People dream about six years during their lives on average.
Six years spent absorbed in wondrous, frightening, thrilling and sometimes completely incomprehensible sensations.
Your dreams, if you could record them all, would certainly prove just what a creative being you really are.
Why we dream what we do might appear to be totally mystifying, but in fact, the disciplines of dream and sleep science have actually discovered
quite a lot about dreams.
You will discover a lot of information that will truly astonish you!
Let’s get started.
Number 1 – Your Mind Is More Active During
A Dream Than When You’re Awake
During sleep, the mind and body relax.
After all, the primary reason why we sleep is to recover from the day’s stress on the body, to repair muscle damage, and to freshen up for the next day’s demands.
Yet, as paradoxical as it may seem, your mind is a buzz of activity while you are asleep, even more so than when you are awake.
Sleep studies – where a brain’s electrical activity is measured – provide solid data documenting brain activity.
But why is the brain so active when you are asleep?
Well, you experience a lot during a typical day.
When you are awake, your brain is so busy taking in everything you see, hear and feel, that it has little time to actually process, categorize and store all this information.
When you are asleep, your brain finally has time to make some sense of it all.
There is also evidence that your brain becomes even more stimulated when it has to deal with a brand-new experience, or with some major change you experienced – regardless of whether that change was good or bad.
Number 2 – It All Happens in Your Subconscious
Your conscious mind relaxes when you are asleep, but your subconscious never really sleeps.
When you sleep, your subconscious is where all that dreaming takes place.
You see, your subconscious mind is busy processing your thoughts and concerns – this processing generates dreams.
Dreams speak the language of the subconscious mind; and this language is composed of images, metaphors and other symbols that your conscious mind usually has a hard time grasping.
This is why most people have trouble making sense of their dreams.
But you can be sure that your dreams don’t just come out of nowhere – they come right from your own, personal experiences.
Number 3 – Your Dreams Only See Familiar Faces
All those weird events in my dreams?
I know all those people?
Your subconscious can’t invent new faces.
That only makes sense, because your subconscious only “remembers” things.
So, any face that appears in your dreams is a face you have already encountered.
This does not, however, mean that you actually know the person.
Well, just think about it.
Your eyes see and take in things that your conscious mind doesn’t really pay attention to.
Just think of all the people you pass by during the day, maybe faces in a crowd you glanced at.
You may not recognize any of those faces, but your subconscious stored all of them.
Most of the main actors in your dreams are, however, people you would recognize – simply because they occupy your thoughts more.
But sometimes, your dreams can concoct a strange mix of familiar and unfamiliar people. For instance, a friend of yours might appear in one of your dreams. His face and personality might seem to match up with reality.
Yet, upon waking, you might realize that a person with a different face actually played the role of that friend.
Number 4 – You Can’t Read In Your Dreams
You are typically engaged in a lot of activity in your dreams, but one thing you aren’t doing is: reading!
Yes, books and signs might pop up, but you aren’t reading any of them because you won’t make out any words or letters.
This is because reading is a conscious activity!
Remember – your brain is the product of a long period of evolution.
However, humans have been reading only for about 5,000 years.
Your subconscious is not equipped for this.
When you are asleep, your conscious mind is taking a break.
You can’t even read a clock in your dreams.
And it gets weirder…
You can’t see yourself in a mirror!
If you look into one in your dreams, the image will be blurred or resolve into another person.
Number 5 – Sensory Incorporation
It may seem strange, but it actually should make some sense.
In order for you to dream, your body needs to be relaxed.
If your body is disturbed by some external sensations such as noise; or internal sensation, such as bladder pressure – your subconscious will be affected by this. Anything like that will bring you out of a dream state.
In order to get back to it, your subconscious has to be completely undisturbed.
So, you need to shut off the noise, or go to the washroom – before your mind will be able to start dreaming again.
Number 6 – Men And Women Dream Differently
Researchers have discovered that women and men dream differently, and they dream about different things!
Several studies have documented that men dream about things like – for example, weapons – far more often than women do.
Women, on the other hand, dream a lot more about things involving clothes.
Furthermore, men’s dreams contain a lot more aggression and physical activity, while women’s dreams more often have to do with emotional themes such as exclusion or rejection.
In addition, a lot more conversations are being held in women’s dreams than in men’s.
Women’s dreams are also a bit longer and involve more people than men’s dreams.
What might seem somewhat surprising, is that in men’s dreams, men appear twice as often as women.
Women’s dreams, for some reason, are more balanced: men and women appear roughly as often.
Number 7 – Fifty Percent Of Dreams Are Negative
According to research, negative emotions emerge in many of your dreams.
Your dreams are, in a sense, fair about this all: about half of them are positive, but half are also negative.
Negative dreams tend to involve emotions such as: anger, fear, insecurity and sadness.
Number 8 – Dreams Can Be A Sign Of Anxiety
Or Underlying Stress
Our dreams show that humans everywhere seem to have a lot in common!
No matter where we are born or where we grow up, our dreams often involve being chased, attacked or falling.
Other common themes are feelings of being frozen or immobilized, or arriving late.
Sometimes we even dream about appearing naked before others!
While the meanings of such dreams can differ depending on a person’s particular circumstances, these dreams can often be connected to feelings of anxiety or stress.
If you experience unpleasant dreams, try to pay more attention to taking care of yourself.
Also try to deal with circumstances that are causing you stress.
Number 9 – Premonition Dreams
There are some really astounding instances in which people have foreseen things in their dreams that would happen to them.
These dreams often turned out to be surprisingly accurate.
Were these dreams a glance into the future?
Or were they just a matter of circumstance?
Well, some pretty strange cases of premonition are recorded in history!
- Many of the 9/11 victims dreamed about the coming terror attack
- Mark Twain dreamed about his brother’s death
- Abraham Lincoln dreamed that he would be assassinated
- The verified dreams of 19 people foresaw the sinking of the Titanic
Number 10 – Dreaming In Black And White
Your dreams might be very vivid and colorful.
A lot of people have such dreams.
Yet some people say that their dreams are black and white.
Studies have established that ‘age and the media’ one is exposed to, might play a role in what colors occur in people’s dreams.
For example, older people grew up with black and white television and photography.
Many of them have monochromatic dreams: it’s the way they picture people and events external to themselves.
Younger people, on the other hand, have known nothing but color photography and television.
Number 11 – Dreams Recharge Your Creativity
OK, so dreams might contain some subconscious messages, but what use can they really be?
Well, dreams can help you in various aspects of your life – every day.
Researchers suggest that dreams are especially helpful in developing your creative capabilities.
Artists often remark on how useful their dreams are in their creative processes.
But dreams can help anyone – by providing creativity toward solving everyday problems.
Just as you use your waking imagination when you are trying to be creative, dreams do precisely this while you are asleep.
While you sleep, your subconscious is dealing with and working out problems.
The process is actually quite similar to the creative process you use when awake.
In other words, the creative process continues when you’re asleep, and your dreams actually help improve your creativity.
As you may be aware, dreams can even directly provide you with inspiration.
Let’s say, for example, that you’ve just dreamed something really amazing, or you experienced something challenging, or you relived some emotional event.
These kinds of dreams can help connect you to strong feelings, and thus, help you be more creative.
Number 12 – Dreams Have Changed History
So, you now know that dreams serve to refresh and support the creative process.
History shows that many dreams directly led to ideas that changed the world!
- Larry Page came up with his idea for Google
- Dmitri Mendeleev came up with the periodic table of elements
- Elias Howe was inspired to invent the sewing machine
- James Watson envisioned the DNA double helix
- Tesla got the idea for an alternating current generator
Number 13 – It’s Possible To Control Your
Have you ever had a dream while you were sleeping and were aware that you were dreaming at the time?
That kind of dream is referred to as a “lucid dream”.
It is thought that lucid dreaming arises from a state that combines both consciousness and R.E.M. sleep.
While you are in such a state, you can often control the contents of your dreams!
About fifty percent of people remember having a lucid dream at least once in their lives; and some people have lucid dreams over and over again.
Number 14 – You Always Dream, You Just Don’t
Yes, always – even if you don’t remember a single dream.
Most people have several dreams each time they sleep.
These dreams can concern any number of scenarios and differ in intensity.
Yet, many people just don’t remember them once they wake up.
Over half – about 60% in fact – don’t remember anything of their dreams after five minutes of waking up.
After just ten minutes, most people forget about 90% of the details from their dreams.
So what you remember of your dreams, is only a small fraction of what you actually dreamed.
But there is an exception.
If you happen to wake up suddenly while you are in the R.E.M. phase of sleep, you are often able to remember quite a lot of your dream’s content.
Of course, dreams can also stick with you if you have a particular dream repeatedly, or if they contain some very strong emotions.
If you want to remember more of your dreams, keep a notepad by your bedside.
As soon as you wake up, write down anything you can recall.
Once you’ve recorded your dreams, you can refer to your notes and see whether any themes are recurring.
You can even try to identify any messages your subconscious may be communicating to you!
So, there you have it!
Pretty interesting, don’t you think?
These dream facts may just be the tip of a very large iceberg.
Psychologists and neuroscientists are still conducting research into the purpose of dreaming
and the meanings of dreams.
Many are convinced that there is still a lot to learn!
Share YOUR thoughts and comments below!
And, tell us about some of your most interesting dreams – if you remember any.