We all dream, and we dream a lot. The average human spends approximately six years of his life dreaming. We just don't remember them all.
And the truth is, there is a lot to remember. On an average night, a person has a dream every 90 minutes. So you can have five to twelve dreams depending on the night.
And each dream is longer than the last. The first lasts about five minutes. At the end of the sleep cycle, they last up to 45 minutes.
The first is the first
Why do we dream? To be totally honest, not even scientists are totally sure. However, there are many viable theories.
The science of sleep study is relatively new. However, scientists have discovered a lot of interesting things so far, and here we have the most widely accepted theories.
So, sit back and relax. We have a journey through the science of dreams. Before finishing, you will know as much as anyone.
What is in a dream?
Just dreams, right?
According to scientists, a dream consists of images, thoughts and emotions that we experience when we are sleeping.
But is that all they are?
Dreams have a great impact on the lives of human beings. We have been studying them since ancient Egypt.
What do they mean? What should we learn from them? Well, there are several theories trying to offer an explanation.
The oldest theory
The psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud's dream theory is perhaps the most enduring. According to Freud, dreams represent our desires, our ideas and our unconscious motivations.
For him, dreams are basically an expression of all the wishes that we fear to face during the day. His theory explains why many of the dreams we remember are so chaotic.
We have nightmares, sexual dreams, fighting dreams ... where we run a whole range of emotions. And the theory of the psychoanalyst Freud postulates that we can understand ourselves better when we understand these low desires. This understanding is the root of the modern interpretation of dreams. When we wake up, we go back through our dreams to filter clues about our waking life.
Interpreting the images
According to Freud's theories, dreams have two layers. On the surface are the images we see. Only when we analyze those images can we descend into the truth.
Most of the dreams we have don't usually make much sense. We jump from one place to another. We drive rubber ducks down the street.
But rubber ducks are not really on our minds. Those rubber ducks symbolize something. What do they mean? There are hundreds of dream books that offer interpretations for just about anything you can dream of.
Was Sigmund Freud right?
Thanks to the influence of Freud, we all try to interpret our dreams. But was Freud right? As the science of sleep grows, not much evidence can be found to support old Freud.
Sleep scientists approach sleep studies with all the modern technology available. But, trying as they do, scientists cannot find any connection between dreams and their psychological significance.
Does that mean you should throw away your dream book? Maybe it's too early to do it. However, modern science offers some theories about dreams that are as exciting as Freud's.
A more modern model
After Freud's theory of dreams came another theory from the hand of J. Allan Hobson and Robert McClarley. His theory is more scientific. They think we dream simply because our brain circuits are overstimulated during REM sleep.
Too much activity takes place in the limbic system. This is the area that controls our emotions, memories, and senses. That is why we feel that our dreams are so important.
While all this stimulation is going on, other areas of our brain try to make sense of it. And that's why we dream. It is our brain trying to make sense of that spastic activity.
If that's true, then don't our dreams mean anything at all?
So what do our dreams mean?
The current kind of dream theory disagrees with Freud, but that doesn't mean that your dreams mean nothing. Dreams can be the product of overstimulation, but it is still part of the most creative period of our brain.
The signals can be random, but our brain combines these random signals to give rise to new ideas. Most of those ideas mean nothing at all. But some of those new ideas may be useful to us. These ideas are a product of some of the best thoughts our brain can have. And they are thoughts that we could not possibly achieve while we are awake.
Dreams may be telling you something
Have you ever had recurring nightmares? Your brain may be trying to tell you something. When your brain focuses on the same images and emotions, it is trying to rid itself of pesky thoughts.
How do you find out what your brain is trying to communicate to you? Science is not even sure that your dreams have something to say. But for those who follow Freud's theories, they are about to find out what is behind those images.
Many of us have dreams where our teeth fall out, for example. Many dream theorists say that teeth represent words and communication. This recurring dream may mean that you are subconsciously frustrated by your inability to convey your ideas.
Dreams help you learn
It is one of the few certainties that scientists have about dreams. The best time to absorb information is just before bed. While you sleep, the brain will absorb the new information.
Robert Stickgold, a professor of neurology at Harvard University, calls this offline memory reprocessing. While you sleep, your brain is free from external stimuli. You can use all your computing power to cope with the new information. All of his test subjects had better recall of the information than they had learned after sleeping. It's the best reason we have to take a break and nap while we study.
Maybe they help us cope
Ernest Hoffman, the director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Newton Wellesley Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, suggests that “… a possible (though unproven) function of sleep is to weave the new material into the memory system in a which both reduces emotional arousal and adapts to help us cope with new trauma or stressful events. '
Let's explore new worlds!
You can control your dreams. The premise of the famous movie Source is that people can take control of their dreams and make them whatever they are. But it may not just be a Hollywood fantasy. According to the results of a new survey with a sample of 3,000 people, dream control, or "lucid dreams" may be a real thing.
In fact, 64.9 % of the participants reported being aware that they were dreaming within a dream, and 34 % said that they could sometimes control what happened in their dreams. Taking charge of the content of dreams is not a skill that everyone has, but one that can be developed, says Kelly Bulkeley, PhD, a dream researcher and visiting professor at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkley, California.
The technique is particularly helpful for those suffering from reminiscent nightmares, he says. Dr. Bulkeley suggests encouraging yourself before you go to sleep by saying, "If I have a dream again, I will try to remember that it is just a dream, and stay aware of it." When you learn to be aware that you are dreaming - within a dream - you will not only have the power to turn away from a monster and into the arms of Brad Pitt, for example, but you will train your mind to avoid nightmares in the first place. . "Lucid dreaming improves your ability to learn from the dream state," says Dr. Bulkeley.
Dreams affect your mood
Have you ever had a nightmare that has marked you and changed your mood all day? How about a dream that makes your morning look bright? Dreams have a great effect on your mood.
The reverse is also true. If you go to bed after an unresolved argument, you probably have nightmares. Sleep in a good mood and sweet dreams will come by themselves.
Unfortunately, everyday discomforts are more likely to appear in your dreams. According to Harvard scientist Robert Stickhold, this is because your brain is more likely to focus on difficulties while you sleep and is more willing to indulge these thoughts.
You don't have to be asleep to dream
Daydreaming means dreaming while you are not sleeping. Find a quiet place, close your eyes, and think about your last dream. Dr. Bulkley says that meditating by focusing on a dream is a way to stimulate the brain in the same way that night dreams do.
Scientists are not exactly sure what dreams do or how they work. But they know that they can help you with your worries in some way. So why not take time to think about dreams while we are awake? It's a great way to deal with a mysterious dream that has been bothering you all day. Just sit back, relax and let your imagination run wild.
Whatever dreams do, we really need them
Scientists don't know the exact reason we need dreams, but they do know that we definitely need them.
If you don't sleep for more than 10 days, then you will die. If you don't sleep for several days, you will cause irreparable psychological damage to your brain.
In 1959, radio DJ Peter Tripp attempted to break a world record for insomnia and did so for 8.4 days. Shortly after this feat, he began to have hallucinations. He then suffered a complete psychotic break. He said that he was not Peter Tripp, but an impostor.
Hallucinations sometimes stop, but Peter was never the same. He was fired from his jobs, was involved in a bribery crime, and went through four divorces.