Although I am very fond of the song, “Night Swimming,” the title of my blog is by no means a dedication to R.E.M., the band. Sorry for any confusion. So, if you want to know what R.E.M. stands for in the title of my blog, this is the post for you! However, if you’re curious why the alternative-rock band chose this name, well… what the heck, I’ll answer that question as well.
Both are a reference to R.E.M. sleep, the rapid eye movement phase of the sleep cycle. REM sleep is the unique period of sleep when we dream. You dream, I dream, we all dream. Although you may not remember your dreams, rest assure, it’s happening… Every night. Multiple times. In fact, over the course of an average lifetime, one will spend a total of five years dreaming.
For people with narcolepsy, this dream phase of sleep takes on particular significance. It is believed that some, if not all, of the symptoms of narcolepsy are caused by a disassociation of this REM/dream sleep. In other words, for people with narcolepsy, aspects of REM sleep are triggered at inappropriate times during the sleep/wake cycle. For now, I will leave it at that. However, I promise to provide a more in-depth description of the fascinating connection between narcolepsy and dreaming in a later blog post.
Second, R.E.M., the band. According to good authority (Wikipedia), after considering such names as “Twisted Kites” and “Cans of Piss,” the lead singer chose “R.E.M.” at random out of a dictionary. Although the symbolism behind this decision is slightly disappointing, I appreciate the honesty.
Also, in the spirit of honesty, I must admit that I did not come up with “REM Runner” on my own either. Big thanks to one of my best friends, Julia, for helping me come up with this witty name for my blog!