1. Dreams, being “wibbly- wobbly”, “bumpy-wimpy stuff” in our craniums,  has always been an interesting topic for scientists, philosophers, and every other human. There are so many routes that no one gets tired pondering about it. Are our brains trying to tell us something or trying to organize the information it has, or none of it has any sense to it what so ever?  

      To even start to investigate dreams, we need to know how sleep works. As soon as the lights go off and the head hits the hay; the brain starts giving off theta waves; thus starting stage one of the five stages of  sleep. In this state, the body and mind are relaxing but not sleeping yet. After ten- fifteen minutes is the second stage, it lasts for twenty minutes in which the temperature and heart rate decrease. The third stage submerges with the fourth stage. During these stages the brain gives out delta waves. This is where deep sleep occurs, and the body truly gets rest. It’s not a line that progresses, it’s a cycle from one to two then three, four, back to three, two, and after the Non- REM cycle comes the REM in which we dream. On average we enter REM sleep after the first ninety minutes.

      Now moving on to the actual topic of dreams. What are those little crazy movies going on in our heads when we are trying to get some rest in our busy lives? A dream can be images, thoughts and/or emotions that are experienced during sleep. They can be anywhere on the scale of vividness or vagueness; any range of emotions. 

      Some like Ernest Hoffman, director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Newton Wellesley Hospital in Boston, Mass.,  think “a possible function” could be to knit “new material into the memory system” of our brains, which are constantly looking for way to organize the mess in our craniums and can help us “cope with stressful events”.

      The psychoanalytic community, Sigmund Freud’s followers, believe that dreams are a portrayal of the unconscious desires, thoughts, and motivations. In his book The Interpretation of Dreams,  Freud described the two different basics of dreams: manifest and latent content. Manifest content is made up of the actual images, thoughts and content contained within the dream; the latent content, on the other hand, represents the hidden psychological meaning of the dream.            

      Then there’s the activation-synthesis theory, introduced by J. Allan Hobson and Robert McClarley in 1977, which proposes areas of the limbic system, which run the emotions, sensations, and memories, that become active. This makes the brain think it needs to find a meaning to the signals, thus projecting a movie using the insides of our eyelids as the screen. While this theory says that dreams are signals coming from parts of our brain, it doesn’t mean our dreams are meaningless. In fact, even Hobson thought that dreams aren’t a waste of time.

      G. William Domhoff, a dream researcher, believes that dreams mirror the thoughts and concerns of our waking life. 

      Carl Jung thought that dreams were a combination of experiences of our waking life and unconscious yearnings.

      Who knows? Maybe dreams are a batter of all these ingredients and it bakes in the oven of our minds; the hardness controlled by our luck and experiences. 

      Our experiences definitely do shape our desires and dreams and our personalities which are shown in dreams more than we may think; and our emotions are more channeled than we may like. Many remember what they felt, as opposed to what they actually dreamt about. That’s also why people can be a little jumpy or cautious during the rest of their day. Sometimes dreams become so intense that it can wake us up, like many nightmares. The three emotions that get intensified by dreams are anxiety, fear, and surprise.

    Now you say, “But i don’t dream. Why don’t I dream?” Scientists say, “Hush child, everyone dreams.” Well, they might not say exactly that but close enough. It is true everyone does dream, four to six dreams a night actually. It’s just that some don’t remember them as well as others; along with the fact that we forget ninety- five percent of our dreams in the first few minutes of waking up. It’s sad really, but scientists are working on ways to get into our dreams more every day and even record them!

      It’s safe to say that everyone has had their fair share of bizarre dreams, but no one has any idea how their brain could pull it off. Well, it’s troubling to know that no one knows for sure, but scientists are moving forward, finding out the mystery by sleep studies and technology that tracks your sleep. In the meanwhile, we can try to solve it by ourselves or just enjoy the cake…or throw it away.
    By: Hooria Eva Tariq
    Check out her blogs!
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