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Dreams Fascinate and Mystify

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“Since Freud helped draw attention to the potential importance of dreams in the late 19th Century, lots research has worked to unravel both the neuroscience and psychology of dreams, Jung said dreams bridge the conscious and unconscious, and remain an utter mystery”–Paul Ebeling

Everyone dreams, the content of those dreams and their effect on sleep vary from person to person, there is no simple explanation for the meaning and purpose of dreams.

The Big Q” What is a dream?

The Big A: Dreams are images, thoughts, or feelings that occur during sleep. Visual imagery is the most common, but dreams can involve all of the senses. Some people dream in color while others dream in black and white, and people who are blind tend to have more dream components related to sound, taste, and smell.

Experts in the fields of neuroscience and psychology continue to conduct experiments to discover what is happening in the brain during sleep, but even with ongoing research, it may be impossible to conclusively prove any theory for why we dream.

Dreams are the most prolific and intense during the rapid eye movement (REM) stage.

During the REM sleep stage, brain activity ramps up considerably compared to the non-REM stages, which helps explain the distinct types of dreaming during these stages. Dreams during REM sleep are typically more vivid, fantastical, and/or bizarre. By contrast, non-REM dreams tend to involve more coherent content that involves thoughts or memories grounded to a specific time and place.

REM sleep is not distributed evenly through the night. The majority of REM sleep happens during 2-H of a normal sleep period, which means that dreaming tends to be concentrated in the hours before waking up.

Virtually all experts acknowledge that dreams can involve content that ties back to waking experiences although the content may be changed or misrepresented.

The meaning of real-life details appearing in dreams is far from settled. The “continuity hypothesis” in dream research holds that dreams and waking life are intertwined with one another and thus involve overlapping themes and content. The “discontinuity hypothesis,” on the other hand, sees thinking during dreams and wakefulness as structurally distinct.

While analysis of dreams may be a component of personal or psychological self-reflection, it is hard to state, based on the existing evidence, that there is a definitive method for interpreting and understanding the meaning of dreams in waking, everyday life.

Lucid dreams occur when a person is in a dream while being actively aware that they are dreaming. 

Vivid dreams involve especially realistic or clear dream content.

Bad dreams are composed of bothersome or distressing content. Recurring dreams involve the same imagery repeating in multiple dreams over time.

A nightmare is a bad dream that causes a person to wake up from sleep. This definition is distinct from common usage that may refer to any threatening, scary, or bothersome dream as a nightmare.

Have a happy weekend, Keep the Faith!

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Paul A. Ebeling, a polymath, excels, in diverse fields of knowledge Including Pattern Recognition Analysis in Equities, Commodities and Foreign Exchange, and he is the author of "The Red Roadmaster's Technical Report on the US Major Market Indices, a highly regarded, weekly financial market commentary. He is a philosopher, issuing insights on a wide range of subjects to over a million cohorts. An international audience of opinion makers, business leaders, and global organizations recognize Ebeling as an expert.