- The word dream stems from the Middle English word, dreme which means "joy" and "music".
- Science hasn’t yet proposed a consensus hypothesis about why we dream, they don’t even know why we sleep.
- One third of our lives is spent sleeping. In your lifetime, you will spend about 6 years dreaming. That's more than 2,100 days spent in a different world,
having experiences that are "real" to your sleeping mind.
- REM sleep occurs in bursts totalling about 2 hours a night, usually beginning about 90 minutes after falling asleep. We often have 4 -7 dreams in one
- Everybody dreams. Simply because you don’t remember your dreams does not mean that you do not dream. However, a certain severe pathological
condition caused by injury has been demonstrated to interfere with dreaming sleep. It’s likely that dreaming is a normal and continuous function of the
mind when external stimuli is absent.
- The continuous brain recordings that led to the discovery of REM (rapid eye-movement) sleep were not done until 1953, partly because the scientists
involved were concerned about wasting paper.
- Dreams, once thought to occur only during REM sleep, also occur (but to a lesser extent) in non-REM sleep phases. It's possible there may not be a
single moment of our sleep when we are actually dreamless.
- REM dreams are often characterised by bizarre plots, but non-REM dreams tend to be repetitive and thought-like, with little imagery.
- During REM sleep you experience muscle paralysis to stop you acting out your dreams.
- Certain types of eye movements during REM sleep correspond to specific movements in dreams, suggesting at least part of the dreaming process is
analogous to watching a film
- No-one knows for sure if other species dream but some do have sleep cycles similar to humans.
- Elephants sleep standing up during non-REM sleep, but lie down for REM sleep.
- Some scientists believe we dream to fix experiences in long-term memory.
- REM sleep may help developing brains mature. Premature babies spend 75% of their time in REM sleep, 10 per cent more than full-term babies.
Similarly, a newborn kitten, puppy, rat or hamster experiences only REM sleep, while a newborn guinea pig (which is much more developed at birth)has
almost no REM sleep at all.
- Blind people dream as well. Whether recognisable images appear in their dream depends on whether they where blind at birth or became blind later in
life. It’s likely they still experience colour and shape. But vision is not the only sense that constitutes a dream. Sounds, tactility, and smell become
hypersensitive for the blind and will be incorporated into their dreams.
- Five minutes after the end of the dream, half the content is forgotten. After ten minutes, 90% is lost.
- Men tend to dream more about other men, while women dream equally about men and women.
- Both men and women experience sexually related physical reactions to their dreams regardless of whether the dream is sexual in nature; males
experience erections and females experience increased vaginal blood flow.
- Studies have shown that our brain waves are more active when we are dreaming than when we are awake.
- Dreamers who are awakened right after REM sleep, are able to recall their dreams more vividly than those who slept through the night until morning.
- People who are giving up smoking have longer and more intense dreams.
- Toddlers do not dream about themselves. They do not appear in their own dreams until the age of 3 or 4.
- Snoring occurs only in non-REM sleep
- People tend to have common themes in dreams. The most common are situations relating to school, being chased, running slowly,being stuck, sexual
experiences, falling, arriving too late, a person now alive being dead, teeth falling out, flying, failing an examination, or a car accident.
- Nightmares are common in children, typically beginning at around age 3 and occurring up to age 7-8.
- The record for the longest period without sleep is 18 days, 21 hours, 40 minutes during a rocking chair marathon. The record holder reported
hallucinations, paranoia, blurred vision, slurred speech and memory and concentration lapses.
- In a recent sleep study, students who were awakened at the beginning of each dream, but still allowed their 8 hours of sleep, all experienced difficulty
with concentration, irritability, hallucinations, and signs of psychosis after only 3 days. When finally allowed their REM sleep the student’s brains made
up for lost time by greatly increasing the percentage of sleep spent in the REM stage.
- People who become blind after birth can see images in their dreams. People who are born blind do not see any images, but have dreams equally vivid
involving their other senses of sound, smell, touch and emotion.
- A full 12% of sighted people dream exclusively in black and white. The remaining number dream in full color. It is unknown whether the impact of a
dream relating to violence or death is more emotionally charged for a person who dreams in color than one who dreams in black and white.
- It is thought that primitive societies not only saw the dream world as an extension of reality, but believed that the dream realm was far more powerful.
- In ancient tribal societies, people with particular vivid and significant dreams were believed to be blessed and were considered divinely gifted. Dreams
were also seen as prophetic. People often looked to their dreams for signs of warning and advice.
- Dream interpretation dates back to 3000-4000 B.C. when dreams were documented in clay tablets. The Egyptians recorded their dreams in
hieroglyphics on giant stele.
- In the Bible, there are over seven hundred mentions of dreams.
- Dreams often dictated the actions of political and military leaders and have changed the course of history.
- Back in the Greek and Roman era, dream interpreters accompanied military leaders into battle, and in Rome striking and significant dreams were
submitted to the Senate for analysis and interpretation.
- Dreams have been used for thousands of years to diagnose and treat illness.
- The Chinese believed that the soul leaves the body during dreaming and that if the person is awakened too suddenly their soul may fail to return. For
this reason, some Chinese today, are wary of alarm clocks.
- Some Native American tribes and Mexican civilizations share this same notion of a distinct dream dimension. They believed that their ancestors lived in
their dreams and take on non-human forms like plants. They see that dreams as a way of visiting and having contact with their ancestors.
- In the early 19th century, dreams were dismissed as stemming from anxiety, a household noise or even indigestion. Later on in the 19th century,
Sigmund Freud revived the importance of dreams and its significance and need for interpretation. He revolutionized the study of dreams.
Interesting Dream Factoids