Dream Analysis


Dream Analysis Essay, Research Paper

I chose this topic mainly due to how much the subject intrigues me. I usually am a person who searches for an answer that is correct and definite. This subject, on the other hand, has no correct answer. Instead, it has different hypotheses in which the reader can either believe or distrust; I have made my own educated guess about dreams. Within this paper includes many details pertaining on dreaming and some theories that I have found to be most captivating.

Why do animals dream? Are the reams instructions from the spiritual world or just deep, hidden wishes that can be used to unlock the secrets of the unconscious mind? Nobody knows for sure, but one theory that I found is prevalent is that dreams result from the physiological “exercise” or the synapses of the brain. There is no proven research that can declare why mammals dream, which is the reason as to why there are so many theories on the topic. Some theories that I read have evolved from such famous doctors as Sigmund Freud. The theories involved are mind boggling, but if read carefully, can put anyone into deep thought as to a logical reason for their dreams. This process of thinking is called interpreting or analyzing.

From such famous psychiatrists like Sigmund Freud and his theory that dreams carry our hidden desires, while Jung believes that dreams carry a detailed meaning. Although not specifically of desire, but that the dreamer can use cautious steps as to interpret these dreams. After these ancient theories, others continued such research like Cayce. He states that in dreams are our body s means of building up of the mental, spiritual and physical well-being. One interesting argument came between Evans’, Crick and Mitchinson theories. Evans believes that dreaming is our bodies way of storing the vast array of information gained during the day, whereas Crick and Mitchinson believe that this information is being dumped rather than stored. Whichever theory is true, no one may ever know or even understand. From the following theories I have come to a conclusion that anyone can decide for himself or herself what they should believe to be true and further aid to understanding dreams.

The average person spends about one third of their life sleeping. Eight hours is the average hours of sleep for the young adolescent or adult. Before one can interpret their dreams, they must learn to recognize what they are dreaming, this is called lucid dreaming. Lucid dreaming is usually induced by hypnosis or something that indicates to the person that what they are experiencing is a dream, and not reality. Lucid dreaming was defined as becoming aware of what one is dreaming; the actual level of awareness varies, however. When the level of lucidity is high, one can be well aware that nothing that is experienced is real, and that they have nothing to fear–they can not be harmed by any situations that may seem dangerous.

Although sleep may seem like a steady state, it actually consists of several stages that cycle throughout the night. The types of brain waves (based on amplitudes and frequencies) determine the stages of sleep. I have researched that lucid dreams occur in the 5th stage of sleep, known as Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage. As the name states, the most profound characteristic of REM sleep is the bursts of rapid eye movement while dreaming. One complete sleep cycle lasts about ninety to one hundred minutes; therefore during an average sleep period a person will experience four to five complete sleep cycles. The sleep cycle begins with four stages of Slow Wave Sleep (SWS, also called NREM or Non-REM). These stages then quickly reverse, and are directly followed by the first REM period. As the night proceeds, the length of stages three and four (also called delta or deep sleep) begins to wane, and the length of REM sleep increases, up to one full hour in length after a number of cycles. Therefore, as the night rages on, your dreams take longer periods of time.

Many scientists would believe that the subconscious mind is an attempt to file away all of the information from the previous day to result in a dream. In recent laboratory tests that I examined, when people were awoken during the REM stage of sleep and asked to report what was on their mind just before awaking, about ninety percent reported an experience termed true dream . When a true dream is experienced it seems so surreal that the event could not be characterized as real or a lifelike figment of their imagination. (Health Website Poll) True dreams often involve a series of experiences woven together into a fascinating or bizarre story. Even those people who claimed to rarely dream or only remember fragments of dreams in the mornings were able to give detailed accounts of a true dream experience when awakened during REM sleep.

Those who were awakened during slow-wave sleep (the deeper, less mentally active stages of sleep) reported mental activity in only about 60% of cases. (Health Website Poll) In most cases, this activity lacked the vivid sensory and motor hallucinations of true dreams. This type of mental activity is called sleep thought . It usually pertains to what the person had been concentrating the most during the duration of the day. However, this thought is usually much less productive than that of conscious thoughts. Those who believe that dreams are due to the brain’s regular exercise of groups of neurons cite evidence that synapses can degenerate if they go too long without being active; this neural activity during REM sleep helps to preserve important neural pathways.

The neural pathways can be subdued and controlled with an ending result of having control over dreams. Although the dream cannot be changed, it can be controlled. This kind of dream control is most beneficial during nightmares. Rather than attempting to change the dream, you can merely change your own attitude; by realizing it is merely a dream and that you cannot sustain physical damage, you can calm your fear, which is the only real part of the nightmare. Some people, however, dread falling asleep because they are plagued by nightmares. Even if full dream control is not achieved, being consciously aware of what one is dreaming will lessen the devastating effects nightmares can have. Lucid dreaming may also rid one of nightmares permanently, and may actually be psychologically beneficial, as it may allow one to face up to their fears.

When neurons in the motor and perceptual regions of the brain are exercised in this manner, the unavoidable side-effect are the dreams experience. The increased mental thought activity is due to the sleep notion being engaged in trying to make sense of these movements and hallucinations. To truly interpret a dream is one thing, to understand what it means is another. A lot of people become gullible as to believe psychics from other realms can help calm their fears and sweaty nightmares, but in fact they are just wasting their money as well as time. Keeping some sort of a journal and looking for key points or signs that occur in a dream can assist to understand the dream process. After a number of entries have been entered, you should go through and make a list of the reoccurring dream signs.

Dream signs are quite simply cues that someone is dreaming. Dream signs often take the form of things or events that would be considered impossible or highly improbable in the waking realm. Some examples of dream signs are breathing under water or flying among the clouds. For those of who generally have “more realistic” dreams, the cues may take the form of something much more simpler, such as a light switch not working, suddenly returning to work at an old job, being late, losing the ability to scream, showing up at school naked, etc. Another common dream sign is the inability to run. Personal dream signs are dream signs that frequent one s own dreams. They may find that they often “wake up” without any hair, when the day before it was down to your shoulders; or, they use to often run out of gas on their way to write a final exam.

The possibilities of anyone s dreams are limited by their own imagination. Some studies even suggest the brain is most creative in the vague area between waking and REM sleep. A possible explanation to the heightened mental abilities of the brain during sleep is the lack of sensory input–the brain is not focused on our senses, such as sight, hearing, etc. Thus, the brain can focus more readily on creative problem solving. Problem solving while dreaming obviously can be quite difficult; one has to be disciplined enough to really focus on the problem, and not lose them self in their own dream world.

Throughout this project, I have learned many interesting things. For example, I have learned specific details on how people react to certain visual stimulations and how they do not react when under heavy sleep. Remembering dreams are hard due to the fact that the typical person has several dreams a night. I have also learned that not all questions can have a single, right answer. Dreams have been intriguing scientists for hundreds of years, and to this day no one can really decipher as to why people dream what they dream. Some believe that it is the basic way for the brain to dump information; others believe that your dreams mean something very important and close attention should be paid towards them.


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