10 Curiosities about Dreams

Interesting things that science say about dreams that you may not know

Dreams
Things you didn't know about dreams | Pixabay | Biljana Javanovic

What are dreams and why do we dream? Among the various dreaming phases, we have the REM sleep, where greater brain activity is registered and where lived sense experiences of your wakeful state turn into imaginary situations that seem to be lived in a real way.

Dreaming is about one of the most fascinating activities of our body and a field where there is still much to be discovered. All in all, these are some of the curiosities about dreams that science has managed to discover and that will leave you astonished.

Curiosities you didn’t know about dreams

Did you know that we dream for a long time in our life and, in sharp contrast, we only remember 5% of our dreams. Find out about the dark side of our dreams on this list of curiosities about them that will amaze you.

1. We dream for 6 years of our lives

Although sometimes you may not remember your dream, you’re dreaming. In fact, we dream every single night in our life, when we are asleep, in intervals of 5 to 20 minutes. This is one of the major curiosities about dreaming which you may not have known: the accrued dream time in one’s lifetime is 6 years.

It’s also known that the dream experience is common in all human beings of all ages since we’re born. Another thing is that some people don’t remember what they’ve dreamt about.

2. Most dreams are forgotten

Did you know that although we dream for a long time in our life, we forget 95% of our dreams? A devastating fact that explains the feeling that many people have when they get up: they believe they’ve dreamt but they’re unable to remember what.

The brain works differently when we’re dreaming, and according to some studies, while dreaming the frontal lobes get deactivated. Moreover, science has discovered that we dream about many things, one after the other, although the brain is only capable of retaining those dreams that cause a special emotion.

3. Differences between Men and Women

Did you know that men more often have dreams where aggressiveness plays a part and that women have longer and more complex dreams? This is a major difference between men and women in their respective dreams, and the reason thereof lies in their contents.

The only difference is not only in the contents of dreams between the sexes since men dream twice as much about other men, whilst women usually dream about both sexes in the same proportion. That’s because, according to experts, our dreams are nothing else than our thoughts altered and disordered.

4. What do animals dream about?

Science has discovered that fish and insects don’t enjoy REM sleep, whereas mammals, reptiles and birds do, which would demonstrate that animals do dream, a hypothesis still to be proven. In a study, it was demonstrated that a gorilla was able to reproduce gesturally what they were dreaming.

Do animals dream while asleep? You may have posed this query while seeing the reactions of your pet at home while it dreams. Scientists think so, and that moreover their dreams go through similar processes to those of humans.

5. Dreams in Black and White

Some research about dreams has been focused on demonstrating if we dream in color or in black and white. The answer is that eight of every ten dreams are in color, but there’s a small percentage of our dreaming experience in white and black.

The great doubt about this question is if those studies reflect the very same dream or the reminisces of it. Some of those who take part in the studies confirm to have dreamt in white and black, but some scientists question whether this sensation comes from the very same dream or is an a posteriori construction of the brain.

6. There are universal dreams

Dreams are influenced by personal experiences and the emotions of the individual, but there are common or universal dreams such as dreaming that you’re being hunted, that you’re being attacked, that your teeth fall out or that you’re falling freely into the void.

The explanation thereof is in the way we process our sensory experiences and how these are transformed by our brain into sensations of happiness or anguish. The existence of universal or common dreams has given way to the theory of the interpretation of dreams, according to which some recurrent dreams have a special meaning.

7. Negative emotions weigh more

What fascinates scientific quarters about dreams is that these not only reproduce stories and actions in our brain, but they also fabricate emotions.  Did you know that in dreams negative emotions prevail?

In our dreams we’re able to experiment sexual desire, happiness, surprise, pain and sadness, a whole range of sensations where, according to several studies the sensations of anguish, fear, sadness and pain usually prevail. One of the explanations could be that stress and anxiety are more often the engine of our dreams.

8. Is it possible to control our dreams?

This is called lucid dreaming, although according to science it’s a skill reserved to very few people, half of the population believe to have had this experience at least once in their lives. Would you like to know what the control of lucid dreams consists in?

It’s like if suddenly you went from deep sleep to a wakeful state or a state of light awareness where you’re capable of making decisions about what you’re dreaming. It’s still unknown what happens and what it actually consists in. It has however been demonstrated that some people are aware that they’re dreaming despite being asleep.

9. What do those visually impaired dream about?

A big question is if visually impaired people who have their sensory experience limited are capable of dreaming. The answer is yes: they’re able to reproduce the same dreams based on the memory of those previous images. Blind people have a REM sleep less active than those sighted, but, in contrast, they’re able to remember their dreams and, it seems, it’s about sensations free of images.

10. The surroundings exert an influence on our dreams

It’s been demonstrated that dreams are influenced by very many factors such as stress and anxiety or our most recent sensory experiences: Haven’t you considered that you dream about that which you were imagining before falling sleep?

One of the most amazing discoveries about dreams has to do with the surroundings where we sleep. Did you know that smell exerts an influence on your dreams? A room that stinks leads the brain to deconstrue the dream as something negative, whereas sleeping surrounded by good smells sweetens the dreaming experience and makes that we dream about positive things.


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