The subject of dreams is both fascinating and absorbing, and can lead one down many avenues, including fantasy, psychology, and creativity. But when it comes to the interpretation of their content, it then becomes a tantalising mystery, which demands to be unraveled. lt promises to be the road to opening ones mind to exciting new discoveries!
Many people, when asked about their dreams, contend that either they do not dream at all, or that they can never remember what they were about.
The facts are however, that EVERYBODY dreams, and that dreams are indispensable to our health, because a lack of dream activity can indicate a protein deficiency.
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It has been claimed that people with a mental disorder do not dream. In fact, what may be happening is that people being TREATED for a mental disorder report fewer dreams. This is because certain therapeutic drugs, those used to treat chronic anxiety for example, reduce the amount of what is called REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement sleep) the period of our sleep pattern during which dreams normally occur.
The phenomenon of REM sleep was first recorded in 1952, when a sleep specialist, working in a sleep laboratory, recorded his observations about a sleeping subject whose eyes fluttered beneath his closed eyelids. This prompted the observer to use a polygraph machine to record the brainwaves during these periods.
In one session, he awakened a subject who was wailing and crying during this period of REM sleep, and confirmed his contention that dreams were in fact occurring at the time. Subsequent, more refined techniques, using an EEG machine to measure brainwave activity confirmed his earlier findings – in fact, he was amazed to find that the brainwave activity is higher during our dreams than when we are wide awake!
Prescription drugs, alcohol, and illegal drugs are major players in the disruption of the human sleep patterns, and therefore of our dreams and the essential deep rest required for recuperation from our daily activities, especially the high levels of stress in modern life.
The disruption of what should be normal sleep ultimately develops into a pattern, which in itself is cyclic, and self-perpetuating, where, in the process it contributes to bouts of insomnia and concomitant sleep disorders including sleep apnea. It is important to record that Sleep Apnea is a serious disorder, if left untreated may lead to death. In Sleep Apnea, the air passages are blocked and as a result the air is unable to pass through. Snoring is an indication that you may probably have sleep apnea, and the advice of a doctor should be obtained.
A major stumbling block to restful sleep is epitomized in a malady that people like Winston Churchill suffered from: bipolar depression. He used a euphemism to conceal his mental illness. He called it "The Black Dog." Apparently sleep in this state of mind is experienced as being empty and black.
In cases of insomnia (the lack of the ability to sleep) it must be stressed that this points to a symptom of an underlying problem, and is not the cause of the sleeplessness. It can be an indicator, for example, of conditions such as painful arthritis and endocrine disturbances. The main endocrine glands include the pituitary gland, pancreas, ovaries, testes, thyroid gland, and adrenal glands. Other organs which are not so well known for their endocrine activity include the stomach.
Of considerable importance in connection with insomnia, responsible members of the medical fraternity are at pains to stress that the sleeping pill is not the route to follow when effective solutions are being sought for a way to obtain restful and healthy sleep. Indeed, it has been claimed that the ongoing use of sleeping pills can result in the permanent distortion, or “cutting off” of the delta-wave phase of our deep sleep pattern., never to be restored.
Quintessential (i.e. representing the perfect example of a class or quality) to healthy sleep is our ability to dream, and many people are not aware of the fact that we can have several dreams in one night, or period, of sleep. These dreams can occupy from 60 to 120 minutes, and varying in number from four, to as much a seven!
Many people, after a night of sleep, report this scenario: they wake up, remembering very clearly that they have indeed been having a dream, but just ten minutes later can only recall about 10% of the fragments of a dream. Sleep experts concur that this is a fact, and that 50% of dream content dissipates from the conscious in just 5 minutes, and 90% in ten minutes.
In an average lifetime we effectively spend 6 years just dreaming (and that does not include the common daydream) – amounting to spending 2100 hours in the fantasy world of a weird and wonderful realm of dreams.
For as yet unexplained reasons, people who are in the process of kicking the smoking habit, tend to experience longer and more intense dreams.
Smoking dreams happen but this does not mean that you will begin smoking again. These dreams are part of the healing process. It is through such dreams that you begin to realize that cigarettes do not have power over you. The next time you have a smoking dream, this is all part of the healing process and the dreams evolve into less unpleasant subconscious experiences with the passage of time.
In a recent survey, it was established that 67% of people polled about their dream content mention that that they have experienced a sense of déjà vu (the experience of thinking that a new situation had occurred before) – inexplicably, this was reported as occurring more often in women than in men. Déjà Vu occurs all over the world to people from all walks of life. However, it's been found that the experience is more common in women and younger people. A possible explanation for this? Could it be that women and younger people are more prone to being intuitive?
A sense of falling is the most common theme in dreams, then a house or home. What do these themes represent? A house usually represents You. The rooms represent different aspects of your persona. The doors are your opportunities. If you dream that you are in a strange new house, it points to your future, and may provide some clues to your way ahead.
What about the occurrence of dreams for blind folk? The answer is that they do dream, but the images that appear depend to a large degree on whether they were blind from birth or not.
If someone has been totally blind since birth, they tend to have predominantly auditory dreams. If someone has had a measure of sight, then that person dreams with that measure of sight. They still dream as though they can see, colors included. For the recall of the image of people since going blind, these faces are apparently just a blur or how they imagine they look now. The image of their mother or father, for example, stays forever young.
Many people are not aware of the fact that vision is not the only sense that constitutes a dream. Sounds, touch and smell, although also experienced by sighted folk, become a hypersensitive area for blind people, and their dreams can be based on a variety of these senses.
The subject of dreams is both fascinating and absorbing, and can lead one down many avenues, including fantasy, psychology, and creativity. But when it comes to the interpretation of their content, it then becomes a tantalizing mystery, which demands to be unraveled. Watch this space for the next step on my own personal road to opening ones mind to exciting new discoveries!
See also: Facts about nudity in your dreams