What Are Dreams? - Dream Health

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Monday 22 August 2022

What Are Dreams?

What Are Dreams?

Do you know what are dreams? These are images and stories made by our minds while sleeping. These are entertaining, fun, romantic, disturbing, frightening, and bizarre. Scientists still want to find out the source of this mystery. Why do these happen? What causes them? Is it possible to control it? We have discussed all essential theories, reasons, etc.

The dream occurs during certain stages of sleep in the mind. It is a succession of images, ideas, emotions, and sensations. We usually dream about two hours per night, each lasting about 5 to 20 minutes. Now, let's dive into the article to learn what dreams are. But before knowing that, check out these quick facts related to it.

Quick facts on Dreams:

  • We don't remember it, but each person can dream between 3 and 6 times per night. 
  • Every dream can last between 5 to 20 minutes. 
  • When people get out of bed, we generally forget it by the time. But, according to the sources, about 95% of people forget it after waking up. 
  • It might create long-term memories. 
  • Blind people dream more about sensory components than sighted people.

What Are Dreams?

You can describe these universal human experiences as a state of consciousness containing sensory, cognitive, and emotional.

You can find big differences between the neuroscientific and psychoanalytic approaches. According to the reports, these are full of emotional and vivid experiences with themes, concerns, dream figures, and objects.

Reason for Dreaming:

Many theories are available asking why we dream. Do you know if these are part of the sleep cycle, or do they serve other purposes?

  •  Represent unconscious desires and wishes. 
  • Interpret random signals from the brain and body during sleep. 
  • Consolidate and process collected details during the day. 
  • Work as a psychotherapy form.

According to the new research methodologies, it can serve the following functions:

  •  It can have offline memory reprocessing, where the brain consolidates learning and memory tasks. 
  • In addition, it can prepare for possible future threats. 
  • Besides, it can reflect unconscious mental function in a psychoanalytic way. 
  • It works as a unique consciousness state that can incorporate the present experience, processing of the past, and preparation for the future.

Does Everyone Dream in Color?

Younger people dream of color mostly. As per the study, 80 percent of people who are younger than 30 years dream of color. The rate comes down to twenty percent at the age of 60. Sources ask that people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s dream in color more from 1993 to 2009. According to the researchers, the color television can be a reason for the generational difference.

Another study said older adults have more black & white dreams than younger participants. However, some older people reported that both types were equally vivid for them. A few young people said that they are having of poorer quality.

Can Dreams Predict The Future?

These can predict future events. According to a few researchers, they can prove that it is possible, but not sufficient proof is there to prove it. Usually, it happens for coincidence, a false memory, or the unconscious mind. These can help us to know about our feelings, beliefs, and values. Remember that the Images and symbols we see in our dreams have meanings and connections. However, these are specific to every person. Sometimes, books or guides providing meanings to images cannot be helpful.

How Do These Happen?

While sleeping, our brain cells get activated by inside details. However, storm says that the cells are in a different state while dreaming. It indicates that information from internal stores drove these. As a result, new sensory input does not activate. Their theory was recently published in Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, focusing on what happens inside our brain cells.

Where Is The Source Of Dreams? 

As per the new theory, the tree crown helps to drive these. Storm asks that pyramidal neurons send out internally driven signals. It is one of the reasons we experience these. Remember that the signals are confusing, like waking signals driven by real external sensory stimuli. Experience and knowledge stored in our memory are all about internal information.

Firstly, while awaking, pyramidal neurons capture information from the sensory organs. Next, they interpret it in light of internal information from memory.

Secondly, those cells get less input from the sensory organs while dreaming. Finally, large amounts of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine can alter cell conditions. Thus, internal information from inside the brain helps to drive them.

Who dreams?

Each person dreams, but we usually don't remember them. It depends on life experiences and different times of life.


A study was made on 103 children aged 9 to 11 years. This study said that-

  • Females have dreams containing anxiety more than males, but they forget these as often. ● Girls have more dreams about losing another person, falling, socially disturbing situations, small or aggressive animals, family members, etc., than boys.


After comparing dreams between pregnant and non-pregnant women, studies revealed that:

  • Infant and child representations were fewer in non-pregnant women. In addition, pregnant women experienced the pictures in the late third trimester than in the early third trimester. Besides, dreams can add themes of pregnancy, childbirth, and fetuses during this time. 
  • Childbirth content increased in the late third trimester than early in the trimester. 
  • Pregnant women had more morbid elements in their dreams than non-pregnant women.


People who care for their families or those with long-term illnesses can have these dreams. According to a study of adult dreams, people who have worked for at least a year with individuals at United States hospice centers:

  • Patients usually have realistic dreams. 
  • The caregiver interacted with the patient in the dream but couldn't help as thoroughly as they wanted.

Who Remembers Their Dreams?

Several aspects can influence who remembers their dreams and how much remains intact.

Age: A person can experience sleep timing, structure, and electroencephalographic (EEG) activity changes. Proof says that recalling it can reduce from the beginning of adulthood. In addition, it has become less intense. The evolution is seen more quickly in men than women.

Gender: A study of 108 males and 110 females had seen no differences between the amount of aggression, friendliness, sexuality, male characters, weapons, or clothes. But females dream of more family members, babies, children, and indoor settings.

Sleep disorders: Dream recall is progressing with insomnia, which can reflect the stress associated with their condition; People with narcolepsy dream more bizarre.

What Do They Mean?

Relationships: A few presumed that the cluster of dreams that include being chased Or falling has a relation with interpersonal conflicts.

Sexual concepts: Flying, sexual experiences, finding money, and eating delicious food connect libidinal and sexual motivations.

Fear of embarrassment: Another group's dream of being nude, failing an examination, arriving too late, losing teeth, and being poorly dressed relates to social concerns and a fear of embarrassment.

Why Don't We Always Dream?

While sleeping, our conscious mind is not necessarily asleep.

Usually, five stages of sleeping exist, from light sleep to very deep sleep and culminating in REM sleep. Rapid eye movements characterize REM sleep. It is in the sleep cycle where most of these happen. For example, while snoring, the conscious mind might kick in. At this time, the conscious mind is wide awake and busy, making us snore.

As a result, the unconscious mind does not get any chance to take over and give us these. In simple terms, it is impossible to dream while snoring. As per research, we dream in non-REM stages. But scientists have something for discussing non-REM ones.


Themes have connections to the suppression of unnecessary thoughts. For example, a study has shown that fifteen good sleepers were said to suppress an unnecessary idea 5 minutes before sleep.

According to the results, many dreams were about unwanted thoughts, which can be more distressing. In addition, this means that thought suppression can cause increased mental disorder symptoms.

A few themes are known to several people, like flying, falling, and arriving late. We have named fifty-five themes, including:

  1. school, teachers, and studying 
  2. being chased or pursued 
  3. sexual experiences
  4. falling 
  5. arriving very late 
  6. a living person being dead
  7. a person now dead being alive 
  8. eating delicious food 
  9. swimming 
  10. being locked up 
  11. insects or spiders 
  12. being killed 
  13. losing teeth 
  14. being tied up, restrained, or unable to move 
  15. being inappropriately dressed 
  16. being a child again 
  17. trying to complete a task successfully 
  18. being unable to find a toilet or embarrassed about losing one 
  19. discovering a new room at home 
  20. having superior knowledge or mental ability 
  21. flying or soaring through the air 
  22. failing an examination 
  23. being on the verge of falling 
  24. being frozen with fright 
  25. being physically attacked 
  26. being nude 
  27. losing control of a vehicle 
  28. fire 
  29. wild, violent beasts 
  30. seeing a face very close to you 
  31. snakes
  32. having magical powers 
  33. vividly sensing, but not necessarily seeing or hearing, a presence in the room 
  34. finding money
  35. floods or tidal waves 
  36. killing someone
  37. seeing yourself as dead 
  38.  being half-awake and paralyzed in bed 
  39. people behaving awkwardly 
  40. seeing yourself in a mirror 
  41. being a member of the opposite sex 
  42. being smothered, unable to breathe 
  43. encountering God in some form 
  44. seeing a flying object crash 
  45. earthquakes 
  46. seeing an angel 
  47. part animal, part human creatures 
  48. tornadoes or strong winds 
  49. being at the movie 
  50. seeing extra-terrestrials 
  51. traveling to another planet 
  52. being an animal 
  53. seeing a UFO 
  54. A person having an abortion 
  55. being an object

A few themes can change over time. For instance, the percentage of people flying in dreams increased from 1956 to 2000. This is because it can reflect the increase in air travel.


Is it normal not to dream? According to Dr. Drerup, Charcot-Wilbrand syndrome is a rare condition where you will not dream. It happens following focal brain damage. In other words, you can call it a stroke. It means that you will be no more capable of recalling pictures mentally.

He said that people say they don't recall these as they have not slept properly. But it is not the actual case. Having no dream content doesn't indicate that you don't dream. People don't remember their dreams.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q. What exactly causes dreams?

Brainstem activation during REM sleep and stimulation of the limbic system (emotional motor system) causes it.

Q. Do dreams mean anything?

According to Alan Eiser, these are meaningful. It is because these relate to the personal conflicts and emotional struggles of regular life.

Q. What do our dreams mean?

It comes from reality, and unconscious desires constrain the links. That's why we can say it is the fulfillment of a wish.

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