Welcome to the wild and wacky world of dreams; a very different place from reality. Dreams are a series of thoughts, images and sensations occurring in a person?s mind during sleep. Some say the things you dream about could have some sort of meaning or message about what happens in your waking life. Could this be true?
Firstly, the process your body goes through while you are asleep should be understood. This is known as The Sleep Cycle.
The Sleep Cycle
There are four main stages of the sleep cycle.
Stage 1: The first stage of the sleep cycle is the stage when you are not yet quite asleep, but you are beginning to drift off, or fade away. You may feel like you are floating; half aware and half unconscious while pictures might begin to enter your mind. Your muscles, blood pressure and temperature relax and drop slightly. This stage usually lasts for around ten minutes and is the stage of light sleep when your body is preparing to enter into a deep sleep.
Stage 2: In this stage you are fully asleep. Your growth hormones begin to work their magic and your body's immune system starts to repair any damage. Your muscles start to become more relaxed while blood is sent to them to be reconditioned and strengthened.
Stage 3: In this stage, you are in an even deeper sleep than you were before. By now your energy levels and body temperature is really low. Your body is preparing to enter the deepest stage of dreaming.
Stage 4: This is the deepest stage of sleep when most of your dreams occur. If you are woken up before one of your dreams is finished it's more likely you'll remember what happened. Your blood pressure and heart rate speed up while your brain activity intensifies. In this stage nightmares or vivid fantasies are most likely to occur.
The four stages in this cycle continue throughout the night and last for about 90 minutes.
Psychologists wonder if dreams have some sort of symbolic meaning or message behind them. Below are some common dreams and what they believe each one may mean or represent.
Flying: Have you ever had an incredible, exhilarating dream of soaring through the sky? This might happen after you've conquered something or escaped from something in your waking life. It can show that you're on top or in control of a situation and have finally reached your desired freedom.
Death: By what most psychologists say having a dream when you die isn't such a bad thing. It can symbolize a positive change in your life like ending something or leaving your past behind and starting over with something new.
Chased: Chasing dreams are dreams I myself often have. They are dreams when you dream that an attacker or pursuer (often a monster) is chasing after you. Psychologists believe these dreams mean there's something you're running away from or not facing up to in your waking life.
Naked: Having a dream when you are standing naked in a public setting is something psychologists believe could mean you are feeling vulnerable or exposed about something in your waking life. Maybe it resembles a feeling of insecurity, embarrassment or means that you are hiding a secret you hope won't be exposed, and are in fear of being ridiculed if people find out.
Falling: Dreaming that you are free-falling through the air can mean that in your waking life you may be falling out of control or have little support with a problem. You may be feeling overwhelmed or not in control with a particular situation and feel that there is no solution or it's heading in the wrong direction.
The Dreams of Children: Young children are more prone to having nightmares than adults and teenagers due to the fact that they are more constantly exposed to new images, smells, sounds, sensations, feelings and emotions. Children have more trouble distinguishing the difference between something that happens in a dream and something that happens in waking life. Unlike adults and teenagers it's said that the dreams of children do not relate or have meaning to what happens in waking life.
How Much Sleep: Not getting the required amount of sleep each night can lead to moodiness or anxiety. People who lack sleep are more likely to get depression. The amount of sleep you need varies with different people. On average people aged 10-17 need around eight to nine hours of sleep. For adults the amount is roughly between seven to nine hours and for young children it can range from twelve to sixteen hours. It's said that girls may need an extra hour or two compared to boys.
Color or Black and White: Researchers say that most dreams are in color or have colors in them. However after waking up it could be hard to remember if a dream was in color. Duller shaded dreams may also represent the mood the person is in during their dream.
I Don't Dream: Yes, you do dream. On average each night you will dream about seven times. A quarter of the time you spend sleeping is spent sleeping. The reason you may not think you have dreams is because you don't remember them at all.
Unless you are interrupted or woken up in between, a lot of the dreams you have will not be remembered in the morning. However, there are some things you can do to help with easier dream recall.
- Keep a notebook and pen/pencil by your bed.
- In the middle of the night if you wake after having a dream, write it down. It will be harder to remember in the morning.
- If you only remember tiny bits and pieces of what happens in your dreams write them down anyway. Maybe later on you'll remember more.
- Before falling asleep, tell yourself you want to remember your dreams.
- You could try drawing out people or places you visit in your dreams.
- Write down all the dreams you remember, even the ones that may not seem interesting.
Remembering and understanding dreams is the first step to figuring out what they may symbolize. Do you believe that what psychologists think may be true; dreams can have meaning and relate to somebody's waking life? What are some of the strangest, funniest or most interesting dreams you've had?
Author's Note: Explore and learn more about the world of dreams by going to:
Discover what dreams could really mean by going to:
To find out what your dreams may mean try searching through an online dream dictionary like: