What are dreams?

Sleep is actually an altered state of consciousness, and has been for centuries the subject of speculation. Scientists and philosophers for hundreds of years to break all the main questions about the purpose of sleep, what happens in the brains during sleep, and what is causing sleep. Sleep Clinics around the world have discovered that sleep is one of the most common health problems are.

With the development of the elekto - encefalogram or EEC in 1952 researchers reached a breakthrough in sleep research. The EEC's showed that the brains of sleep during periods of activity that are as intense as if the owner is awake. That meant that the theory that sleeping brains just resting, not true. By the EEC's researchers discovered the relationship between brain activity, rapid eye movements, now known as REM (rapid eye movement) and dreams. They saw that took place during an REM dream sleep, but not during non-dreaming or slow wave - sleep

The rhythms and cycles of our brain waves change during the stages of our sleep. Scientists have rhythm alpha and beta and delta, after the letters of the Greek alphabet. The beta rhythm is the rhythm of brain waves in that part of our brains that decision when we awake. The alpha rhythm is a slower more receptive rhythm, and delta is the slowest cycle that occurs in deep sleep or anesthesia.
What Types of Dreams Are There?

When it comes to assessing dream pictures, it is important to realize what type of dreams you may be having.

The first type of dream state is daydreaming. In this state, you have dream pictures but you are still conscious. Studies show that the average person actually dreams between one and two hours a day.

The same goes for lucid dreaming, where you try to summon up a way of dreaming on purpose. The dream pictures that you see when you practice lucid dreaming contain the promise of solutions to problems you might be having in life. Become a proactive participant in your dreams, make decisions in their dreams, and influence the dream's outcome without awakening.

Nightmares are those dreams where the dream pictures summoned up are not so pleasant. Everyone has those every now and then. They are not necessarily prophetic all they can be. Research shows that most people who have nightmares have had a family history of psychiatric problems and bad drug experiences. They are also common in abuse victims and in people who have contemplated suicide. Nightmares are an indication of a fear that needs to be acknowledged and confronted.

Recurring dreams can be classified as the situation where you keep having recurring dream pictures. The same image keeps cropping up again and again. This type of dream is usually summoned up by a deep fear or a neurosis. A recurring dream could also be a sign you are sick physically. Your body may be trying to tell you something. People who are obsessed with the past or a lover may also be vulnerable to a recurring dream.

Dream pictures also appear in healing dreams. In healing dreams, you may be actually shown what your problem is physically. You may see an image of an injured part of the body or even a medicine that would be a solution to your problem. Sometimes just even being a revealed a picture can help you speed your way to recovery.

If you have problems in your life in general, then you might have something called a signal dreams. Signal dreams help point you to a solution. They are to be heeded if you are having relationship problems or survival problems. Most every man dreams girls are problems when they are not and the same thing goes for women. Sometimes having sex in a dream means that it may not happen in real life.

Then there are the prophetic dreams. Not all dreams are about the future. Very few of the dream pictures that happen in dream pictures in these types of dreams actually come true.

Some people also have epic dreams. These are like long dream movies with lots of plot twists, characters, and adventurers. It could be with these types of dreams that you are simply trying to entertain yourself. Your mind might be bored or alternately you might be trying to work out a problem or experience a desire in your mind. These dreams are almost like life changing experiences that revive your excitement and lust for life!

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Theories on Why We Dream

Through the years there have been many theories on why we dream. This somewhat mysterious subject has always been on the forefront of speculation. Many researchers and scientists have grappled with finding the actual reason for dreams, as well as the specific meanings of certain types of dreams. Sigmund Freud was one of the early publishers of a theory about dreaming. Several of his contemporaries reflected on his theory, often adding their own concepts. 

Dream research continues to fine tune the previous theories as scientists uncover more and more about the brain's functions during REM sleep and as scientific measuring equipment improves. 

Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud (1856 to 1939) is considered the father of psychoanalysis. His dream theory reflected his opinion that dreams are a person's outlet for their subconscious thoughts and "hidden desires." He felt that everything in a dream was the result of the dreamer's instincts and experiences. He believed that nothing was done by chance and that everything was motivated by the unconscious - what a dreamer does in their dreams was the way to act on those impulses and urges. He felt that the reason a dreamer cannot remember their dreams is because of the super ego's goal to protect the conscious mind from the thoughts and desires of the unconscious mind. 

Carl Jung

Carl Jung (1875 to 1960) was a student of Sigmund Freud but they did not agree on the cause of dreams. Carl Jung saw the unconscious mind as more spiritual. He believed that dreams were a window to the dreamer's unconscious and a way for the dreamer to solve problems they were facing in their waking life.
A Few Of The Most Common Dreams

1. Being chased:

Candice Janco, author of the Bedside Dream Dictionary: 500 Dream Symbols and Their Meanings, describes this dream (the most common) as an indication of a felt threat in your waking life. This threat can take the form of a menacing person or a strong emotion with which you are having difficulty coping. Try to determine who or what is chasing you, where the dream takes place, and what your feelings are during the chase to understand what this dreams means to you.

2. Missing an important event because you are late:

This can indicate regret over a missed opportunity, inability to make a connection, or desire to pull oneself together. In Dream Power: How to Use Your Night Dreams to Change Your Life, Cynthia Richmond suggests asking questions of dreams in order to understand what this common symbol means to you. For example: What are you missing? Who is disappointed by the missed event? Is it only you or are there others involved?

3. Finding yourself at work or school naked:

Not surprisingly, Freud interpreted dreams about being naked as repressed sexual wishes. But the most important part of this dream is the feelings that are involved. You suddenly find yourself exposed, vulnerable, and awkward. What area of your life corresponds to that feeling? Figure this out by noting where you are, who notices you, what part of you is exposed, how people react to you, and how you yourself react to the situation.

4. Falling:

Falling indicates feelings of insecurity and lack of support. What situation have you "fallen into?" Who has "let you down?" Perhaps not surprisingly, this particular dream is most common among professional men and women. The Illustrated Dream Dictionary authors Russell Grant and Vicky Emptage note the close relationship between "falling" and "failing." They also note that the dream's meaning is probably not so clear-cut. Grant and Emptage ascribe dreams of falling to feelings of isolation, the sense of being without the support and affection that success cannot provide.

 5. Flying:

Interestingly, Grant and Emptage interpret flying dreams as boasting about sexual powers. The important part of the dream is how you are flying; since the flying itself represents your ambitions, are you flying successfully, or trying and failing to fly as high as possible? From there, they make the leap to feelings of sexual inadequacy, but such feelings of low self-esteem could cover inadequacy of any kind, not just sexual.

6. Losing your teeth:
This theme has a number of potential meanings because of the very different significances teeth have to different people. Our teeth are representative of our appearance because our smiles are one of the first things people notice about us. Therefore, dreaming about losing your teeth can indicate insecurity about your appearance, or even fears of sexual impotence, as teeth are often used to flirt with a desired partner. We also use our teeth to bite, chew, and tear, so losing them can mean a loss of power or fear of getting old. Interestingly, this dream is most common among menopausal women, perhaps for all of the above reasons

7. Snakes:
Snakes have been a fear in dreams for quite some time. The ancient Egyptians used to make snakes out of clay and place them at the doors of their homes to frighten away nightmares, believing that snakes were bringers of bad dreams and that the clay snake would keep real ones away. Dreammoods, an online encyclopedia of dream meanings, reports that snakes signify some hidden threat. This makes sense, as most of us fear the "snake in the grass." Like most other symbols, though, this one has many meanings that depend on context. Snakes shed their skin, so they may signify renewal and transformation. This may be a frightening experience, as most people are uncomfortable with change, or it may be very positive.

In all of our dreams, the true meanings emerge when we decide what they really mean to us. Though these dream symbols are shared among many, and we can determine general explanations for them, it is the context in which we place them that is significant. Read all you can about dream meanings to find information that may be relevant to you, but also ask questions about your dreams and how these symbols make you feel. Once you dig a little deeper, you may find answers and clarity.

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