Follow Your Dreams - Oh Wait, I Can’t Remember Them
Dreaming is a complicated topic.
Since dreaming is an unconscious activity, it is hard for scientists to research and learn much about it. There are some facts that researchers have been able to discover, but there are still many unknowns.
Let's start with the basics, "what is dreaming, and why do we dream?" A dream is a series of images, emotions, ideas, and sensations that occur while sleeping. Now, why do we have dreams at night while we are sleeping? Well, who wants to see nothing all night while they sleep, am I right? I'm just kidding. This is where the topic of dreaming gets a bit confusing. Many researchers have conflicting ideas on why we dream. Some researchers believe that dreams have a meaning to them. Others say that dreaming has nothing to do with anything but the sleep cycle. There are many unanswered questions as to why we dream. Do our dreams show what we want most in life, or are they happy memories that our brain is replaying?
The answer to these questions is still unknown, but here are some interesting facts about sleeping.
When you go to bed at night, your body goes through the five different stages of sleep. In each one of these stages, your brain goes through unique activities. In the first stage of sleep, your body is in light sleep. This stage occurs when you first fall asleep and takes up less than 5% of your total sleep. After your body goes through stage 1, then it is on to stage 2. The second stage is roughly 45-55 percent of your total sleep, which makes it the longest. In this stage, there is no more eye movement, and your brain movement slows down. Next, stage 3 is less than 6% of your total sleep. In this stage, your brain movement is even slower. Stage 4 is the last stage of non-REM activity. This stage makes up less than 15% of total sleep. While asleep during this stage and stage 3, your body is in its deepest sleep, and there is no movement. Lastly, there is stage 5. In stage 5, you experience dreams. Your brain goes through the rapid eye movement (REM) stage. Your body goes through a "paralysis" of sorts, where, if you wake up during this stage, you may not immediately be able to feel your limbs. Researchers have found that there are studies that connect REM sleep to dreams.
Who knew that dreams were so complicated? Now, let’s get into a not so fun topic.
Nightmares. Oh yes, don't we all love those scary dreams that keep us up all night or, in severe cases, multiple nights. You may or may not already know this, but nightmares can occur for both adults and children. You may be thinking, "Okay, we just learned about what dreams are and why we get them, so what are nightmares?" A nightmare is an unsettling dream that causes mixed feelings. These dreams may cause individuals to feel scared, nervous, or anxious. Daily factors such as anxiety, fear, stress, traumatic experiences, and more can cause nightmares.
Finally, the last topic we need to discuss is why we don’t remember our dreams when we wake up.
As you have probably realized by reading the majority of this blog, our minds are an interesting place. When we go to sleep, our brains are still active. This activity can include anything from dreaming to having nightmares. But, when we wake up, we typically forget our dreams. I find it amusing how we will remember the weirdest things from years ago, yet we can’t remember a simple dream from the night before.
I don't know about you, but I have some crazy dreams I want to share. If you're like me and have some dreams of your own that you want to share, share them! Don't forget to tag @svenandson and use the hashtag #countingsheep.
|Sarah is the resident fall marketing intern at Sven & Son. When she isn’t becoming a master of all things sleep-related, she enjoys staying active and traveling. Sarah one day hopes to visit every place on her bucket list, which is a VERY long list!
Source: Nichols, H. (June 28, 2018). What Does it Mean When We Dream? Medical News Today. Retrieved from: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/284378#what-are-dreams