All About Dreams

Everyone sleeps, and everyone dreams, but what exactly is a dream. Scientifically, dreams are basically stories and images the brain creates while a person sleeps. REM sleep or the Rapid Eye Movement stage of sleep is when the most vivid dreams occur, and they are easier to remember when a person awakes during this stage of sleep. In addition, during REM sleep, muscles paralysis may occur preventing injury while trying to act out the dreams. A person may dream 4 to 6 times each night.

The REM stage of sleep is Stage 4 of sleep and it is the very deepest of sleep, and confusion occurs during this stage as well if a person awakes. Sleepwalking and sleep talking occurs and then a lighter sleep may follow.

Besides the REM stage of sleep, dreams may also occur during Stage 3 of sleep, which lasts usually 35 to 45 minutes after a person falls asleep when the brain waves slow down and decrease. However, during this time a person can easily awake due to a minor disturbance or noise. They may feel disoriented and confused for a few minutes, but this is also the time dreams may occur, sleepwalking or sleep talking or night terrors.

Powerful dreams take place during the REM stage and there is often an increase in heart and respiration rates, rhythms become irregular, and lasts usually longer than other stages, up to an hour. The REM stage usually starts about 90 minutes after a person falls asleep.

There is not a definite reason for why people dream, but scientists believe the dreams are linked to how the brains organize memories and emotions. They may help a person make sense of what happened during their day, or others believe dreams allow the brain to sort through events of the day storing important stuff and getting rid of junk. Other scientists believe the dreams are related to what a person might be worried about or thinking about.

Some scientists say they have no purpose. However, dreams can make a person feel scared, happy, sad, or a range of many other emotions. It is very difficult to have control over dreams. In a study, researchers learned dreams were important to a person's health and well-being.

During sleep experiments, people were awakened just as they were about to dream during REM sleep and were not permitted to dream. As a result, many experienced increased tension, anxiety, depression, difficulty concentrating, lack of coordination, weight gain, and tendency to hallucinate.

There is a wide range of views to what dreams may mean as well. Some experts say dreams have no connection to real thoughts or emotions, and they are simply strange stories that do not relate to normal life. Some say they reflect underlying thoughts and feelings such as deep desires, fears, and concerns, especially recurring dreams, ones that are repeated night after night.

It is important to remember though that many people have similar dreams, but the meaning behind them may be unique to each person. Experts say not to rely on books or 'dream dictionaries' to interpret specific dreams. The reason for a dream you experience will be unique to you only,

One type of dream, a nightmare, is a bad dream which might be caused by stress, conflict, fear, trauma, emotional problems, medications, or illnesses. Recurring nightmares may be a sign of a problem and special help may be needed. Regardless of how scary a nightmare is, it is not real and most likely will not happen in real life.

A: Stage 1
B: Stage 2
C: Stage 3
D: Stage 4

A: 1 to 3
B: 4 to 6
C: 7 to 9
D: Unknown

A: There is not one single reason for the reasons a person may dream each night.
B: Dreams have special meanings for everyone.
C: A dream is the body's way to get ready for the next day.
D: Dreams are useless and cause problems for people who need sleep.

A: Nightmare
C: Recurring
D: Stage 3

A: Cause them to feel scared
B: Bring happiness
C: Cause anxiety
D: All the above

A: Nightmare
B: Recurring
D: Stage 4

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