Dreaming By Avery Allenburg

Do you ever have a really weird dream, or dream about about someone you know? Do you ever remember having a dream but not what the dream was about? Dreams are something that most people know about but haven’t really taken the time to dig deeper and really understand why we dream or what dreams really are. Stick around to gather some very interesting and fun facts about dreams. Dreaming is something you do every single night, you might just not know it...

Why Do we Dream

Why do we dream? There are many different theories as to why we dream but a common reason is that we dream to process information from the day before. This is common reason because if we learn something from the previous day, our mind needs time to process that information and let it settle in our brains. If you learned about something interesting, like how people make chocolate, you might dream about working in a chocolate factory because your mind would be trying to digest that information so that your brain could remember it.

Another reason is to show wishes or hopes. Our dreams sometimes show our inner feelings like hate, love, disappointment, and fear. An example of this could be if you dreamt about being a famous soccer player and you go to Olympics and your team wins gold. These dreams occur very often for some people but others might dream differently.. Since most people dream about this, people believe it to be a very common theory.

The last theory is that we dream for compensation, offsetting a psychological issue by redirecting it. According to Psychiatrist Carl Jung, “Even our most fanciful dreams are methods of compensation for events that occur in our waking lives.” This suggests that if you were to have a beautiful dream, then you might be sad and depressed in reality. For example, if you were dreaming about falling off of a cliff and dying, then in reality, you might be a happy and joyful person.

What Are Dreams?

Dreams, the thing you think you know about… but if someone asked you to define the term dream, what would you say...? Dreams are a phase of consciousness including emotional and sensory situations. Dreams are something we have very little to no control over and they often contain things like people we know, memories, or fears.

Dreams happen in a phase of sleep called REM (rapid eye movement). This is important because there are 4 stages of sleep.These stages go in order like this. First, you are in a light sleep when you can be awakened easily. Then your eye movement stops and your muscle activity slows. Your brain waves grow slower. The third stage consists of extremely slow brain waves and is considered to be deep sleep or delta sleep. The final stage of your sleep is REM. During REM your eye movement is very quick and your breathing is shallow. Your heart rate is faster and your blood pressure rises. When you’re in REM your limbs become temporarily paralyzed, incapable of movement. Many people have 3-5 intervals of REM a night.

Have you ever dreamt of something you did the day before? That’s called dream-lag effect, when you dream of something or someone you have seen or done recently. If you went to the store and saw someone you go to school with, and you talk, you might dream about that person.

What Affects our Dreams?

If you’re dreaming about potato chips, chances are that you probably had potato chips before you fell asleep, or you can smell them. What affects our dreams is an interesting topic because not many things can. Smell, for one is something that can have an impact on your dreaming. Smell can impact your dream because the limbic part of our brain, the part that controls your emotions also controls our ability to smell.

Limbic Sytem

Another thing that affects our dreams is sound. Sound affects our dreams because we might hear a sound while we are dreaming and our mind might process it but the sound won’t wake you. For example, if your alarm went off, but it didn’t wake you, chances are that you might just hear an alarm in your dream.

What are Nightmares?

You’re running from the 6 legged, 4 eyed, hairy beast, and suddenly you’re at the edge of a cliff… Remember that time you woke up horrified because of the frightening dream you had the night before? Those are nightmares, dreams that bring our fear, anxiety, and terror.

Nightmares might contain memories of accidents, traumatizing events, or fears. For example, if you were afraid of bats, then you might have a nightmare that you were stuck in a bat cave and the bats were flying at you, scratching and pulling and all you could see was black wings whooshing and flapping rapidly.

Nightmares also occur in REM, but you might have your nightmares in the morning hours of sleep because REM grows longer as the night progresses.Nightmares are a source of confusion or anxiety. You might have nightmares due to stress or seeing something scary.

Do Some People Not Dream?

Since you always dream, you probably think that everyone does…but do they? The answer is yes, everyone dreams. If you think you don’t dream, you might just not remember it. Jeff Wright suggests that “When a person wakes up in the morning, they go through a transition of states of consciousness in which the night memory is "forgotten" and the day awareness takes over.” This means that when you wake up in the morning, you might not remember your dream due to the transitions of awareness you go through when you wake up. If you wake up slowly you are more likely to remember what you dreamt because your mind is half-awake and half-asleep and your dreams can become linked with your walking life.

Researchers Perrine Ruby and her team, suggest, “High dream recallers have more activity in the temporo-parietal junction, which the researchers believe may allow the dreamer to focus more attention on external stimuli, promoting intra-sleep wakefulness, which means dreams are better embedded into the sleeper's memory.” Your Temporo-parietal conjunction is where the temporal and the parietal lobes of your brain meet.This statement means that if you have more activity in the temporo-parietal conjunction, you are more likely to remember the dream that you had the night before.

Dreams

Remember, dreams aren’t just something you think you do, they are states of consciousness, in which you could have very pleasant or very horrifying dreams. They are something you do every night, so take a closer look at your dreams and you’ll be surprised at what you see. Try to think about why you dreamt what you did and what it might mean, because since you’ve read this article, hopefully you’ve learned some new things about the wonders of the night.

Sources

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