Study Guide

I Don't Want to Miss a Thing Lyrics

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Watch you smile while you are sleeping
While you're far away and dreaming

Quick Thought

Many people provide visible manifestations of their dream state. They smile, laugh out loud, or even cry. These expressions often prompt speculation as to the content and meaning of dreams.

Deep Thought

Around 1800, American physician Benjamin Rush suggested that dreams were the body's method of providing a needed stimulus. For example, a grieving person, whose body was drifting dangerously toward apoplexy, would have a nightmare to accelerate the pulse and revive the body's systems.

Groundbreaking psychologist Sigmund Freud, however, argued in the late 19th century that dreams were psychological, not physiological, in nature. They were a form of "wish fulfillment" in which person would express some unmet desire and try to resolve or achieve that desire. It might be as transparent as a hungry person dreaming of a burger and fries, or it might be more complex: a long-repressed wish that someone close to you would go away might express itself in a dream about the death of a relative.

In the 1970s, two Harvard psychologists, J. Allan Hobson and Robert W. McCarley, revived the argument that dreams were more physiological that psychological in origins. But unlike Rush, they said that dreams were more random than purposeful. According to their "activation synthesis theory of dreaming," dreams are produced by purely random stimuli that the brain turns into dream stories.

I could spend my life in this sweet surrender

Quick Thought

"Sweet surrender" is a common, perhaps overworked, phrase.

Deep Thought

The phrase "sweet surrender" has been used in countless poems and novels. It's been used to name a television show, more than a dozen songs, and a surprising number of bakeries. Songwriters seem particularly drawn to the phrase; John Denver, Sarah McLachlan, Wet Wet Wet, and Timothy Buckley are just a few of the artists who have written a song entitled "Sweet Surrender."

Please note, however, that "sweet surrender" is not to be confused with "Sweet Emotion." Aerosmith were going for an entirely different vibe there.

Don't wanna close my eyes
I don't wanna fall asleep

Quick Thought

Some people sleep with their eyes open.

Deep Thought

The condition where people sleep without closing their eyes—known as Lagophthalmos—affects an estimated 4 to 20% of the population and seems to be most common among children. 

Typically, a person suffering from Lagophthalmos sleeps with only one eye open. In some cases, the condition is temporary with immediate causes. Alcohol and certain drugs, for example, may cause a person to fall asleep with their eyes open. But in other cases, the causes are more complex and enduring. A malfunctioning thyroid may bring about the condition. Short eyelids or weakness of the muscles that controls the eyelids—a condition known as bilateral facial weakness—may also be responsible for Lagophthalmos.

Some animals also sleep with only one eye closed, but zoologists believe that this is highly developed defense mechanism, not a defect. In fact, animals with this capability also sleep with half of their brains fully awake.

Cause I'd miss you babe
And I don't wanna miss a thing

Quick Thought

He may not have wanted to, but Steven Tyler did miss the first nine years of his daughter Liv's life.

Deep Thought

When the actress today known as Liv Tyler was born in 1977, her mother, Bebe Buell, decided that her drug-addicted former boyfriend would make a poor father, so she hid her daughter's paternity from both Steven and Liv. 

Todd Rundgren, another former boyfriend of Buell's, agreed to step in as a "father" for Liv, but in 1986, when Liv was nine, she began to unravel the truth after her mother introduced her to Steven at a Rundgren concert. Buell didn't say anything about their relationship, but the meeting stirred inexplicable feelings in Liv. 

"I didn't know what it was," she later said, "but I started to see him more, and it would mean so much to me that I would write about it in my diary." (Source)

The “aha!” moment for Liv came two years later when she met Tyler’s daughter Mia. The resemblance between the two was striking, prompting Liv to confront her mother with her suspicions.

Lying close to you feeling your heart beatin'
And I'm wondering what you're dreamin'

Quick Thought

An accelerated heart rate does indicate that a person is dreaming.

Deep Thought

An accelerated heart rate is an indicator that you have entered into a dream state. A slowing heart rate, on the other hand, indicates that your dream has ended and that you have slipped into a deeper sleep. Over the course of a night, this pattern will be repeated several times. A person typically has his or her first dream roughly an hour after falling asleep. This first dream is relatively short (perhaps ten minutes long), but as the night progresses, dreams become longer, and dream cycles can last up to an hour.

Dreaming is a natural part of the rest process, but it takes a lot of energy. Your heart rate accelerates by as much as 35%, and your temperature and breathing rate also increase. But the body seems to compensate by falling into its deepest periods of rest after a dream cycle.

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