Dreams are images, ideas, emotions, and sensations that happen primarily during the REM (rapid eye movement) cycle of sleep which for most people
lasts 2-4 hours per night. They last from a few seconds to several minutes and people average 3-5 per night. Awakening during a dream that occurs in
the REM cycle are the ones that are the most memorable and most vivid. Interpretations of dreams date back to at least 7000 years ago and have been
recorded on ancient tablets in Mesopotamia. Many cultures believed that dreams were messages sent from gods. Sigmund Freud believed that dreams are
manifestations of our deepest desires and anxieties.
Dreams have played a part in ancient records and beliefs, in art througout history, in literature (Alice in Wonderland, The Neverending Story, works
from Philip K. Dick just to name a few), and in film (The Wizard of Oz, Inception, Dreamscape, and Nightmare on Elm Street also to name a few).
Freud has called dreams the "Royal road to the unconscious" and theorized that dreams consist of unconscious wish fulfillment. He described dreams
as having manifest and latent content with manifest (superficial) content masking latent content (deep unconscious wishes and fantasies).
Carl Jung a student of Freud later in life rejected many of Freud's theories and described dreams as being a message to the dreamer and dreamers
should pay attention for thier own good.
An interesting fact is that it is believed that all mammals have the ability to dream and the proof is in the fact that you will often see cats and
dogs exhibit muscle movements and making noises (yelps, growls, and meows) while sleeping.
The most common emotion experienced in dreams is anxiety but all emotions play a part in dreams with negative ones being more common than positive
ones. Dreams of a sexual nature happen on average 10% of the time being more prevelent in teens and young adults.
While the content of most dreams occurs only once, people do on occasion endure recurring dreams that take place in the same location and in the same
way over and over. A very small percentage of people dream only in black and white and the number has been decreasing ever since the invention of the
A study conducted by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology concludes that most people believe thier dreams hold meaningful hidden truths.
Sometimes external stimuli (phone ringing, baby crying music playing etc.) are incorporated into dreams and become part of them. Other phenomena
include precognition, lucid dreaming and deja vu. I personally can attest to these three as I have experienced all three phenonmena. Precognition is
the belief in a dream predicting and foreshadowing future events. It differs from Deja Vu in the sense that precognition is something the dreamer is
not personally involved in, and Deja Vu is the sense of having dreamt some thing, place or event and recalling it later when one is experiencing that
place, thing or event at a later point in reality. Lucid Dreaming is the experience of the realization in your dream that you are "actually
dreaming". Such as an example realizing that you are dreaming while dreaming and trying to wake yourself up.
Recalling dreams is a skill that can be taught and learned. Studies show that women tend to have an easier time recalling dreams than men. A journal
is a useful tool in remembering dreams as the less vivid the dream the more likely one is to forget it within 5-10 minutes of awakening due to brain
chemistry that supresses the ability to convert short term memory into long term memory while in REM sleep. Only the most vivid of dreams are
remembered over time, average people forget 95%+ of thier dreams after 10 minutes without the aid of a journal or a reminder.
Other interesting facts regarding dreams:
1. Every person dreams except those suffering from a severe psychological disorder, most people just can't remember them.
2. People that suffer from blindness dream, even those blind from birth as the dreams just rely on thier other senses and emotions.
3. In dreams we only see faces that we already know (i.e. we don't invent people in our dreams). Even seeing a person only once in our life
provides a template for the possibility of that image of the person being in a dream.
4. Dreams or portions thereof are symbolic. Meaning that there are things that need interpretation to truly understand the meaning of the symbol in
5. During REM sleep the brain normally supresses movement by inducing body paralysis.
6. Men and women dream differently with mens dreams consisting of 70% male characters and womens being a 50/50 split.
7. Surveys show that between 18% and 38% of people have experienced a precognitive dream with 70% having experinced Deja Vu. 63% to 98% believe that
precognitive dreams are possible.
8. A commonly held belief is that if you are snoring that you are not capable of dreaming at the same time (there is no factual data to back up this
Some famous quotes regarding dreams:
Ideologies separate us. Dreams and anguish bring us together. --Eugene Ionesco
You see things; and you say, "Why?" But I dream things that never were; and I say, "Why not?" --George Bernard Shaw
Judge of your natural character by what you do in your dreams. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Dreams are the touchstones of our character. --Henry David Thoreau
Dreams have but one owner at a time. That is why dreamers are lonely. --Erma Bombeck
My theory has always been, that if we are to dream, the flatteries of hope are as cheap, and pleasanter, than the gloom of despair. --Thomas
Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare. --Japanese proverb
Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things that escape those who dream only at night. --Edgar Allen Poe
Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. -- Edgar
Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens. --Carl Jung
For glory gives herself only to those who have always dreamed of her. --Charles de Gaulle
If a little dreaming is dangerous, the cure for it is not to dream less but to dream more, to dream all the time. --Marcel Proust
There is nothing like a dream to create the future. --Victor Hugo
and one of my favorites....
They say dreams are the windows of the soul--take a peek and you can see the inner workings, the nuts and bolts. --Henry Bromel
I am interested in others dreams and encourage people to share if they want, I am of the belief that not only can a person get a greater understanding
of thier own dreams by discussing them but we gain insights into our own soul by listening.
15 Dreaming Facts
Dream Central's Dream Analysis page