Most of us find dreams exciting, don’t we? Perhaps the simplest, rewarding yet fascinating place, to begin with, is dreams. Our minds have been wired so that we encounter dreams filled with imagination, images and stories. While dreams are assumed to catch us in a fantasy world, many individuals consider dreams serious and real.
Dreams which are quite natural are considered a hobby for many. A small child may dream of being a doctor, a teenager may dream of being a pop star. In contrast, an adult may dream of building the blocks for a successful identity. In this short life, we all have dreams that can be crazy, wild and never-ending. The definite way to make sure your dreams come true is when you start to live them. So, it is absolutely healthy to keep dreaming high. For example, jumping in a pool of money or having extraordinary powers.
Well, all of us hold varying definitions and experiences of dreams. The majority of the individuals report dreams as entertaining, romantic and or/friendly experiences that knock on their subconscious when sleeping. Many others feel dreams are a must partner during their sleep, like the sweet memories that whirl in their mind helps them feel refreshed and hopeful after they are awake. Sometimes dreams are also considered to have a purpose or a symbolic meaning that enlightens one’s life direction.
In the case of children, a recent study reported whether children sleep alone or with their close ones. Many feel they have gained a happy, lonely free and complete sleep when the dreams contact their unconscious minds.
On the flip side, dreams can also be haunting for some individuals. Probably a series of unpleasant events or negativity could lead their minds to cause frightening, bizarre or disturbing dreams. Sometimes, the mental blocks in the mind can lead you to experience strange dreams and nightmares. It can also go to the extent of impairing your emotional, social and physical well-being. For example, failing examinations, being chased or physically attacked etc.
Though the various aspects of dreams are not fully discovered, a few interesting facts have been explored:
Most are thought to dream between 2 to 5 times whenever they sleep or take naps.
Besides dreams filled with colours, black and white dreams are also encountered by a few
Once awake, most tend to quickly forget 95% of their dreams
Dreams are considered to last between 5 to 30 minutes. It can sometimes last for an hour too.
Dreams are different for women and men
Compared to sighted individuals, blind individuals engage in dreaming more with (other) sensory components.
With many psychologists believing that dreams are quite enduring sources of mystery, questions of how and why dreams occur, can they be controlled, what they convey or mean etc., have been rising. Even when clear cut answers for all these questions do not exist, they have been explored to some extent. The scientific explanations state that rapid eye movement and limbic (emotion) system stimulation cause brainstem activation. This eventually leads one to experience dreams while sleeping.
Based on the positive and/or negative content associated with dreams, researchers often looked at dreams being caused as a biological or evolutionary response purely based on varying life experiences. Still, other researchers hold that dreams are caused when the brain decides to organize the opportunity for problem-solving, prioritizing and decision-making.
Additionally, the recent research and methodologies dedicated to dreams have managed to interest the research in speculating the following functions offered by dreams:
They represent the unconscious wishes and desires
Combine and process information acquired throughout the day
Interpret the random body and brain signals while sleeping and so on.
However, many psychological fields strongly suggest that we cannot restrict our knowledge about dreams as much still remains unknown. Fortunately, dreams have many underlying benefits: First, dreams contribute to the development of cognitive abilities and capabilities. Second, dreams enhance the development of long-term memories and serve to maintain a stable psychological and emotional balance.
Third, dreams give an indication (positive/negative) and prepare one for possible future threats. Fourth, dreams calm individuals with anxiety or depression and enhance their emotional states and moods. Fifth, dreams are also considered to be a booster for memory consolidation and sharpens our thinking skills. Additionally, dreams are linked to better sleep quality and high levels of creativity and imagination. For example, famous fictional writers live in their dreams which enriches them with ideas and twists to write their books.