According to scientists, everybody dreams. Not everybody remembers their dreams but, when asleep, some of our subconscious thoughts break free and fill our head with activities we otherwise would not imagine.
There has been a lot of research into dreams tackling such questions as why we dream and how. Some dreams last for a few seconds and some are much longer, even as long as 20 minutes.
Sleep is divided into various stages and the REM or rapid eye movement stage is seen as the best time or stage for dreaming. That’s when the dream is the most vivid or memorable.
There are many definitions of a dream and include such things as:
- Thinking thoughts or having ideas when you are asleep
- To experience an imaginary state of being
- To go back in time while living in the present
What do dreams mean?
Translating or understanding the meaning of a dream can be a complex business. There are so many aspects to the art of deciphering a dream. To reinforce this point, what would a dream about deciphering a dream mean? Dreams can work on different levels.
Even though dreams have been studied for centuries, there still remains an air of mystery about the subject. Today it is generally agreed by practitioners of reading dreams that the study can be of great benefit to the dreamers. One specific point agreed by all concerned is that every person and thus every dream is unique. What each dream means and how it can relate to the life of the dreamer is a one-off.
Sigmund Freud was a prominent analyst who gave great weight to the importance of dreams. He believed they were a window to the soul. He believed that dreams reveal a person’s innermost and often hidden thoughts and emotions.
We dream about the future and the past. We dream about death and life. We dream about money, sex, failure and success. But whatever the topic, the length or frequency of the dream, the important question remains; what does it mean?
This is where interpretation comes in. Every analyst will approach the subject from their own point of view. They will certainly want to know about a number of dreams over a period of time usually months. They will certainly want to know the details of the client’s life be it family, business, hobby, etc. From both the knowledge of the dreams and the personal details, an interpretation is provided.
Despite the differences of opinion held by people, everyone or almost everyone agrees on certain facts about dreams.
- We all dream
- We forget most of what we dream – some say up to 90%
- Dreams are symbolic and rarely literal
- People who are blind can dream
- We can have many dreams in the one period of sleep
- Studies show that even animals dream
- Men and women do not dream the same way – men dream more about other men while women tend to dream equally about men and women
- REM or rapid eye movement sleep lasts about 90 minutes per sleep session. This is the time when most dreams take place
- · The study of dreams is known as oneirology
- Many writers including William Shakespeare used dreams in their work to help tell the story
- A nightmare is a specific type of dream usually associated with fear and horror
- · The book The Interpretation of Dreams became almost as popular as the bible
- · The bible mentions people having dreams
- The best people at remembering dreams are pregnant women supposedly because of hormonal changes at that time of their life
- People using nicotine patches to help them stop smoking are often said to have vivid dreams
- Heavy smokers who stop cold turkey often report vivid dreams
- Children have shorter dreams than their parents and almost half of kids’ dreams are scary or nightmarish
- Some dreams are literal. Abraham Lincoln dreamed of his death shortly before he was assassinated
- The people who have the most vivid recall of their dream are those who wake up immediately the dream has ended
Psychics and dreams
Many psychics believe dreams can help. They say that if you are able to remember most of your dreams you are in a good position to predict or control your future. Dreams are said to enable the dreamer to see things which may occur months or even years in the future.
As with all unproven things such claims are open to criticism. But because we all dream and because many of our dreams are real and interesting, there will always be a thirst for the meaning, the truth behind the material of which we dream.