Do You Remember Last Night’s Dream?

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Bella Tarzia, OwlFeed Opinion Editor

Dream: a series of thoughts, images, and sensations occurring in a person’s mind during sleep. Now, why is it that we can only remember some of our dreams? Why are some of them bad and some of them good? What is lucid dreaming? 

I’m here to debunk myths and figure out what’s going on inside of our minds while we are sleeping.

Each night the average person has about 3-6 different dreams. Even though you may only remember one or two of them or none at all, they are all different storylines or lifetimes that you lived out in your head. 

According to MedicalNewsToday, “Dreams are caused by unconscious desires and wishes.” Dreams also can take the information you learned or gathered throughout the day and process that information in the form of a continuation. 

For example, if you were thinking about going to Chuck E. Cheese Pizza right before bed, your brain can take that information and continue it into your dreams and you may just dream of arcade games and greasy pizza. 

Most dreams occur in the stage of sleep called REM, Rapid Eye Movement. During REM your eyes move around rapidly in all directions but do not send any visual information to your brain, according to WebMD. 

In adults, 20% of sleep is spent in REM sleep, this is where most of those intense dreams occur. In babies, this is about 50% of their sleep. In REM sleep, your brain is more active. This is very important because it stimulates the cerebrum, which helps with learning and increases the production of proteins. 

I’m sure everyone at some point in their lifetime has had a good dream, whether they kissed their childhood crush, ate at their favorite restaurant, or were left in a Baskin Robbins with all of the best ice cream flavors all to yourself. We have all had good dreams, but we also experience bad dreams, whether it’s seeing a monster in your closet, losing your favorite piece of jewelry, or losing a loved one.

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Nightmares: distressing dreams that cause the dreamer to feel many disturbing emotions. Common reactions to a nightmare include fear and anxiety. Nightmares are not only for kids who just watched a scary movie but are more common in adults who are undergoing a lot of stress and anxiety. 

Remember, dreams are made by the collection of thoughts you had throughout your day, so if you were worried and anxious all day, that is most likely to be reflected in your dreams. 

One thing I remember from the 5th grade was that if you had a dream about someone it meant that they were thinking about you. While this was great for me and my elementary school crush, this is completely false. When you dream about someone you know it means either means that this person consumes most of your thoughts throughout the day or it means that they represent a certain quality they have. 

For example, if you undergo a stressful dream, you may dream of someone who you think causes a lot of stress, like your calculus teacher. Or if you have a dream of someone at a family gathering, that means that person is what most represents family to you. 

Lucid dreams: A type of dream where the dreamer becomes aware that they are dreaming. Lucid dreams also occur during REM sleep. It is a state of consciousness but not awake during sleep.  

Lucid dreaming usually happens spontaneously but it is possible to learn how to lucid dream on your own. 

There are five steps which include: 

  1. Reality Testing, a form of mental training that increases metacognition by training your mind to notice your awareness.
  2. Wake Back To Bed, set up an alarm to wake up hours after you’ve fallen asleep but not when it’s time to wake up and stay away for 30 min then go back to sleep.
  3. Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams set attention to what you want to dream of.

  4. Keep a journal of all of the dreams that you can remember (yes, like in Sharkboy and LavaGirl). 
  5. Wake-Initiated Lucid Dreaming, directly entering a dream from waking life. 

If you are going to attempt lucid dreaming, I advise you to proceed with caution. Some studies show that interruptive sleeping methods like lucid dreaming can result in sleep paralysis, the phenomenon of feeling like you can’t move during a dream.

Now, whether you’re controlling your dreams through lucid dreaming or not, we humans only remember about 5% of our dreams. So why is that? 

Even though you could have the most vivid dream in the world and it feels like you are completely conscious, unfortunately, you are still sleeping, which is the reality for why we don’t remember most of our dream. Just the fact that we are sleeping. 

It is crazy to think that we spend ⅓ of our lives sleeping and we can’t even remember most of it.