Most dreaming occurs during REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. During REM sleep, a person's eyes move back and forth rapidly. Often when people in REM sleep wake up, they say that they were just dreaming. The EEG pattern during REM sleep is similar to the EEG pattern when people are awake.
However, the muscle activity is very quiet during REM sleep. Muscles are inactive to prevent us from acting out our dreams.
The average human sleeps about 8 hours every day. That's one third of his or her life. That means you sleep for about 122 days every year. A 75 year old person would have spent a total of about 25 years asleep.
We enter REM sleep about 5 times in an average 8 hour period of sleep. If we assume that we dream during each of these REM periods, then in one year, we will have had 1,825 dreams. Of course we don't remember all of these dreams. A 75 year old person would have about 136,875 dreams to end the story.
Do everybody Dream?
Everybody dreams. Not only all humans, but in fact all mammals are shown to have REM sleep, which is associated with dreams. It is a normal and necessary function of the body. So if you think you don't dream you probably just don't remember. People vary greatly in how much they remember of their dreams. Perhaps the most important reason why people forget their dreams is that they don't care. Dream recall can be trained. Try to think over all what you have dreamed for some time before getting up and write it down soon afterwards.
Dreams - Are they meaningful??
While some dreams seem more powerful and provocative than others, all dreams should be considered to be potentially meaningful. Each dream you examine offers information about your current life, immediate concerns and your personality traits. Even if you don't feel you've gotten to the bottom of a particular dream, you stand to gain insights about your dreaming patterns.
After a Dream...
Get up, go to the bathroom, have a drink of water. If you're afraid of going back into the dream, change whatever you're wearing. If you sleep alone, jot down some points of the dream, or, if you're wide awake, write it all down. This will drain much of the tension out of your body, break the mental set of the dream, and ensure you have it captured for later review.
History of Dreams
Dreams have been reported in all cultures. Cuneiform-script clay tablets from Assyria and Babylonia testify that dreams including foreknowledge were experienced thousands of years ago. The ancient Egyptians believed that dreams were messages from the gods and that knowledge about the future could be conveyed through dream. An ancient Indian book of wisdom, the Atharvana Veda, dating from about 3000 years ago, commented on premonitory dreams . The ancient Greeks were also fascinated by dreams. Aristotle pointed out that some apparently precognitive dreams of future illness in people may be 'prodromic' in that the dream may be aware of symptoms that are not yet available to consciousness. Also that some dreams may be self-fulfilling prophecies. The Bible, of course, refers to dreams. There are about 15 in the old testament - most of which helped change the course of history.
Nightmares are helpful-Would you believe!!
As unlikely as it sounds, our nightmares are actually some of the most significant and helpful of all our dreams. They make vivid and memorable thoughts and feelings that we tend to push aside by day and highlight the connection between present challenges and past history. Nightmares can also provide early warnings about the potential for future problems if one continues on the same course. By dramatizing our worst fears they sometimes give us the courage to move forward without the anxiety of the future since we have already lived through the worst in our dreams.