How many times have you wake up from extremely vivid dream, being unsure, whether it was a dream or reality?
Our mind can create wide variety of images and stories, when we sleep. It could be a story with your beloved one, your school friend, the episode from the childhood, some dangerous situations, sexual experiences, a dead person etc.
Maybe most of us know this horrible nightmare, when you try to run faster from danger, but you can’t. Sometimes dreams are so realistic that you may even feel the taste and smell, related to the sleep.
Some dreams have a close link with your past day and recent events, while others look like symbols and don’t have any correlations with your daily routine.
So why do we actually see the dreams? And why some of them are more vivid than others?
There are different concepts and hypotheses to answer these questions.
Sigmund Freud thought that our dreams represent an expression of our subconscious, which we repress, when are awake.
Carl Jung had a theory that dreams are “lost” parts of our soul, required to be reintegrated.
By the way, psychoanalysts and neuroscientists have absolutely different approaches to analyze dreams. Psychoanalysis focuses on the main meaning of your dream. Neuroscience, in turn, tries to understand, which brain structures are involved into the process of dream generation.
Medical experts say that in general there are five phases in a sleep cycle.
During the first stage (light sleep) your eye movements and muscle activity slow down. Then eyes stop to move, and brain signals become slow, with rare sleep spindles (occasions of rapid waves). This is a second phase.
In the third phase, slow delta waves, sent by the brain, alter with smaller and faster waves. When you run into the fourth phase, your brain creates delta waves once in a while. It’s extremely difficult to awaken those, who are in the third or fourth stages of sleep, as they were recognized as periods of deep sleep.
The fifth phase is characterized by rapid eyes jerks, increase of the heart rate and blood pressure. Specialist call this stage REM – rapid eye movements.
According to the studies, we usually see dreams during this last stage, when our brain becomes more active.
During the night, a person normally experience three or four REM periods. And even if you don’t remember your dream, it doesn’t mean that you didn’t have it. The truth is that we see the dreams every night, but in more than 90% of cases we forget them within five minutes.
If you are constantly sleep-deprived, you may miss out some REM phases. As a result, pressure for the next REM stage gets increased, giving you more vivid dreams.
It was also found that medications may also influence on your dreams. It’s not only about antidepressants and narcotics, which change levels of neurotransmitters, but also about certain blood pressure drugs. Alcohol can be responsible for vivid dreams and nightmares too.
Sometimes extremely realistic, frightening dreams may occur as a result of depression and anxiety disorder.
In fact, our dreams reflect the state of our soul, showing us hidden thoughts, memories and desires. So it may be interesting for you to analyze your dream.