dr. Shane Creado. Your strategies are just so helpful. I've never met another person that knows so much about sleep, and I've just enjoyed so much listening to you in our previous podcasts and our course on Amen University with all you have to teach people about sleep, because there's just so much more than just identifying, you know, your room is too bright. I mean, all of those things are important. It's just way more complicated, but actually with simple solutions, simpler than people think, so I'm excited about it.
Dr. Daniel Amen:
So, what about Freud and dreams? What's the latest thinking on why we dream, and is it the royal road to the unconscious?
Dr. Shane Creado:
No pressure there for me, right, Daniel? So, Freud did have a lot of good points when it came to dreams. Unfortunately, he didn't have the benefit of SPECT imaging and vast knowledge of neurobiology and neurophysiology. He said that our dreams are a composite based on what we've experienced the previous day or weeks, what we're actually experiencing when we're asleep, and what we're anticipating the next day. So, if you have a wind blowing on you through an open window, you might experience something similar that gets incorporated into your dreamscape.
Well, he had a few things right there, actually, because when they've done experiments on rats traversing mazes, and they've had little sensors on their brains, when rats are in dream sleep, the same areas get activated.
We also know that the areas of the hippocampus which create the dreamscape, the topography, and the timescale of dreams, we know that those areas help us think, memorize, routine memories as well.
So, it makes perfect sense that dream sleep is crucial for consolidating your memories. Now, we know that it's always known that great, okay, you need to sleep after you've studied something to retain it, but it's also crucial that you get sleep prior to studying, because your brain is then like a dry sponge, as we've seen in a book written on sleep, While We Sleep. So, we need sleep, quality sleep, before we study as well as after we study. It retains information.
The interesting thing is, there have been some studies when it comes to PTSD in terms of actually forcing people to undergo sleep deprivation. So, someone's had a traumatic event, and they force them to stay awake for that cycle rather than sleep for the six hours, or whatever, and they've had less intense symptoms of PTSD, if they do develop PTSD. So, actually, they now feel that sleep after you've had a traumatic event probably consolidates those traumatic memories and can set you up for failure and worse PTSD symptoms.
Dr. Daniel Amen:
Oh, that's so interesting. I didn't know that, because one of the treatments for depression is sleep deprivation, is they actually reset... Did you know that? Joe Wu [crosstalk 00:03:59]-
Tana Amen, BSN RN:
I think that sounds crazy.
Dr. Daniel Amen:
Our friend, Joe Wu, who's a psychiatrist and an imager at UCI, he published a number of studies on using... I guess it's chronotherapy, where they'll sleep-deprive them for a night and then try to reset their circadian rhythm, and it's found to work for depression, and it may be why the early morning awakening happens, because your brain's trying to reset itself, and it's not good. But I never heard after a trauma to not go to sleep so that you don't consolidate that memory.
Tana Amen, BSN RN:
That's super interesting.
Dr. Daniel Amen:
Wow.
Dr. Shane Creado:
Yes. And sleep deprivation to help reset the biological rhythms in depression may be beneficial to people who have hypersomnia or excessive sleepiness associated with their depression. But if they have bipolar depression, sleep-depriving people might put them at risk of triggering a manic or hypomanic event, or if you have seizure disorders, it's probably a bad idea just to sleep-deprive someone, because it might trigger a seizure. So, in certain cases, I definitely see how that could be beneficial, but we've got to be-
Tana Amen, BSN RN:
Interesting that there is an actual clinical use for sleep deprivation, because it's used in torture, too. I'm just saying So, just a...
Dr. Daniel Amen:
All right. Back to dreams. So, [inaudible 00:05:30] was the chairman of the department of psychiatry at UCI for a long time, and he was my neighbor when I was in college. I used to love talking to him about dreams. He said dreams typically contain three things, a current event, something from the past, and a wish or a fear, and if you can understand those three things, you can help interpret dreams. So, in your training at the University of Wisconsin, what were they teaching you about dream interpretation?
Dr. Shane Creado:
Yes. So, we had weekly sessions with a psychoanalyst, Jim Gustafson, who was originally from Harvard Medical School, and he has been at the department for almost 40 years now, or more than 40 years, at the University of Wisconsin. We just talk about our patients and talk about dream analysis in the context of Jung and Freud, and how it all makes sense to us, not just in terms of psychoanalysis, but dream interpretation and the neurobiology of it all.
So, I was getting interested in neurobiology back then. I saw the amazing work you were doing, and I was just hoping we could marry those two together. So, yes. The way I interpret dreams with patients is understanding their past, their context, because if you do a Google search, "Oh, what does it mean for me to be flying in a dream?", that's really not going to cut it for you, because it is your subjective experience. It is your subconscious mind bringing to conscious awareness something that's important for you, and that's where things get so interesting, because I've had some great breakthroughs with certain patients on understanding their dreams and how it might fuel them and help guide them along their journey in this life.
Dr. Daniel Amen:
That's so good. We just adore you so much. If you're listening to this podcast or watching it, what's the one idea that you got from Dr. Creado? Take a picture of it, of us, write down the idea, post it on social media-
Tana Amen, BSN RN:
Share it.
Dr. Daniel Amen:
... tag us, share it, and then pick up a copy of Dr. Creado's book, or download it, Peak Sleep Performance: The Cutting-edge Sleep Science That Will Guarantee a Competitive Advantage. You can also make an appointment with Dr. Creado if you go to amenclinics.com. Call the call center, say, "I have a sleep problem," and virtually all of our docs, now, are virtual, and so no matter where you are in the world, you can have an appointment with Dr. Creado. The clinics are open. We're scanning. So, you could be by any of the eight clinics and still have Dr. Creado as your doctor.
Tana Amen, BSN RN:
And what I love with your book is there's a lot of books on sleep, and you've heard a lot on the same stuff over and over, but there are so many surprising things that somebody who's actually really tried to do a lot of personal research on it, I was very surprised by some of the stuff I learned. So, it's really interesting.
Dr. Shane Creado:
Well, like naps may actually be good for your brain if you know what you're doing. So, I just want to thank you both for this amazing opportunity. I do feel that we at Amen Clinics have the most comprehensive sleep evaluation protocols, combined with SPECT imaging, and the Put Me to Sleep supplement, the Overcoming Insomnia video series. I think we have an amazing, amazing system in place to help people concurrently with their sleep and their mental health needs, which is so crucial, especially today. Thank you so much.
Tana Amen, BSN RN:
Thank you.
Dr. Daniel Amen:
Thank you, my friend.
Tana Amen, BSN RN:
If you're enjoying the Brain Warrior's Way Podcast, please don't forget to subscribe so you'll always know when there's a new episode, and while you're at it, feel free to give us a review or five-star rating, as that helps others find the podcast.
Dr. Daniel Amen:
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