Even if scientists have studied the dream world for centuries and are still finding lots of precious information, dreams are a mystery in our lives. People started to ask more and more question about dreams, being curious about their meaning, and about how dreams can influence or change their lives. In this chapter, we will show you 20 of the most common questions about dreams and give you answers for them.
Does everybody dream?
The answer is yes. Even if some people think they do not because they can’t remember in the morning, we all dream each night. Studies and research have shown that the most important dreams we have are during the Rapid Eye Movement stage (REM). During the first stage of sleep, the dreams are shorter–about 5-10 minutes—but during the REM stage, our dreams can last for 45 minutes or even more. A person has about 28 to 42 dreams every week, but most of people remember just one or two.
Why do we dream?
Scientists have tried really hard to answer this question. It is not known yet if dreams have a physiological, psychological, or biological function. But dreaming is a normal process that occurs every night and it is considered a release of our inner self. Dreaming is not an unusual experience, but a healthy one for both our body and brain.
Why do people have difficulty remembering their dreams?
For some people, it is very easy to constantly remember their dreams or parts of them, while others can’t remember anything. Almost everything that takes place during sleep–images, thoughts or ideas–is forgotten in the morning. Sometimes, people remember a dream later, during the day, or even the next day. Medicines, drugs, and alcohol can influence the processes of sleeping and dreaming. For instance, suddenly going off some types of medicines can lead to having nightmares. Being rested both physically and mentally is considered the best way to recall dreams.
How could I remember my dreams?
Even if, when you wake up, you do not remember your dreams, there are some tricks that could help you. The most important thing is your attitude towards dreams. If you are really interested in finding out what you dream, you will find a way. Before going to sleep, always repeat that you want to recall what you dream when you wake in the morning. Keep a journal or a recorder next to your bed and note/record your dreams and every single detail you saw, thought, or felt while sleeping. Do not wake up suddenly, but easily, with slow moves.
Are dreams colored?
Dreams are usually colored, but most of the time people are not aware of this. Maybe because they do not pay much attention, being used to the colors from real life, or maybe they are more focused on the facts and actions within the dream and less on the colors. Probably people who are more aware of colors from their dreams are those for whom details are important. People also have dreams in gray scale; one study found that people who were exposed in their childhood to black and white TVs are more likely to have gray scale dreams.
Do dreams have a meaning?
This is a question to which researchers have always tried to respond. There is no proven fact that dreams have different nuances, but people who work with their dreams have found that they do have meaning. Dreams are very important for learning more about the feelings, thoughts, behavior, and personality of the dreamer. Dreams help you know yourself better and discover new faces of your persona. Moreover, artists, writers, and scientists are often inspired by their dreams.
How can I “read” my dreams?
The main thing that you need to know is that dreams reflect your subconscious thoughts and feelings. All the people, images, and emotions from your dreams are part of you. Some people think that symbols from dreams have a universal signification. But the truth is that the images from dreams can’t have the same meaning for everybody. People have the freedom to interpret their dreams in a unique way. It is important to make associations and correlations between elements from dreams and real life, being patient and constant in your research.
Why do people have recurring dreams?
It’s not a bad thing to dream the same thing more than once. Recurring dreams are normal dreams, like the others you have every night. If you have the same dream many times, you have to make a connection between this dream and your thoughts, feelings, and behavior. By knowing what these dreams mean, you could solve a problem you have been fighting with for years.
Why do we have nightmares?
Nightmares are common, especially among children, but there are many adults who have nightmares too. Most of the time, people experience nightmares because of emotional difficulties, drugs, stress, medicines, traumatic experiences, or different diseases. Some people have bad dreams that are not connected with their real life. Recent studies showed that these people are more open, emotional, and sensitive than ordinary people.
Does dreaming that you die or are falling mean you’ll die in your sleep?
No way, this idea is totally false. Lots of people have dreams in which they’re dying or falling off of tall buildings or cliffs, and they are still alive and doing well. You can interpret this type of dream the same way you interpret others. Thus, if you are worried about some of your dreams, it’s better to talk to competent people who can advise you.
Can the future be predicted through dreams?
Many people have experienced dreams that predicted future events. These dreams may be caused by a coincidence, a bad memory, or some unconscious links already known. Some researchers studied this problem and they found connections between some dreams and the future, but they didn’t find a decisive answer. Dreams that we think are predictive could be coincidences as well.
Can we control our dreams?
You can influence your dreams before going to sleep by using autosuggestion. Another well-known method is lucid dreaming, a stage in which people are aware that they are dreaming. It is possible to learn how to extend the dreaming period or to change some things or images from your dreams, but it takes time and effort. However, absolute control is not possible.
How much sleep should we get?
For a healthy mind and body, we have to sleep every night. There is not a universal amount of sleep; the sleeping period can differ from person to person. Some people sleep less, but others are not efficient if they do not get enough hours. In general, 7 or 8 hours should be enough for a good rest, but usually the average is between 6 and 9 hours.
Why do I sometimes feel paralyzed in my dreams?
Some people do not know that the body experiences a form of paralysis during the dreaming process. Sometimes, when you go from the stage of wakefulness to sleep, or when you wake up, you might have a strange feeling that you can’t move your body. It could also occur because you have a sleep disorder. It’s no reason to be worried, but if it happens too often, you might need to see a specialist.
Why do I sometimes wake up in a cold sweat?
Waking up in the middle of the night or in the morning scared, anxious and in a cold sweat happens once in a while. This is your body’s reaction to a nightmare. During your dreams, you experience feelings and emotions, and it’s normal for your body to react this way when it is facing danger.
Does it mean that I want to kill people in real life if I did it in my dreams?
As we dream each and every night, it is normal to sometimes dream that you kill people. It doesn’t make you a psychopath or a killer. Instead of thinking about it and having the feeling of guilt, you could interpret the messages from these kinds of dreams. It may mean that you want to change something about your actions and thoughts, or to find another meaning to your own life.
If I dream that a person died, does it mean that he/she will die in real life?
The answer is definitely no. Dreams are not prophecies; you can interpret them or find their hidden messages, but don’t think that they can predict future events or facts from your life. Instead, you could learn to interpret the symbols and images from them in a constructive way.
Why do I dream about the same person almost every night?
It could happen that a certain person appears often in your dreams. Sometimes, you are not even close to that person. It doesn’t mean that you will meet him/her soon or that something bad is going to occur to him/her. Maybe you are thinking too much about someone in your subconscious, or maybe it is something from your past that shows up now. Maybe at one point you didn’t tell that person everything you wanted to say and now you feel guilty.
Do difficulties in getting a good night’s sleep affect my dreams?
If your period of sleep is restless, it could affect your dreams. When you have insomnia and you are not able to get sleep, or only interrupted sleep, it is obvious that you do not have dreams either. The best way to fix insomnia or lack of sleep is to see a specialist.
What are common myths about dreams?
In time, people developed lots of fictitious stories about dreaming using their imagination. You mustn’t believe that sleep is not an active process, that big meals cause nightmares, or that if you dream that somebody dies they will also die in real life. Dreams do not predict the future and are not able to kill you during your sleep by causing a heart attack.