Adults and babies alike dream for around two hours per night—even those of us who claim not to.
Researchers have found that people usually have several dreams each night, each one typically lasting for between five to 20 minutes.
According to one theory about why dreams so difficult to remember, the changes in the brain that occur during sleep do not support the information processing and storage needed for memory formation to take place.
While most people report dreaming in color, there is a small percentage of people who claim to only dream in black and white.
In studies where dreamers have been awakened and asked to select colors from a chart that match those in their dreams, soft pastel colors are those most frequently chosen.
A lucid dream is one in which you are aware that you are dreaming even though you're still asleep.
Lucid dreaming is thought to be a combination state of both consciousness and REM sleep, during which you can often direct or control the dream content.
REM sleep is characterized by paralysis of the voluntary muscles. The phenomenon is known as REM atonia and prevents you from acting out your dreams while you're asleep. Basically, because motor neurons are not stimulated, your body does not move.
In some cases, this paralysis can even carry over into the waking state for as long as 10 minutes, a condition known as sleep paralysis.
While dreams are often heavily influenced by our personal experiences, researchers have found that certain dream themes are very common across different cultures.
For example, people from all over the world frequently dream about being chased, being attacked, or falling. Other common dream experiences include feeling frozen and unable to move, arriving late, flying, and being naked in public.
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