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Jovialis
08-12-17, 20:58
The most important findings of scientific dream research can be summarized in nine key points. Many important questions about dreaming remain unanswered, but these nine findings have solid empirical evidence to support them.

1. Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep is a trigger for dreaming, but is not identical with dreaming. All mammals have sleep cycles in which their brains pass through various stages of REM and non-REM sleep. Dreaming seems to occur most often, and most intensely, in REM sleep, a time when many of the brain’s neuro-electrical systems have risen to peak levels of activation, as high as levels found in waking consciousness. However, dreaming occurs outside of REM sleep, too, so the two are not identical; REM sleep is neither necessary nor sufficient for dreaming.

2. REM helps the brain grow. The fact that REM sleep ratios are at their highest early in childhood (newborns spend up to 80% of their sleep in REM, whereas adults usually have 20-25% of their sleep in REM) suggests that REM, and perhaps dreaming, have a role in neural maturation and psychological development.

3. Dreaming also occurs during hypnogogic, hypnopompic, and non-REM stage 2 phases of sleep. In the transitional times when a person is falling asleep (hypnogogic) or waking up (hypnopompic), various kinds of dream experiences can occur. The same is true during the end of a normal night’s sleep cycle, when a person’s brain is alternating exclusively between REM and non-REM stage 2 phases of sleep, with a relatively high degree of brain activation throughout. Dreams from REM and non-REM stage 2 are difficult to distinguish at these times.

4. The neuro-anatomical profile of REM sleep supports the experience of intense visionary imagery in dreaming. During REM sleep, when most but not all dreaming occurs, the human brain shifts into a different mode of regional activation. Areas of the prefrontal cortex involved in focused attention and rational thought become less active, while areas in the limbic system (involved in emotional processing, memory, and instinctive responses) and the occipital lobe (involved in visual imagination) become much more active. This suggests that the human brain is not only capable of generating intense visionary experiences in dreaming, it has been primed to do so on a regular basis.

5. The recurrent patterns of dream content are often continuous with people’s concerns, activities, and beliefs in waking life. This is known as the “continuity” hypothesis, and it highlights the deep consistency of waking and dreaming modes of thought. People’s dreams tend to reflect the people and things they most care about in the waking world. A great deal of dream content involves familiar people, places, and activities in the individual’s waking life. The dreaming imagination is fully capable of portraying normal, realistic scenarios. This means dreaming is clearly not a process characterized by total incoherence, irrationality, or bizarreness.

6. The discontinuities of dreaming, when things happen that do not correspond to a normal waking life concern, can signal the emergence of metaphorical insights. Research on the improbable, unreal, and extraordinary elements of dream content has shown that, on closer analysis, this material often has a figurative or metaphorical relationship to the dreamer’s waking life. Metaphorical themes and images in dreams have a long history in the realm of art and creativity, and current scientific research highlights the dynamic, unpredictable nature of dreaming as an endless generator of conceptual novelty and innovation.

7. Dream recall is variable. Most people remember one to two dreams per week, although the memories often fade quickly if the dreams are not recorded in a journal. On average, younger people tend to remember more dreams than older people, and women more than men. Even people who rarely remember their dreams can often recall one or two unusual dreams from their lives, dreams with so much intensity and vividness they cannot be forgotten. Dream recall tends to respond to waking interest. The more people pay attention to their dreams, the more dreams they are likely to remember.

8. Dreaming helps the mind to process information from waking life, especially experiences with a strong emotional charge. From a cognitive psychological perspective, dreaming functions to help the mind adapt to the external environment by evaluating perceptions, regulating emotional arousal, and rehearsing behavioral responses. Dreaming is like a psychological thermostat, pre-set to keep us healthy, balanced, and ready to react to both threats and opportunities in the waking world. Post-traumatic nightmares show what happens when an experience is too intense and painful to process in a normal way, knocking the whole system out of balance.

9. The mind is capable of metacognition in dreaming, including lucid self-awareness. During sleep and dreaming the mind engages in many of the activities most associated with waking consciousness: reasoning, comparing, remembering, deciding, and monitoring one’s own thoughts and feelings. Lucid dreaming is one clear example of this, and so are dreams of watching oneself from an outside perspective. These kinds of metacognitive (thinking about thinking) functions were once thought to be impossible in dreaming, but current research has proven otherwise. Dreaming has available the full range of the mind’s metacognitive powers, although in different combinations from those typically active in ordinary waking consciousness.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/dreaming-in-the-digital-age/201712/the-science-dreaming-9-key-points

For the past several months, I've been remembering my dreams quite often. Initially, it started as very vivid nightmares; seriously terrifying, having supernatural themes. Lately, my dreams have been more like point 5, with an occasional nightmare here and there. Now my dreams tend to be more about situations that concern my everyday life. Even mundane settings, like work. I also tend to have some lucid dreams when I just close my eyes, before I'm even fully asleep. I tend to only sleep for 4 hours at a time, and wake up to have a drink of water. After that, I may go back to sleep, and have another dream, or not sleep at all until the next night.

firetown
09-12-17, 11:57
For the past several months, I've been remembering my dreams quite often. Initially, it started as very vivid nightmares; seriously terrifying, having supernatural themes. Lately, my dreams have been more like point 5, with an occasional nightmare here and there. Now my dreams tend to be more about situations that concern my everyday life. Even mundane settings, like work. I also tend to have some lucid dreams when I just close my eyes, before I'm even fully asleep. I tend to only sleep for 4 hours at a time, and wake up to have a drink of water. After that, I may go back to sleep, and have another dream, or not sleep at all until the next night.
In the past year I have been experiencing the same where I immediately dream about situations from the same day.