Dreams: Why We Dream & How They Affect Sleep - Deepstash

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What Are Dreams?

What Are Dreams?

Dreams are images, thoughts, or feelings that occur during sleep. Visual imagery is the most common, but dreams can involve all of the senses. Some people dream in colour while others dream in black and white,and people who are blind tend to have more dream components related to sound, taste, and smell.


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Characteristics Of Dreams

Studies have revealed diverse types of dream content, but some typical characteristics of dreaming include:

  • It has a first-person perspective.
  • It is involuntary.
  • The content may be illogical or even incoherent.
  • The content includes other people who interact with the dreamer and one another.
  • It provokes strong emotions.
  • Elements of waking life are incorporated into content.

Although these features are not universal, they are found at least to some extent in most normal dreams.


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Why Do We Dream?

Debate continues among sleep experts about why we dream. Different theories about the purpose of dreaming include :

1.Building memory: Dreaming has been associated with consolidation of memory, which suggests that dreaming may serve an important cognitive function of strengthening memory and informational recall.

2.Processing emotion: The ability to engage with and rehearse feelings in different imagined contexts may be part of the brain’s method for managing emotions.


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3.Mental housekeeping: Periods of dreaming could be the brain’s way of “straightening up,” clearing away partial, erroneous, or unnecessary information.

4.Instant replay: Dream content may be a form of distorted instant replay in which recent events are reviewed and analyzed.


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When Do We Dream?

The majority of REM(Rapid Eye Movement) sleep happens during the second half of a normal sleep period. This means that dreaming tends to be concentrated in the hours before waking up. Dreams during REM sleep are typically more vivid, fantastical, and/or bizarre even though they may involve elements of waking life. By contrast, non-REM dreams tend to involve more coherent content that involves memories grounded to a specific time and place.


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Do Dreams Have Meaning?

Psychologists have argued that dreams provide insight into a person's psyche or everyday life. Some find their content to be too inconsistent or bewildering to reliably deliver meaning. The "continuity hypothesis" in dream research holds that dreams and waking life are intertwined with one another. But the "discontinuity hypothesis," on the other hand, sees thinking during dreams as structurally distinct.


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What Are Types of Dreams?

Dreams can take on many different forms. Lucid dreams occur when a person is in a dream while being actively aware that they are dreaming.Vivid dreams involve especially realistic or clear dream content. Bad dreams are composed of bothersome or distressing content. Recurring dreams involve the same imagery repeating in multiple dreams over time.

Even within normal dreams, there are certain types of content that are especially identifiable. Among the most recognizable and common themes in dreams are things like flying, falling, being chased, or being unable to find a bathroom.


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Do Dreams Affect Sleep?

In most cases, dreams don't affect sleep.Dreaming is part of healthy sleep and is generally considered to be completely normal and without any negative effects on sleep.Nightmares are the exception.Because nightmares involve awakenings, they can become problematic if they occur frequently.This negative cycle can cause some people with frequent nightmares to experience insomnia as a chronic sleep problem.

For this reason, people who have nightmares more than once a week, have fragmented sleep, or have daytime sleepiness or changes to their thinking or mood should talk with a doctor.


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How Can You Remember Dreams?

  • Think about your dreams as soon as you wake up.
  • Try to wake up peacefully in the morning.
  • Remind yourself that dream recall is a priority.

In the lead-up to bedtime, tell yourself that you will remember your dreams, and repeat this mantra before going to sleep. While this alone can’t ensure that you will recall your dreams, it can encourage you to remember to take the time to reflect on dreams before starting your day.


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