posted on Mar, 6 2005 @ 05:32 PM
Hmmmm....how can I put this diplomatically......um.....
EVERYTHING YOU KNOW IS WRONG!!!!!
hehhe, sorry, couldn't resist.
I truly thought that there couldn't possibly be anyone left in the world that still believed that dreams last only a couple seconds or minutes.
Really dude, where you been? I mean, the discovery of Rapid Eye Movement sleep came in the FIFTIES and you can't help but occasionally hear the
reference to REM sleep in the media every now and then.
Ok dude: Sleep and Dreams 101
Let's say you are "Mr. Normal" and you go to bed at 11pm, fall asleep relatively quickly and get the requisite 8hours of sleep a night...just for
the sake of argument.
Moving from daytime Beta frequency brainwaves (approx'ly 20 to 60 cycles per second as observed on an electroencephalograph EEG), you pass through
what's called the hypnogogic state of consciousness (quiet resting without a lot of flashes, images, worries about your car etc) and into Stage 1
sleep. This is a transitory stage typically in the high Alpha brainwave region (8 to 12 cycles per second or cps).
Your breathing becomes shallow and slower. Youir body temp continues to drop, your muscles lose almost all residual stored energy by this time (10 to
20 minutes after sleep onset) and you pass into Stage 2 sleep.
Dreaming is not all or nothing, in relation to Rapid Eye Movement sleep: if awakened duriing this period, you'd more than likely be disoriented,
groggy and report not much more than...."Oh yeah, and I was thinking about what present to give Grandma next week..." something along those lines,
as opposed to full-blown, vivid, colorful REM dreams.
Your brainwaves, body temp and all physical parameters continue to slow as you pass into Stage Three sleep about 45min after sleep onset.
Stage 3 is also transitory and soon enough you get into what most people refer to as "deep sleep"...otherwise known as Delta frequency (1 to 4cps).
I'll just quickly mention that calling Delta sleep, "deep", is actually inaccurate, in that it is more difficult, on average, to awaken a person
from REM, than it is, Stage 4.
So, you've gone from waking to Stages 1, two, three, and 4 within a period of about an hour. After this first cycle (one of at least several
throughout the night) you then have a major body movement, and you slip "upwards" back to Stage 3, then into Stage 2, then into stage one, as a
prelude to your first REM period of the night, typically about 90minutes after sleep onset.
Your brainwave is nearly waking level, your body becomes essentially paralyzed as a protective mechanism, otherwise you'd get up and act out what you
were dreaming, rather messy, that......your breathing becomes irregular and halting and, as is indicative of the REM lable, your eyes begin to scan
back and forth, up and down, as if actually watching that which is now activating your hypothalamus and temporal lobes, the main difference being that
your pre- and frontal cortex is switched off, allowing yourself to believe that what you are seeing and doing in the dream is real....your "truth and
reality-testing" are switched OFF, in other words.
The first REM typically lasts for about 10 minutes, at which point, you go back through stages 2, three and 4, where you spend about a third more
time, this cycle as the first.
Then, about 90minutes after your first REM, you have REM number 2. As with Stage 4 being a little longer than the first, so too is your second REM
period about a third to a half-again longer than the first Rem.
Typically, this works out to be around 15 to 20 minutes long...now full-blown, finger and toe-twitching full-color, emotionally loaded dreamtime. If
awakened while in this or subsequent REMs, you'll typically get what you and I know as a dream report...place, objects, people, some kind of goal
oriented action, although you might have trouble reporting what that goal actually was.....and so it goes until you have another major body movement,
back to stage 2, down to 3 and into a solid, hourlong Stage 4, Delta sleep. Again, if awakened here, you'd typically start out with the words, "I
was thinking about;......", rather than "I was driving a Ferrari down Broadway and this hooker, wearing stilletto heels, a dayglo Red miniskirt and
hair was BLUE!, yeld over to me to stop, but my mom was in the back seat and I couldn't....""
So, you go through another complete cycle again, with REM sleep becoming progressively longer each time, until, typicallly, the last REM of the night
can be an hour or more. Segmented dream elements, to be sure; in dreams that long, you can actually have 3 or 4 distinct episodes that are seemingly
unrelated (but aren't really, when you look closer).
So, by the end of the 8 hours of sleep, you spend fully, a third of that in REM.
Yes, you dream every night. There are many things you can do to increase your recall such as starting a dream diary and setting your alarm clock to
awaken you, say, 100 minutes after sleep onset, or 190minutes if you want to increase your chances of catching the more developed dreams typical of
the second REM period. Just do a search on "improving dream recall" and you'll find hundreds of little tricks of the trade.
And, finally, NOOOOOOO, dreams do NOT last seconds or a minute long....they can be an hour or more, according to mainstream science which recognizes
the REM state as being synonimous (sp) with dreaming.
Hope that clarifies the subject a little for you.