We each spend about a third of our lives sleeping, and a significant portion of that time dreaming. Why?

For much of his adult life, Dr. Antonio Zadra has been interested in all facets of dreaming as well as in key questions in the field, from why and how we remember our dreams, to how dream content relates to waking life, to does dreaming have a function. He is also interested by specific kinds of dreams and has conducted numerous studies on lucid dreams, nightmares and recurrent dreams. In fact, it was an extraordinarily vivid and particularly baffling lucid dream he had at the age of 17 that first got him interested in dream research.

Dr. Zadra also specializes in the study of parasomnias (sleep disorders involving abnormal movements, behaviours, emotions, perceptions, or dreams that occur while falling asleep, during sleep, or while waking up) with a focus on nightmares, sleep terrors, and sleepwalking (also known as somnambulism).

Luckily, in addition to his own peculiar sleep and dream experiences, Dr. Zadra’s career has benefited from other, more tangible, realizations. He holds an MA in experimental psychology and a PhD in clinical psychology, both from McGill University, and completed a post-doctoral fellowship (supported by the Medical Research Council of Canada) in Dr. Tore Nielsen’s Dream and Nightmare Laboratory at the Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur de Montréal.

Dr. Zadra is currently Full Professor in the Department of Psychology at the Université de Montréal and is a researcher at the Center for Advanced Research in Sleep Medicine (CARSM) as well as a member of the Interdisciplinary Research Centre on Intimate Relationship Problems and Sexual Abuse (CRIPCAS).

Together with his students and a team of collaborators, he has published over 100 research articles and book chapters on dreams and parasomnias. In addition, Dr. Zadra has given over 160 conference presentations along with dozens of invited talks, including in the United States, Canada, England, Switzerland, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Japan. His current research projects are centered on three main areas. Projects funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) focus on how people’s personality, well-being and daytime experiences are reflected in their everyday dreams. Those funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) focus on the pathophysiology, phenomenology, and brain imaging of somnambulism. Finally, projects funded by the Fonds de recherché du Québec -- Société et culture (FRQSC) and headed by the CRIPCAS focus on dreams and nightmares in children victims of sexual abuse. These studies make use of a wide array of research tools including questionnaires, home logs, in person interviews, clinical assessments, full-night polysomnography, spectral analysis, functional EEG connectivity, and SPECT brain imaging.

Dr. Zadra teaches undergraduate classes on sleep and dreams and leads an Honors seminar on research methods. His current and past doctoral-level courses include adult psychological assessment, the psychology of consciousness, and the study of parasomnias.

You can reach Dr. Zadra at antonio.zadra@umontreal.ca or follow him on twitter @DrZdreams.