Dreams can be mysterious, but understanding the meaning of our dreams can be downright baffling. The content of our dreams can shift suddenly, feature bizarre elements or frighten us with terrifying imagery.
1. The man who lived without dreaming
A ricochet that hit Yuval’s head at war confused sleep doctor all over the world. Up until 1982 it was clear for everyone – you cannot live without sleeping and dreaming. Researchers conducted on rats and cats, where the dream stage was deprived of them, killed them within a few weeks. These researches left no doubt amongst the doctors, the dream stage is extremely important for life continuation. But from the moment Yuval was injured and until these days – his sleep does not have any dreams. He was checked by professors and it seemed the ricochet hit a part of his brain stem called ‘Pons’ which is responsible for the REM (dreaming) stage. They figured that without dreaming he will develop severe memory problems – but up until today Yuval is a successful lawyer, a painter and live a full happy life even without dreams.
2. Dreams in the womb
The importance of a dream can be seen at infancy. Babies spend 70% of the day sleeping and 50% of that time dreaming. Considering their first years are dedicated to accelerated development of learning and studying, It seems dreaming has an important role in brain development.
3. 90 minutes of dreaming
We spend about a third of our life time sleeping. Every night there would be approximately 5 dreams, concluding in one and a half hours.
4. Awake while dreaming
The paradoxical part of dreaming, also called REM is pretty weird. While in most of the sleeping parts it seems the body is slowing down, resting and slowing down brain waves, while dreaming the brain waves function almost as much as while being awake! The pulse and breathing accelerate while the body’s muscles stay paralyzed.
5. Chaotic world with no sense
Unlike everyday thinking, the dream doesn’t have any logic: It can be in one place at one moment and all of a sudden on the moon seeing the face of someone else.
Who needs this chaos? One of the main claims on the subject is that we need that to re-organize our memory. While dreaming the brain “puts everything on the table” and organize it all. Researches show that people with sleep deprivation has worse brain function and memory compared to those who sleep and dream.
6. Falling and floating
You’ve probably had a dream where you float or fly. Researches show that this phenomenon happens with all cultures races and genders. This is one of the most common dreams, but apparently has no specific important symbolism. Dreaming about floating or flying probably has to do with the psychological change the body goes when going into the dream stage, from tensed muscles while awake to relaxation of the body while having sleep paralysis (dreaming).
7. Mapped brain
The development of the new MRI scanning device managed to bring us to a breakthrough on understanding what is going on in the brain while dreaming. We could monitor blood flow in certain parts of the brain, this way the researchers managed to see that the working parts while dreaming are the Hippocampus that has to do with memory and the Amygdala that has to do with emotions and the bridge in the brain stem.
8. Past and present all mixed up
Although we were successful in mapping the brain while dreaming, there are still many questions to be asked about this complicated mechanism. Apparently the dream takes information from the memory bank that are found on timeline and pastes them in a weird sequence. Dream elements will be taken from the same day, a week before or even 10 days before. This means that if you meet a person in NY – you might dream about him only after 10 days, in a different set and timeline.
9. Most common dreams:
•Failure in a school test, high school or even university
•Appearing nude in public
•Flying an airplane or crashing
•Paralysis or movement blockage – like trying to run away from someone or something
•Kidnapped by people, animals or creatures
•Violence on yourself or others
•Being abandoned or humiliated
•Missing a bus, a train or an airplane
•Finding hidden rooms in a building
•Finding or losing money
•People from your past or present
•Pregnancy and childbirth
•Meeting with unfamiliar people and unfamiliar situations