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Posts Tagged ‘REMsleep’

It’s not always bad news…

Reason #37- Dreams

Most dreams are forgotten by the time you wake up, let alone after.  But that doesn’t mean they aren’t instrumental in a happy, healthy life.  WebMD defines dreams as “basically stories and images that our mind creates while we sleep.”

According to Medical News Today, there are 55 different themes or categories of dreams common to many people.  Some of these are being chased or pursued, sexual experiences, falling, flying, arriving too late, a living person being dead, being nude or inappropriately dressed, being frozen with fright, racing or losing control of a vehicle, and of being killed.  Dreams might mean something, or they might be nonsense with no meaning whatsoever.  Of the dreams that have meaning, they might be related to interpersonal conflicts, sexual motivations, social concerns, a fear of embarrassment or to help solve problems in our lives.

When I was a kid, I had a recurring dream that persisted for a few months.  I was around 8 years old and riding in the back seat of my parent’s car, a big metal monster of a vehicle that we had in the ‘60s.  I was looking out the side window while we drove past the Lockheed Airport, a small private airport that eventually grew to become Hollywood-Burbank International Airport.  The runway back then began and/or ended right at the boulevard and, as we passed, I could see a small private plane dropping straight down toward the runway.  My dad punched the gas and we sped away from the crash, but I heard the impact in the distance.  That’s when I would wake up.

Did that dream tell me to be cautious?  Was it a premonition of someone I know or myself being in a plane crash?  Was my dad a hero?  It could have meant something, but I never did connect it to any event.  I have always felt uneasy flying in a small plane, but whether that was a result of my dream or just my discomfort with altitude is something I’ll probably never figure out.

I think it might be a good thing that most dreams are not remembered.  Over the years, how would we differentiate between memories and past dreams?  Just think of déjà vu on steroids.

Most experts agree that dreams during REM [rapid eye movement] sleep have health benefits and many studies have shown that lack of dreaming, like when subjects are awakened whenever REM sleep begins, leads to higher anxiety, stress and depression. 

My dreams have themes and patterns of their own.  I’ve noticed that often I am taken through a maze of buildings, rooms and landscapes only to find that I need to retrace my steps back.  When I was young, they sort of walked me through all the bases in sexual encounters, well before I needed to know them.  I used to have dreams in which I was frozen in place after seeing a rattlesnake or other danger.  Many of my dreams are epic, taking hours and involving complicated storylines or scenery.  Over time I tend to better remember dreams with reccurring themes like these.

Vivid dreams are those in which you are aware that you are dreaming while events unfold, often as a voyeur, a participant or both.  Sometimes I become aware of my dream as I am waking up, but I typically don’t fully experience vivid dreams.  Sounds like it’s my loss.

There are those who attach spiritual or psychological meaning to all dreams, but to me they are just the brain exercising its synapses and occasionally figuring out how to react to a problem at hand.  Either way, one is almost always happier when they experience dreams than those who don’t.

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My closing thought on this topic is captured nicely in a quote by Leonardo da Vinci, who pondered, “Why does the eye see a thing more clearly in dreams than the imagination when awake?



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