When people go to sleep your brain pulls together random fragments from your memories and imaginations to create what we call dreams, almost every person on earth has experienced dreaming while sleeping at night some experts have said that we even dream at least four to six times a night. But there are many different definitions for dreams traumatic dreams, lucid dreams, daydreams, nightmares, yes the brain can pull things from your memories and it also can pull fears that you have always had, in this research paper is to shine some light on the more dark side of dreams with a little bit of knowledge of what dreams are explained as.
The brain is the most powerful and interesting part of your organ system especially when you dream at night, dreams mainly occur in the rapid-eye-movement (REM) stage of sleep when brain activity is high and resembles that of being awake. The importance of dreams is a really interesting study, your dreams can resemble a lot of things about you, it can be your desires, positive aspects in life, or insecurities, and fears that you have experienced in your life. Dreams are not something that you can purposely enforce but dreams are very powerful and sometimes you can be surprised when for example during your work shift you experienced a bad customer that just rubbed you the wrong way and later that night when you go to sleep your dream is you working your shift and just dealing with bad customers over and over again. Dreams can be very exciting when your dream is a positive aspect or something that makes you genuinely happy, but also dreams can be very dark and not something you want to be stuck in long that you wake up with the sweats.
Children’s Traumatic Dreams: The significance of Dreams
Children are at the most innocent human beings who are just starting out to understand so many new things and their intake on the world can be dramatically different than an adult who now has dealt and experienced the world’s rejection in his or her life, however, when a child goes through a traumatic event or has dealt with death multiple times in life that they are exposed with night terrors, that can really affect their sleeping schedule is a very serious situation that can make their adult life a lot harder developing depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. Night terrors are a normal stage of childhood development that are episodes of screaming, intense fear, while still sleeping sometimes sleepwalking is often another example of night terrors. One study found that “ Parents who report night terrors of their children in which their child scream or they cry out for help while they are in their sleep can not remember what their dream was about”(Kathleen Nader 2001, p.11). Now even though night terrors are normal stages for children, there are also night terrors that are caused by traumatic events that a young child has gone through, for examples, losing your parents in a car crash and you were the only one who survived, experiencing being in a school shooting, and a natural disaster happening while you are home alone.
“For some children, traumatic dreams disappear a few days to a few weeks after the event. For others, the dreams persist or recur in response to traumatic reminders or changes in the phase or focus of recovery”(Kathleen Nader 2001. p.13). Dreams and imagination are a big part of importance in a child’s life if they go through a situation that is very damaging to them in their eyes that can put a lot of stress on a child that does not need to know what stress or depression should feel like and being scared to go to sleep if the night terrors are constant. There are many ways to help decrease night terrors if a child is dealing with them every night like seeking medical treatment and possibly going on sleep medication, or finding ways for self-treatment options.
Why Do We Dream?
The Brains Picture Show
When you go to sleep your brain does not shut down with you it switches to a different kind of thinking and dreams become this night thinking mode, your brain stems controls emotions, memory, and desire. Your brain ignores the signals from your senses and then stops the messages to your muscles so you don’t act out your dream, these discoveries about the sleeping brain convinced scientists Allan Hobson and Robert McCarley that there are really no hidden messages in your dreams that instead, it’s all the chemical changes that cause brain cells to fire off at random times. A scientist named Antti Revonsuo asked his students to keep track of their dreams to see if they were having bad ones because he wondered that if dreams are just a random collection of pictures why was he having so many nightmares. And it came back that his students were actually having hundreds of nightmares a year by getting attacked by strangers, missing a test, and showing up to a public outing naked. If bad dreams are this common Revonsuo figured there must be a reason. “Revonsuo thinks that nightmares may be the brain’s way of rehearsing important survival skills, so they remain sharp, even when you don’t use them in everyday life”(Andre-Clark Alice 2012),…(The All-Night Gym, para. 4).
This could be a good explanation as to your dreams: preparing yourself or rehearsing important survival skills by having these nightmares or just bad dreams. For example, if you have a fear of being kidnapped because you have watched so many cases where women are being taken from everywhere at any time, your dreams may have you actually being taken by someone and you are trying to escape. Everybody dreams at least a couple hours a night. You spend at least a majority of your sleep converted into dreaming, there really is no answer as to why we dream and there should not be a reason too, dreams are really powerful they can be like visions for you. You dream about what you see when you are awake, “ often the dream event changes somehow-another way the brain tries to make the memoryless distressing, so if your best friend moves away, you might dream that you’re the one whos moving. Or instead of dreaming of your friend, you might dream of a lonely beach or a lost treasure”(Andrea-Clark Alice 2012),…(How Do You Feel, para.6). Dreams are a way for our brain to connect to us with the things that we want in life that we fantasize over and things that we are too afraid to deal or would never do in our actual life, dreams make us feel wanted to have those dreams where there’s someone that we want but can’t have or dreams that make us feel useless or take what we are insecure and use it against someone else.
A Study of Dreams
Lucid dreaming is having complete knowledge that they are dreaming, during a lucid dream the dreamer may gain some amount of control over the dream, people who are in the dream, and where the environment is at. Now with lucid dreaming, there is a way to actually train your brain to lucid dream by keeping a dream journal to help your brain become more aware of when you are dreaming, possibly doing a reality check so your brain will know the difference from reality or lucid dreaming by touching your palm and if your finger goes through the palm it’s obvious you are not in reality. Frederik van Eeden was a Dutch novelist, poet, and a practicing physician. In 1896 he studied his own dreams he collected about five-hundred of his dreams that are written, and there is a section that the wrote about when he would lucid dream. On September ninth, he had dreamed that he stood at a table before a window. On the table were different objects, and he was perfectly aware that he was dreaming and was thinking of what experiments he could make. “ I began trying to break glass, by beating it with a stone. I put a small tablet of glass on two stones and struck it with another stone. Yet it would not break, then I took a fine claret-glass from the table and struck it with my fist”(Frederik van Eden 1898, p.6).
At the same time, he was reflecting how dangerous it would be to do this in waking life and still the glass remained together but after some time he looked at it again it was broken. Though being able to know you are in your own dream can be very exciting it can also be very scary when you are having a lucid nightmare. In May Frederik had once encountered his brother-in-law who has died and Frederik knew that he was dead, the brother-in-law went on and explained that his guiding spirit told him that someone was going to rob his money and to just pay attention and after Frederik woke up he was trying to puzzle and just could not understand. His brother-in-law said that his guiding spirit told him, “ Then I asked my brother-in-law to tell me more about the afterlife, and as he was just about to answer me I woke up-as if somebody cut off the communication”(Frederik van Eden 1898, p.9). Demon-dreams are always before or after a lucid dream; they are figures and the personalities of strange non-human beings, Frederik has never seen them so corpses where he was in the middle of all these demons so aggressive, one making faces repeatedly and making these weird grimaces. Lucid dreaming can be a very intense experience and it can make an impact on how you sleep being scared to sleep alone just making sure you know what is real and what is not
End of Life dreams
When you get to that point in life where you are of old age and you are in the stages of being on your deathbed end of life dreams are really apart of the natural dying experience, you have heard it many times when people who are coming to an end to their life they say they see their loved ones waving at them from above that they have not seen in such a long time, so it gives the person who is dying and the family members a sense of comfort. End of life dreams are expressed as drug-induced, hallucinations, dementia, and delirium part of the dying process, but are also described as a therapeutic experience. It is estimated that fifty-to-sixty percent of conscious dying patients experience the end of life dreams and visions, and provide these patients to help them let go or forgive past life events that they have gone through and accept that death is near them. “End of life dreams and visions can occur in wakeful or sleep states and typically manifest with clear consciousness”(Grant, Wright, Depner, Luczkiewics, et al.,2014). This is a study to examine patients who have experienced the end of life dreams and visions and whether they’re experienced while awake or asleep or both if the dreams and visions felt real to the patients. Many of them explained that their dreams or visions were past meaningful experiences and reuniting with loved ones that have died.
“Findings show that as participants approached death, comforting dreams/visions of the deceased became more prevalent, these results agree with other studies that reported participants who experienced ELDV had peaceful and calm deaths”(Grant, Wright, Depner, Luczkiewics, et al.,2014). It might be hard to understand what these dreams mean if you have never been surrounded by a loved one who is on their death bed than someone who has, being by someone’s side and hearing what they are seeing can be a great way of closure to that family member and being okay with letting that person go instead of being in denial and have hatred and anger towards themselves. End of life dreams or visions are not really a sort of scary or nightmare related dreams but it can be a way of finally accepting yourself and what you have accomplished as a human being whether it is good bad.