10 interesting facts about dreams



1) Surprisingly, your body is virtually paralyzed during your sleep – most likely to prevent your body from acting out aspects of your dreams. According to a Wikipedia article on dreaming, “Glands begin to secrete a hormone that helps induce sleep and neurons send signals to the spinal cord which cause the body to relax and later become essentially paralyzed.” This fact often accounts for those dreams when we actually feel paralyzed. This is especially true when we first wake, but are not yet fully conscious.

2) If you are awakened out of REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, you are more likely to remember your dream in a more vivid way than you would if you woke from a full night sleep. Studies have shown that our brain waves are more active when we are dreaming than when we are awake. Women tend to have more frequent dream recall than men.

3) When you are snoring, you are not dreaming. This may be partially true in that people with sleep apnea don’t usually get the deep sleep that is often characterized by dreams. However, we also experience dreams when in the lighter, Alpha, stage of dreaming that may not be affected by sleep apnea.

4) When you dream about some particular subject or even a person you know, it is not necessarily what the dream is about. Dreams speak in a deeply symbolic language. The unconscious mind tries to compare your dream to something else that has similar aspects or characteristics. Whatever symbol your dream picks on it is most unlikely to be a symbol for itself.

5) A full 12% of sighted people dream exclusively in black and white. That means about 88% of us dream in full color. We also tend to have common themes in our dreams, e.g. situations relating to school, being chased, running slowly, or in place, sexual experiences, falling, arriving too late, a person now alive being dead, teeth falling out, flying, failing an examination, or a car accident.

6) In an average lifetime, humans spend a total of about six years of it dreaming. That is more than 2,100 days spent in a different realm! On average, we dream anywhere from one to two hours every night. Moreover, we can have four to seven different dreams in one night.

7) In a recent sleep study, students who were awakened at the beginning of each dream, but still allowed their 8 hours of sleep, all experienced difficulty in concentration, irritability, hallucinations, and signs of psychosis after only 3 days. When finally allowed their REM sleep the student’s brains made up for lost time by greatly increasing the percentage of sleep spent in the REM stage.

8) People who become blind after birth can see images in their dreams. Those who are born blind do not see any images, but have dreams equally vivid involving other senses of sound, smell, touch and emotion.

9) Nightmares are common in children, typically beginning at around age 3 and occurring up to age 7-8. In adults between 2 and 8% are plagued with nightmares. Occasional adult nightmares experienced by many are usually the result of extreme stresses experienced in their waking life and is the mind’s way of dealing with them.

10) Dreams have been here as long as mankind.  In the Roman Era, profound and significant dreams were submitted to the Senate for analysis and interpretation. This was true of most tribal groups and continues as a practice within some small communities throughout the world.

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