Thursday, 1 March 2012

Why do we dream? How to lucid dream!

Sometimes we love dreams, sometimes they're fun, sometime they're grim and sometimes we get nightmares.. But what makes us dream?


There are loads of theories to why we dream, some ridiculous, some not so much. Psychologist Joseph Griffin says that it gets rid of emotional arousal. (It's not what you think!)

People often say to sleep on your problems, meaning just go to bed and you'll be fine in the morning. This is actually backed up by evidence, scientific and personally.

If say, I've had an argument with someone, the next day is usually back to normal. That's also because you often dream about it, and release all the emotional arousal locked up.

What do dreams mean?

Dreams symbolise real life events, and give your brain the chance to personify it in other means.

For example take this scenario..

A woman had the following dream: she would be at the helm of a ship on a sunny day. Everything would be fine until without warning she would be attacked by a fierce witch with two heads. The witch seemed set on making the ship go off course.

In her dream, the woman would feel outraged but feel her 'hands were tied' because she had to steer the ship. Suddenly the witch would produce a sharp knife and begin stabbing her at which point she usually woke up in a sweat.

This is a real case, here's an analysis
  • Her mother in law was always nice to her, but made harsh remarks behind her back, hence she is "two faced" or in this case two headed.
  • She always visited on Sunday, hence sunny day.
  • She felt helpless and unable to confront her "hands were tied"
  • She often visited uninvited, symbolised by "without warning"
Lucid dreaming

Ever felt like you were in a dream, and you actually were? Chances are you thought it was pretty cool and didn't want to wake up, then you thought about it and wake up. Yeah happens to me too!

This generally happens during the REM stage, where you are one step away from waking up.

There's not many scientific study behind this, except there is a way you can make yourself lucid dream. 

This way is proven to work, Tibetan monks have been doing it for thousands of years!

  1. Keep a dream journal (It may sound cringey when I say that, but it helps you remember dreams, or remember them. And that's a key factor), as soon as you wake up, write down what you roughly did
  2. If there are any significant things in your dreams, like a certain pattern, draw it on paper in real life, and look at it before you go back to bed.
  3. Set an alarm for the middle of the night, it'll wake you up, you go back to bed and when you are closer to your getting up time, you'll be in a lighter phase of sleep.
  4. Nicotine patches apparently help, don't take my word for it, just a suggestion
  5. Extending the time - If you feel you are beginning to drift, look at your hands or spin around.

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