Human beings spend one-third of our lives asleep and yet dreaming is still a mystery to us. Even experts are not decided on what exactly happens inside our minds when we’re asleep. What is known for sure is that dreams are created because of our memories and our emotions. We dream so that our minds can organize all the files we have stored up there, and then they decide which memories to keep. Our brain picks and chooses what is necessary for us to remember and what we can forget.
Dreams are usually weird because all of our memories, and feelings associated with those memories, are being organized and moved about in our brains, forming their own connections and growing from there. In our sleep, these memories take different shapes, due to our emotions surrounding them, and create thoughts and ideas that we would never imagine in our daily lives. This is because our conscious minds are shut down and our subconscious takes over.
Even though most people find sleeping a waste of time, seeing as though it takes off around 25-30 years off of our lives, there are actually many benefits to dreaming. Paul McCartney has claimed to have heard some of The Beatles’ greatest hits in his dreams before writing them. Kind of makes you want to take a nap, doesn’t it?
10. Déjà Vu
Déjà vu is the feeling of having previously seen or experienced something even though we know it never actually happened before. Déjà vu may make us think we’ve in some way predicted the future, believing that we’ve dreamed about the event or moment we’re currently experiencing. Contrary to popular belief, déjà vu has nothing to do with your dreams. It’s just a false sense of familiarity created in your mind by previously glimpsing certain aspects of the object or situation. Your brain is just tricking you into thinking that you’ve seen it before. It feels like a dream, because dreams and déjà vu are both created by your subconscious and are associated with memory.
9. Feeling Anxious In Your Dreams
Anxiety is the most common emotion to experience while dreaming. It kind of feels like a nightmare but you feel more stressed than scared. These types of dreams could be due to either a childhood trauma that you have experienced in the past to a conflict that you’re dealing with in the present. There is negative and positive effects to having an anxiety dream. It’s important because it allows your ego to relax and reset after being overworked but the anxious feelings may stick with you during the waking hours and cause more stress in your daily life. Figuring out the cause and tackling it head-on can lead to a more peaceful sleep and a less stressful life in general.
8. Sex-Related Dreams
Most people have sex-related dreams and sometimes, the person involved is not our significant other. This doesn’t mean you subconsciously want to cheat, it’s just that you’re attracted to certain qualities in the person. If you’re not with anyone in your real-life, your dream is showing you qualities that you hope the person you end up with will possess. Sex dreams are actually a great way of figuring out what you want in your current or future relationship. If you have a specific sex dream that feels more like a nightmare, like being caught for example, those are your personal anxieties showing up in your dreams. These anxieties are not always about sex, it’s just your stress clouding your subconscious. So don’t worry so much about sex dreams and just enjoy them.
7. Waking Up From A Dream Crying or Laughing
Our dreams can sometimes feel so real that we wake up crying or laughing, because of our active brains being just as alert when we’re dreaming than when we’re awake. Some areas of your brain are, oddly enough, even more awake when you’re dreaming, like the occipital lobe that processes images and the amygdala which regulates emotions. These areas of your brain being so alert is why a dream can seem so vivid and evoke so much emotion, because images and emotions are what your dreams primarily consist of. If you do regularly wake up crying or laughing, make sure you do it beside someone who won’t judge you for it.
6. We Never See Ourselves In Our Dreams
This mystery is commonly believed but mostly untrue. You do see yourself, but most of the time you do not look like yourself. You could look like someone you know, a famous person, or a complete stranger you passed on the street once. The person or object you look like could represent some part of your personality and the dream is trying to show you the similarities. Your brain is highlighting the ways in which you’re similar to the person you’re portraying in your dream, or the way in which you wish you were more like that person. Having a dream like this can really help you understand where you want to go in life and what changes you should make to be a better person.
5. Doing Something You Shouldn’t Be Doing
Are you doing something in your dreams that you know you’re not supposed to be doing? Are you waking up feeling guilty? These dreams are created by your subconscious to get you to quit doing something that you know is not right or something that you’ve been trying to stop. It’s actually a symptom of withdrawals that you’re experiencing in your sleep. People who are trying to quit smoking, for example, will have dreams where they’re smoking. This is their subconscious installing a guilty feeling into them that will actually help them quit. Your mind is a lot brighter than you think.
4. Dreaming In Black And White
Most people dream in pastel colours, but twenty percent of people only dream in black and white. Back in the day, most people only dreamt in black and white. Some studies have shown that this is because since the invention of the television, our brains are use to seeing more colour and the TV shows and movies we watched growing up affect what we dream about. Other studies try to prove that the colour in your dream just simply wasn’t specific enough for your brain to pick it up, there was far more interesting things going on that you didn’t take the time of the mind power to register the colours around you.
3. Dreams Can Sometimes Foreshadow Actual Events
You can dream about something terrible, like someone you know dying, and then your dream actually becomes a reality. This doesn’t mean you have super powers or you’re causing anyone any misfortunes. It’s the things that you worry about daily that are coming through when you’re asleep, whether it’s something that you worry about knowingly or deep down inside without really realizing. You can be worried about someone close to you who’s sick, or worried about one of your friends getting pregnant, and your brain will bring up these problems and blow them up in your mind. Your mind is basically always preparing you for the worst.
2. Recurring Nightmares
Up to 8% of adults suffer from chronic nightmares at least once a week. Most commonly it will be dreams of drowning or being chased. These same dreams show up so much that you’re aware that it’s the same nightmare even as you’re dreaming it, and yet you can’t help but experience it again. You also can’t wake up from the nightmare until it ends in the same spot as the previous nights. These nightmares are mostly triggered by ongoing stress in your life. Bad dreams are your mind’s way of processing stress and figuring out how to deal with it in the future. Your brain is doing a lot more work than you think when you’re experiencing a nightmare.
1. We Can’t Remember Our Dreams
Most of the time, we wake up and are not able to recall what it was that we dreamt about. Sometimes we think we must not have dreamt at all if we can’t even remember them, but in reality everyone dreams several times each night because we go through several sleep cycles. You’ll only remember your dream if you wake up at the end of a sleep cycle, but if you continue to sleep through to the next cycle then you will most likely will not remember that cycle’s dream. Since you have more rapid eye movement (REM) sleep in the early morning, it’s easier to remember a dream when you wake up in the morning than if you were to wake up in the middle of the night.
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