The absence of dreams will most certainly lead to an unstable mental state, to dream is mandatory. And as dreaming is a way to process our days it can reduce stress and hence have a positive influence on our physical health.
You have to dream several times a night. On average, dreams will last 20 minutes. This is more or less the same for everyone who is healthy.
However, no matter how mandatory dreams are, they remain lies.
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In history the word ‘dream’ can be traced back to the earliest texts from 5000 years BC. In the Middle Ages dreams were associated with joy, jubilation, singing, and ecstasy. Dreams were given prophetic capacities.
In modern times psychological and physiological explanations have replaced much of the prophetic glance. These explanations left little of the glory and fantasy that accompanied interpretations of dreams. However, these modern explanations emphasize the importance of dreams.
What dreams are made off
We usually only remember fragments of the dream we had just before we woke up. This is attributed to the great difference between the physical state we’re in when we sleep and when we’re awake.
An event in a dream appears to last as long as in real life. Healthy people dream less than those who worry. Animals also dream. When we dream it’s hard to wake us.
The function of our dreams
What is the function of our dreams? After many years of research this is still not totally clear. Today the most common explanation is that dreams are no more than a by-product of our nerve system.
There are several assumptions to explain this theory. The scientific research that triggered these assumptions owes much to the work of Sigmund Freud. Although it must be doubted whether he would approve the outcome of all this research.
Dreams fulfill our wishes
In 1900 Freud tried to make it plausible that in dreams our wishes are fulfilled. He believed dreams provide insight into our unconscious urges. He based his belief on the analysis of his own dreams and the dreams of his patients. But introspection is not a very trustworthy instrument for analysis.
His colleague Carl Jung turned Freud’s theory around. He introduced the idea of a universal symbolic significance of dreams. We’re supposed to use these symbols to communicate between the conscious and the unconscious mind.
For the past 100 years experimental and longitudinal research has not been able to prove Freud’s or Jung’s dream theories. Neither did this research replace alternative theories. However, it led the way to the modern explanation of the functions of dreams. These theories give an elaborate understanding of the importance of our dreams.
There still persist some unproven theories that are not very helpful in understanding our dreams. Some people pretend that dreams put you in contact with a second reality. But probably most people have their hands full with the one reality they live in.
Dreams would make us sensitive to telepathic signals. Or they would be divine inspirations. A ‘mindful’ theory is that dreams have a contemplative function. They are supposed to embed our daily experiences in our memory.
Scientific scrutiny was not able to substantiate either of these theories. It has also never been possible to create specific dreams with impulses from outside. Besides, when we dream it’s not easy to wake us.
Dreams keep an ‘inactive’ brain awake
A more plausible ‘dream-theory’ starts from the assumption that the brain becomes ‘inactive’ during our deepest sleep. This is risky because the body has many functions we don’t want to fall asleep either.
So it’s good that, to a certain extent, the brain remains active through our dreams. It’s unclear though whether dreams fuel this brain-activity or are just the result of it.
Dreams are a byproduct of our breathing system
Another substantial theory is that our dreams are the result of impulses that originate from the brainstem during our deep sleep. In the brainstem our breathing center resides.
The idea is that the impulses that keep us breathing cause an electric ‘storm’ throughout our brain. This ‘storm’ results in a ‘movie’ that we call a dream. In this case our dreams would result from the impulses that make us breath.
Whatever dreams are made off, they are very well able to torment us. Nightmares suffocate and paralyze. They are more frequent with children. Nightmares can be a side effect of fever, fears, and certain medication.
Recurring nightmares will disturb our daily rhythms. They also elicit a reluctance to go to sleep. But a lack of sleep is a bad remedy for nightmares.
When you’re regularly tormented by nightmares try more often to relax. Of course this is easier said than done. Physical exercise is a good way to relax. As are music or other types of relaxing entertainment. Try to avoid heavy diners and alcohol.
A therapeutic way to eliminate nightmares is head on confrontation. Try to relax, breath deep and slowly and step into your nightmare. Fight whatever is there. You see, nothing untoward happened. Try this a few times and your nightmares are a thing of the past.
To dream is mandatory
Snoring does not discriminate on age. Young snorers snore as much and heavy as old ones. Snoring people sleep light. When you snore, you do not dream. If you snore the entire night you do not dream enough. So it’s important you prevent snoring. This can be done by breathing as much as possible through the nose.
How can you test the importance of dreaming? Try this simple but unpleasant trick. Ask someone to wake you up every time you dream during the night. When you dream the observant will notice this because your eyes move behind your lids.
The result of this test will be that during the daytime you will experience concentration failures. Moreover, you will become very bad-tempered. Concentration failures and a bad temper also result from the use of sleeping pills that suppress dreams. Try to avoid these kind of pills as much as is possible.
Needless to say, to dream is mandatory. That much is clear. Sweet dreams.