Why Do We Dream What We Dream?

During the night around 2 a.m., Rebekah Armstrong awoke to a loud noise coming from outside. She discovered that her husband, Ian Armstrong, wasn’t in bed with her, so she went outside to investigate. Once she got out there, she found her husband mowing the lawn naked. He was asleep while doing so, and Rebekah did not want to wake him, so she unplugged the lawnmower and went back to bed. The next morning, Ian was back in bed with no recollection of the events, and didn’t even believe his wife when she told him what had happened in his sleep that night.

How Dreams Have an Influence on Us

Sleepwalking is a sleeping disorder where people, and even animals, will get up during sleep and do everyday things, very strange things, or even dangerous things. When sleepwalking, people are usually having a dream, and that dream may have an influence on what they are doing during their sleepwalk.

In an article “How Can Dreams Control Your Body? The Science of Sleepwalking” it explains that sleepwalkers usually forget what they were dreaming during their sleepwalk and a lot of the time remember only parts of it. But sometimes you will come across a few people who remember nearly the entire dream. It talks about a man who did, in fact remember his dream while sleepwalking. He dreamt his dog was on fire and he put him in the shower, only to wake up holding his dog under the running water of the shower.

In another incident, my uncle had a physical fitness test the next day at school, in which he was very stressed about. That night, he dreamt he went outside to the pullup bar in the yard and did 200 pullups. The next morning he awoke in his jacket and his arms were very sore. He was certain he had gone out and done two hundred, or at least a lot of pullups. What he did in his sleep caused him to not do very well during the actual fitness test.

Dreaming may also be essential to our health and well being. In an article, “In Your Dreams” from the National Sleep Foundation, Rosalind Cartwright, PhD, Professor and Chairman, Department of Psychology at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, thinks dreams are a way for the brain to solve problems and manage a person’s emotions. With this said, dreaming is a good way for us to release emotions that we may or may not be aware of.

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Why and How Do We Dream?

In the article “In Your Dreams” it says dreams are a way to complete unconscious desires that would be viewed as inappropriate, unreasonable or harmful to the world. Most people dream every single night, just not usually remembering. Simon Andras’s article, “20 Amazing Facts About Dreams that You Might Not Know About,” says a person can have up to 7 dreams per night, and everyone has at least one. Everyone dreams every night so no more of the “I don’t dream” stuff, because you also dream every night.

In an article “Why We Dream, And What Happens When We Do” it tells us dreaming usually takes place during REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement), and some in the stage of deep sleep.

Things That Have Influences on Our Dreams

Your sleeping position can impact the type of dream you have. The article “7 Unexpected Things That Influence Your Dreams” says a person who sleeps on their right side, is more likely to have a happy, peaceful, love-filled dream. While if a person sleeps on their left side they are more likely to have nightmares, strange, or unpleasant dreams. People are more likely to have erotic dreams or dreams of being tied up when they sleep on their stomach.

Sounds that go on while you’re sleeping may also affect your dreams. You may have experienced this yourself before, where maybe music is playing, and in your dream you’re at a concert with that same song playing. In “6 Factors That Influence Your Dreams,” it states that external sounds you hear while asleep may end up in your dreams.

Cheese can influence the kind of dream you have. If you have a snack before bed, and it happens to be cheese, you may be doing yourself a favor. According to “Study: Eating Cheese Can Alter Your Dream,” people who took part in the British Cheese Board Experiment had no nightmares when eating cheese before bed, no matter the kind. Blue cheese caused weird or crazy dreams, cheddar seemed to make it more likely to dream of celebrities, Red Leicester cheese made people dream about events from their childhood and Lancashire made dreams about work more common.

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Photo by stevepb on Pexels

Eating late at night may also affect your dreams. From “Do certain Foods Really Cause Bad Dreams?” on Psychology Today, people report that late night eating has caused them to have nightmares or some strange dreams, which is most likely due to indigestion. Knowing this, you may want to think again before eating that late night snack.

The Earth’s magnetic field is another aspect that could potentially alter your dreaming. In “6 Surprising Things That Can Influence Your Dreams,” it says for 8 years, Psychologist Darren Lipnicki took note of his dreams, and decided more bizarre dreams occurred when the geomagnetic activity was low. When the geometric activity was high, his dreams were more reasonable.

Recurring Dreams

At some point in time, you may wonder or may have wondered why you have similar dreams night after night. According to “Recurring Dreams and Nightmares,” people have recurring dreams because they are stressed due to something in their lives that they have not accepted or carried out. And because the problem remains unsolved, the dream recurs.

Amy Cope, certified master coach, dream worker, explains in her article “Recurring Dreams,” that recurring dreams will identify a recurring aspect in your life, and happen when you are stressed or possibly need to change or alter that aspect of your life. She also explains how these dreams are telling us that we are taking the same actions on a situation which have not worked out for us in the past, and if we want a better result, we need to take a new approach. To help find out what the dream is saying about your life, you can look at differences in each time the dream has repeated, and also what stays the same.

Symbols in Your Dreams

Many things, items, people, etc., that appear in your dreams represent something in your life. Some of you may have experienced some of these symbols in your dreams before, and didn’t think anything of it. For instance, in “30 Common Dream Symbols,” vehicles may symbolize how much control you have over your life. If you’re driving, you may have a good handle on your life, but if someone else is driving you, maybe someone or something else has more control over your life than you do.

For instance, I had a dream where someone was driving me in a semi 200 miles an hour down the road in the wrong direction. I thought nothing of it at the time, but now that I think back on it, it’s possible someone was ‘driving’ my life, and not in the way I wished it to go.

Another symbol the article talks about is being trapped, possibly symbolizing that you are having a hard time getting out of a situation. Also nudity may symbolize revealing your true self to people, or the feeling of vulnerability.

Dream Psychologist, Ian Wallace, discusses other symbols such as teeth. Teeth falling out may represent a person’s loss of confidence. So if you’ve had a dream dealing with teeth loss, maybe you could use a boost in your confidence. Another symbol he talks about is flying, in which many people dream about. He believes that flying in a dream means a person has let go of something that has been holding them back in their life.

Why Our Dreams Are The Way They Are

To sum it up, dreams are ways to solve problems in life and deal with inner emotions. We dream what we do maybe because of the food we eat, the environment around us, a situation in life, or because of stress. Even symbols are present in your dreams, which have many different meanings, and may be in there because of something that is happening in your life. Analyze your dreams and pay attention to the little things, they may mean something more than they appear.

Featured Photo by: Unsplash, on Pixabay

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