Did you know that an average person dreams for about two hours each night? While we still don't know a whole lot about why we dream, we do know that sleep itself has five stages and that dreams occur most commonly in the fifth stage, known as rapid eye movement (REM) stage. At this stage, the muscles of your body enter a state of deep relaxation. Paradoxically, your brain becomes hyperactive, leading to dreams, 90% of which you forget when you wake up.
Here are some more interesting facts about dreaming.
• When you dream, your body is relaxed and passive, your brain is focused internally and you're emotionally absent.
• Dreams are our body's way of reviewing the emotions and events we experience during our waking hours which we then archive in our memory.
• Our desires, hopes, fears and memories are sorted by our brain and develop into stories that we experience as dreams.
• When we dream, our body is so relaxed that we're temporarily paralysed. This is our body's way of preventing us from self-harm in case we're having disturbing dreams.
Types of Dreams
Sleep researchers agree that there are at least five different types of dreams that a typical human being will experience:
• False awakening dreams: This is when you think you're actually doing something (getting ready for school or work, eating breakfast etc.) only to wake up and realise you were just dreaming.
• Recurring dreams: These are dreams that you have again and again, perhaps with some variations. Recurrent dreams are caused by some deep-rooted unresolved conflict in your psyche. Some of the most common recurrent dreams include being trapped, drowning, losing all your teeth, being unprepared for an exam and falling down.
• Healing dreams: These dreams are messages from your subconscious mind that something is not quite right with your body. For example, you may dream about a visit to a doctor for a condition that you don't know you have.
• Prophetic dreams: Prophetic dreams give your foreknowledge about an incident. It is well established that in our waking hours, our minds overlook hints and clues that can alert us to something that is going to happen. Prophetic dreams help us prepare for these incidents.
• Lucid dreams: This is when you're actually aware that you're dreaming and can make conscious decisions about the incidents that take place in your dreams. Lucid dreaming is a skill that can be honed and is a well-documented phenomenon.
Dreams remain one of the most mysterious human experiences, one that can heal, entertain, scare and make you happy. We have the power to control our own dreams but it takes time, patience and practice
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