Dreams

Understanding Your Dreams: An Intro Guide

in Mental Health by

Understanding and even remembering your dreams can be a difficult undertaking. How do you visualize and replay the images and what do they mean? Is there a hidden underlying meaning? Most of us can’t even remember a single dream, much less interpret them. Waking up in distress lying in a pool of sweat is an all too common occurrence for most. There are techniques to remembering dreams and being able to understand what they mean. The following will touch base on the study of why we dream, and how to interpret their meaning.

Dreams

Image Credits

The Sleep Cycle

During a typical sleep cycle the brain tends to increase and decrease in activity. It usually takes about an hour give or take 30 minutes to begin a dream state. Throughout the bodies sleep cycle it will enter into REM sleep or Random Eye Movement sleep several times over. This state of sleep is exactly as it sounds, your eyes begin to flutter back and forth horizontally. This is a deep stage of sleep when the rest of the body is completely immobile. Strangely enough, your heart rate tends to increase along with your blood pressure. Dreams take place during your REM sleep, and account for about 20% of your sleep time or about 90 minutes of dreaming.

REM Sleep

When your brain goes into an REM state of sleep it restricts the presence of Noradrenaline and Serotonin which control its ability to carry out tasks and store information. This is also why it is hard to always remember dreams even right after we wake up. Because of this tendency many people have devised ways of recording thoughts in a journal immediately after awaking, and even setting an alarm to forcefully wake in the middle of the night. The second you awake start recording what you’re thinking about and maybe even what you remember from your dream. Just a little practice this enough that you begin to naturally remember your dreams.

Lucid Dreaming

Another useful tool is a form of dreaming called lucid dreaming. This is achieved when the mind is in a fully active state but the body is asleep. During a lucid dream, the person has more control of the flow of events in the dream and can manipulate what happens. Most of this dreaming takes place during your waking or pre-waking hours and will involve current problems or threats that the person may be dealing with in real life. This conditions the brains neural patterns to deal with the problem before it happens and in essence wire itself to process a solution or result. Some athletes can utilize this as a part of training and, when you think about it, any type of athletic move starts with the brain and the muscle memory it creates.

Understanding your dreams is important because it is how your brain processes information and deals with problems. Being able to understand why you are having a recurring dream or why they may be dreams that scare you. Dreaming taps into your subconscious mind that contains information you don’t understand about yourself on a conscious level. Being able to interpret what your subconscious mind is telling you can be a great advantage to your insight and wisdom. Humans are thinkers and socialites and being able to fully grasp the mind and all of its potential is evolution at the finest level.

This article was written by Nick Quinlan from the content development team at Saatva. Nick is an experienced writer with a keen attention to detail.