The Mysteries Behind Dreaming

Everyone dreams. Some people may not remember their dreams, but they do dream. According to dream studies, we usually have multiple dreams each night. No one knows for sure why we dream or exactly what our dreams mean. It may be that dreaming helps the brain process and organize information and memories.

After we enter our seasoned years, memories of the past increasingly fill our dreams. In fact, research suggests that many people in their later years have more dreams about their earlier life than any other age group.

Here are a few interesting things you may not know about dreams and some tips for remembering your dreams.

A few interesting facts about dreams…

  • The brain is awake while we dream. Some areas of the brain are just as active while we’re dreaming as they are when we’re awake.

  • There are certain types of dreams we all experience.  Although our dreams may not mirror each other exactly, there are dream themes that are familiar to almost everyone. Common themes include falling, being unable to move, being late for something important, and reliving our school days. Most folks have had dreams about the fear of not graduating.

  • Animals dream. When you watch your dog sleep and see his feet moving or his ears twitching, he is probably dreaming. Research suggests that animals go through the same sleep stages as humans and so do indeed dream. In one study, a gorilla that had been taught human sign language actually signed while asleep and dreaming.

  • Dreams are mostly visual. Although dreams can involve sounds, taste, and smell, the majority tell their story in pictures.

  • Dreams may help us figure things out. What we see, hear, and experience in a dream may seem far from realistic, but the emotions attached to whatever is going on in the dream are often very real. Some researchers believe dreams reflect our thoughts and emotions and are actually a continuation of our minds working on an issue we are dealing with in life.

Tips for Remembering Dreams

A lot of us have trouble remembering our dreams. Unless we wake up during a dream, the dream is often lost. However, there are a few things we can do to get better at remembering dreams.

  • Be proactive. Before falling asleep each night, consciously remind yourself that you want to remember your dreams.

  • Keep a bedside dream journal. Make sure it is by your bed whenever you sleep so you can write about your dreams before the memories and images have a chance to fade and disappear. Don’t wait for morning. Even dreams that seem so vivid that you are sure you’ll remember them can quickly slip away.

  • Wake up on your own, whenever possible. If you wake up to an alarm, the sound can be like a jolt to the brain and cause you to lose all recollection of even the most intense dream. Waking naturally is less jarring.

  • Take your time. If you wake up in the morning with no memory of dreaming, try staying in bed, closing your eyes, and quieting your mind. Dream images may unfold for you.

  • Use the power of suggestion. Come up with a mantra like “I remember my dreams” or “I do not forget my dreams.” Repeat it with conviction every now and then during the day. You may also want to write the mantra down a few times.

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