If you love stories and like to create your own beautiful story, just dig into your dreams! You will get an amazing number of stories. Did you know that you can have a minimum of 4 to 6 dreams, every night when you go to sleep? And, that makes it roughly about 1,460 dreams a year! Humans spend about 25 years sleeping. So, you can imagine the number of dreams that you can dream in your sleep, in an entire lifetime! Astonishing, right?
So, what exactly are dreams?
In simple words, dreams are stories and images that are created in your brain when you are asleep. Your brain is one of the most complex things that you use every day and every night. Yes! You read it right. The brain never stops to function. Every day and every night it processes information and does things faster than the speed of a Formula One racing car!
Dreams are still mystical. There are times when you seem to remember your dreams very clearly and then at times, you simply do not remember a single thing.
When you sleep at night, without your knowledge, your brain undergoes 5 different sleep stages. It is during the deep, rapid eye movement sleep (REM sleep) that you get to dream about absolutely anything. If you have been thinking about your vacation during the day, you can dream about it. Or you can even have a dream where you are chased by books! (If your exams are around the corner and you have been thinking a lot about them!)
So, when you are in a deep state of sleep, your brain is busy doing its job. It goes through all the things that happened during the day and it sorts out what is important and what is not. You meet many friends; you see many things every day. Your brain processes all this information and makes your memories stronger.
Scientists also believe that dreaming helps you understand and express things that you have been thinking about lately. And when it comes to emotions, it is a battleground out there in your dreams. When you are stressed out about your exams during the day, you can dream about math and science fighting with each other in your dreams. Or, when you have had a fight with your friend, you may be saying sorry to him in your dream!!
You will be surprised to know that in your REM sleep, your body functions almost in the same way that it does when it is awake. Except for the fact that you are sleeping, your brain activity increases, the heart beats faster and breathing is shallow. Another amazing thing is that your body seems to be in a state of paralysis in the REM sleep stage. This is for your safety.
Just imagine! If your brain is active and you are asleep and dreaming that you are running, you will actually start running in your sleep, if the rest of your body is not paralysed.
That said, dreams have resulted in some great innovations in the society. Some major creative and scientific discoveries have been made, like the discovery of the structure of the atom, structure of benzene and the sewing machine, to name a few.
But, why do we dream?
This is one question which still baffles researchers and scientists. But, there are many theories that exist to explain this question. We dream because dreaming –
- Helps us to process emotions
- Incorporates and links memories
- Helps in solving problems and decision making
- Represents our unconscious desires and wishes
- Is a component and form of memory processing.
Even though researchers are still trying to decode the question of “Why do we dream”, there is sufficient evidence that shows that dreams are important for our health and well-being.
Are all dreams nice and sweet?
They are not. We do get bad dreams or nightmares, as they are sometimes called.
Nightmares or bad dreams
“You are lost in the jungle, far away from your family. You are being chased and you cannot escape. Someone is just behind you trying to harm you. Your family is right there, but cannot see that you are in danger.”
And then you wake up! The thing that you remember very clearly is the lingering fear and the feeling of helplessness. You have just experienced a bad dream or a nightmare.
Quite common in children, nightmares are also seen in adults. Nightmares happen because of an unknown fear, stress, conflict, trauma and emotional problems.
A few interesting facts about dreams
- Not all dreams appear in colour. You can get dreams in black and white!
- Dreams with negative emotions are more common than positive emotions.
- Did you know that you can control your dreams? As astonishing as it may sound, in a lucid dream, you are dreaming in your dream and you can control what is happening inside your dream. Lucid dreams occur because some parts of the brain that are supposed to be inactive during sleep become hyperactive.
So, what are you waiting for? Dream big and make your own discoveries! We probably might get the best story made into a film, just like James Cameron did, when he made the movie “Terminator”.