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      My first time in a float tank: ‘the only part of me I was sure still existed was my head’ / TheGuardian · 2 days ago - 22:00

    In her fortnightly review of fitness and wellbeing activities, comedian Jennifer Wong experiences sensory deprivation in a salty, skin-temperature bath

    An hour sounds like a long time to float.

    As a first-time float tank user with a love of statistics, I was across all the major numbers before dipping a single toe in the water. I knew, for example, that my toe would go into a double-bed-sized pool filled with 400kg of Epsom salts and 1,000 litres of water.

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      The sleep secret: how lucid dreams can make us fitter, more creative and less anxious / TheGuardian · Wednesday, 20 September - 04:00

    Freud described dreams as windows into our repressed desires. Today, researchers are using them to boost athletic performance and help veterans with PTSD, unlocking huge benefits for us all

    In 2020, the author Michael Rosen was admitted to hospital with Covid-19 and spent 40 days in an induced coma. In the aftermath, he had a strange and vivid dream: he was at Land’s End in Cornwall at the edge of a perilous cliff. He tried to squeeze through a hole in a wall to get to safety but got stuck.

    “Immediately after the dream, I can remember feeling first that it was so real, that I had ‘been there’ on the cliff and my wife, Emma, helped me. It really felt like it had happened,” Rosen recalls. “This has stayed with me. I sometimes catch myself thinking that there really was a time when I was stuck on the top of a cliff on the wrong side of a dry-stone wall with the sea hundreds of feet below, and that there was a hole through which I could escape that Emma was pushing me through.”

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      Should I worry about sharing a bed with my pet? / TheGuardian · Sunday, 10 September - 14:00

    We’ve been sleeping next to dogs and cats for thousands of years, but are they doing us more harm than good? Here’s what the science says

    As a species, we have been sleeping alongside our four-legged friends since … well, no one is entirely sure, but certainly long before modern bedtime routines emerged. The first real beds appeared about 4,000 years ago, while the domestication of dogs began at least 20,000 years before that , with our canine companions working as a combination of predator deterrent and hot‑water bottle.

    These days, there are very few roaming wolves, and we have duvets and heated blankets to keep us warm. So, is it possible that letting dogs – or cats – share our sleeping space is doing us more harm than good?

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      My boyfriend is instantly aroused – and climaxes without touching me / TheGuardian · Tuesday, 5 September - 13:20 · 1 minute

    I wish he could maintain an erection, but he is sleep-deprived, stressed and drinks too much. What can I do to help him change his behaviour?

    Ever since I’ve been with my boyfriend of two years, he gets an erection almost instantly when we’re in the bedroom . He then finishes very quickly, without any penetration and sometimes with no stimulation whatsoever. This happens every time . He then almost always finds it difficult to maintain an erection later that night . He is chronically sleep deprived and stressed due to work, and enjoys his alcohol, although we don’t drink when we’re together. I’m quite sure he’s attracted to me and the sex is not bad, but I wish he could maintain an erection more regularly.

    You are accepting of a great deal. Why? Do you not think you deserve better or have a right to ask for change? Chronic sleep deprivation, alcohol abuse, rapid ejaculation with presumably little pleasure for you … plus the insecurities about attractiveness he is instilling in you. I’m trying to understand why you are putting up with things that are not good for either of you. There are treatments and solutions for all these issues so pay attention to your own needs as well as his and at least make him aware that this doesn’t work for you. You urgently need to educate him about what you want, and gently help him to understand he is getting into very unhealthy patterns of behaviour – sexually and work-wise – that are unnecessary and fixable.

    Pamela Stephenson Connolly is a US-based psychotherapist who specialises in treating sexual disorders.

    If you would like advice from Pamela on sexual matters, send us a brief description of your concerns to (please don’t send attachments). Each week, Pamela chooses one problem to answer, which will be published online. She regrets that she cannot enter into personal correspondence. Submissions are subject to our terms and conditions .

    Comments on this piece are premoderated to ensure discussion remains on topics raised by the writer. Please be aware there may be a short delay in comments appearing on the site.

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      A look into the REM dreams of the animal kingdom / ArsTechnica · Saturday, 2 September - 11:47

    A cuttlefish swims in an aquarium

    Enlarge / A cuttlefish swims in an aquarium at the Scientific Center of Kuwait on March 20, 2016, in Kuwait City. (credit: YASSER AL-ZAYYAT/AFP via Getty Images )

    Young jumping spiders dangle by a thread through the night, in a box, in a lab. Every so often, their legs curl and their spinnerets twitch—and the retinas of their eyes, visible through their translucent exoskeletons, shift back and forth.

    “What these spiders are doing seems to be resembling—very closely—REM sleep,” says Daniela Rössler, a behavioral ecologist at the University of Konstanz in Germany. During REM (which stands for rapid eye movement), a sleeping animal’s eyes dart about unpredictably, among other features.

    In people, REM is when most dreaming happens, particularly the most vivid dreams. Which leads to an intriguing question. If spiders have REM sleep, might dreams also unfold in their poppy-seed-size brains?

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      You snooze, you muse: how to nap like a genius / TheGuardian · Thursday, 31 August - 15:00

    Backed by science and endorsed by luminaries, the daytime nap has many benefits. Good timing means the difference between inspiration, energy or full sleep inertia

    Toxic productivity culture – that is, the nagging sense that we should all be “life-hacking” our way to health, wealth and happiness – comes with a host of well documented ill-effects .

    While many of us are justifiably knackered, we are also haunted by an almost pathological fear of idleness.

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      Does your baby sleep? It’s all down to luck, not skill | Letters / TheGuardian · Wednesday, 30 August - 15:12

    There is still stigma and shame attached to ‘failing’ to get your baby to sleep through the night, writes Polly Procter . Plus letters from Patricia Russell and Siobhán Ní Chuanaigh

    I want to say a big thank you to Lucy Pasha-Robinson for her article about baby sleep, which I read while fruitlessly attempting to get my three-month-old to nap ( Baby sleep has become a sign of parenting competence – and a source of shame, 28 August ). I have come to conclude that it is purely a matter of luck whether you have a baby that sleeps or not. Any other conclusion would be the road to insanity after trying every single tip (apart from crying it out) to get both my children to sleep.

    My older son started sleeping through the night some time after he turned three. As Lucy points out, what is even worse than the sleep deprivation is the overwhelming feeling that you have failed as a parent in some way if your baby doesn’t sleep.

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      Co-sleeping with children has biological benefits – but it’s not always the answer to a good night’s sleep | Sarah Blunden / TheGuardian · Tuesday, 29 August - 02:16

    Despite the fact separate sleep spaces are more available than ever before, the vast majority of adults share their bed at one time or another with a partner, child or even a pet

    Every parent knows the feeling of being woken up through the night by a small child stumbling their way into their bed.

    But why do children want to sleep with us? And why are they so reluctant to sleep on their own?

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      The business of silence: is there a hidden cost to noise cancelling? / TheGuardian · Monday, 28 August - 15:00

    Headphone and earplug sales are booming, but individual efforts to turn down the volume may alter our brains and surrounds in unexpected ways

    Everywhere you look, it seems, people are resorting to accessories to turn down the volume of life: over-ear headphones on public transport, long-haul flights and in open-plan offices; coloured earplugs nestled discreetly in the concha of concert-goers, bartenders and, if you’re a snorer, perhaps the person you share a bed with.

    Silence is now big business: globally, the noise-cancelling headphones market generated $13.1bn in 2021, a figure that is expected to more than triple to $45.4bn by 2031, according to Allied Market Research data .

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