8 Psychological Facts About Dreams video


Do you know how many dreams you have on average throughout a night, what are lucid dreams or what color are your dreams? We solve these and many other curiosities throughout this article.

Historian George Duby said that "the footprint of a dream is no less real than that of a footprint." Today, we are going to fly inside your brain, delve into the terrain of the unconscious and dive into that exciting world to reveal some of its main puzzles and interesting facts that have interested scientists, artists -surrealists like Dalí for centuries. Remedios Varo or Magritte were inspired by them for their creations - or ordinary citizens.

Since time immemorial, dreams have been a source of curiosity for human beings, who have attributed mystical and magical explanations for many centuries , linking them to a reality beyond understanding, as many myths of Greco-Latin culture reveal in depth. , responsible for giving life to Hypnos, god of sleep and son of Nix and Erebo, night and hell respectively.

Despite the fact that science still has much to discover around this fascinating dream universe, we shed light on 11 wonderful curiosities about sleep that you surely did not know and that can help you better understand what happens when you close your eyelids and you Brain transports you to other places and sensations.

Your consciousness rests, your brain works

Even in the deepest stages of sleep, brain activity does not stop. As the neurobiologist Jose Ramón Alonso explains , during sleep our brain " consolidates the most important memories and does its own maintenance, eliminates the toxic products generated while we are awake and cleans, among other things, the beta-amyloid, the material of the plates senile, one of the distinguishing characteristics of Alzheimer's disease ".

It should be noted that a restful sleep lasts around eight hours -from seven to nine depending on the person's age, weight, gender and other physical conditions- and is divided into REM (rapid-eye movement) phase, in which it is generated unusual brain activity - parallel to when we are awake - and non-REM sleep, a deeper state of sleep that predominates in the first half of the night.

What brain functions does each phase have? The phases that comprise non-REM sleep consolidate memories and help us acquire and refine our motor skills, while REM sleep hones the ability to overcome negative feelings, adequately read others' emotions, and solve problems.

You only remember 5% of your dreams

Sleep scientist Allan Hobson conducted numerous studies on the matter, discovering in his research that up to 95% of dreams are quickly forgotten, within minutes of waking up. More specifically, five minutes after waking up, half of your dreams have disappeared from your mind and after ten minutes, only 5% remain.

The reason why it is so complex to remember the content of our dreams - which many people record in a newspaper or notebook that they have on hand and near the bed - is because we process information in a very different way from routine, something that It has been demonstrated by brain scan. The frontal lobes, essential areas for the formation of memory and memories, remain inactive during the MOR phase of sleep.

You invest 3 to 5 years of your life dreaming

If we put together the data on the current life expectancy and the recommendation to rest about 8 hours a day, an average person spends 20 to 25 years of their sleep , which is equivalent to a third of their existence. If you calculate the average time of dreams, we spend three to five years of our lives dreaming. It is difficult to calculate the exact time, since the actual stages of sleep occur in periods of 5 to 20 minutes. As for the number of dreams, the usual thing is to have between 6 and 4 per night.

You also dream in black and white

Do you think your dreams are like a colorful 3D movie or the beginnings of black and white cinema? The answer is not fixed. It is often pointed out that eight out of ten dreams are in color , although everyone has dreams in black and white. Of course, there is a small percentage of people who do not remember color and say they always dream in black and white. Furthermore, an experiment underlined that human beings have a tendency to dream in pastel colors.

The studies from 1915 to the 1950s maintained that the majority of dreams were produced in black and white, but these results began to change in the 1960s . Today, science indicates that only 4.4% of the dreams of those under 25 are in black and white, something that various investigations relate to the appearance and rise of color media.

Anxiety, the most common emotion during sleep

In dreams, lived experiences are reflected, sounds that are happening at that moment in reality can be filtered, we visualize scenes and faces -almost we did not invent any, so they are faces that, although fleetingly, we have ever seen- and especially, we experience numerous emotions. Calvin Hall's research , responsible for evaluating more than 50,000 student dreams during half a century, shows that we can feel love, joy, sadness, anxiety and anger during dreams.

The most common was anxiety, while the researcher revealed that in general in our dreams negative emotions, such as fear or anger, prevail over positive ones.

Not only humans ... animals also dream!

If you live with a cat or dog in your home, you have probably noticed their sighs, spasms or movements while sleeping. At the moment, scientists believe they dream, something confirmed by the study of a gorilla who mastered both sign and gestural language, which gesturally revealed images of what he was dreaming of.

Aristotle himself stated in his work "Of sleep and wakefulness", that it was clear that "the rest of the animals " -in reference to the human being- "participate in sleep, whether they are aquatic, aerial or terrestrial". Veterinary neurologist Adrian Morrison reveals that cats in REM-A move their heads as if they are following stimuli. Others reveal behaviors identical to predatory attacks, like chasing mice in dreams.

Furthermore, research carried out in 2007 by MIT scientists Kenway Louise and Matthew Wilson was based on recording the neural activity of the hippocampus, a brain structure related to memory formation and encoding. They first recorded brain activity as the rats ran in their mazes. On the other hand, they observed the same neurons when they slept, discovering identical activation patterns during the race and during the REM phase.

Control your dreams like a video game? So are lucid dreams

As we explain in depth in this article , lucid dreams, a term coined by the British Celia Green in 1968 -although the ability to recognize and control dream states is already mentioned in Buddhist texts of the 7th century-, refers to dreams where you are aware of dreaming and therefore you can control what happens in the dream. Half of the population has ever had one, although they are more frequent in children than in adults. People who experience them regularly have a lucid dream once or twice a month.

For a dream to be considered lucid, it must meet the seven key criteria named by Gestalt psychologist Paul Tholey: you know you dream, you have your free will, you have normal reasoning ability, your senses function as in waking, you have memories from when you are awake, you remember the dream clearly and you can interpret the dream within the dream.

In order to have lucid dreams it is important to have a dream diary, to make reality tests throughout the day - the pages of books or clocks appear illogical, changing or blurred in dreams, as well as hands on feet - to use the MILD Technique (Mnemonic Induced Lucid Dream) , falling asleep again when waking up from a dream, using mobile applications such as Dream Light, practicing yoga nidra, meditating in the dark and in silence before sleeping or listening to binaural pulses that imitate theta brain waves, gamma or alpha waves.

What is sleepwalking?

According to science, sleepwalking is a process that takes place during the third third stage NREM , when the person who is sleeping has an "incomplete awakening" that leads him to automatically perform all kinds of complex activities, although his brain is not have fully activated.

More common in children than adults, sleepwalking usually goes away in adolescence. Isolated incidents of sleepwalking often do not indicate a serious problem or require treatment. However, recurrent sleepwalking may suggest an underlying sleep disorder. Despite the fact that its causes are unknown, in a large number of cases it is transmitted from parents to children, so it seems that it has a high genetic component.

Typically, it happens early, an hour or two after the person falls asleep, while it is unlikely to occur during naps. Typically, it is a multi-minute episode in which the person has a glassy expression, does not communicate with others, does not remember the sleepwalking episode, performs routine activities such as talking, eating or dressing, or even leaving home. Unusual behaviors such as urinating in a closet, injury, or violence due to confusion after waking are common.

Universal dreams: the repetition of the same patterns in our minds

Science has repeatedly revealed the existence of recurring items or themes in our dreams, regardless of cultural differences. As Carl Jung said, dream language is instinctive and common to all humanity, since its essential characteristics belong to the collective unconscious .

Being chased or attacked, falling into the void, seeing teeth fall out, failing exams, feeling motionless, or being naked in public are some of the recurring dreams. Losing loved ones, flying, or having erotic dreams with acquaintances is also common. In fact, it is possible to experience real orgasms in dreams .

The psychologist Nacho Coller signs that 8 out of 10 dreams are normal stories related to work, home or family . On the other hand, he points out that in almost all dreams we are the main actors and therefore we live them in the first person.

Do blind people dream?

As numerous investigations emphasize , those people who were born blind can not appreciate any image in dreams, but that does not mean that they do not have them. When sleeping, her dreams involve the rest of the senses such as sound, smell, taste or touch, experiencing emotions, experiences and memories. On the other hand, those people who went blind after birth can see images in their dreams.

Precognition and déjà vu

The results of various surveys of large population groups reflect that between 18% and 38% of people have experienced at least one precognitive dream - also called premonitory and which refers to the perception that the acquisition of future information implies that does not it can be deduced from information based on the senses and available to the person - and 70% have experienced déjà vu. The percentage of people who believe that having premonitory dreams is possible is even higher, from 63% to 98% .

Two weeks before his death, Abraham Lincoln experienced a dream in which a funeral was held at the White House. " What's going on? He asked in his dream, " The President is dead, " and Lincoln saw his own corpse in dreams. An investigation carried out with 3,000 people by a team of specialists in "anomalous dreams" - a scientific term used for premonitory dreams - made up of professors and psychologists from universities such as Harvard, Boston or Michigan, found certain common guidelines in some dreams of a premonitory nature.

For example, falling through an elevator shaft was linked to the beginning or end of an unclear romantic relationship, falling from the top of a building to changes in work, stabbing with changes in work or home, or the announcement of death. of a loved one, who would be related to that nothing bad happens to him, but if an imminent encounter with said person.

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