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10 Interesting Facts About Dreams

Everybody Dreams

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.

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10 Interesting Facts About Dreams

10 Interesting Facts About Dreams

https://www.verywellmind.com/facts-about-dreams-2795938

verywellmind.com

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Key Ideas

Everybody Dreams

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.

You Forget Most of Your Dreams

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.

Not All Dreams Are in Color

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.

Men and Women Dream Differently

  • In several studies, men reported dreaming about weapons significantly more often than women did, while women dreamed about references to clothing more often than men.
  • Another study showed that men's dreams tend to have more aggressive content and physical activity, while women's dreams contain more rejection and exclusion, as well as more conversation than physical activity.
  • Women tend to have slightly longer dreams that feature more characters.

Animals Probably Dream

Many think that when a sleeping dog wags its tail or moves its legs, it is dreaming. While it's hard to say for sure whether this is truly the case, researchers believe that it's likely that animals do indeed dream

It's Possible to Control Your Dreams

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.

Negative Emotions Are More Common

The most common emotion experienced in dreams are anxiety, and negative emotions, and in general, are much more common than positive ones.

Blind People May Dream Visually

In one study of people who have been blind since birth, researchers found that they still seemed to experience visual imagery in their dreams, and they also had eye movements that correlated to visual dream recall.

You Are Paralyzed During Your Dreams

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.

Many Dreams Are Universal

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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Nightmares

Nightmares are broadly defined as frightening dreams that result in some degree of awakening from sleep. 

Nightmares themselves contribute to disrupted sleep not only by waking th...

Night terrors

Night terrors are very intense episodes of fright during dreams. These frightening episodes are often accompanied by screaming or yelling, as well as by physical movement such as leaping out of bed or flailing in panic. 

Research suggests that sleep terrors occur during non-REM sleep dreaming, while nightmares tend to happen during REM sleep. 

Recurring dreams
Recurring dreams are dreams that re-appear with some pattern of regularity. 

Studies suggest that recurring dreams may contain more threatening content than regular dreams. Research suggests links between recurring dreams and psychological distress in both adults and children.

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Talking about dreams

People are compelled to talk about dreams. It is a natural impulse because dreams are emotional, affect moods, feel profound. 

What is unusual is that we live in a cultu...

How to remember your dreams
Believe your dreams have value and tell yourself before bed you want to remember them. 

Keep a dream journal. Get into a habit, set things up the night before to reinforce your goal. 

Lucid dreaming

In lucid dreams, you become aware you’re dreaming. You can take control of the plot. They can be anything from a brief moment where you’re in a nightmare and tell yourself: “this is a dream” and wake up. 

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Vivid dreams

During the 2020 pandemic, many people anecdotally reported surreal and more vivid dreams than usual.

Some theorize that the onset of vivid imagery is a result of changing sleep schedules. O...

Stress about a global pandemic

The continuity theory of dreams hypothesizes that people dream about the stuff they're thinking about and doing while they are awake.

Some researchers believe that dreams have a functional purpose that prepares us for difficult or challenging situations when we awake.

Similar types of dreams

The biggest variables that influence your dreams have to do with your regular sleep cycles. If it is a very traumatic event, people will experience nightmares.

People are also thinking more about their dreams, which makes them remember their dreams better.

Our sleep-wake pattern

Our molecular clock inside our cells aims to keep us in sync with the sun

When we disregard this circadian rhythm, we are at a greater risk for illnesses such as diabetes, heart...

The lifestyle imbalance

Thomas Edison said that sleep is "a bad habit." Like Edison, we seem to think of sleep as an adversary and try to fight it at every turn. The average American sleeps less than the recommended seven hours per night, mostly due to electric lights, television, computers, and smartphones. 

However, we are ignoring the intricate journey we're designed to take when we sleep.

Stage One Sleep

When we fall asleep, the nearly 86 billion neurons in our brain starts to fire evenly and rhythmically. Our sensory receptors become muffled at the same time.

The first stage of shallow sleep lasts for about 5 minutes.

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Dreams as therapists

Your dreams may be ways of confronting emotional dramas...

Fight-or-flight training

One of the areas of the brain that’s most active during dreaming is the amygdala - the part of the brain associated with the survival instinct and the fight-or-flight response.

One theory suggests dreams may be the brain’s way of getting you ready to deal with a threat. Fortunately, the brainstem sends out nerve signals during REM sleep that relax your muscles. That way you don’t try to run or punch in your sleep.

Dreams as your muse

One theory for why we dream is that it helps facilitate our creative tendencies. 

Without the logic filter, you might normally use in your waking life that can restrict your creative flow, your thoughts and ideas have no restrictions when you’re sleeping.

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Aphantasia: Image Not Found
Aphantasia: Image Not Found

Aphantasia is a phenomenon in which an individual cannot conjure an image of a face or thing in their minds. There is no inner ‘mind’s eye’ in these people and the mental imagery i...

Discovery of Aphantasia

Aphantasia was first described in the early 1800s by Francis Galton in a paper on mental imagery. It was not until 2015 that the phenomenon was further studied and the term was coined.

One of the major studies was with a patient who had undergone a minor surgery in 2005 and later could no longer generate visual images within the ‘mind’s eye’. The details of the study were published in 2010, which led to many others coming up with similar symptoms.

Binocular Rivalry

This was a technique used by the researchers to help test the image forming inside the brain of the individuals.

The experiment led to the finding that a recent viewing of an image had no correlation with the imagining of the image.

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Trauma and nightmares

Nightmares appear to be more common in those who have intense reactions to stress. When our time awake is frightening or remains unpressed, the sleeping brain may produce horrible images to awaken ...

The effects of trauma on sleep

If an action against the threat is irrelevant or impossible - as it would be if the trauma happened long ago - then emotion-coping efforts like dreaming may be useful to get on with our lives.

If the threat will be encountered repeatedly, such as abuse, then waking problem-solving action is necessary.

Nightmares

Nightmares happen later in sleep when dreams are longest, and the content is bizarre and emotional. Nightmares wake the sleeper into full consciousness and clear memory of the dream. It temporarily relieves the negative emotion.

As we develop the skills for managing negative emotions while we are awake, nightmares will reduce in frequency.

Snoring isn’t harmful

Although snoring may be harmless for most people, it can be a symptom of a life-threatening sleep disorder called sleep apnea, especially if it is accompanied by severe daytime sleepiness. 

You can "cheat" on sleep

Sleep experts say most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night for optimum performance, health, and safety. 

The resulting sleep deprivation has been linked to health problems such as obesity and high blood pressure, negative mood and behavior, decreased productivity, and safety issues in the home, on the job, and on the road.

Turning up the radio

... opening the window, or turning on the air conditioner are effective ways to stay awake when driving.

These "aids" are ineffective and can be dangerous to the person who is driving while feeling drowsy or sleepy. 

It's best to pull off the road in a safe rest area and take a nap for 15-45 minutes. Caffeinated beverages can help overcome drowsiness for a short period of time. 

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Bad Dreams May Be Good

Dreams are a common experience throughout the world, with human beings, animals and even birds being able to dream in their sleep.


According to a cluster of studies over the ages,...

Sleep Paralysis
Sleep Paralysis

Apparent hallucinations of a dark monster holding the sleeping person, while he or she is unable to move or speak, is a phenomenon that is experienced by one-fifth of the population at least once.

The Scientific Explanation Of Sleep Paralysis

Scientists claim a brain glitch blurs the wakefulness and Rapid Eye Movement (REM) modes of sleep, making the dreams come out in the real world, creating a hallucination.

To prevent you from acting out these dreams, the brain paralyses your body. Sometimes this mechanism fails and you see your dream in augmented reality in the real world.

Cultural Interpretations of Sleep Paralysis

The Egyptians referred to sleep paralysis as something caused by a ‘Jinn’, which terrorizes and even kills the victims. Italians refer to this figure as Pandafeche, a giant cat.

South Africans interpret this as small creatures known as tokoloshe, who perform black magic, while in Turkey the creature has another name, the Karabasan.

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