Dream Facts

Updated on May 5, 2019
Pamela99 profile image

I spent 22 years in the nursing profession. I enjoy writing, reading historical novels, gardening, and helping people live a healthier life.

Dreams

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What is a Dream?

The Webster Dictionary gives this definition of a dreams:

  1. a series of thoughts, images, or emotions occurring during sleep
  2. an experience of waking life having the characteristics of a dream

Oneirology is the scientific word for dream studies. A dream consists of ideas, images, memories, sensations and emotions that occur usually during REM sleep, which s when rapid eye movement occurs. Dreams are involuntary, and your voluntary muscles are typically paralyzed (REM atonia), so you cannot act out the dream. It is typical to have numerous dreams per night of sleep, but most tend to occur in the earlier part of sleep. Dreams last anywhere from a few seconds up to 20-30 minutes.

Most dreams are not remembered the next day unless you are awakened during the dream. While it is surmised that most people dream, there is a small percentage of people that claim they have never remembered a dream. Others keep a journal by their bed to record dreams, as they are looking for clues to their inner lives, possibly premonitions or maybe for creative insight.

Is Dreaming Understood by Scientists?

Scientist do not fully understand the purpose of dreams. Dreams have been of interest to the scientific, the philosophical and religious communities throughout recorded history. Numerous dream interpretations have attempted to draw some meaning of dreams, as they are always searching for that underlying message.

Why do we Dream?

History of Dream Research

Ancient Egyptians believed dreaming was a way to communicate with the gods and that dreams revealed prophecies. Sigmund Freud in the early 1900s developed the “Freudian theory of dreams.” He believed that dreams revealed insight into the emotions and hidden desires, as they were a product of the unconscious mind. He used dream interpretations as a psychoanalytic treatment for patients.

Freud’s theories eventually became the theory for the Oedipus complex. The Oedipus is a complex psychoanalytic theory stating “a desire for sexual involvement with the parent of the opposite sex and a concomitant sense of rivalry with the parent of the same sex; a crucial stage in the normal developmental process.”

Calvin S. Hall, Jr. is also known for work at Case Western Reserve and many other universities in the 1940s. He collected over 50,000 dreams before his death. His conclusions revealed that people around the world had very similar type dreams, excluding cultural differences. He developed a quantitative coding system that divided dreams into specific settings that included characters, emotions, settings and several other categories. His work with numerous people that kept dream journals revealed a consistency in dream content over their lifetime.

Dream of a Child

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Normal Dreams Reported

Dreams tend to involve people you know or a familiar location, but they may take on a fantastical feel. Dreams are not always positive, in fact some are frightening. Deams may also be exciting, magical, adventurous, melancholic or sexual.

All that we see or seem/Is but a dream within a dream.

--Edgar Allan Poe

Nightmares and Lucid Dreams

Lucid dreams occur when an individual is dreaming, yet able to control the some events in their dream. This means that during REM sleep you also have some component of consciousness. Being self-aware in a dream will let you be superman or super-woman, and virtually anything you choose. When I was a child I dreamed I could fly very frequently with the ability to stop in midair. I really do not know if it was a lucid dream, but I loved it. It is possible to learn to do lucid dreaming.

Nightmares are disturbing and cause negative feelings. PTSD patients or domestically abused individuals often have numerous nightmares, yet just watching a horror movie may result in a nightmare. Nightmares may begin between 3 to 6 years of age and be gone by age 10.

The characteristics of nightmares include:

  1. The dreams are vivid and seem real with the dream being more upsetting as the dream progresses.
  2. The storyline of the dream is typically related to safety and/or survival.
  3. The nightmare awakens you.
  4. You will feel anxious, upset, scared, sad, angry or disgusted due to the dream.
  5. You may feel sweaty or have a pounding heartbeat while lying in bed.
  6. You will think clearly when you awaken and will be able to recall details of the dream.
  7. The dream causes such distress you will probably not fall back to sleep easily.

How to Lucid Dream for Beginners

Unusual Dream Facts

Each person’s dreams are unique to them, and there are many unusual facts concerning dreams.

Some of the unusual facts about dreams include:

  1. A few people have reported they have some dreams that are not in color.
  2. When people were awakened during sleep and asked to pick colors seen in their dreams, most pick soft pastel colors.
  3. Anxiety and negative feelings are the most common emotions experienced in dreams.
  4. People that have been blind since birth experience visual imagery during sleep, but have less time in REM sleep then sighted people.
  5. Brain scans of sleeping people has revealed that the frontal lobe of the brain is inactive, which explains why dreams are difficult to remember shortly after rising.
  6. Researchers believe animals dream.
  7. Across all cultures common dreams include being chased, attached or falling.

Dreamcatcher

Source

Dreams of Men and Women Differ

Numerous studies have revealed men tend to dream about weapons and women dream of references to clothing. Men’s dreams are more aggressive and physically active, while women tend to dream slightly longer than men their dreams contain more exclusion, conversation and rejection.

The dreams of women have more characters. Another interesting feature is men tend to dream of other men twice as often as they dream of women. Women dream about both sexes equally.

In Conclusion

There is evidence in the oldest writing discovered that people wanted to know the meaning of dreams. Here we are centuries later, and we do not have the answer to that question. Dreams could be some psychotherapy for us. We forget 95% of dreams within a few minutes of arising. Perhaps dreams are a way of dealing with problems and stress in our lives. Of course, no one know for sure.

Dream Questions

Do You Dream at Night?

See results

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Pamela Oglesby

    Comments

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    • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Oglesby 

      8 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

      Hi Maria, Receiving Gestalt training must have been great. I appreciate your comments as always Maria. Love, Pam

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 

      8 weeks ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Dear Pam,

      I have always found dreams and the process of dreaming to be fascinating.

      I learned in Gestalt training how dreams can be used as a mechanism for healing trauma.

      Excellent information here - thanks for this! Love, Maria

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      2 months ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Noted, please.

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      2 months ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      I am noting things well.

    • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Oglesby 

      2 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Hi Linda, Dreams can be strange or they may make perfect sense. I am glad you enjoyed the article, and your comments are much appreciated.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      2 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Dreams are a very intriguing part of life. I'd love to know what my dog dreams about! Thank you for sharing the interesting information, Pamela.

    • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Oglesby 

      2 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Hi Ms. Dora, I think it makes sense to know that events in your life inI appreciate your comments.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      2 months ago from The Caribbean

      Very interesting. Remember the lucid dreams. Either I don't have them or I don't remember them anymore. Thanks for these explanations. I do believe that dreams have significance concerning what's happening in our lives.

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      2 months ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      With this, one can take an inventory of one's life, to look for related events. This can even reveal that the dream is either a day dreaming that now manifests at night during sleep. One can later dismissed such dreams.

    • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Oglesby 

      2 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Hi Yves, I think dreams might be a gift also You may remember some dreams that occur closer to your wakeup time, so you may want to writ them down just to see if there is a pattern Dreams are fascinating in my mind, and I have had some that I thought were not finished also. I appreciate your experience and your comments.

    • savvydating profile image

      Yves 

      2 months ago

      Pam....I am surprised to learn that most dreams occur in the early part of the night. Maybe this is because I am still asleep and relaxed early on in the night, whereas in the morning, I may be dreaming, but I have to get up out of bed to get ready for work, thus interrupting my dream. So, in my mind, it is those dreams, half finished, I wish to remember, in the event they have something important to say.

      In any event, dreams are fascinating things; I am glad we have them. I believe dreams are a gift, no matter when they come to us.

    • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Oglesby 

      2 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Many people have dreams that are related to things that happen in their lives, even though they may not be that significant. Thanks you for your comments.

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      2 months ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Hey, Pamela, these dreams are really significant in real life. But let's forget about the interpretations as these are no longer have meaning. Thank you.

    • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Oglesby 

      2 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Hi Penny, Children do have some strange dreams. I had a really bad dream at that age where a witch was going to make me sit on this hot pot that was over a fire. I woke up really scared, but thank goodness it only happened once.

      I appreciate your comments Penny.

    • Penny Sebring profile image

      Penny Leigh Sebring 

      2 months ago from Fort Collins

      I had a strange reoccurring dream when I was around 5-6 where a rhinoceros would appear from behind the washing machine and chase me through the house. Never did figure that one out!

    • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Oglesby 

      2 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Hi Shauna, You could keep a dream journal since you remember your dreams for a short while after you awake. I don't know if your dreams will begin to make sense, but it can't hurt to try.

      I think dreaming about an ex getting in the way may reflect back to feelings in the marriage. I am not sure why cleaning the kitchen is in the dream since you hate cleaning. LOL

      I am glad you shared your dream experiences. Thank you for your comments.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      2 months ago from Central Florida

      I dream most every night. Well, I guess I dream every night, but I remember most of them the next morning.

      For a while, not too long ago, most of my dreams included men in my life who are no longer alive (but they were in my dreams). Not sure what that was about.

      Last night a had a weird dream. I was cleaning the kitchen and my ex-husband kept getting in the way. The kitchen looked nothing like mine. It was sparse and ugly. Why my ex was in the dream is beyond me. And I hate cleaning house!

      Funny how the mind works when we're not looking, huh?

    • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Oglesby 

      2 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Hi Pop, I think many of us have recurring dreams, but remembering many dreams is unusual. Statistically, they say you forget 95% of your dreams shortly after you get out of bed. You are unique!

      Thanks for sharing your experience Pop!

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 

      2 months ago

      I always remember my dreams. Some themes are recurring, such as me losing my bag with all my important info. I also get lost when I'm driving over and over again. I have so many recurring themes, they are too numerous to count!

    • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Oglesby 

      2 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Hi Linda, I think many of us have recurring dreams, and I have said, "where in the world did that come from" too. I have also seen dogs and cats dreaming. I don't know if large animals dream.

      I appreciate your sweet comments so much dear friend.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      2 months ago from Washington State, USA

      I rarely remember my dreams, but when I do I find myself wondering "where in the world did THAT come from!?" Often, I have recurring dreams--the same thing (or close to it) again and again.

      I'm sure that animals dream--at least dogs and cats do. I've seen those little paws and legs move like they are running. I just hope that my kitty's dreams are always happy ones.

      Thanks for another educational article. I always learn something from you. Well done, dear friend.

    • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Oglesby 

      2 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Hi Bill, I certainly appreciate your comments. I actually learn a lot while writing them too, as I start out knowing a little, then comes the research. Thanks Bill.

    • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Oglesby 

      2 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Hi Lorna, I would think a stressful day could elicit move vivid dreams. I appreciate your comments.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I always look forward to your posts because i always learn interesting facts. The education continues under Pamela's teaching.

    • Lorna Lamon profile image

      Lorna Lamon 

      2 months ago

      Great article Pamela - I find my dreams are more vivid if my day is particularly stressful. It is a fascinating subject - thank you for sharing.

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      2 months ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Hi, Pamela, not at all, please.

    • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Oglesby 

      2 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Hi Miebakagh, Thank you for your comments.

    • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Oglesby 

      2 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Hi Flourish, Talking in your sleep is not unusual. I wonder if you remember the dream you were having since your daughter woke you. I use to remember a dream occasionally but not often anymore. I appreciate you sharing your experience and for making comments.

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      2 months ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Hello, Pamela, dreams are real. The fact is that they depicted realities on the earth and the other unseen world. Thanks for sharing.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      2 months ago from USA

      I fell asleep early last night and was talking very loudly in my dream and my daughter heard me and insisted on waking me. She said I was crazy talking and repeated what she thought I had said but it wasn’t crazy at all. She just misunderstood. I recalled all of it. I don’t usually recall dreams and actually have a shortened REM period. I know others who can recall theirs. That’s not me. Very interesting hub.

    • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Oglesby 

      2 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Hi Ruby, Yes, I knew the Bible spoke of dreaming, and there are some recordings mentioned centuries ago. If I woud have put everything in this article that I read it would have been way too long. I hope you have more pleasant dreams. Thank you so much for your comments

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      2 months ago from Southern Illinois

      This is interesting. I have been dreaming more lately, sometimes they are pleasant dreams and sometimes they are disturbing. The bible speaks of dreaming, so evidently they have been around since the beginning. Informative article. Thank you.

    • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Oglesby 

      2 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Hi Eric, Since all your senses work in your dreams maybe you are some type of lucid dream, which is kind of cool. Thanks for sharing your experience and commenting. Be well my friend.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      2 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      So cool. My biggest problem with dreams is that I wake up and think they are true. Very strange. Vivid by taste, smell, hearing and sight. I am glad that thing clicks in where I do not move on them. Oh my! I just thought it was normal. My oncologist assures me it is not treatment oriented but I wonder. I like them.

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