Dreams are pictures, sounds and feelings that happen during sleep. In the course of history people have had many explanations for dreams. In ancient Greece dreaming was thought to be a kind of contact with the gods. Sometimes they were regarded as signs of what may happen in the future.
Theories of Dreaming
Over the past many dream theories have emerged. The most famous expert on dreaming was Sigmund Freud, an Austrian doctor . At the end of the 19th century he found out that a part of our brain is the subconscious . Our mind keeps everything that we might want but cannot have there. It is a place where we keep our desires and wishes . In dreams we act out these wishes.
Dreams and Sleep
Our sleep is divided into five stages. In the first stage we do not sleep very deeply and we wake up easily. During the following stages our sleep gets deeper and deeper. After the fourth stage REM ( Rapid Eye Movement) sleep begins. During this phase our heart rate and breathing gets faster . Blood pressure goes up and the brain starts to work but the body does not . That is why we don’t act out our dreams because the body is inactive.
Most dreaming occurs in this phase. There can be up to seven such REM phases in one night .
What happens in dreams
Dreaming is an activity of the brain. It produces electrical waves which can be measured with an electroencephalograph . Dreams occur when brain waves are especially fast.
Everyone dreams. If you think that you never dream, you are wrong . Most of the time we cannot remember our dreams. Theorists say that we dream mostly about the thoughts and wishes that we repress . Others say that if dreaming is not so intense it is difficult to remember them anyway. Another reason may be that dreams are never the same , they have to be repeated in order for us to remember them.
Most people cannot control their dreams , they just happen. Very few people experience lucid dreaming. They can control what happens in their dreaming while they are asleep.
Even blind people dream. They may see images of events that they have experienced before they became blind. On the other hand a person who was born blind does not see pictures in dreams, but they can hear, smell and taste in them.
People often have the same dreams over and over again. They may be events in your life that have caused problems which you have not solved yet. Nightmares are dreams that are so terrible that you usually wake up. There is medical treatment for nightmares . You can go to a therapists who tries to find out why you have nightmares and how to deal with them.
Some experts think that dreams are full of symbolic messages that mean something which is deep inside us. Here are a few popular dreams and how you could interpret them:
- Being naked in public
In a dream we sometimes realize that we are completely naked. This may mean that there is something to hide.
Almost everyone has experienced falling from a place high up. Then suddenly they wake up. This may mean that something is out of control and you cannot stop it. It also may mean that you have failed in something that you have done, like your work or at school.
- Being chased
Many people dream of someone chasing them, a very frightening dream. It symbolizes running away from problems that you may have.
Flying dreams often mean that you are in control of things. You are very strong-willed and can observe everything . It is often a symbol of having success.
Downloadable PDF Text- and Worksheets
- Experiments Suggest Two-Phase Sleep is Natural
- Are There Hidden Truths in Dreams?
- Scientists May Have Found a Way of Recording Dreams
- People Spend Half the Day Daydreaming
- Scientists May Have Found a Way of Recording Dreams
- Why Humans Need Less Sleep Than Other Animals
- act out = to show your feelings through actions
- ancient = old
- blood pressure = the power with which blood travels through your body
- brain = the organ inside your head that controls how we move, feel and think
- cause = lead to
- chase = to run after someone
- course of history = as time goes on, through the ages
- deal = manage , live with
- desire = what we want badly
- divide = separate
- electroencephalograph = machine that records the electrical activity of your brain
- emerge = come up
- experience = feel, go through
- explanation = to find out why something happens
- fail = to be unsuccessful, not to pass
- frightening = terrible, horrible
- heart rate = the number of time’s a person’s heart beats every minute
- image = picture
- inactive = something does not move or work
- increase = to go up
- intense = strong
- lucid = clear
- measure = to find out how big or how fast something is
- message = meaning
- movement = the action of moving
- naked = without any clothes on
- occur = happen
- out of control = a situation that you cannot change
- popular = well-known
- rapid = fast
- realize = understand
- regard = to look at as ...
- relax = rest
- repeat = to happen over and over again
- repress = if you do not allow yourself to think about something; to hold something back
- rhythmic = regular
- sign = symbol, signal
- slow down = to become weaker
- solve = explain, answer, work out
- stage = phase, part
- strong-willed = you really want to do something that you have planned
- subconscious = the part of your mind that has thoughts and feelings that you do not know about
- success = when you achieve what you really wanted or have planned
- suddenly = unexpectedly, abruptly
- therapist = someone who is trained to help you if your body or mind is in a bad situation
- treatment = cure