18 Facts About Dreams

1. Our brains create dreams through random electrical activity. About every 90 minutes, the brain stem sends electrical impulses and the analytic portion of the brain tries to make sense of these signals.

2. Some dreams are meaningful as they give us insight into ourselves. Dreams help us connect to our unconscious mind and make sense of our wishes and fears. Dreams help us make sense of our past, present and future by getting us in tune with our emotions.

3. Even though we can dream at any time of our sleep, we are most likely to dream during REM sleep.

4. We can sometimes control our dream through what is called ‘lucid dreaming.’ Some people can train themselves to do this such as keeping a journal of their dreams and mind training.

5. Some researchers believe that lucid dream helps us cope with grief and developing creativity.

6. Despite how attractive it might be to learn to lucid dream, lucid dream can cause sleep paralysis. Sleep paralysis is when you are awake, but your body is still not able to move. Sleep paralysis is sometimes developed from trying to lucid dream because we are playing on the edge between wakefulness and dreaming.

7. Lucid dreaming is not the same as out of body experience (OBE). In lucid dreaming, one is dreaming and is aware that one is in a dream. But in OBE, the person may not necessarily be dreaming. Furthermore, OBE is when you are outside your body and you can see your body lying somewhere (lucid dreaming isn’t about being outside your body).

8. As mention earlier, most of our dreams occur during deep sleep. This is often during the REM stage of sleep, where our brain most resemble wakefulness.

9. During our dreams, information from the day are being transferred from short to long term memory.

10. Keeping a dream journal, trying to remember a dream when you wake up, picturing yourself back in the dream can help you develop lucid dreaming. The key is to pay attention to what you dream about and to see patterns in your dream so next time you can control them.

11. It is not yet clear what happens in the brain during lucid dreaming. Some experts speculate that the lateral prefrontal cortex, part of the brain that deals with logic, may be responsible.

12. Most of our vivid dreams occur when we’re about to wake up.

13. About 1 in 20 people suffer from frequent or chronic nightmares, defined as at least once a week.

14. Did you know that having low income can cause nightmares? Unemployment, stress, eating before you go to sleep, lack of sleep and genetics can all contribute to developing nightmares.

15. Nightmares can have health consequences such as insomnia, fatigue, headaches, depression and anxiety.

16. Daydreaming is actually good for us as it improves creativity.

17. Daydreaming can increase social and emotional intelligence. Through dreams we can release troublesome emotions safely. And in our imagination we can rehearse social interactions, leading to greater intimacy and more mature relationships.

18. According to some studies, people who have vivid, violent dreams due to an REM sleep disorder—compelling them to talk, punch, kick, scream and even jump out of bed—could have an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s. This highly active dreaming can appear up to eight years before the onset of other symptoms of Parkinson’s, giving researchers a chance to help patients before the disease becomes too severe.

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