Dreams have mystified human beings since the dawn of time. People from thousands of years ago have tried to decipher their dreams, and some have even considered their dreams to be a message from the gods or a serious omen or warning for the future. Even people today – particularly mediums or psychics – treat dreams as special visions.But what exactly happens once you hit the hay and go to sleep? How are nightmares triggered and is it really true that the human brain functions better when we’re asleep?
Dreams can be very mysterious but unlike our ancestors who based their speculations on the mystical, we’ve managed to gain scientific facts and data about dreams from thorough studies. For those who want to know about dream facts and what exactly is happening while we sleep, here are eight interesting facts about dreams that might just blow your mind.
Note: All these cool facts about dreams are the result of studies conducted by experts.
Fact #1 – Ancient Dream DictionariesOur ancestors paid a great deal of attention to their dreams. A dream dictionary called The Beatty Papyrus was discovered in Thebes. This dream dictionary was written approximately around 1350 BC and it contained common dreams and their possible meanings.
Even the Ancient Romans relied strongly in their dreams. Romans who held powerful positions have even consulted the Senate about their vivid or note-worthy dreams.
Fact #2 – Why We Forget Our DreamsYou probably had an amazing dream last night, but chances are that you probably forgot all about it. J. Allan Hobson, a popular dream researcher, has mentioned in his studies that people forget about 90% of their dreams upon waking up. Why is this, you may ask?
One theory suggests that the reason why we forget our dreams so easily is because when we sleep, our brain’s functions changes as well. Compared to our brain’s function when we’re awake, the brain cannot support the process of changing and storing information to memory. There are brain scans that have revealed that the frontal lobes of a person are inactive during sleep. The frontal lobe plays a huge role when it comes to the formation of memory.
Fact #3 – Animals Dream TooIt is very likely that animals dream too. If you own a dog, you’ve probably seen them moving their tail or feet during their sleep and end up wondering if they too can have dreams. Many researchers believe that it’s not entirely impossible for animals to dream because they have sleep stages and cycles of NREM and REM as well.
In fact a study was performed on a gorilla that was taught to communicate through sign languages. During many points in the study the gorilla communicated through sign language about “sleep pictures”.
Fact #4 – Blind People Have Vivid DreamsAs you might imagine, blind people can dream as well. Of course for those who lost their sight at a later stage in life they may also visualize images like those who can see, but those who’ve been blind since birth can dream too. However, the nature of their dreams are fundamentally different, though just as vivid.
Although they cannot see or form visual images in their mind, lifelong blind people have dreams that contain information about taste, smell, sound and touch. Even fetuses can dream. Their dreams also contain information about touch and sound.
Fact #5 – Build Your Fortune While SleepingThere are people who actually gained a fortune through their dreams. No, we’re not talking about dream psychics. Elias Howe, the guy who invented sewing machines, got his inspiration from a nightmare. He said that he had a nightmare involving being chased by cannibals. The needles in his sewing machines were inspired from the weapons carried by the cannibals in his dream.
Other historical icons like Isaac Newton, Alexander Graham Bell and David Bowie had works that were inspired by dreams. So, now you know that the next time you get a creativity block, one handy way to counter it is by going to sleep.
Fact #6 – We’re Paralyzed While SleepingSleep paralysis is a phenomenon that is commonly mistaken for a paranormal incident. Many people have experienced waking up only to realize that they cannot move their body even though they think they’re wide-awake. This is because the body is normally paralyzed while we sleep.
When we enter the deep sleep stage, our brain paralyzes our voluntary muscles to prevent us from acting out our dreams while asleep. For some people though, the paralysis will continue even after waking up. This event can be scary but it is perfectly normal and it even happens to about 40% of the population. If you experience sleep paralysis, don’t worry since the effects will subside within a few minutes.
Fact #7 – People From Real LifeWe never dream about people we’ve never seen before. This fact can be a bit disappointing for those who are expecting to meet someone new through a dream. The faces of people who make special appearances in our dreams are actually coming from people we’ve met before.
Even the people we think we’ve completely forgotten can appear in our dreams. The people you merely passed by in the street, the guy you sat next to in the train, the cashier in the grocery, even if that person played no important part in your life can make a grand appearance in your dream.
Fact #8 – A Hedonistic FantasyWe go wild in our dreams. Rules can become easily forgotten in our dreams. Many people have reported having dreams where they committed serious crimes. Then there are those awkward and taboo dreams, like kissing a teacher or even a person of the same sex – even if you’re completely straight (or so you think?). This is because when we sleep, our subconscious is free to disregard the potential consequences of such wild or illegal actions.
If you liked these facts about dreams, check out these 10 common recurring dreams and what they mean.