Dr Mark Blagrove

Sleep Lab
Swansea University Sleep lab is the world’s most active sleep laboratory. Three major areas of research where we are particularly interested in collaborating with a Creativity Fellow are:

  1. Sleep and memory: We investigate changes in memory across night-time sleep and across naps, in younger and older people. We ask participants to learn information such as stories and/or memorise photographs, and then test them after they have slept to see how sleep has benefited memory. This is done in our two bedroom sleep laboratory, or participants can sleep at home. Some of this work aims to find whether sleep is involved in memory loss in dementia, and we have a PhD student specialising in this area.

  2. Sleep, memory, dreaming and nightmares: We investigate how dream content is related to the waking life of the dreamer, and how waking life events and concerns become incorporated into dreams. We also investigate why some people have nightmares and why some have lucid dreams. For some experiments participants sleep for the night in the sleep lab and are woken several times during the night so as to obtain their dream reports. For other experiments participants sleep at home and voice record or type the reports of their dreams.

  3. Effects of discussing dreams and of owning artwork that captures a dream so as to elicit conversations with family and friends: We have a long running collaboration with fine artist Julia Lockhart (http://DreamsID.com). This involves a public performance of a structured discussion of a person’s dream, lasting one hour, during which time the dream is captured in a painting, an enlarged print of which is then later given to the dreamer. We are investigating insights that the dreamer obtains from the discussion of their dream and owning and displaying the artwork, and we are also investigating changes in empathy towards the dreamer in family, friends and acquaintances of the dreamer who have conversations with the dreamer about the artwork.

For areas of research 1 and 2 more information can be found at: The Swansea University Sleep Lab