26 Facts About Dreams That Will Keep You Up At Night
If you were asked about your dreams last night, you might think you have the answers — but it’s a lot harder than you think to be sure of the facts about dreams.
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Men are more physically aggressive in their dreams than women. Women, however, are often the victims of aggression in dreams. Pixabay
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Most scientists agree that animals likely dream too. Most animals experience REM sleep, a prerequisite for dreaming.Pixabay
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People who were born blind don’t see in their dreams. Rather, their dreams are made up of sounds, touches, tastes, and smells. Those who become blind later on in life do see in their dreams, but the longer they live without sight, the less they see in their dreams.Wikimedia Commons
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Blind people have more nightmares than people with vision. Blind people are found to have four times more nightmares than sighted people and people who go blind later in life. Pxhere
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Not everyone dreams in color. Studies show that 12 percent of people dream in black and white only.Eflon/Flickr Commons
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Some people can control their dreams. This is known as “lucid dreaming.” Research suggests that 20 percent of these lucid dreamers regularly alter their dreams, while 60 percent of people have experienced lucid dreams at least once.Matteo Lunardi/Flickr Commons
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We dream for around two hours every night and we have around four to six dreams.NAVY_NADAP/ Flickr Commons
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Most dreaming starts about 90 minutes after you’ve fallen asleep. This is the period known as REM sleep, during which our eyes move rapidly behind our eyelids and our arms and legs become paralyzed.Pixabay
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Some people suffer from a REM sleeping disorder which means that their body does not become paralyzed during sleep. They unconsciously act out their dreams, which often leads to dangerous actions such as yelling, punching, and grabbing those near them.Pixabay
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Dreaming helps cement new information and skills in the brain and improves your problem-solving abilities.Pxhere
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Scientists still aren’t sure why exactly we dream. Some think dreams offer an evolutionary advantage, since our brains can practice their responses to crises while we sleep. But no one has conclusive proof.Pxhere
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Sometimes dreams can lead to great inventions or works of art. Paul McCartney said that the melody for “Yesterday” came to him in a dream. Elias Howe, the inventor of the sewing machine, realized that a needle should be punctured at the tip and not the middle after he had a bad dream in which cannibals, holding spears that resembled needles, were about to eat him.Wikimedia Commons
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Children younger than seven are not usually active participants in their own dreams. While they dream just like the rest of us, in their dreams they’re typically only observers.Pixabay
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We start dreaming as fetuses. REM sleep cycles have been observed in seven-month-old fetuses, but other dream cycles could occur even earlier. Brandon Atkinson/ Flickr Commons
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The less you sleep, the more you dream. Sleep deprivation results in greater brain activity when sleep finally comes — hence extended periods of dreaming.Pxhere
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Men and women dream differently. Men tend to have 20 percent more men in their dreams than women.Pxhere
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Your body is effectively paralyzed while you’re dreaming. The brain paralyzes the muscles in order to prevent you from acting out your dreams with your body.Pixabay
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Your personality type may influence both your sleep quality and your dreams. Introverts have more nightmares and unclear dreams, whereas extroverts dream of traveling more than introverts.Pxhere
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On average, people remember only one percent of their dreams. It is believed that you can only remember 50 percent of a dream five minutes after waking, and only 10 percent of a dream after 10 minutes.Pixabay
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You might be able to watch, and show others, your dreams in the near future. Scientists have reconstructed internal “movies” that play in people’s heads using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and computational models. They hope that this will help people share memories and dreams with others in the future, a practice that could be especially beneficial to stroke victims and coma patients.Pxhere
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An average person spends about 6 years of their life dreaming in REM sleep. That’s not even including all the non-REM dreams we may have!Pxhere
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Some people experience a terrifying phenomenon known as sleep paralysis. About eight percent of people experience this condition in which they’re aware of their surroundings but can’t move or speak.Wikimedia Commons
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Women’s dreams are often more colorful than men’s more pastel-colored dreams.Pxhere
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Women tend to have more nightmares during the premenstrual phase. This is because a woman’s hormones change drastically in this phase which can induce poor sleep quality and erratic dreaming.Pxhere
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Women experience recurrent dreams more often than men. According to dream theorists, recurrent dreams signify unresolved problems in real life.Pxhere
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A few dream themes have been observed in almost all cultures around the world. These include falling and being chased, physically attacked, and frozen with fear.Pixabay
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26 Facts About Dreams That Will Keep You Up At Night
Nobody has all the facts about dreams, but one thing is certain: all of us experience them. While some claim their sleep is always dreamless, scientists say otherwise. It turns out that we all have dreams — we just can’t all remember them.
Some view missing out on the previous night’s dreams as a great misfortune. For others, forgetting their dreams is freeing, especially if they are prone to nightmares.
Whichever camp you fall into, there’s no denying that the facts about dreams are fascinating. Though we can dream whenever we sleep, most of our dreams occur during the REM (rapid eye movement) stage, which occurs around 90 minutes after we have fallen asleep.
During REM sleep, the long, slow brainwaves and gentle breathing of deep sleep give way to spiking brain activity and erratic heartbeats. Muscles are paralyzed — which is a good thing, because if they aren’t, dreamers will physically and often violently enact what their sleeping brains experience.
So why do we dream? Unfortunately, scientists are just as baffled by this question as the rest of us.
There are, however, plenty of theories. Some experts claim that our dreams mean absolutely nothing — they are just random sequences of thoughts and images that our brains drag from our memory banks while we’re unconscious. Our minds process and make narratives of them only once we’re awake.
While dreams might not have spiritual significance, according to these theorists, they could offer an evolutionary advantage. Pointing to the fact that animals like cats and dogs also dream, they hypothesize that dreams might be a kind of threat simulation that lets our brains practice their responses.
Others claim that our dreams express our concealed desires and emotions. While this is more difficult to prove scientifically, facts about dreams suggest memory and emotion are key components.
A recent study found that the electrical brainwaves we experience when we dream are the same as those our brains generate when we retrieve memories. And those who shorten their nightly periods of REM sleep are likely to notice changes in their ability to perceive complex emotions in their waking lives.
Still others believe that our dreams can predict the future, either by letting us know exactly what is to come or by sending us images and symbols that need to be deciphered with the help of tools like dream dictionaries.
While we may not have all the facts about dreams yet, scientists agree that dreaming is important and that disturbed sleep — and disturbed dreams — may affect our health and well-being.
According to some studies, those who are suddenly jolted awake as they are about to enter REM sleep — the period in which we dream the most — have a higher risk of anxiety and depression. Indeed, new research suggests that poor REM sleep is a predictor of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
No links were found between dementia and any other sleep period, raising new questions about the importance of dreams in healthy brain function.
Next, why not have a look at more sleep facts. Then, read up on 5 terrifying sleep disorders.