Dreams

Dreams

We all dream, but do we know what these dreams mean? What function do they serve? Why do we need to "wander off" into dreamland every night? 

Lots of research has been done in this area in order to find answers these questions.

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

Sleep

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 2; NREM Stage 3; NREM Stage 2; REM.

Brainwaves

Brainwave Levels

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 per 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 and up to 30-40 Hz. 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 Hz. NREM 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 (1895 -1999) is widely known. He is 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.

Dreams and 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 lasts between 20 and 30 minutes and usually appears four to five times a night.

Even though brain-wave levels are similar to that of being awake in the REM stage, it´s 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 OUR DREAMS

We all move through these stages - both NREM and REM - each night when we go into "la-la land" during our sleep.

Even though you can´t remember your "nightly journey" you still dream every night. 

How can we increase our ability to remember our nightly journey?

When you go to bed at night tell yourself that you want to remember your journey when you wake up in the morning. When you are waking up lie still and let the images and symbols come to you. One of the reasons people do not recall their nightly journey is interference from other thoughts competing for your attention when you wake up.

Let your first thought upon awakening be, What did I take part in? What did I see and experience? 

If, instead, you start thinking about specific work tasks you need to get done, shopping you have to do, what to wear etc. it will just create too much interference. It will be much harder to recall nightly journey.

If you recall a scene try to recall what happened before that scene. How did you arrive at that scene? Try noticing 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 come to you.

UsE a notebook

You´ve probably heard this tip before. To recall your dream in more detail the next morning it´s good to have a notebook handy by your bed. If you wake up in the middle of the night, write down whatever symbols, images and thoughts you remember from you nightly journey. If you don´t these will most likely "be gone" in the morning. 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. Never mind that. Start to read what you wrote and very often you´ll start to recall certain things you saw or experience in your nightly journey. 

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

One thing is to be able to recall your nightly journey - something else is to understand it. 

What does it mean?

How can we learn to use what we saw and experience in our nightly journey 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 quotes Shakespeare on the matter of sleep and our nightly journey:

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. It can be a way of providing us with insight into ourselves and a means for self-exploration. In understanding what you saw and experienced during your nightly journey you will have a better understanding and discovery of your true self.

If something you experienced during the day appears during your nightly journey it can be a way to learn more about yourself and how to deal with such experiences.

It can also serve as a bridge between the outer world and the inner world.

A dream might not be reflecting anything from an experience you had during the day. Often it makes no sense at all. But if you look at Nery's explanation it´s about "going back to the Source". We are going "back home" - in the real inner world.  Another world beyond our 3 dimensional world. 

SYMBOLS

Researchers on dream analysis have come up with specific dictionaries in order for us to interpret our nightly journey.

You´ll find lots of different "symbol dictionaries" on the net and in book stores explaining what the different symbols mean.

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

You are unique and so are the message you receive each night. 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. These will often appear during your nightly journey.

It´s 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 do so in our waking state.

However, while we are sleeping they do their best to 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.