Some Resources for People Interested in Sleep and Dreams

Including some big data initiatives.

Posted Jun 22, 2017

Here are some recent resources people interested in sleep and dreams might like to investigate:

Valter Tucci’s Ted Talk on the role of imprinted genes in developmental sleep patterns

The National Sleep Research Resource, (NSRR)“The NSRR is a web-based data portal that aggregates, harmonizes, and organizes sleep and clinical data from thousands of individuals studied as part of cohort studies or clinical trials and provides the user a suite of tools to facilitate data exploration and data visualization. Each de-identified study record minimally includes the summary results of an overnight sleep study; annotation files with scored events; the raw physiological signals from the sleep record; and available clinical and physiological data. NSRR is designed to be interoperable with other public data resources such as the Biologic Specimen and Data Repository Information Coordinating Center Demographics (BioLINCC) data and analyzed with methods provided by the Research Resource for Complex Physiological Signals. Physionet, the “Resource for Complex Physiological Signals.”

The Montreal Archive of Sleep Studies, (MASS). From its website: “MASS is an open-access and collaborative database of laboratory-based polysomnography (PSG) recordings. Its goal is to provide a standard and easily accessible source of data for benchmarking the various systems developed to help the automation of sleep analysis. It also provides a readily available source of data for fast validation of experimental results and for exploratory analyses. Finally, it is a shared resource that can be used to foster large-scale collaborations in sleep studies.” A paper describing MASS is by O’Reilly C, Gosselin N, Carrier J, Nielsen T. Montreal Archive of Sleep Studies: an open-access resource for instrument benchmarking and exploratory research.

Dreambank remains the best available depository of dream narratives. Created by psychologists Adam Schneider and G. William Domhoff of the University of California, Santa Cruz, it contains over 20,000 “dream reports” collected from a number of sources and studies. Dreambank has a search tool and analytic tools based on the classic and standardized Hall van de Castle scoring system for dreams.

Kelly Bulkeley’s sleep and dreams database rivals in the number and variety of dream narratives it contains. You can explore these narratives using the SDDb’s built-in tools for word searching and survey analysis.

It would be nice if we had a archive with polysomnographic data like the NSSR and related dream narratives from the same subjects but I do not know of any such archive as of yet. The MASS may post some data along these lines in the future given that teams expertise in both sleep and dream studies.

In any case these dream banks contain at most 20,000 dreams. Those numbers will soon be considered small once databases amassed from smartphone apps start to get cleaned up and archived. A recent study based on smartphone data is of interest:

“A global quantification of sleep using smartphone data” by Walch, Cochran, ForgerThese researchers collected data from their smartphone app ENTRAIN used by people in over 100 countries. Millions of people logged in their sleep times and related variables for months. The authors crunched these massive data dumps and discovered that social and light factors were huge determinants of sleep times. Mean sleep duration by country was predicted by bedtime and not by wake time. We normally think of sleep duration being determined by previous wake time…the longer you are awake the longer the subsequent sleep duration…and that presumably remains to be true. But there appears to be some flexibility in how/when the sleep debt is repaid and cultures differ in this respect. The authors suggest that biological cues around bedtime are either weakened or ignored for societal reasons, thereby leading individuals to delay their bedtime and modulate their sleep duration as a result. The authors also discovered that age is Disoa critical determining factor in the timing and variability of sleep with the older population being more homogeneous in their sleep habits than younger people.

Til Ronenberg’s Chronotype QuestionnaireDiscover your chronotype and whether and why you are a morning or evening person. Ronenberg’s group aims to understand the underlying complexity of the biological clock and individual differences in the biological clock, as shown in everyday waking and sleep behavior. Once your questionnaire has been submitted, an automatic evaluation of your Chronotype (your personal profile) will be sent to you via email. You will see how your results compare to the ones of more than 50,000 other individuals that have so far filled out the questionnaire.

International Association for the Study of DreamsThis is the professional society for dream scholars/scientists. It has a huge range of resources for people interested in dreams and published the APA journal Dreaming. And follow ASD on twitter.


Dean DA, Goldberger AL, Mueller R, et al. Scaling up scientific discovery in sleep medicine: the National Sleep Research Resource. Sleep. 2016;39(5):1151–1164.

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Sci. Adv. 2016; 2 : e1501705 6 May 2016

PhysioNet. Dean et al., 2016, p. 1151