Monday, 9 January 2012

100 Things You Need to Know About Dreams//Consolidated Notes

I wrote up all the interesting facts and points I found from my research about dreams to help consolidate all the information I'd sourced and see how much I could actually remember:



  • You dream for about an hour and a half- three hours every night. By the time we die (on average) we will have spent 25 years asleep, 6 of those years (at least) dreaming. However we forget up to 90% of our dreams within 10 minutes of waking. Everyone dreams.
  • REM--> rapid eye movement, was discovered by Eugene Aserinsky and is when movement can be seen behind the eyelids during sleep, aka REM sleep. Using a polygraph, scientists can monitor the brain activity and even though during REM sleep, our body is in a state of paralysis, our mind is as active as if we were awake. REM sleep disorder is when people are not paralysed during REM sleep and physically act out their dreams.
  • Experiments have proved that people also dream during non REM sleep, however they are two different dream states and so, are fundamentally different. Studies show that more negative emotions are present during REM sleep and positive emotions with non REM sleep. This is due to the part of out brain which is linked with our emotions, called the amygdala. Too much REM sleep can cause depression.
  • Benefits of dreaming: They resolve and process memories (without REM sleep, it's much harder to concentrate and remember stuff during that day). Dreaming helps retain our mental health/psychological well-being. They help us learn in our sleep, dreams help make connections with our memories. They can also be inspirational.
  • Dream have helped inventions come about, such as; the periodic table, how a sewing machine could hold a needle (dream about being attacked by men with spears that had holes in the tops of them) and Frankenstein was dreamt by Mary Shelley.
  • Benefits of nightmares: idea was derived from ancient times when out ancestors lived in a dangerous environment, nightmares acted as a rehearsal for the daily struggle to survive. In more general terms, nightmares can act as a simulation of scary or threatening events, they help prepare you for real life.
  • Lucid Dreaming: when you are aware you are dreaming. To prove lucid dreaming was actually possible, an experiment was carried out on someone (who claimed they were a lucid dreamer) where they were instructed to move their eyes from left to right when a bright light was shone in their eyes during sleep, and lucid dreaming was thus proved possible. It's a useful skill to have in order to experiment with situations, tackle nightmares, fears etc. with no consequences.
  • Smokers who quit suddenly can experience more vivid dreams. Vitamin B and St Johns Wort have also proved to help dreams become more vivid.
  • Pregnant women often have dreams about miscarriages, merely a symbol of their anxiety.
  • Almost everyone dreams. The exceptions could be where people have brain damage etc. For example, if your parietal lobe (the part of the brain where dreams are made) is damaged, which can happen after something like a stroke, they you can stop dreaming which is pretty bad for you. It can lead to bad quality sleep and people often find that they wake up in the night during the times they should be in the stage of REM sleep.
  • Dream Interpretation: the symbols shown within dreams can be interpreted generally however they are always personal to the individual and their situations, so it is always hard to interpret someone's dream. Common symbols could include nudity (symbolising vulnerability or freedom), standing on a cliff (afraid of failure, living on the edge), forests (exploration, refuge) and a house (symbol of our body, future potential).
  • Dreams in ancient times: Ancient Greece, dreams were messages from the Gods. South Asian Hindus, this world is a dream and the dream world is the 'reality'. Some Christians believe that God is communicating to them through dreams.

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