Zombie Dreams and Some Alien Doctor

There are many benefits to having an active, vivid imagination.  One of those benefits is the ability to write stories, but there are others.  I can play out possible outcomes of a conversation, I can dream up new ideas for work, and I get very, very absorbed into books and movies.

The biggest downside I’ve found is sleep. More specifically, my imagination often prevents sleep, or interrupts it.

I find that my brain processes my day when I’m trying to fall asleep.  Sometimes that means an endless running of the work-related hamster wheel, with problems and stresses keeping my brain rattling.  Occasionally it will also mean that something I’ve watched or read earlier in the day gets replayed, in pieces or in its entirety, while I am trying to drift off.  I’ve found this is particularly the case with certain television shows, including one with a time- and space-traveling doctor and a phone booth that I’ve been hooked on lately.   Combine a mini-marathon (thanks, Netflix!) with caffeine after 8pm and I am not having a restful night.

Even when I can fall asleep, my imagination sometimes runs wild in my dreams.  Most often they manifest as generic “action-adventure” dreams, which don’t leave me with specific memories so much as a feeling that I spent the whole night running, thinking, and not resting.  Last night I had a zombie dream, which doesn’t really fit within my usual fiction-related habits.  I’ve watched a grand total of one zombie movie in my life, along with a couple of viewings of the zombie episode of Castle, and none of that has been recently.  I don’t even remember the zombies from my dream; I just know that when I woke up I was sure there were zombies involved.

Due to the sleep-affecting nature of my brain, I’ve learned to avoid horror (books or movies) and developed some coping mechanisms to help resolve some of the above.  I wouldn’t give up my imagination for anything, but it does make itself a pest from time to time.

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