What happens when we dream? What are dreams? We have to say, dreaming is one of the most mysterious and exciting experiences in life. People often try to interpret dreams and try to find out the dream meaning. And it is all tired up to psychology. But what are some of the psychological facts about dreams?
Let’s start by saying dreams play an important role in our lives. And that has always been. Even back in the days of the Mesopotamian civilization, many governing decisions were based on the meaning of dreams.
During the Roman Era, the Roman Senate discussed and analyzed dreams. And they would come out with dream interpretation and decide what to do next. Romans thought of dreams as messages from the gods.
Today, we look at dreams as part of our subconscious mind and subconscious brain. They still try to send us a message.
What Are Dreams?
Before we get to the dream facts, let’s talk psychology. What are dreams? Why do we have them?
Simply put, dreams are a succession of sensations, ideas, emotions, and images that occur involuntarily in our minds during sleep.
They occur during the rapid eye movement or REM stage of sleep. This is the period when our brain activity is high and resembles the stage of being awake. Dreams happen at the last REM phase of each cycle.
Yes, dreams can occur during other sleep stages. But they tend to be less memorable and less vivid than in REM sleep. Dreams often contain particular objects, subjects, and scenes that tell us more about our personality. Also, they tell us what happens in our subconscious mind.
Here are some interesting psychology facts about dreams and dream analysis.
Men and women dream differently. There is a difference between the psychological aspect of males and females. So, that is why they dream differently.
For example, men can have a violent dream about weapons. Women, on the other hand, dream more about references to clothing.
Another difference is that women have slightly longer dreams. Their dreams also feature more characters. Speaking about characters in the dreams, men dream about other men twice as much as they do about women. Females, on the other hand, dream about both sexes equally.
Fun psychological fact: Men have dreams with more aggressive content and physical activity. Women’s dreams contain rejection and exclusion and conversation.
And speaking about the pinnacle of male and female dreams, men dream about sex more often.
Dreams Help Us Solve Puzzles
We said before that dreams try to send us a message. This is something that Romans discovered, and they analyzed dreams to try and find the message.
The theory of Deidre Barrett is that dreaming hours may help us solve puzzles troubling us during real life. The Harvard psychologist believes that it is the visual and often illogical aspects of dreams that make them perfect solutions. Think of dream content as out-of-the-box thinking that we need for solving problems.
She says that “whatever the state we’re put in, we’re still working on the same problems”. And according to her, dreams have evolved to serve multiple tasks, including helping the brain reboot and solve the task at hand.
Blind People Dream Visually
This might sound discriminatory, but a lot of people ask how do blind people dream? Well, much to your surprise, blind people may dream visually. Even people who have been blind at birth can still experience visual imagery in their dreams.
Studies have also found out that blind people have eye movements correlating to visual dream recall. While the eye movements were fewer during the REM phase, blind participants still reported dream sensations. And that includes visual content.
We Forget 90% of Our Dreams
This is what makes it hard for us to interpret dreams and find the proper dream analysis. Within five minutes of waking up, we forget half of our dream. And within 10 minutes, we forget 90% of our dream.
What can you do? Well, try to repeat the dream in your hand as you wake up.
We See Recognizable Faces
Some people say they have seen the face of the person they will marry. And that they didn’t know him/her. But psychology has found out that in our dreams, we only see faces that we already know.
We see real faces of real people. You might not remember these faces, but you have met them. Remember, we meet and see hundreds of thousands of faces during our life. In a way, we have an endless supply of characters for our brain to process.
Can you remember the faces of all the people you met on your way to work today?
Not Everybody Dreams in Color
Here is another cool dream fact: 12% of sighted people dream only in black and white. The others? They dream in full color.
This number has changed over the year. And recent research suggests it is thanks to the evolution and switch from black-and-white film to TV and color media.
Violent Dreams Are a Warning Sign
Studies suggest that violent dreams are an early and warning sign of some troubles. For example, when you dream of violent trashes, kicks, screams, and similar scenarios, it might be a warning sign of a brain disorder.
The study looked at medical records and identified cases of the so-called REM sleep behavior disorder from 2002 to 2006. They identified 27 patients who developed sleep behavior disorder at least 15 years before showing symptoms.
The main symptom of REM Sleep behavior disorder is dream-enacting behavior.
Recurring Dream Themes
Often, a recurring dream has themes. Some of the common recurring dreams include falling, being chased, physical aggression, confrontation with monsters, and more.
All of these dreams have a theme. And if you look at explanations in a dream book, you will find them.
Women Have Wet Dreams As Well
We said at the beginning that men are more likely to dream about sex. But women have wet dreams as well.
Even more, women can release vaginal secretion from arousal and even achieve an orgasm during their sexual dream.
Sex Dream About Celebrities
Men dream more about sex, but women have sex dreams about celebrities. Females are two times more likely to experience a sex dream with a public figure.
Dreaming During The Holidays
During the holidays, a lot of people experience a grief dream. We dream about deceased loved ones and people that are no longer in our life.
Low Stress = Happy Dreams
By now we know the role stress plays in our lives. And it plays a role in your unconscious mind as well. Studies show that you are more likely to have pleasant multiple dreams if you live a low-stress life. When you are satisfied with your real life, happy dreams come to you.
Emotions In Dreams
Do you know what the most common emotion in dreams is? The answer? Anxiety. And speaking of negative dreams, they are much more common than positive ones.
Symbolism In Dreams
Speaking about dream symbolism, we have to note that sometimes, particular subjects are not what the dream is about. Dreams carry a symbolic message. And since Roman times, people have tried to interpret dreams and understand their symbolic language.
We often say we’ve experienced a déjà vu. Well, it is possible. According to research, between 18% and 38% of people have experienced at least one precognitive dream. More than 70% have experienced a déjà vu.
And if you believe in precognitive dreaming, the percentage goes even higher.
We Dream Four To Seven Times Per Night
Some people think they have only one dream per night. But the reality is that you can have between four and seven different dreams in one night.
On average, we dream between one or two hours per night. But because we forget 90% of our dreams, we rarely remember all of them when we wake up.