About the Dream
The waking world encompasses only two-thirds of your life with conscious reality actually occupying somewhat less time. Science itself has only just begun studying the reasons for linear unconscious thoughts and is still uncovering surprising information. With over 30% of your life spent dreaming it only stands to reason that learning about this state would help you to better understand yourself and thus in turn improve your psi as you accept more pieces of the whole. Since psi requires your responsible use of energy via your entire being when you’re able to interpret your dreams you’re better situated to manifest visualized intents. Is it truly possible for something that humans know so little about to actually have such a large impact on your life – of course it is.
Everyone dreams. Every human and every animal even though scientists initially thought some animals did not. While every living thing dreams we’ll concentrate on humans since this information will have the most relevance to you. You dream every time you’re asleep whether you reach REM (Rapid Eye Movement) or not, but you can also dream without actually sleeping which is more commonly referred to as daydreaming. But if it’s true that you always dream why is it that you don’t remember all of your dreams? As it turns out the dream process reduces chemical levels in the brain that are necessary for creating memories. This reduction of memory creating chemicals is the cause of the degradation of dream memories after only 10 minutes with an almost complete loss of dream memory occurring after 20 minutes. This revelation of reduced dream recollection is the direct reason why studies show waking directly from an REM state gives the best chance of remembering your dream.
Let’s concentrate on dreaming while sleeping for now since it is the most documented and easiest to follow. Dreaming happens during every level of sleep, but sleep is not the same for each stage. Though different studies break sleep into different stages it’s easiest to keep with a four stage sleep cycle. The first stage of sleep is where your muscles begin to relax, your body temperature begins to lower, and your heart rate lowers. This first stage allows you to still be somewhat consciously aware of your surroundings while opening your unconscious mind to roam. From there you move into the second stage of sleep where your body temperature continues to decline and more importantly your immune systems kicks in to repair your body. Your body also begins to secrete hormones that aid in redevelopment, regrowth, and repair. As you drop further into sleep and enter stage three your metabolic rate nosedives towards hibernation. From there you move into sleep stage four which is REM sleep. During stage four your blood pressure rises, your heart rate increases and often your breathing becomes erratic. The different stages of sleep each allow dreams; however REM sleep is where the most vivid images and scenarios come from. Having said that if you are taking mono amine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI) you will probably not be able to reach stage four REM sleep. Almost all anti depressants virtually eliminate your REM ability while enabling your conscious ability to cope with the world around you. Of course since you dream at every level of sleep you will still dream, but will not have the vividness of the REM dream-state. It is also of interest to note that the rapid increase of REM body function has been scientifically theorized to be the leading cause of sudden death while sleeping. Most REM death theories seem to focus on individuals already in danger of nocturnal asphyxiation and with pre-existing cardiac issues and do not extend to people of good overall health. These theories express that healthy people have no greater a risk of dying while in REM than any other time during the day.
Since REM sleep provides the most vivid dreamscapes and are usually the dreams that are most often remembered we’ll take the time to talk a little more about this fourth stage of sleep. In healthy adults (people over the age of 18) REM sleep occurs roughly every 90 minutes throughout the sleeping process and according to University studies upwards of 90% of these sessions present reportable dreams. Seeing as people of all ages will read this information it is important to add that the sleep cycle may be anywhere from 70 to 120 minutes in length and varies by individual and can be greatly influenced by external stimuli like stress, which disrupts the sleep cycle. REM sleep is characterized by the rapid movement of the eyes under the eyelids while sleeping. Simply by observing a sleeping individual it is quite easy to identify their REM sessions when their eyes begin to flick back and forth as if looking over a conscious scene. Though scientists are not completely sure they believe that REM sleep involves eye movement, because the areas of the brain used to visually decode our waking world are also active during REM sleep. Since the same areas of our brain are used during sleep as when awake the brain automatically makes the eyes react as if it were a waking scene. A typical person may remain in REM stage sleep for up to half an hour before exiting out into stage two, or three sleep again with most stage four sleep occurring very late in the sleep cycle. During stage four REM sleep the body is in a type of paralysis and only the toes, finger, and facial muscles are able to respond to signals from the brain. This inability to move major muscles keeps you from acting out your most vivid of dreams. For those people that are prone to it sleepwalking occurs usually during stage three of the sleep cycle and is not associated with REM sleep. Against popular myths vibrant dreams as in REM occur mostly in full colour and are not necessary for humans to survive.
Though it has been scientifically proven that memories from your waking life are not processed nor consolidated during dreams your waking reality can influence your dream world. During psychological studies of university students collected information showed that upwards of 10% of dreams are directly recognizable as having to do with waking like and the dreamer’s current task at hand. The same batch of studies strongly suggested that emotions whether repressed, or consciously dominant influenced the dream state and that external stimulus while sleeping can incorporate itself into the dream state; however the dream interpretation of the stimulus may take on bizarre imagery. An additional set of studies showed that numerous textbook interpretations of dreams accurately portrayed useful information to the dreamer. It is this last bit of information, regarding dream interpretation, which is the most exciting when looking at understanding the entirety of your self.