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Biology By Trista -

Understanding the Human Sleep Cycle
Dream interpretation has become a big thing, with certain symbols having specific meanings. Photo Credit: UVgreen/Shutterstock

Do Dreams Have Meaning?

As per Sigmund Freud, dreams are a creative manifestation of the repressed emotions and thoughts in our brains that are smuggled through the censors between our conscious and subconscious minds. Our deepest desires and our greatest fears that we cannot deal with consciously are presented to us through dreamwork, thus releasing emotions and still giving us an option to ignore them entirely by stating them as bizarre dreams. But dreams do have meaning if you decide to analyze them.

Though there is no specific meaning of any symbol, pattern, or story that we see in our dreams, every dream means something to the individual who sees it. There is no common element that means the same for everyone. A particular set of visions in my dream may express one thing buried in my unconscious while the same features can mean something different to you. So dreams do have meaning, but the meaning is very individual to the person who sees the dream.

Understanding the Human Sleep Cycle
Our dreams are a way for our brains to examine subconscious thoughts. Photo Credit: canbedone/Shutterstock

Why Do Dreams Disguise Desires?

Dreams can be identified in three classes when it comes to desires. First, that manifests a non-repressed desire, second that manifests a veiled form of the repressed desire and third that has repressed concealed desires. These dreams may contain elements that may seem dreadful to you and can bring the dream to an end. Dreamwork in the second class of dreams has worked well to veil desires such that it does not break the dream or our sleep.

Understanding the Human Sleep Cycle
Sleeping woman comfy dreaming and flying in cloudy sky. Photo Credit: Roman Samborskyi/Shutterstock

The manifest content in its veiled form expresses the desires that are looked upon or unacceptable at first glance in its original form. The initial form is known as the latent content which is the underlying desire behind the manifest content. These can be dreams of death or dreams related to unacceptable sexual desires that, if expressed in their original form, would disturb our mind and our sleep. Hence with the help of dreamwork, the latent content is disguised, and the repressed emotions also find an outlet.

Understanding the Human Sleep Cycle
It can be difficult to remember dreams the next day. That’s why it’s best to write them down as soon as you get up in the morning. Photo Credit: GaudiLab/Shutterstock

Dream Recall

Most adults claim that they do not remember their dreams. In fact, the only dreams they have are faded visions that they see during the last cycle of their sleep. Most people see 3 to 4 dreams every night but remember only 1 to 2 dreams in the whole week. Also, if these dreams are not recorded, the memories of these dreams even disappear, and the person does not remember anything about them. People at a young age remember their dreams more, and as age progresses, the ability to recognize and recall dreams reduces.

Understanding the Human Sleep Cycle
Pretty girl is flying in her bed through the star sky and dreaming. Photo Credit: Yuganov Konstantin/Shutterstock

Sometimes the dreams that we see are so vivid that we can never forget them, and we remember such dreams even after years whether or not we recorded them in a journal. Dreams that are repetitive in nature are easier to recall with more details. Women tend to remember more dreams than men. The dreams that we can instantly connect to are more probable to be remembered than the bizarre ones. There are ways to remember dreams, and the more you focus on your dreams, the better you remember them. There are various techniques used for the purpose of dream journaling that can help you remember dreams better.

Understanding the Human Sleep Cycle
Depending on the kinds of dreams you have, your sleep quality may or may not be affected. Photo Credit: VGstockstudio/Shutterstock

Do Dreams Affect your Sleep Quality?

Dreams are natural to all individuals, and every night you see a few dreams, but not all of them affect your sleep. In fact, dreams are believed to protect your rest. Pleasant, entertaining, or positive dreams may not affect your sleep, but the negative dreams, nightmares, and bizarre dreams do. Also, lucid dreaming affects the quality of your sleep. Stress dreams occur when you have been very stressed lately, and such dreams can impact the quality of your sleep to a great extent.

Understanding the Human Sleep Cycle
Sleepless woman lying in bed hiding under duvet at night. Photo Credit: Axel Bueckert/Shutterstock

If stress dreams or nightmares are regular to you and you keep waking up in the middle of the night, you may also develop sleep disorders. Extreme nightmares can also result in insomnia, and you may not be able to sleep for the whole night after such dreams. To be calm and relaxed before sleep is critical to help you avoid stress dreams, and nightmares, and it is imperative to improve the quality of your sleep.

Understanding the Human Sleep Cycle
Having a comfortable mattress and supportive pillow is one way to have a restful sleep. Photo Credit: VGstockstudio/Shutterstock

How Can You Sleep Better?

To start with, have a bedtime routine that is calming and relaxing. Whether it be nighttime meditation or just listening to some soothing music, you can also use aromatherapy, especially lavender oil, to aid in your relaxation. Try to avoid your phones and laptops for at least an hour before your bedtime. Avoid staying in bright lights just before sleep. Try to dim the brightness of your room for at least an hour before you go to sleep. This will aid the release of melatonin in your body, which helps you fall asleep. Reading a book can also help you fall asleep easier.

Understanding the Human Sleep Cycle
Happy woman waking up after sleep. Photo Credit: Prostock-studio/Shutterstock

Some yoga and stretching may also help you sleep better. The food that you intake also impacts your sleep, so one should avoid caffeine and sugary treats before sleep. The thoughts and attitudes that you carry can affect your dreams a lot and may result in nightmares and stress dreams. To avoid this, we must deal with these thoughts and modify our attitudes to suit us more. So if you have a relaxed mind before sleep, you will sleep better and have less disturbing dreams, thus protecting your sleep quality.

Understanding the Human Sleep Cycle
Practice good sleeping habits to have healthier sleep cycles. Photo Credit: New Africa/Shutterstock

Sweet Dreams

Dreaming is an integral part of our lives, and though dreaming occurs mostly in the REM stage, it does not mean that there are absolutely no dreams in the NREM stages of sleep. Dreams act as a guardian to our sleep and help us sleep better. Not all dreams are bad, but the tendency to see negative dreams is more than positive ones. Dreamworks help us release the repressed emotions and thoughts in our subconscious in a more acceptable form. Thus the desires and fears do not disturb our conscience.

Understanding the Human Sleep Cycle
Young man looking at dawn city scenery in window after waking up. Photo Credit: fizkes/Shutterstock

Some dreams can be controlled while others cannot. We cannot run away from our dreams, and whether we choose to analyze them or not entirely depends on us. We forget 90% of our dreams within 10 minutes of waking up, so if we want to remember some parts of a dream, the only solution we have is to write them as soon as we wake up. Many people maintain a dream journal as they believe their dreams help them understand themselves better.