Dreams are a common yet hugely elusive happening. We still don’t fully understand why we dream, or what our dreams mean but, it’s safe to say we can spend roughly a ⅓ of our life dreaming, making dreams a big part of who we are and our mind frames. Here at Button & Sprung we love sleep and we love dreams, so here are 10 facts about dreams we do know:
1. Dreams can almost seem magical at times, especially when we experience a dream play out in real life. In fact, early colonies such as the Greeks and the Romans were convinced that dreams had prophetic powers, being a medium between our world and that of the gods.
2. Psychology has tried to interpret what different symbols in our dreams mean about us and how we think, and feel. Although there is no off-the-shelf answer for each of us, we loved browsing through some dream interpretation books, such as 'The Dream Bible' (Brenda Mallon).
3. Dreams are a form of self therapy. One of the most modern dream theories explaining why we have dreams states that this sleeping phenomenon helps us process our emotions by constructing memories of them and stripping them from the experiences we have had. Although not all aspects of our dream may necessarily be real, the emotions attached to them certainly are. Dreams, thus, help to regulate the relationship we have between our experiences, emotions and memories and deal with each appropriately.
4. The blind also dream. Those who lost sight after birth can see images in their dreams but those born blind don't see any images. However their dreams involve their other senses of sound, smell, touch and emotion, making them equally as vivid.
5. Each sleep stage results in different brain activity and thus different types of dreams. During NREM sleep our dreams can host several characters, many of whom are 'strangers'. Dreams in the NREM stage also tend to include friendlier social situations. Whist in REM sleep dreamers report more socially aggressive interactions with just two or three characters they know in waking life.
6. Nothing in your dreams is completely new. Every day we can see numerous people, animals and sceneries be it on your way to work, when travelling or watching TV. This gives your brain's subconscious an index of thousands of characters and backdrops to pick from and cast in your dreams.
7. Animals dream too… yes, our furry friends have not been left out here. Watching your pets movements as they sleep is one easy way to guess if your cat, dog or otherwise is dreaming of chasing a mouse or maybe even snuggling up with you. This theory has been backed by several studies showing animals brain wave movements as they sleep.
8. Our brains interpret external stimuli we are faced with while asleep and often incorporate them into our dreams. This goes for sounds, smells and even pain.
9. You can control your dreams. Although this isn't a skill we all have, lucid dreaming is something which can be developed by fostering an awareness that you are dreaming. It is said that this can be done by setting up 'dream recalls' such as having a strong smell, of say oranges, in your room and focussing on this as you sleep. When you find your self dreaming, smells will often feature, allowing you to recall the smell and realise you are asleep. This skill helps to extinguish recurring nightmares and increases your ability to learn from your dreams.
10. Ever woke up from a dream wishing it had never ended? (Happens to us all the time!) Well you can still drift back into your dream for a few more minutes after waking up as you are still in a semi awake state. The trick is not moving a muscle and remaining in the same position you were dreaming in. As soon as you change position, you disconnect yourself from the dream you were having seconds ago.
- Happy Dreaming! zZZ -