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Published: Thursday 31st of October 2013
Dreams may seem unreal but they can have a real impact on our lives. Things people can dream about also say a lot about their character, their ideas, and their intentions. A person’s dreams can vary from some absurd or can, actually, have some logical connection to what they’re doing in real life. The contents of our dreams are not fully understood, with the themes of dreams changing again and again throughout our lives.
So why do we dream? Even though the content of our dreams can’t be fully understood, a dream is a unique result of a series of emotions, sensations, and ideas that come together in some sort of cognitive mix. As we sleep, our eyes undergo rapid eye movement when brain activity is at its highest level. The rapid eye movements produce the kinds of visual “hallucinations” that we experience in dreams. Some dreams can be less prominent and these tend to occur when we’re not in a deep sleep but when we’re in some other stage of a sleep cycle; usually, towards a light sleep or at the end of our sleeping. Dreams can last for an estimated 20-30 minutes but, if they’re not during the rapid eye movement cycle, they can only last for a few seconds. People are far more able to remember their dreams after waking up if they had them during the rapid eye movement phase, otherwise, people often experience dream amnesia even a few seconds after waking up. If you’ve had a bad dream, this can be a great thing! If you’ve been taken on a great journey of self-discovery, flying through the clouds before lying in bed with your lover, you, probably, won’t want to wake up from that. Whatever you may think, we have limited control over what we dream.
Why do people have dreams themes that constantly reoccur? Dreams aren’t entirely random, even though they may seem so at times. Ever since ancient times, people have been trying to figure out exactly what dreams mean in a process of dream interpretation, but is there any scientific basis? People often analyze psychology and Freudian theory to interpret dream content, trying to relate it to past events or even childhood traumas. It’s highly possible that what we do at the time has a large effect on our dreams. If we’re working in the back of a restaurant polishing cutlery all day during a 12-hour shift, it might be possible that our dreams that night will contain polishing cutlery in one form or another.
But what about those who dream truly random? Or if you consider yourself to be a nice person, why sometimes you can wake up mortified that you’ve dreamt of killing someone? Psychologists have found that it’s, in fact, perfectly normal to dream about absurd things that we’d never dream of doing, even if they seem so hideously out of character for us. The bottom line is that it’s not always a good idea to equate importance with dreams – sometimes it’s just some spewing of our unconscious minds that produces dream content and this, certainly, has no reflection on us as a person.
We shouldn’t base all our life events on what our dreams tell us. It would be a terrible idea to invest all our money in sweets if we’ve been dreaming about buying all the sweets in the world; however, a lot of good entrepreneurial ideas and ideas, in general, have come from the result of dreaming alone. It is a typical practice for creative, especially, writers and those working in the film industry, to keep a notepad with them at their bedside. Why? Because sometimes the content of dreams is so creative and interesting that it can be made use of in imaginative writing and art. Think about a dream that you’ve had – perhaps, it can inspire something in your life. If you’ve dreamt randomly about going traveling to a faraway place, perhaps, you can write this dream down and think about going traveling to such a place in the future. Imagine if you think of an invention or solution to a problem that no one has thought of before – if you had a notepad by your bed, you could write this down immediately and really reap the rewards if you decide to put your idea into practice. Dreams can also more than often feature auditory content so, if you’re a musician, you could have your instrument by your side and, when you wake up, write down that snippet of musical wonder. Remember that if you haven’t dreamt in the correct cycle, you probably won’t remember your dream for very long, that’s why you should keep your recording article of choice by your bedside.
What we do physically in the real world can alter how we dream, including what we put into our bodies. If you’re looking to get out of a series of recurring nightmares or you feel that your dreams are having an overbearing impact on your life, studies have shown that you are able to exercise some self-control by monitoring what you put into your body and changing your lifestyle. Eating before bedtime is a classic example of what NOT to do if you want your dreams to stop. As the body breaks down food, its metabolism is high at work and this can cause your brain ruminating on its own contents, spewing out all sorts of dreams. Certain foods work better than others for creating dreaming, such as cheese and meat, so avoid these at all cost if you can’t bear the thought of another nightmare that evening. Similarly, some medications have side effects and chemicals that alter the state of your brain, causing you to experience different dreams. This can also include drugs; especially hallucinogenic ones will definitely enhance your cognitive function in the dream world. You may not even need to actually sleep to dream if you take some of those!
So what can be made of dreams: do you enjoy dreaming and why? A dream needn’t be a friend or foe because it’s unproven as to why we’re experiencing the dreams that we have, so we shouldn’t interpret them as a reflection of ourselves in any serious way. Dreams can be a great way to gain ideas and creative flows going, so it’s always a good idea to keep a journal of your dreams or to wake up from a dream and put the good ideas down if you have had any. Hopefully, you’ll be having sweet dreams tonight.