Researchers have for a long time been baffled by dreaming. Not even just researchers, I think all of us are baffled by the shear ridiculousness of our unconscious minds sometimes. Why do we dream? Do dreams hold any important significance? How do you remember your dreams? Dreams are and have always been in a constant state of investigation and interrogation. There are so many unanswered queries on whatever the f**k our minds generate during the night. It can be frightening, exciting, sexual and everything else in between. The unknown nature of dreaming and its' unpredictability is transporting. And all you have to do to access that gate of dreamland is to close your eyes. So lets travel to dreamland for a second; look at the psychological theories of dreaming, enlighten you with some outrageous facts about dreaming, present you with some terrible data collated from the blog's Instagram and after all of that, I may just present you with my own hypothesis on dreams.
So, who are the broskis that think they know the dealio on the whole dreaming stitch up? May I present to you: Sigmund Freud. The very man who enlightened us with theories such as lesbianism being the fault of one's father and that oral fixations (like smoking or basically having something in your mouth) are the result of being forcefully fed as a child, Freud he enlightened us with psychoanalysis. The psychoanalytic theory on dreams expressed the idea that dreams represent unconscious desires, wish fulfilment and personal conflicts. In essence - dreams under the psychoanalytic reign - are an outlet for one to act upon their unconscious desires because in real life they would be unacceptable.
The 1970s brought about John Allen Hobson and Robert McCarley (from Harvard obviously because where else) and their activation synthesis model on dreaming. For the most part, this theory consists of the idea that dreams are virtually a by-product of your brain that is trying to process random signals from your limbic system. Your limbic system is made up of the innermost structures of your brain that deal predominantly with emotions and memory. Our last big boy popularised theory proposed by Jie Zhang in 2004 is the continual activation theory. This theory fundamentally suggests that our brains are continuously storing memories, whether that be conscious or unconscious. And those are just some of the dream interpretation theories have presented themselves to the world. One theory suggests that dreams are threat simulations - kind of like the shit that they have in those Divergent movies - that help prepare you for threats in real life. Another theory insinuates that dreaming returns to an evolutionary defence mechanism of playing dead to fool enemies. Damn, a lot of theories and a lot of contradiction.
Now I wanna present you with some radical dream facts that blew my mind a little bit, so here's to hoping it does to yours as well:
- Low stress in your real life = happier dreams! If you're experiencing low stress and are feeling satisfied in your real life then you're more likely to have pleasant dreams.
- Sleep position matters. You're more likely to have a dream about sex if you sleep face down. Sex dreams are not that common and make up about 4% of the dreams of developed individuals (according to 2007 research at Montreal).
- Eating late at night makes you more likely to have a nightmare. Because of having an increased metabolism, eating late at night means that your brain will be more active.
- The dream drug. DMT or Dimethyltryptamine is a very potent hallucinogenic drug that is an isolated and synthetic form of the chemical our brains produce naturally during dreaming.
- Forgetful as f**k! People forget around 90 to 95% of their dreams.
Dreams occur during certain stages of sleep and are considered as 'hallucinations', I mean because they are. Dream activity is the strongest during REM sleep which is the rapid eye movement stage. This phase of sleep is characterised by random rapid eye movement (you don't say) accompanied by low muscle tone throughout the body which results in the sleeper dreaming more vividly. It is interesting to note that when you're awake your thoughts often have certain logic to them. That is not saying by any means that I am alluding to thoughts being all rational, but you can kind of navigate a path to the root of the thought. Dreams on the other hand make it sufficiently more difficult to identify the root. Hobbie and Mac hypothesised on the limbic system's function (as mentioned above) with dreaming. Brain activity during dreams mostly occurs within that limbic region. Because the limbic system processes emotions and the logical areas of the brain are not active in sleep, maybe that is why dreams often make no sense.
I asked y'all some questions on the blog's Instagram about dreaming. Approximately 30 of you answered each question reported below. This experiment was approved by the Ella Gibson Ethics Board (lol) and participation was voluntary.
- When participants were asked if they liked dreaming; 85% said 'yes' and 15% said 'no'.
- When participants were asked whether they thought were of any significance; 89% said 'yes' and 11% said 'no'.
- When participants were asked if they experience recurring dreams; 79% said 'yes' and 21% said 'no'.
- And when participants were asked if they still have nightmares; 83% said 'yes' and 17% said 'no'.
To conclude, dreams are whack and we do not actually know a lot about them. If you were to ask about my personal hypothesis in attempt to dissect dreams, I would say this: dreams have to have some significance. They must go beyond the realm of being a rubbish dump of our minds which is an idea that makes sense because they don't make too much sense. The limbic system that deals with memory and emotion is active when dreaming and devises what our unconscious minds produce. I am not sure that I would travel as far down a path as Freud did, but our own idiosyncratic creation has to be applicable somehow to our conscious lives. All I am sure on in my own mind is that they mean something, however what that meaning is, I have no f**king clue. But is it not kind of sick that we can close our eyes every evening and be transported to a place that only we will individually go to? Close your eyes and get dreaming team!
If you have any further questions based on this blog post or anything else in regards to this blog, be sure to get in contact with me through this website or through the blog's instagram linked below.
~ Link for previous blog post: https://www.madein2000.com/post/38-adulting
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This blog will encompass the life of a 20-year-old kiwi chica. Composed of stories, advice, life lessons, worldly observations and whatever else Ella's life brings to surface. For all of this and more, read my new found blog 'Born In 2000': established on the 28th of October, 2019. Where Ella Gibson explores her life that exceeds all limitations. Publications should be expected once a week. Also, be sure to take this present moment now and rock it!