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Maddy Clark

on 22 April 2014

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Transcript of DREAMS

182 people were surveyed, and were asked to imagine that one of four scenarios happened the night before an airplane trip:
National Threat Level raised to Orange
They consciously thought about the plane crashing
They dreamed of a plane crash
A real plane crashed on their route
The dream of a plane crash was most likely to affect travel plans

270 men/women were surveyed, and were asked to remember a dream about someone they know
People believed a pleasant dream about someone they liked was more important than a pleasant dream about someone they didn't like
They thought that an
dream about someone they didn't like was more meaningful
Recurring Dreams
The 5 Stages of Sleep
There are 5 stages that we constantly cycle through as we are sleeping. Each "cycle" (stages 1-5) lasts approximately 90-110 minutes in length
Types of Dreams
There are 5 main types of dreams
Day Dreams
False Awakening
What Is A Dream?
A dream is a series of pictures, thoughts, and sensations that a person experiences during sleep

Stage One
Light Sleeping - the sleeper is easily awakened
Eyes move slowly
Muscles begin to relax
Some peoples muscles contract suddenly, experience the sense of falling
Ordinary Dream
Occur during REM
Thoughts are usually the trigger
May not have a story or a straight interpretation
A recurring dream is a dream experienced over a long period of time - good or bad
There is evidence to show that recurring dreams are symptoms of psychological disorders:
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - A person with PTSD will often have recurring dreams, sometimes thought of as Chronic Nightmares
Anxiety - Evidence suggests that stress causes the recurring dream, and once the problem is solved the dreams slowly stop
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Why we dream,
Types of dreams,
How our dreams
can affect us,
And a little more

“REM” Stage
Known as The “Dream Phase”
Breathing increases, though it is inconsistent and shallow
Eyes move rapidly
Muscles often become paralysed for short periods of time
Brain waves increase – almost to the same level as when the sleeper is awake
The sleeper experiences a fluctuation between hot and cold, as the body has difficulties regulating temperatures
Heart rate increases
Blood pressure increases

Stage Two
Stage Three
Stage Four
Stage Five
Random Facts
All eye movement stops
Brain begins to relax
Very slow brain waves - called Delta Waves
Body rarely moves
Beginning of a deep sleep
Very hard to wake someone
Brain produces only delta waves
No eye movement
Most common stage for children to wet the bed, sleepwalk and experience night terrors
"REM" (Rapid Eye Movement ) Stage
Known as the dream phase
Breathing increases, though it is inconsistent and shallow
Eyes move rapidly
Muscles often become paralyzed for short periods of time
Brain waves increase - almost to the same level they are at when the sleeper is awake
Sleeper experiences a fluctuation of hot and cold, as the body has trouble regulating temperature
Heart rate increase
Blood pressure increases
If you remember your dreams when you wake up, it means that at some point in the REM stage you were awakened
The older you are, the less REM sleep you get. Babies will spend about 50% of their sleep in the REM stage, where as adults will spend 20% in REM and 50% in Stage Two
Patients with clinical depression experience relief when they have little to no REM sleep, though doctors don't know why
(Antidepressants have been shown to make REM more intense - nightmares occur more often)
Doctors have found reasons to believe that there is a connection between how much REM sleep you get and how easily you learn/remember things.
Lucid Dreams
You know you are dreaming
Can be used as an opportunity to explore or "act out" possibilities and "what if's?"
You have the option to wake yourself up, knowing you are dreaming
Happen while you are awake
Imagination wanders
You feel drowsy and relaxed
False Awakening
You dream that you are awake
Wake up and "remember" doing something
You still feel sleepy, as you dreamed you were awake all night
Force the sleeper to experience terror, fear, sadness and/or anger
Can be triggered by worry or stress
Can evoke emotional terror
Force the sleeper to face unresolved fears or problems
Extreme nightmares are sometimes referred to as night terrors
Meanings Of Dreams
Can Your Dreams Affect You?
Many dreams are universal - While most dreams are heavily influenced by personal experience, a lot of themes are common all over
Difficulties maintaining a house
Teeth falling out - Sigmund Freud believed that this meant women wanted children and men were afraid castration)
Discovering new rooms in a house (Freud believed houses represented bodies, others believed finding new rooms meant the dreamer had found out something new about themselves)
Losing control of a vehicle
Unable to find a toilet
Being held down/unable to move
Being held back/failing tests
Escaping/being caught in a tornado/storm
Finding lost items
Unable to turn on the lights in your house
Does your lifestyle affect your dreams?
10 Things that can affect your dreams
Smells : A small study showed smelling flowers connected to positive dreams, where as a sulfur scent was linked to negative ones
Sounds : There is a small window for sounds to get through to your brain - they must be loud enough to hear them, but quiet enough to let you sleep. Letting a recording of soothing noises play can lead to the sleeper waking up relaxed, where as loud, annoying noises, disrupt your sleep
Spicy Food : Anything that can cause indigestion makes you more restless throughout the night. Eating a big meal or spicy foods right before sleep can cause disruptions in your sleep
Vitamin B6 : While there is no official research on whether or not B6 leads to lucid dreams, many people believe it does. Vitamin B6 turns amino acids that we eat into neurotransmitters that affect our dreams
Smoking : Nicotine withdrawal enhances brain activity so you dream more - greatest effect is on those who have quit smoking, as the withdrawal symptoms are worse
Environmental Factors
Pain/Anxiety/Medical Conditions
All ages who experience stress, anxiety, and depression find that it is difficult to sleep, and when they do sleep, they have more REM sleep than deep, refreshing sleep
Medications and Other Substances
Most affect both the quality and the quantity of sleep
Coffee : Keeps you awake and alert from anywhere between 4-7 hours, as well as affects sleep. Caffeine slows the quantity of slow brain wave sleep, as well as REM sleep, increasing the number of times you wake up
Alcohol : Tends to make symptoms of sleep apnea worse, and though alcohol can help you to fall asleep, the quality of your sleep isn't good
Antidepressants : Have been shown to make your REM sleep more intense, increasing your nightmares.
Light makes it difficult to fall asleep, as well as shifting the timing of our internal clock
Extreme temperatures in your sleep environment will interrupt your sleep - for example, if exposed to very cold temperatures, you may not experience any REM sleep


Black and White TV: According to a study if you grew up watching black and white TV, you remember your dreams in gray scale, not colour
Going to Bed Hungry : Low blood sugar can awake you from your sleep, which means you are more likely to remember your dreams. As well, some foods contain tryptophan (an amino acid that makes you sleepy) which help you to sleep better
Scary movies before bed : The last thing you do before bed matters. Whether it is music, a movie, a conversation - it is influential. So if you watch a scary movie and go straight to bed, nightmares are more likely than if you "think happy thoughts" before going to sleep.
Pregnancy and Postpartum Period : Studies show that vivid dreams are common due to the lack of sleep, the mix of emotions and the fluctuation of hormone levels
Sleep position : Sleeping on your stomach can affect your breathing patterns, and can help you to stop snoring, where as sleeping on your back makes snoring worse. Sleeping in the fetal position can constrict diaphragmatic breathing as well. A study showed that sleeping on your left side leads to nightmares, and sleeping on your right side had better dreams, and woke up feeling better rested.
Big Think Question
Why might people be affected by their dreams?
Why Do People Dream
Some researches believe dreams serve no real purpose, while others believe that dreaming is essential to our physical,emotional, and mental well being
There are many theories as to why we dream such as the Psychoanalytic Theory, the Activation-Synthesis Theory, and quite a few others
Psychoanalytic Theory
This theory suggests that dreams are representations of our unconscious thoughts, needs and desires

Sigmund Freud wrote (about what a dream is) "...disguised fulfillment's of repressed wishes"
Activation-Synthesis Theory
This theory is based on the circuits in the brain becoming active during REM sleep, causing emotions, sensations, and memories to be triggered. The brain then attempts to find meanings in these signals, the result being a dream.
Though this theory suggests that dreams are signals generated internally, J. Allan Hobson (the proposer of the theory) doesn't believe dreams are completely meaningless. He suggest that dreams are "a creative, conscious state, one in which chaotic, spontaneous, recombination of cognitive elements produces novel configurations of information : new ideas. While many or even most of these ideas may be nonsensical, if even a few of its fanciful products are truly useful, our dream time will not have been wasted.
Other Theories
Dreams are the results of our brain interpreting external noises/sensations (radio;alarm clock)
Dreams are the brains way of "restarting" for the next day, a way to "clean-up" clutter
Dreams are a form of psychotherapy - a place where you are able to make connections between thoughts and emotions in a "safe environment"
And a contemporary theory combining different elements of other theories; The brains activation creates connections between thought and ideas, and then, guided by the dreamers emotions, they become dreams
Big Think Answer
Dreams are heavily influenced by the dreamer. Whether it be their lifestyle, their environmental factors, their personal experiences, their age, or their train of thought,

dream depends on the dreamer.
Even comparing all the theories of dreams, such as the one that states dreams are representations of our wants, needs, and desires, or the theory that dreams are just your brain trying to interpret your thoughts, the one that tells us dreams are a form of psychotherapy, even the theory combining all the other theories they all come down to one thing: the dreamer. This is why I think that some people are so affected by their dreams, why the believe their dreams hold so much meaning, where as others scoff and say they are crazy. You are affected by your dreams because they are
"Dreams are the touchstones of our characters" -Henry David Thoreau
"Most people understand that dreams are unlikely to predict the future, but that doesn't prevent them from finding meaning in their dreams, whether the contents are mundane or bizarre" -Carey Morewedge
"People attribute meaning to dreams when it corresponds with pre-exisiting belifs and desires." -Carey Morewedge
What Do You Think?
"A dream may be just a dream" - Sigmund Freud

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