Top 9 Interesting Facts About Dreams
All of us do it every single night; it’s so common that most people don’t give it a lot of thought. However, there are several fascinating facts about our nightly trips to other worlds via our minds that you should know. From strangers assuming starring roles to controlling how our stories play out, here are 9 amazing facts about dreams:
1. REM Sleep :
Most of us have heard about this stage in the sleep cycle, but do you know what it is or how your mind works throughout it? REM, or “rapid eye movement,” sleep is different than the other phases your body experiences during those long hours of the night; it is the phase connected to dreaming.
As you probably realized from its name, while a person is experiencing REM sleep, their eyes move quickly beneath their lids. Although, as opposed to common belief, the eyes move slower than they do when someone is awake. But, where are they looking? Nobody knows.
There are hypotheses that the eyes move according to what a person sees in their dream, but this hasn’t been proven; it could just be a result of the brain processing procedural memory, which is the portion of long-term memory that helps people retain the information they need to perform specific tasks. However, both options are only theories at this point.
But, during REM sleep, the eyes are the only things moving… for most people anyway. The muscles relax entirely causing the body to become basically paralyzed, with reflexes and small spasms occurring every once in a while.Don’t let this eerie information keep you up though! If you miss out on REM sleep, you could experience some negative effects, like having trouble doing things the next day.
2. Familiar Faces :
Who is that handsome man on the beach you were just dreaming about? Who is that evil witch you just encountered on your dream trip to the Land of Oz? Well, hold on to your seat because this crazy fact might surprise you! It is a common notion that people are unable to invent new faces in their dreams, which means that, believe it or not, you’ve actually seen all of the people who pop into your mind while you’re asleep.
I bet you thought the guy that bagged your groceries didn’t leave an impression, or there was no way you’d remember the woman you saw walking her dog down the street. Well, maybe you don’t actively recall seeing people like this on a daily basis, but they do tend to work themselves into your subconscious and make appearances in your dreams. This might make you feel a bit like a stalker, but don’t! Everyone does it.
3. Can’t Read :
Although most of us wouldn’t want to dream about reading lengthy novels, even if you did want to, you couldn’t. There are many reports of people trying to read in their dreams, probably not books, but signs, maps, notes, etcetera; these items you attempt to read are often hazy and illegible.
This is because the side of our brain that deals with the rational world is turned off in our sleep, which not only allows us to believe that we are, indeed, flying through space with a spider-monkey but also prevents us from interpreting anything to do with language.
Although many people would combat this statement, when asked to think hard about the previous night’s dreams, they’ll probably realize that they didn’t read anything; sheets of paper may have been empty or scribbled with random markings, and signs might have had blurry nonsensical symbols.
Scientists have stated that it’s even impossible to read clocks, and talking proves hopeless in dreams as well; instead, people have noted that communication within their dreams is similar to telepathy.
4. Learning :
We already discussed that dreaming is essential to being able to function properly the next day since people’s procedural memory processes during REM sleep. So, it makes sense that it is also an important part of learning. When someone dreams about a something they’ve been studying, it helps them improve their abilities and makes problem-solving easier.
A study done at Harvard proved this theory to be true. A group of students received sixty minutes to inspect a complicated puzzle. Then, half of them took a nap while the others hung out and unwound for a while. After going back to the puzzle, those who dreamt about the problem at hand were much more successful at solving it.
Other studies demonstrated that even a short nap is quite helpful when it comes to memorization and performance. So, if you’ve been staying awake for hours on end, cramming for those midterms or finals, try your best to get some sleep before the tests because you’ll be more likely to receive a higher grade.
5. Anxiety :
This fact is a type of dream in itself. Anxiety dreams occur during REM sleep, as most others do, but, they have specific characteristics. People have reported feeling stressed, uneasy, and fearful while they’re waking up. Have you ever had a dream in which you show up for a test at school that you didn’t study for? Have you dreamt that you walked naked into a store?
These are things that many anxiety dreams revolve around. Others themes include being chased, embarrassed, or falling. It’s unfortunate, but most people experience these types of dreams during their lives.
6. Sleep walking :
This is perhaps the spookiest thing that some people experience while in a dream state. Also called “noctambulism” or “somnambulism,” sleepwalking is really weird and potentially harmful. It is considered to be a sleeping disorder, and luckily, is a rare occurrence that most people don’t have to deal with.
Sleepwalking is a state of being asleep and somewhat awake at the same time. If you think about all of the strange dreams you’ve had, I’m sure you can see why this might be a problem; imagine acting some of those kooky thoughts out. Although most of the time people with this disorder do things that won’t put them in too much danger, like walking into another room, simply sitting up, or opening doors, there are some instances where these late-night activities could get them into serious trouble.
There are reports of people attacking others, operating vehicles, and using the stove. In 1999, a man named Scott Falater was found guilty of taking his wife’s life, which he claimed to have done during a bout of sleepwalking that lasted for nearly an hour; however, there was no way to prove this to the jury.
There have also been cases of people doing amazing things while sleepwalking. Lee Hadwin is one of those people; he is a talented artist that draws and paints in his sleep. He doesn’t remember what he has done after he wakes up, but the results are astonishing. His pieces include portraits, landscapes, detailed patterns, and various otherworldly creatures. Hadwin said that he began this odd behavior at just four years old when he would draw on his bedrooms walls while sleepwalking. His artwork became more intricate as he got older; Donald Trump even owns one of his paintings.
7. Lucid Dreaming :
Many of us have probably experienced this at some point during our lives. A lucid dream is one in which the person who is asleep is cognizant of the fact that they are dreaming. There are numerous recordings of this throughout history, including one from Ancient Greece; the philosopher Aristotle wrote about feeling consciousness while dreaming.
Another instance where lucid dreaming was documented took place in the 1600s when Sir Thomas Browne discussed it in his book Religio Medici. In the early 1900s, Frederik van Eeden created the term “lucid dream,” which appeared in his essay “A Study of Dreams” and was published in the 1913 book Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research.
During these episodes of awareness, dreamers are able to control various aspects of their dreams. Most of the time lucid dreaming will happen randomly, but there are ways to intentionally cause it to occur more often. The first step to accomplishing this is trying to remember your dreams on a regular basis; maintain a dream journal, in which you detail your dreams immediately upon waking.
The second step is to make sure you’re experiencing real life while you’re awake; try to read signs or attempt telekinesis to determine whether or not you’re in dream-land. The last step is to try changing something within your dream once you’ve realized you’re asleep. With consistent practice, you’ll be lucid dreaming in no time! Try flying or floating through space, anything is possible in this dream state.
8. Sleep Paralysis:
Another frightening thing that might occur while you’re close to dreaming is sleep paralysis. This usually happens when someone is entering sleep or as they are waking up, and can result in pure fear. A person experiencing sleep paralysis is aware of their surroundings, but they can’t talk or move.
They will also often see hallucinations, most of which don’t look very friendly, like in Henry Fuseli’s (FUSALI) painting The Nightmare. Sleep paralysis can happen rarely or occur often and varies from person to person. There are numerous things that can cause this, including genetics, not getting enough sleep, irregular sleep cycles, stress, and narcolepsy.
There haven’t been very many studies regarding treatment for sleep paralysis, as many people experience it, and it usually doesn’t harm them. Although it doesn’t cause physical damage, people are often terrified due to the things they see and hear during an episode. These illusions can include hearing voices, feeling like something has a hold on you, or seeing horrifying creatures closing in around you.
Whatever the case, it’s safe to say that sleep paralysis isn’t fun for anyone.
9. Astral Projection :
This one is going to sound kind of insane, but there are people who have practiced this throughout history. Astral projection is when a person has an out-of-body experience, meaning that their soul detaches from their physical body and is able to travel through space. This practice is something numerous cultures believe in.
In the bible, a so-called “silver cord” is considered to be the string that attaches someone’s soul to their body, giving them life. The Ancient Egyptians believed in an individual’s “ka,” or spiritual form, as well as their “khat,” or tangible form, and thought that the two could separate, allowing the ka to linger outside of the khat. Early Buddhists believed in astral projection as well; it was a stage that followers reached as they became more spiritually aware.
The Swedish philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg notably practiced astral projection and recorded his experiences in a diary in the mid-1700s. People who believe that soul travel is possible, say that it can be done while asleep or at will. However, even though it has been a topic of discussion throughout centuries and many religions consider it to be fact, there is no scientific proof that astral projection is achievable.
Alternate universes are conceivable according to various research, but most scientists believe that the detachment of one’s soul is utter nonsense; it is written off by most as imagination, dreaming, hallucination, and experiences that were self-inflicted due to substance use. In fact, the entire concept of a soul is debatable. However, if this is possible, it’s surprising that practitioners of astral projection would ever want to wake up.
Why would they when they could spend their time traveling through space without restraint? Well, maybe to eat.