We all dream during the night
Our brains are constantly working throughout the night. However, after we awake, many of our dreams slip away from our minds. It’s believed most children can recall their dreams easily, but as we age, our dreaming process becomes more complicated.
During Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, we dream the most vividly
Much of our sleep time is spent entertaining and structuring vivid, organized thoughts, or dreams. The REM sleep phase is one of the four stages of sleep and where most dreaming happens. REM sleep occurs in short bursts throughout the night, with each episode lasting around 90 minutes. Our more significant dreams occur during the morning hours.
We are biologically wired not to act out our dreams
REM sleep causes many of our muscles to relax completely, which prevents us from acting out our dreams. If this system doesn’t work properly it’s possible we might try acting out our dreams, especially if intense emotions are involved.
Many of our dreams are bizarre because parts of our brain shut down
Our sense of the world is controlled by the front part of our brain when we are awake. During dreaming this switches off. Because of this, the dreaming brain brings together thoughts and ideas that wouldn’t normally be related and this is why it’s often difficult to make any sense of our dreams.
Dreams are often shaped by recent experiences in waking life
Real-life events from the past are often reflected in dreams. Usually, these are events or thoughts occurring one or two days before the dream. However, in some cases dreams may refer to events that happened weeks or even many years ago.
Whenever we dream, we see pictures
Nearly two-thirds of dreams are visual, with fewer involving sounds, movement, taste, or smell. About a third of dreams involve colour. It has been said that when we are awake, we think in ideas, but when we are asleep, we think in pictures. Indeed, the language of our dreams is often pictorial rather than verbal. This has led some to suggest that dreams are not symbolic at all but simply reflect our thoughts and feelings, which are shaped by images from real life.
Dreams can be controlled if we know how
Bad dreams or nightmares are common among many people. Many people experience them repeatedly. However, there are ways to make these dreams less frightening. Start by writing down the memories of the scary dream. Then, imagine how it might have ended differently. Finally, write this ending down. This may make the dreams less frightening and decrease their occurrence.
Researchers disagree about what dreams mean
Dreams, according to some, are meaningless. We have them because our brains are stimulated when we sleep, they say. Other people believe dreams have value. It’s considered to be a kind of therapy when we are down. A vivid dream about a stressful event in our lives may help us cope with stress. People often believe that dreams contain messages, but there’s no evidence to really support this claim.
One thing is certain, and that’s dreams are a fascinating topic we’re still learning new things about.