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7 Mind-Bending Facts About Dreams

Health & Wellness  (tags: AlternativeMed, Body-Mind-Spirit, Dreams, environment, exercise, food, healthcare, illness, humans, investigation, medicine, research, science, society, Sleep, study )

- 1949 days ago -
Why do some people have nightmares while others really spend their nights in bliss? Like sleep, dreams are mysterious phenomena. But as scientists are able to probe deeper into our minds, they are finding some of those answers. Here's some of what --->

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Kit B (276)
Friday January 18, 2013, 11:01 am
(Image/Photo Credit: Stockxpert)

Dream Scape

You are getting sleepy, very sleepy. When your head hits the pillow itís lights out for the brain and body, right? Not if you consider the brain cells that must fire to produce the sometimes vivid and sometimes downright haunted dreams that take place during the rapid-eye-movement stage of your sleep. Why do some people have nightmares while others really spend their nights in bliss? Like sleep, dreams are mysterious phenomena. But as scientists are able to probe deeper into our minds, they are finding some of those answers. Here's some of what we know about what goes on in dream land.

1) Dreams can take the edge off

Taking the edge off may require, not a stiff drink, but a trip to la-la land. UC Berkeley scientists report in the Nov. 23, 2011, issue of the journal Current Biology that during the dream phase of sleep (also called REM sleep), participants' brains showed decreased levels of certain chemicals associated with stress.

"We know that during REM sleep there is a sharp decrease in levels of norepinephrine, a brain chemical associated with stress," study researcher Matthew Walker, associate professor of psychology and neuroscience, said in a statement. "By reprocessing previous emotional experiences in this neuro-chemically safe environment of low norepinephrine during REM sleep, we wake up the next day, and those experiences have been softened in their emotional strength. We feel better about them, we feel we can cope."

The findings, Walker and colleagues say, may explain why people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), such as war veterans, have such a tough time recovering from painful experiences and suffer reoccurring nightmares. They also provide at least one explanation for why we dream. [Read full story] *Visit Site*

2) You can control your dreams

If you're interested in lucid dreaming, you may want to take up video gaming. Both represent alternate realities, according to Jayne Gackenbach, a psychologist at Grant MacEwan University in Canada. Of course they aren't completely the same. While video games are controlled by computers and gaming consoles, dreams arise from the human mind.

"If you're spending hours a day in a virtual reality, if nothing else it's practice," Gackenbach told LiveScience in 2010. "Gamers are used to controlling their game environments, so that can translate into dreams." Her past research has shown that people who frequently play video games are more likely than non-gamers to have lucid dreams where they view themselves from outside their bodies; they also were better able to influence their dream worlds, as if controlling a video-game character.

That level of control may also help gamers turn a bloodcurdling nightmare into a carefree dream, she found in a 2008 study. This bar of sorts against nightmares could help war veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after combat, Gackenbach reasons. [Read full story] *Visit Site*

3) Men dream about sex

No surprise here, men are more likely than women to dream about sex. And comparing notes in the morning may not be a turn on for either guys or gals, as women are more likely to have experienced nightmares, according to doctoral research reported in 2009 by psychologist Jennie Parker of the University of the West of England.

In her study of nearly 200 men and women, ages 18 to 25, Parker found that women's nightmares could be broadly divided into three categories: fearful dreams (being chased or life threatened), dreams involving the loss of a loved one, or confused dreams.

"If women are asked to report the most significant dream they ever had, they are more likely than men to report a very disturbing nightmare," Parker said. "Women reported more nightmares, and their nightmares were more emotionally intense than men's." [Read full story] *VISIT SITE*

This doesn't mean women have no fun in their dreams. A study presented in 2007 at a meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS) revealed that of about 3,500 home dream reports about 8 percent contain some form of sexual-related activity. The most common sexual dream involved sexual intercourse, followed by sexual propositions, kissing, fantasies and masturbation.

4) Dreams help us solve puzzles

Scientists have long wondered why we dream, with answers ranging from Sigmund Freud's idea that dreams fulfill our wishes to the speculation that these wistful journeys are just a side rapid-eye-movement, or REM, sleep. Turns out, at least part of the reason may be critical thinking, according to Harvard psychologist Deirdre Barrett who presented her theory in 2010 at the Association for Psychological Science meeting in Boston. She has found that our slumbering hours may help us solve puzzles that have plagued us during daylight hours.

According to Barrett, it's the visual and often illogical aspects of dreams that make them perfect for out-of-the-box thinking that is necessary to solve some problems.

"Whatever the state we're put in, we're still working on the same problems," Barrett said, adding that while dreams may have original evolved for another purpose, they have likely been refined over time for multiple tasks, including helping the brain reboot and helping us solve problems. [Read full story] *VISIT SITE*

5) Night owls have more nightmares

Staying up late has its perks (as long as you can hit the snooze button the next morning), but light dreams is not one of them. Research published in 2011 in the journal Sleep and Biological Rhythms, revealed that night owls are more likely than their early-bird counterparts to experience nightmares.

In the study 264 university students rated how often they experienced nightmares on a scale from "0," (meaning "never") to "4" (meaning "always"). The stay-up-late types scored, on average, a 2.10, compared with the morning types who averaged a 1.23. The researchers said the difference was a significant one, however, they arenít sure what's causing a link between sleep habits and nightmares. Among their ideas is the stress hormone cortisol, which peaks in the morning right before we wake up, a time when people are more prone to be in REM, or dream, sleep. If youíre still sleeping at that time, the cortisol rise could trigger vivid dreams or nightmares, the researchers speculate. [Read full story] *VISIT SITE*

6) Violent dreams can be warning sign

As if nightmares weren't bad enough, a rare sleep disorder causes people to act out their dreams, sometimes with violent thrashes, kicks and screams. Such violent dreams may be an early sign of brain disorders down the line, including Parkinson's disease and dementia, according to research published online July 28, 2010, in the journal Neurology. The results suggest the incipient stages of these neurodegenerative disorders might begin decades before a person, or doctor, knows it. [Read full story] * Visit Site*

7) Dreams are meaningful

If you dream about winning the lottery or having an accident, should you prepare? If you answered "yes," youíre not alone, according to a study published in the February 2009 issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. The researchers ran six experiments, finding that not only do we put stock in our dreams, we also judge dreams that fit with our own beliefs as more meaningful than ones that go against the grain.

"Psychologists' interpretations of the meaning of dreams vary widely," study researcher Carey Morewedge, an assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon University, said in a statement. "But our research shows that people believe their dreams provide meaningful insight into themselves and their world."

In one study, 182 commuters in Boston imagined one of four scenarios had happened the night before a scheduled trip: national threat level was raised to orange; they consciously thought about their plane crashing; they dreamed about a plane crash; or a real plane crash occurred on the route they planned to take. Results showed a plane-crash dream was more likely to affect travel plans than either thinking about a crash or a government warning, while the crash dream also produced a similar level of anxiety as did an actual crash.

In another study, 270 men and women completed an online survey in which they were asked to remember a past dream they had about a person they knew. People ascribed more importance to pleasant dreams about a person they liked than they did a person they didn't like. And they were more likely to report a negative dream as more meaningful if it was about a person they disliked than one about a friend.
*****More information at Visit Site***

By: Jeanna Bryner, LiveScience Managing Editor | Live Science |

Sheryl G (363)
Friday January 18, 2013, 3:06 pm
Thankfully Dreamtime tends to be a good time for me. Sweet Dreams everyone.

pam w (139)
Friday January 18, 2013, 5:16 pm
That was fun! I recently had a dream in which I saw a friend who died over 25 years ago. I said to him..."You have no idea how much I"ve missed you!" And he smiled. I saw him MUCH more clearly than I can call up his face right now...I thought of it as a little gift my brain gave me.

marie C (163)
Friday January 18, 2013, 5:48 pm
That i a great gift Pam.
I have had similar experiences and always wake with a smile

pam w (139)
Friday January 18, 2013, 8:05 pm
(His hair was longer, too! Funny.....)

Ness F (211)
Friday January 18, 2013, 8:20 pm
Great article, Thanks Kit.

paul m (93)
Saturday January 19, 2013, 5:54 am

Dosen't work ,,,,I dream of winning the lottery ,,,,!!

Past Member (0)
Saturday January 19, 2013, 6:52 am
Interesting article, thanks.

Ro H (0)
Saturday January 19, 2013, 6:53 am

Pat B (356)
Saturday January 19, 2013, 7:24 am
Very interesting article. Thank you, Kit for this. I usually have good dreams, and wake up feeling pretty good.

Kit B (276)
Saturday January 19, 2013, 9:04 am

I rarely remember my dreams, maybe that's why I found this article so interesting.

marlene barrett (6)
Saturday January 19, 2013, 12:42 pm

M B (62)
Saturday January 19, 2013, 1:40 pm
I dream every night, and most of it I do remember in details.

Past Member (0)
Saturday January 19, 2013, 1:53 pm
Thanks Kit. I have always paid a lot of attention to my dreams. I often ask to dream the solution to a problem I am having and most of the time I get successful results. I have kept a journal of my dreams for years and it has been very helpful in many ways.

Sheila D (28)
Saturday January 19, 2013, 3:09 pm
Interesting article. Thanks Kit.

Arthur S (88)
Saturday January 19, 2013, 3:25 pm
Thank you so much Kit. This is a keeper.

Theodore Shayne (56)
Saturday January 19, 2013, 4:56 pm
Are we the dreamer or the dreamed; or perhaps both?

Past Member (0)
Saturday January 19, 2013, 7:07 pm
I donít have dreams. I used to hear that was a sign of insanity. Not that Iíve reconciled myself to that fact, itís become quite liberating.

Nighty nite :)

Past Member (0)
Saturday January 19, 2013, 7:13 pm
I must be half asleep. That should read, 'Now' that I've reconciled myself.....

Marianne B (107)
Saturday January 19, 2013, 8:14 pm
When I worked as a CNA with 6 patients a day, it over rided into my sleep time. When i dreampt, I was still bathing them in their hospital beds. Woke up tired! And I also worried about them daily. The one dream I really hate, is when I dream about my abusive, controlling ex-husband. Maybe I still have issues with that (after being divorced 21 years, and married to him for 26 years.) I live with my eldest daughter, and when he calls to talk to her, I still cringe at the sound of his voice. thanks for letting me get it off my chest.

Billie C (2)
Saturday January 19, 2013, 10:25 pm
i'm a night owl and never have bad dreams. i sleep great. of course i don't try to get up early in the morning either. noon is a great time for getting out of bed.
great article.

pam w (139)
Saturday January 19, 2013, 11:41 pm
By the way....anyone who ever read "Tales of Power" or anything by Carlos Casteneda knows it's possible to control your dreams! One of the books included an exercise in which Don Juan taught Carlos how to give himself an instruction just before going to sleep.

The idea is to tell your brain that, at some point, you'll consciously look down at your hands, pick them up and turn them over.

And you're to remember it in the morning!

Amazingly, after about a week, I was able to do this....and you could, too!

Give it a try...see what happens.

reft h (66)
Sunday January 20, 2013, 12:55 am
I'm a night owl and I rarely have nightmares when I am able to live according to my night owl inclinations. When I do have nightmares, it is when I have to force myself into living the early bird lifestyle. thus, I tend to have nightmares on work nights, no nightmares on weekends or vacation.

Past Member (0)
Sunday January 20, 2013, 2:00 am
A very interesting topic ,Thanks.

Patricia H. (440)
Sunday January 20, 2013, 2:29 am
interesting, noted

Julie W (32)
Sunday January 20, 2013, 3:03 am
I have learned a lot about myself through analysing my dreams. Dreams are metaphors, not to be taken literally. I used to have disturbing dreams, but now I am older they are usually pleasant - but still puzzling at times.

paul m (93)
Sunday January 20, 2013, 4:32 am


Past Member (0)
Sunday January 20, 2013, 5:53 am
Dream is essential for all

g d c (0)
Sunday January 20, 2013, 9:35 am

. (0)
Sunday January 20, 2013, 10:01 am
Interesting article-thanks

Aaron Bouchard (158)
Sunday January 20, 2013, 3:46 pm
Noted thanks

greenplanet e (155)
Sunday January 20, 2013, 4:08 pm

Mitchell D (87)
Sunday January 20, 2013, 6:27 pm
But, the fact that people ascribe meanings to their dreams, does not mean that the dreams actually have meaning. People ascribe meaning to all sorts of things, in error. If you dream of winning the lottery, as per the article, and then prepare for it, you may be in for a real downer.
REM sleep has been found to be the process by which our brains handle, and file away, the experiences we've had recently, so that there will be ample space in our processing center, as it were, to deal with what comes along each next day. Experiments have clearly found that depriving someone of REM sleep will create psychosis.
As we process what has been going on, and what has been on our minds, the brain does indeed come up with some novel solutions to issues. The benzine ring was famously hit upon in a dream, by a chemist who had been stumped in his attempts to figure it out: he dreamt, one night, of a snake bitting its own tail.
EMDR, is s process of treating people with STSD, and has been found highly effective, which makes me question the section about dreaming making it more difficult for people to recover from PTSD.
EMDR uses the REM process to help people to Desensitize and Re-process (or actually process for the first time) flashbacks, and the like, related to trauma.

Mitchell D (87)
Sunday January 20, 2013, 6:30 pm
P.S. Pam, I hate to say this, but Carlos Casteneda has admitted that he made the whole thing up. And, believe me, back in the day I was a big fan of his!

pam w (139)
Sunday January 20, 2013, 7:30 pm
Yes, Mitchell....sadly, I've heard that he made it all up! Even "in the day" I was a fan who doubted!

HOWEVER......some of the stuff he talked about is still true!

Do this for yourself (if not for me)...every night for a week, as you lie in bed, about to fall asleep.....promise yourself that you'll notice your hands in a dream!

You'll look down....see the hands.....turn them over, as a symbol to yourself that you've actually seen them.

This is just for prove to yourself that you CAN, in fact, CONTROL a dream!

pam w (139)
Sunday January 20, 2013, 7:36 pm
(Cut myself off too soon) Mitchell said "the fact that people ascribe meanings to their dreams, does not mean that the dreams actually have meaning"

+++++++++++ And yet, look at my first comment, up above. I "saw" my friend Sherman....I loved him and have missed him but hadn't thought of him in a long time. He popped up in my dream....sitting at a table at a party! WHAT FUN! My brain gave me a little gift....there he was....looking well and very happy!

You can't say that it had no was, as John Lennon would've said...."a giggle."

Patricia N (9)
Monday January 21, 2013, 2:45 am
I'm a night owl now in retirement but do not have many nightmares. However, my daughter is a night owl and has many nightmares and many strange dreams. Her dreams are so far out that I've told her to write them down and then make short stories from them.

Ro H (0)
Monday January 21, 2013, 6:24 am

S S (0)
Monday January 21, 2013, 11:35 am
Thank you.

Lindsay Kemp (6)
Tuesday January 22, 2013, 9:40 am
Very interesting, thanks

Lois Jordan (63)
Thursday January 24, 2013, 6:20 pm
Noted. Interesting, thanks, Kit. My dreams have changed much over these many decades. I can even remember some dreams from childhood. When people tell me they don't dream, or don't remember their dreams, I find it hard to relate to. There are exercises you can do to remember better. Also, if there's something you want to change or improve in your life, if you repeat a few words to yourself upon falling asleep regarding this, supposedly it will help you attain the goal.

Judith Hand (55)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 8:38 am
A lot of good material, thanks.

Carol S. (1)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 3:06 pm
How interesting! The mind is such a fascinating organ that we still know so little about.

MmAway M (505)
Tuesday January 29, 2013, 10:00 pm
Interesting, thank you Kit!
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