June 26, 2012
How often do you remember your dreams? Why do we dream? Why can’t we remember our dreams? Have you ever had these questions? A lot of the questions deal with the basics of sleep. Here at intelliBED we are perfecting the science of sleep and these questions are some of the most asked questions we see online.
First of all dreams are successions of images, ideas, emotions, and sensations that happen involuntarily in the mind during sleep. The reason why we dream or what we dream about continues to baffle most researchers. The scientific study of dreams is called oneirology. What we have learned about dreaming is that we dream during the rapid-eye movement otherwise called REM, stage of sleep. The REM stage of sleep is the most similar to being awake. The brain activity is high like the person sleeping is awake. Scientists have defined REM sleep as a continuous movement of the eyes during sleep. Dreams do happen in other stages of sleep however as well but most of the time these dreams are hard to remember. In fact most dreams are forgotten after the dreamer has been awake for 5 minutes.” According to Jim Pagel, MD, Director of the Sleep Disorders Center of Southern Colorado,“If dreaming has an actual function, it really supports why we spend a third of our lives sleeping.”
We dream a lot, you just don’t remember all of your dreams. The average person dreams three to five times a night according to the national sleep foundation. Some people even dream more than that. If you sleep eight hours in a night you will dream for about two hours. That equals out to 730 hours a year that we spend dreaming. This doesn’t count all of the day dreaming we do during the day. A “Nightmare” is a scary dream that can cause a strong negative emotional response from the dreamer, typically fear, but also despair, anxiety and great sadness. The dream may contain situations of danger, discomfort, psychological or physical terror according to WebMD. After a true nightmare usually the dream is unable to return to sleep for a prolonged period of time.
Most people don’t know that humans are not alone in dreaming. While animals sleep they experience dreams as well. The amount of REM sleep that the animal gets directly effects the amount of dreaming we do. This is the same with animals. Dolphins don’t dream a lot because the get the least amount of REM sleep of any animal. The most “DREAMY” animal then would have to be the armadillo that experiences the most REM sleep.