"Why does the eye see a thing more clearly in dreams than the imagination when awake?" - Leonardo da Vinci
Dream is considered as a normal part of one's sleep. Therapists interpret a dream as an expression of a thought or a feeling that occurs in our unconscious mind. During the World War I, Adolf Hitler, an infantry soldier had a dream. In his dream he was being buried under a pile of earth. He woke up with a start from this horrible dream and immediately left the trench where he was sleeping. As soon as he left the trench his fellow soldiers were killed by a shell that hit the trench. Adolf Hitler's dream has been enlisted as one of the famous dreams.
Sigmund Freud cited dream as "the royal road to the unconscious". An interesting point noteworthy is, the age of dreams is as old as mankind. It was in 1900 BC, dreams were first recorded. The old testament of bible known as the oldest book reveals men exhibited an interest in dreams. Historical facts reveal that the Greeks, Babylonians and Romans believed in omens and dreams on the eve of the battle. Ancient people believed that Gods spoke to them directly in their dream. The omens seen in a dream would tell whether the states at war would be successful or not.
Stages of Sleep
Even today, interests shown in dreams and their interpretations are no less profound. Scientists opine dreams are a reflection of our daily activities and thoughts. Scientists also believe dreams are a necessary part of a human being. The reason is when a person is deprived of dreaming, there could be a possible change in his behavior. The researches and studies reveal people unable to dream have concentration difficulties and are sometimes restless.
There are two stages of sleep - NREM and REM. Scientists believe you dream during the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage. NREM (Non- Rapid Eye Movement) has four stages.
- Stage I - In this stage, you sleep lightly and slowly drift to the next level of sleep if left undisturbed.
- Stage II - This stage of slumber is deeper than the previous stage. Though, you may not have any visions, the subconscious minds starts conjuring the images. If undistributed you would drift to the next level of sleep.
- Stage III - In this stage of sleep, your entire body is relaxed and the breathing becomes steady. The blood pressure falls and the rate of heartbeats slow down. You are in a deep sleep and it would be difficult to wake you up.
- Stage IV - You are in a deep slumber and it is almost impossible to wake you up. However, you would wake up if you were shaken and it would take a couple of seconds for you to come back to the reality. In this stage, if you are woken up your blood pressure is high so is your heartbeat. The reason is in this stage you would be slowing drifting into a dreaming landscape.
Rapid Eye Movement - The Dreaming Stage
Rapid Eye Movement or REM is a stage where a person is in a deep sleep and in this stage he would start dreaming. The reason is the brain rests completely in a deep slumber stage. This helps the brain to recover the energy lost during the day. During the deep sleep stage the blood-flow to the brain is decreased and there is an increase in the flow of blood in the muscles. This will help a person to restore his physical energy. While, REM stage of sleep helps to restore the used up mental energy.
During the REM process, the brain would help to process one's emotions and retain memories. REM stage helps in relieving stress. If a person were to be woken up at this stage of sleep he would be able to remember most part of his dream. However, REM slows down once a person wakes up.
Why do People Dream
Scientists are baffled about the occurrences of dreams and they have not got an answer to why REM occurs and why it's not possible to control dreams. Many theories have been propounded and it is believed that dreaming is known to be as natural as breathing.
Many people do not recall their dreams because the dreams are easily forgotten. It is a general belief a dream is reoccurrence of your daily activities. Scientists opine dreams play a significant role in memory enhancement. Dreams helps to strengthen the process of connections between certain regions of the brain. Dreams helps in releasing certain hormones in the brain to de-stress and attain relaxation.
Recent research has shown dreams are neurocognitive in nature and are controlled by the central nervous system. The study also reveals, dreams plays a significant role in the physical and mental development during the first ten years of human being. The scientists also opine a person is likely to dream at least 4 to 5 times per night and in a year he is likely to have dreamed approximately 2000 times.