We all dream, but do we know what they mean? what are all these dream symbols?- what function do they serve and where do we go those 7-8 hours every night and why?

A lot of research has been done in the sleep/dream area to try and answers these questions.

We know that we are passing through different brainwaves levels when we sleep and hence we go through different sleep stages.


Sleep is divided into two broad types: Rapid Eye Movement (REM) and Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) or "Non-REM" sleep.

Even though it may seem like one long sleep we are going through different stages in each of these two types.

We experience what is called sleep cycles of REM and NREM. Recent analysis From Hartmut Schulz (2008) in"Rethinking sleep analysis -comment on the AASM Manual for the Scoring of Sleep and Associated Events" show that there are 3 NREM stages (previously 4) and then the REM stage - the order normally being:

NREM Stage 1 NREM Stage 2NREM Stage 3NREM Stage 2REM.


The brainwave levels determines what type of stages we move through.

The four most studied brainwaves patterns are: beta, alpha, theta and delta and they are characterized by brainwave activity measured as cycles pr second - called Hertz (Hz) - 1 Hz = 1 cycle / sec. There is also a fifth level called Gamma which has not undergone as much research as the other four.

  • Beta: 14 Hz or more. At this level we are awake and alert
  • Alpha: 7 - 14 Hz - we are in a state of physical and mental relaxation. This is the transition state between sleep and wakefulness
  • Theta: 4 -7 Hz - we are in a deep meditative state
  • Delta: 1 - 4 Hz - we are asleep

NREM Stage 1 occurs when we move from alpha (7-14 hz) to theta (4-7hz) - in the transition between the two NREM Stage 2 occurs between 12 to 16 HzNREM Stage 3 occurs in delta - 1 to 4 Hz, also called delta rhythms.

In humans each sleep cycle lasts app. 100 minutes but it varies according to our 24-hour cycle in terms of biochemical, physiological or behavioral processes.

The discovery of REM stage and "the paradoxical sleep"

In sleep research the name Nathaniel Kleitman (1895Ð1999) is widely known. He may be considered to be the grandfather of sleep research.

He generated important research papers on multiple aspects of sleep. In 1955 Nathaniel Kleitman and his colleague Eugene Aserinsky discovered REM sleep.

They were the first to notice that about 90 minutes after the beginning of sleep, many abrupt physiological changes could be seen. They noticed that the eyes started to make "rapid eye movements" (REM), and the EEG levels showed brainwave activity similar to that of an awake, alert individual.

This observation brought about the name "paradoxical sleep", as the brain seems awake while the person sleeps. Research is showing that this period, in which all dreams occur, lasts between 20 and 30 minutes and usually comes 4 or 5 times a night.

Even though brain wave levels is similar to that of an awake in the REM stage it is unlike the state of being awake since the body is subject to external paralysis. Only the eyes and respiratory, and other essential systems remain functional.

Remembering your dreams

So, we all move through these stages - both NREm and REM - each night and we all dream during our sleep.

People who say they never dream simply never remember what they dream. They do no remember any dream symbols.

So how can we increase our ability to remember what we have dreamt?

One way is to tell yourself when you go to bed that you want to remember your dreams when you wake up in the morning.Also when you wake up - lie still and just let the images of the dream come to you. One of the reasons people do not recall their dreams is interference from other thoughts competing for your attention when you wake up.

Therefore, let your first thought upon awakening be, "What was I just dreaming?"

If you start thinking about all the days«s concerns like specific work tasks you need to get done, shopping you have to do, cleaning you have to do etc. you will get an interference and it will be much harder to recall what you have been dreaming.

If you recall a scene try to recall what happened before that - how did you arrive at that scene - and so on.Also try to notice what mood you are in - do you feel love, fear, joy, curiosity, happiness etc. Just lie in bed being drowsy from your sleep and let the images of the dream come to you.

Using a notebook

You have probably have heard this before, but if you wake up in the middle of the night from a dream have a notebook handy and write down what you remember from that dream - any dream symbols should be written down. Some people also use a dictaphone.In the morning when you look at what you wrote down you probably can«t even remember writing it down, but when you read what you have written about a certain dream it will come back to you.

Understanding your dreams

One thing is to be able to recall what you dream - something else is understanding it and to know what it means.

What function do dreams serve?

Why do we dream and how can we learn to use the meaning of them in our everyday life?

In his book "Your Dreams and what they mean" Nerys Dee explains:

We spent almost all our time as newborns sleeping and entering into DreamLand. Slowly, but surely we start to understand more about what we call the real world and we are awake 2/3 of our 24 hour day. But still we go back to our original state while we sleep.This state was interrupted by being born into a physical body who is searching to express itself through periods of being awake limited to 3 dimensions!

If this is true the real world does not exist "out there" anymore, but "in here". The inner world is the real world. He goes on to say: Through our sleep we return back and we get in contact with the rest of creation while we are dreaming. Energy and inspiration we hardly could receive only from the intellect comes to us from this Source.

Furthermore Nerys explains - If we look upon this Source as our natural in-heritage, then dreams, co-incidences, telepathy, ghosts, UFOs or thousands of other phenomena not fitting into our intellectual way of thinking do not need to be explained further.Through sleep we return to DreamLand and as soon as we acknowledge this our life will get a new dimension. The "real world" is no longer what it seems to be - it is the Source that counts. It was there before we where born, we go there when we sleep and we shall return there when we die.

As many before him Nerys quote Shakespeare on the matter of sleep and dreams.

To sleep; To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub; For in that sleep of death what dreams may come - When we have shuffled off this mortal coil.

The inner world

If dreaming is a way for us to stay in touch with the real world - the world inside - the world we came from - why do we dream about things in our everyday life from the world as we know it? - things that happened at work or at school or while you were out jogging etc.

A dream unifies the body, mind and spirit. Hence it can be a way of providing us with insight into ourselves and a means for self-exploration. In understanding what you dream, you will have a better understanding and discovery of your true self.

If something you experience during the day appears in your dream it can be a way to learn more about yourself and how you should deal with such experiences.

Also it can serve as a bridge between the outer world and the inner world.

A dream might not be reflecting anything from an experience we had during the day. It appears to make no sense at all. However if we look at Neerys explanation we are going back to the Source when we dream. We go back home - in the real inner world and hence in another dimension. Our 3 Dimensional world is not able to understand the other world since we are bound by our frame of knowledge of this 3 Dimensional world.

Dream Dictionaries

Researchers on Dream analysis have come up with Dream Dictionaries in order for us to interpret our dreams.

Symbols are the language of dreams and hence you will find lots of different Dream Dictionaries on the net and in book stores explaining what different dream symbols mean.

This will help you achieve a better understanding of what you dream. It can help you clarify your life purpose and direction.

You are unique and so are your dreams. They communicate with you - connect with you and they are trying to tell you something.

During the day when you are awake certain feelings, thoughts, ideas, desires etc. might be hidden or suppressed in you. But in your dream they will be revealed.

A dream is like a gateway into your subconscious mind. It is the Source (or your Higher Self) communicating with you. We all have guides and helpers wanting to interact with us, but because of free will they cannot in our waking state. However, while we are sleeping and dreaming they can guide us and they often do. It can be angels or guides from higher dimensions. Or it can be an interaction with people you love who have passed over and want to reach out with important messages to you.

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