How often do you think about your dreams? Do you try to remember them the very moment you wake up, or you just don’t pay attention to them?
Whatever the case may be, you dream so often that you can be writing dozens of books every year – that is, if you could remember your dreams.
Did you know that people dream about 2 hours every night? Researchers discovered that people tend to have several dreams every night, with each dream lasting between 5 and 20 minutes. So, the next time someone tells you they never dream, you can tell them that they do – they just can’t remember their dreams.
You forget most of your dreams
Researchers say that humans forget about 95% of their dreams shortly after waking up. One research says that the information of what happens in your brain while you sleep can’t be processed or ‘put to storage’ so you can form a memory of it. That is why it is so difficult to remember them.
Not all of us dream in color
Various researchers have reported that although the majority of people dream in color, some people dream in black & white. In some studies, subjects who were awakened so they could pick colors from a chart and match them to what they saw in their dreams, reported seeing pastel colors, not vibrant colors.
Men and women dream differently
Over the years, researchers have found that men and women don’t share the same content of their dreams. For example, men would more often dream about weapons, whereas the majority of women would dream about various references to clothing.
Other studies showed that the content of men’s dreams was more aggressive and physical, while women would dream more about rejection, exclusion, and conversation. Also, women usually have longer dreams than men, and the characters they dream of include both sexes equally. On the other hand, men have shorter dreams and tend to dream about other men twice as much than women.
Animals probably dream
Similar to humans, animals go through sleep stages, which include REM and non-REM cycles. While researchers can’t tell for sure that animals dream, the next time you see your pet sleeping and wagging its tail, remember that they might be dreaming about you with their favorite snack.
You can control your dreams
Many people experience lucid dreams during their life, but the majority of them don’t recall their dreams. Researchers say that the lucid dream is a combination state in which a person is both conscious and in REM sleep, which allows them to control the contents of their dream. Some people have learned to take control of their dream and bend it to their will.
Negative emotions are more common
Researcher Calvin S. Hall spent over 40 years collecting dream reports from more than 50,000 college students. These reports were released to the public in the 1990s, where they revealed that people experienced many emotions while dreaming. As a matter of fact, the most common emotion college students experienced in dreams was anxiety. Not only that, most of them experienced more negative than positive emotions.
Blind people can have visual dreams
One study showed that although blind people have less eye movement during REM sleep, they still reported visual content and the same dream sensations that people who weren’t blind did. Another study conducted on people who have been blind since birth showed that not only did they experience eye movements that indicated visual dream recall, but they also experienced visual imagery in dreams.
Dream paralysis is real
What makes REM sleep characteristic is the paralysis of your voluntary muscles. Researchers refer to this as REM atonia – this prevents you from making movements while you’re dreaming. Since your motor neurons are not stimulated, your body can’t move.
Some people tend to carry the REM atonia to the waking state, which causes them to experience sleep paralysis. And although the experience can bring hallucinations and other visual stimuli, it is perfectly normal. Your body just needs a few moments to regain muscle control.
Dreams are almost always universal
Even though dreams happen under the influence of our experiences, researchers have found that some dreams can be quite common across cultures. For example, almost every person on the planet has had a dream where they are falling, being chased, or being attacked. Other common dreams include the inability to move, being naked in public, and flying.