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What are dreams?

What are dreams?

Everyone has awoken from a frightening dream or rolled out of bed feeling fulfilled because of a dream. Dreams allow individuals to feel as if they are using the time they spend sleeping for entertainment and learning. Dreams have always been an area of interest for many people, but the true origin and substance of dreaming remain a mystery to most.

Dreams, as defined by Dictionary.com, are “a succession of images, thoughts, or emotions passing through the mind during sleep.” 1

Dreams occur in all stages of sleep but occur most frequently and vividly in the first stage of REM sleep.2 This stage is the most important in the sleep cycle as it provides a period of restoration and healing for the body and mind.

If an individual gets the recommended eight hours of sleep in a night, they can go through at least 4 stages of REM sleep resulting in hours of dream time, although most dreams are never recalled.2 Many individuals report never remembering dreams when, in actuality, they are simply not placing importance on dreaming.  People tend to recall their dreams about once every few days on average; however, if one is awakened during REM sleep, they can recall their dream 80% of the time.3

It is thought that dreams occur because of the process during REM sleep when the brain synapses are activated and intensive firing of neuronal pathways that hold memories and experiences occurs.2 This stimulation may be what causes dreaming and recall of prior experiences, future goals and a mix of the two.

Some of the most common dreams are those of individuals being chased, pursued, embarrassed, failing at something, or falling. While these types of dreams can all derive from different situations and causes, they all present a frightened sensation to the individual having the dream. Additionally, all dreamers place emphasis on different areas of their lives causing similar dreams to have various meanings to different individuals.3 For instance, more than 80% of college students noted having had dreams of the falling nature. These dreams are thought to originate from feelings of insecurity or fearing loss of emotional balance.3

While the significance of dreams is still unknown, it remains that REM sleep is truly essential to the body and mind’s health and wellness through storage of information and healing that is vital to performance during the daytime.

Bibliography:

1. Dream (n.d) On Dictionary.com—Retrieved May 24, 2012, from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/dreams?s=t

2. Maas, Dr. James B., Megan L. Wherry, David J Axelrod, Barbara R. Hogan, and Jennifer A. Blumin. Power Sleep: The Revolutionary Program That Prepares Your Mind for Peak Performance. New York : Villard, 1998.

3. Carskadon, Mary A. Encyclopedia of Sleep and Dreaming. New York: Macmillan Pub., 1993.

37 Comments Post a comment
  1. we always have such a hard time finding a pillow that we like

    May 31, 2012
  2. Very good article. I rarely remember my dreams but had a nightmare the other night.

    May 31, 2012
  3. I have always felt dreams are very important to the sanity. My dreams have always been very realistic.

    May 31, 2012
  4. I find dreams fascinating! Though I would love more time to dream at night 🙂

    May 31, 2012
  5. Do you think a comfortable pillow can give you a sounder sleep, therefore having better dreams rather than nightmares?

    May 31, 2012
  6. miriama59 #

    When I took a psychology class we had to keep a sleep journal. We studied different people’s interpretations of dreams. My husband frequently remembers his dreams…me, not so much.

    May 31, 2012
  7. i’d love one

    May 31, 2012
  8. Lovely article…I love to dream!

    May 31, 2012
  9. I remember a dream at least once a week. My kids often talk in their sleep and they don’t remember doing it.

    May 31, 2012
  10. This article was very interesting! I have often wondered why I am able to remember my dreams more often than my husband does his.
    REM! Not just a rock band from my younger days! 😉

    May 31, 2012
  11. strange sometimes I remember my dreams but other time nope. good article

    May 31, 2012
  12. Very interesting read, would love to get the perfect pillow so I could have peaceful dreams

    May 31, 2012
  13. So interesting! I usually remember my dreams right after waking but quickly forget them

    May 31, 2012
  14. I usually remember a couple of dreams from the night before. Often, the dreams relate to something I’ve encountered or thought about during the previous day. Recent studies have suggested that dreaming is about organizing our thoughts and even solving problems! I would love a new pillow to solve all my problems, please!

    May 31, 2012
  15. My dreams are always so vivid. I remember pretty much every detail, how I felt during the dream, the sounds, colors. And sometimes I even dream in 3rd person & see myself like a movie. I love sleeping because my dreams are so real !

    June 1, 2012
  16. I’m day dreaming of winning a new pillow!

    June 1, 2012
  17. Great article and wonderful pillow

    June 1, 2012
  18. I love this article.. I have very weird dreams. They are often about what is going on in my life but taken to the extreme… I can dream about what I have watched on tv as well. How ever can’t watch horror movies cause I will dream about that and end up freaking out in my sleep cause the movie gets intensified 5x. Good luck to all on winning a free pillow

    June 1, 2012
  19. Great Article and I hate it when i can’t when a dream!!

    June 1, 2012
  20. I tend to remember my dreams throughout the day and I honestly believe I dream in color which people have said they have read no-one dreams in color. I rarely have nightmares but when I do I wake up in a cold sweat.I really enjoyed reading the article.

    June 1, 2012
  21. great article. i love dreaming esp dreaming of what i dream/wishes/hopes. i also sometimes make up my own dream when im half asleep lol

    June 1, 2012
  22. Matthew Burgess #

    In psychology, our professor said that if you wanted to remember your dreams, keep that thought in your head as you fell asleep… Your mind transitions through different states of consciousness (Hypnagogia) as you enter sleep… when you wake you transition back out of sleep in reverse order. The thoughts you had in that level of consciousness would be prevalent and will help you bring your dreams into your waking state. I’ve done it a couple of times and it has worked…. Maybe if you have nightmares doing the reverse would work????

    June 1, 2012
  23. Maybe this pillow would help me sleep better..thank you so much for the chance to win!

    June 1, 2012
  24. Interesting article, especially the part about dreams possibly being a combination of past experiences and future goals.

    June 1, 2012
  25. Would like to have this pillow who likes having bad dreams, the article was very interesting to me and I didn’t know some of the things mentioned

    June 1, 2012
  26. I need a new pillow! So tired of buy a new pillow, only to have it go flat in only a few months time! Thanks for the giveaway!!

    June 1, 2012
  27. i toss and turn all night wake up with neck pain and headaches i need a new pillow

    June 2, 2012
  28. interesting Article ! thanks for the chance 🙂

    June 2, 2012
  29. Interesting article I never remember my dreams.

    June 2, 2012
  30. I used to always remember my dreams but lately only remember them if I wake up shaortly after having them. I could use a great pillow to get better sleep!

    June 3, 2012
  31. Thanks for the great read! I sometimes remember my dreams. Sometimes I wish I didnt!

    June 3, 2012
  32. Very Interesting! I learned a lot about dreams/sleep in my psy undergrad. I think its all so intrestesting, especially the dreams!

    June 5, 2012
  33. I rarely remember my dreams, because I don’t sleep too soundly. I do remember having a very strange dream of alligators and sliding down a slope of water into an alligator pit. What do you think that was about? I know that I need a better pillow for neck support than the old one I use.

    June 7, 2012
    • Bradley Simons #

      HI Kim, that is an interesting dream. We will have to dig a little more into it and see what we can find out.

      June 12, 2012

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Men vs. Women: Battle of the Sleepers | Sleep Academy
  2. Memory Retention and Sleep | Sleep Academy
  3. Counseling Corner | Horizons Newspaper

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