Dreaming is one of the most mysterious things our brain do. We know how we dream and which part of our brain is the most active but science is still baffled by many aspects of dreaming and doesn’t know why exactly we dream. During a night’s dream, your whole brain is active, from the brain stem to the cortex. Most types of dreams occur during the REM (rapid eye movement) sleep but new studies show that this is not always the case.
However, there is currently no consensus on one model or explanation of what dreams really are, how they happen, and what is their purpose if anything. Hopefully, with future scientific studies and new neurological research, we will finally be able to understand why exactly we dream. But here are some interesting facts about dreams from recent scientific studies.
1Every Human Dreams
Really, everyone dreams, even the people who think that they “never dream.” The thing is that some people have a really good ability at recalling dreams and some might not even remember anything about what they dreamt last time they slept, which leads some to believe that they never dream. But now there is conclusive evidence that non-dreamers do dream.
2You can dream in NREM Sleep
Dreaming has been traditionally identified with rapid eye-movement (REM) sleep, but that is not always the case. According to neuroscience research published on Nature Science Journal, dreaming can also occur in non-rapid eye movement sleep (NREM). Dreaming in REM sleep is associated with intense dream vividness and increased recollection. However, dreams in NREM sleep are reported to be duller compared to dreams in REM sleep. NREM dreams mostly occur during the morning hours, which is also the period of highest occurrence of REM sleep. You are also more likely to forget NREM dream than a REM dream.
3Marijuana deprives you of REM sleep
Stopped smoking weed? Prepare yourself for intense dreaming. It is known among neurologist and somnologist that Marijuana affects dreams by suppressing REM sleep. Most stoner who smoke marijuana on a regular basis say they don’t have dreams, But when they stopped smoking for some days they had a period of intense dreaming. Most of the research on effects of marijuana on sleep was conducted in the 1970s. Today many people use marijuana as a sleeping agent and further research is needed to know its effects.
Lucid dreaming is one of the most strange and amazing experience. It is a dream in which you become aware that you are dreaming. People can fly, have sex or talk with their favorite person in a lucid dream but it requires training and control. The term ‘lucid dream’ was coined by Dutch author and psychiatrist Frederik van Eeden in his 1913 article titled ‘A Study of Dreams.’
New research shows that lucid dreaming involves a hybrid state of consciousness which includes features of both waking and non-Lucid Dreaming. During a lucid dream, the dreamer can sometimes able to alter characters, narrative, and environment to some extent. There is a whole subreddit on Reddit dedicated to learning and controlling lucid dreams.
5Reading in your dreams
Yes, you can read in your dreams. It is a myth that you can’t read in your dreams. However, not everyone can read in dreams or even if they can they might forget upon waking up. Also, sometimes you might be able to read something once but won’t be able to do that again, that is also how lucid dreamers know that they are in a dream. So although you might be able to read in your dreams it will be incredibly difficult.
Sleep paralysis is one of the most terrifying things that you can experience. It is a feeling of being conscious but unable to move. It usually occurs between stages of wakefulness and sleep. During an episode of sleep paralysis, your body gets paralyzed, you might feel a sense of choking and a crushing weight on your chest and sense danger nearby. Which means that you won’t be able to scream and will have trouble breathing.
Sleep paralysis lasts for a few seconds up to a few minutes. It is generally not harmful but could be very frightening. Around 8% to 50% of people experience sleep paralysis at some point in their life. It also played a significant role in the creation of stories like alien abduction and other paranormal events.
7Video gamers are more likely to control a lucid dream
If you already have the ability to lucid dream, playing video games might just give you more control over your lucid dreams. According to dream researcher and psychologist, Jayne Gackenbach, playing video games before sleeping may give you a surprising level of awareness and control in your dreams. Although there is a lot of game-related research in the last decade still, these findings represent suggestive associations rather than definitive proof.
8Blind people can also dream
Yes, blind people can dream. Blind people don’t ‘see’ visual imagery like people who are not blind. But their dreams are equally vivid and predominantly informed by other senses like smell, touch, taste, and sound.
9Some people dream only in black and white
Most people on earth dream in color but if you ask your parents or friends that are over the age of 55, you might discover that some of them actually dream in black and white. According to researchers, this might have been due to television because watching films and TV has a big impact on the way dreams are formed.
A study from 2008 found that people who are 25 and younger say that they never dream in black and white, whereas people over the age of 55, with little to no access to color television while growing up reported dreaming in black and white. It is estimated that 12 percent of people dream exclusively in black and white.
10Animals can dream
If you are a dog or cat owner then you might have seen them twitch or paw the air, as if they were catching something in their dream. According to Stanley Coren, a psychology professor at the University of British Columbia, canines go through the same sleep stages as humans do, only faster. It takes about 20 minutes for a dog to enter REM sleep, which is the stage in which most vivid dreams occur. He also says that small dogs dream quickly and more often whereas big dogs dream longer. Why they do that? no one knows yet. But not all animals experience REM sleep. Insects, fish and some birds don’t experience REM sleep but all mammals do.
11Sensory Incorporation in Dreams
While we are dreaming, our brain can sometimes interpret the external stimuli that our senses are bombarded with and then make them part of our dream. It’s not odd to realize upon awakening that part of our true physical surroundings such as sound, sight, and smell have been incorporated into our dreams while we were asleep.
12Men and Women dream differently
According to several recent studies and surveys, men and women dream differently. Opposite sex is not only biologically different from us, they also have a different experience within society which impacts everything. They might also think, feel and dream differently than us. One study says 70% of the characters in men’s dream are other men while woman’s dream contains almost an equal number of men and women.
Ever played a game or spend way too much time on an activity that you started dreaming about it? Well, it’s called ‘Tetris effect.’ It is an interesting psychological phenomenon which can occur when people spend so much time and attention on an activity that it begins to pattern their thoughts, mental images, and dreams. This effect takes its names from a popular 80s video game, Tetris and sometimes also called ‘Tetris Syndrome’
14Depression causes you to dream 3-4 times more than average
Sleep is very important for mood regulation. But the role of dreams in maintaining mental health is still mysterious. People with severe depression enter REM stage sooner, this is the state in which most types of dreams occur. Studies done in the 1970s showed that people suffering from severe depression report more dreams than average. These patients also reported more nightmares, dreams with more negative mood and emotion.
Also Read: Interesting Facts About Mars
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Herlin B, et al. Evidence that non-dreamers do dream: a REM sleep behavior disorder model. J Sleep Res. (2015)|
|2.||↑||Francesca Siclari, et al. The neural correlates of dreaming. Nature Neuroscience (2017)|
|3.||↑||Karen I. Bolla, et al. Sleep Disturbance in Heavy Marijuana Users. Sleep. (2008)|
|4.||↑||Ursula Voss, et al. Lucid Dreaming: A State of Consciousness with Features of Both Waking and Non-Lucid Dreaming. Sleep. (2009)|
|5.||↑||Brian A. Sharpless, et al. Lifetime Prevalence Rates of Sleep Paralysis: A Systematic Review. Sleep Med Rev. (2011)|
|6.||↑||Murzyn E. Do we only dream in colour? A comparison of reported dream colour in younger and older adults with different experiences of black and white media. Conscious Cogn. (2008)|