Facts about DREAMS

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To quote Henry David Thoreau, ‘œ…dreams are the touchstones of our characters.’10  Images, thoughts, audio, and emotions experienced during sleep are normally expressed as dreams. Everyone dreams. The value of dreams to one’s emotional, mental, and physical well-being is still in a research state although there are thoughts that dreams help us cope with the stress and trauma of everyday life.  Inconclusive debates on the interpretation of dreams abound, but currently, it is still lingering within the twilight zone of physiology and psychoanalysis.

Fact 1. There are five stages of sleep known as stages 1, 2, 3, 4, and REM (Rapid Eye Movement). During the REM stage, the body is temporarily paralyzed, and the eye movements are rapid. This is the stage when dreaming normally occurs.

Fact 2.   If temporary paralysis does not happen, it can result in a disorder called REM Sleep Behaviour Disorder. A person will then act out the dreams he or she is having which can be quite dangerous towards one’s self or to persons around them.

Fact 3.  There is a causal relationship between REM Sleep Disorder and neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, and the time for development can range from 12-13 years from the onset of the REM Sleep Disorder.

Fact 4.  Most often dreams slowly fade away from the time one awakens. To remember dreams, one has to record them immediately upon waking up.  The other alternative, albeit an impractical method, will be to wake up during a REM stage of sleep, as during this stage dreams can be recalled vividly.

Fact 5.  The reason dreams are easily forgotten is because the frontal lobes of the brain for memory functions are inactive during REM sleep.

Fact 6.   Based on the concept of qualia, those who are congenitally blind and have not seen images will have dreams that are sans images based with audio, sense, touch, hearing, and smell present. Those who become blind later in life will have a pre-conceived idea of the images, and the dreams will contain images.

Fact 7. Similarly, those who are completely color blind or having total color vision deficiencies experience dreams in shades of white, black, and grey.
Fact 8. All mammals and birds have dreams just like humans as they exhibit the REM sleep stage signs.

Fact 9. Children aged three to six are more prone to nightmares than adults, which could be due to the innumerable challenges young children cope with. Genetics and medication are other attributing factors.

Fact 10.  Lucid dreaming is a state of dreaming where one is aware and able to control the outcome of the dream. This state occurs at the stage between the REM stage of sleep and waking.

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