We all have dreams when we sleep. Are you a dream believer or not? Because some people who do not remember their dreams claim that they don’t have any dreams when they are asleep. But the fact is that we all have dreams.
What are dreams?
Dreams are a universal human experience that can be described as a state of consciousness characterized by sensory, cognitive and emotional occurrences during sleep. The dreamer has reduced control over the content, visual images and activation of the memory.
Reports of dreams tend to be full of emotional and vivid experiences that contain themes, concerns, dream figures, objects, etc. that correspond closely to waking life.
What is the reason that we dream?
There are many answers to this question and we just go over some of the theories relating to it.
To represent unconscious desires and wishes
To interpret random signals from the brain and body during sleep
To consolidate and process information gathered during the day
To work as a form of psychotherapy
Dreams are difficult to study in a laboratory. As technology and new research techniques are developed, the understanding of dreams will continue to grow.
However, from the experiments done on dreaming and sleeping; there are some phases defined for that.
Phases of sleep:
There are five phases of sleep in a sleep cycle:
Stage 1 - light sleep, eyes move slowly, and muscle activity slows. This stage forms 4-5% of total sleep
Stage 2 - eye movement stops and brain waves (fluctuations of electrical activity that can be measured by electrodes) become slower, with occasional bursts of rapid waves called sleep spindles. This stage forms 45-55% of total sleep
Stage 3 - extremely slow brain waves called delta waves begin to appear, interspersed with smaller, faster waves. 4-6% of total sleep
Stage 4 - the brain produces delta waves almost exclusively. It is very difficult to wake someone during stages 3 and 4, which together are called "deep sleep." There is no eye movement or muscle activity. People awakened while in deep sleep do not adjust immediately and often feel groggy and disoriented for several minutes after they wake up. This forms 12-15% of total sleep
Stage 5 - REM - breathing becomes more rapid, irregular and shallow, eyes jerk rapidly in various directions, and limb muscles become temporarily paralyzed. Heart rate increases, blood pressure rises. When people awaken during REM sleep, they often describe bizarre and illogical tales - dreams. Forms 20-25% of total sleep time.
If you have a very disturbing dream it is called a nightmare. Nightmares can be caused by stress, fear, trauma or illness.
Some people after they are awake think about their dreams and try to know what the meaning of their dream was. For example, if they see they are flying in the sleep they think it can be a symbol of traveling by air.
There are other interpretations of our dreams and explanations. So, next time you dream of something try to understand what it wants to tell you.