Get into your head with this look at what causes your dreams what they may be about.
Ever had such a vivid dream that it seemed real? Ever wondered why you can have hundreds of dreamless nights and one night during which the dreams never seem to cease? Ever tried to figure out what all the crazy things that happen in your dreams mean? You’re not alone.
Hold on tight and prepare yourself to get the answers you seek. Well, at least some of them.
Bring on the Dreams
Since human beings have walked on planet Earth, they’ve been intrigued by dreams. And after all these years, very little is known about them. What is known is that the dreams you remember most clearly are those being dreamed when you are awoken during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. REM sleep sets in about an hour and a half after you initially fall asleep, and it is indicated by you batting your eyes rapidly as you rest.
According to experts, you spend approximately two hours each night dreaming, with most dreams not having connection to real life in any way. Surprisingly, a single dream usually takes only a matter of minutes to begin and end, despite feelings that it lasted longer than a feature film. Controlled by two areas in the brain known as pons, dreams are dismissed by the scientific community as not being affected by life before you go to sleep. But not everyone agrees.
Guessing at Meaning
At the same time that scientists are unwilling to peg down any significant meaning to various dreams, others are more than willing to tell interested people what their dreams may mean. Sigmund Freud believed that dreams were the brainchild of your subconscious thoughts and desires, whereas others think they provide direction or revelations, and yet others say they’re nothing but useless drivel.
Some of the most common interpretations of dreams include the following:
- being chased in your dreams indicate that you’re running from something inside yourself, a big decision, or someone
- falling during your dreams is thought to be caused by feelings of anxiety, insecurity, or failure
- dreams in which you fly are a sign that you feel confident (flying with ease) or are struggling to gain control over your life (having difficulty maintaining flight)
- if you’re naked or almost naked in your dream, it’s because you’re hiding something, feeling unprepared for what life is throwing your way, or if you aren’t embarrassed over your dreamy predicament, it may be a signal that you have ultimate control and freedom in your life
- not being able to find someone in a dream due to overwhelming darkness is thought to be a clue that you need to keep a careful watch on your temper
While the National Institutes of Health (NIH) insists that there is no scientific way to determine what a dream may be about, the organization states that nightmares of all shapes and sizes often have the same cause: anxiety and stress.
On top of these typical nightmare triggers, nightmares can also be brought on by consuming excessive amounts of alcohol or suddenly cutting yourself off from alcohol, mourning the death of a loved one, dealing with an illness-induced fever, living with a sleep disorder, or eating food before hitting the hay. Thankfully, nightmares usually lessen in frequency as you age, and they can often be avoided with plenty of exercise, appropriate sleep habits, and by avoiding nightmare triggers.