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We are going to explore 40 fascinating and weird facts about dreams.
The truth is that nobody knows why exactly do we dream, even though studies are held constantly.
However, more and more researches are finding new interesting facts about this mysterious and unexplainable occurrence.
With that said, let’s jump directly to our list of crazy facts about dreaming!
40 Fascinating & Weird Fact About Dreams
1. Everybody dreams
Even if you think you don’t dream, that only means that you have a very poor dream recall.
Researchers have found that during Rapid Eye Movement (REM state) the brain is very active and we experience our most vivid dreams during this stage of sleep.
There might be a very small percentage of people that cannot dream due to some rare medical condition.
2. We forget most of our dreams
During sleep, the key factor that forms our memory is inactive.
This is why we forget a huge amount of dream material, shortly after waking up.
However, if you wake yourself up in the REM stage, the chance to remember your dream is higher!
Also, there are ways and techniques that might help a lot in dream recall.
You can find a step-by-step for improving your dream remembrance HERE!
3. Many dreams are common, experienced by people all over the world
Even though our dreams are usually influenced by our personal life, researchers showed that several dream themes are very universal across the globe.
For instance, people often dream about flying, being chased or attacked, being naked in public, or even being unable to move.
This (and more!) common dream symbols are having interesting interpretations, so feel free to check them our here.
4. You can learn to control your dreams
Lucid dreaming is when you are AWARE that you are having a dream. Doesn’t mean to control the dream, however, a lot of people can do that.
What is more, anyone who wants CAN learn dream control!
It requires 3 main things: consistency, patience, and ambition to reach this goal!
5. We dream about 2 hours every night
It’s been estimated that more than 2 hours out of each night’s sleep are spent dreaming.
As for a lifetime, an average human being spends around 6 years of his/her life – dreaming.
The average person has about 1,460 dreams a year. That’s about four per night.
6. We are paralyzed while we dream
Also called REM atonia, is the state that prevents us from acting out our dreams, while we sleep. It is an essential aspect of a healthy and normal sleep.
Atony is referred to the paralyzed or extremely relaxed state of skeletal muscles in rapid eye movement sleep (REM sleep).
It is simple – REM atonia makes our muscles inactive, in order to protect us!
Since your motor neurons are not stimulated and they are very relaxed, your body does not move.
7. Sleep paralysis
Some people experience sleep paralysis.
It is when you wake up BEFORE REM state is over or during this stage.
This results in paralyzed feeling, accompanied by hallucinations.
Usually, a strong dream material is transferred to the real world, which causes the hallucinations.
And often, they are scary, because of the paralyzed sensation that people feel.
It can last from a few seconds, up to a few minutes. And the worst part – even if it is a few seconds, it might feel like an eternity.
If you want to find if sleep paralysis dangerous and how to stop it, check this article!
REM atonia is really important, as I mentioned. It prevents us from potentially dangerous sleeping disorders, such as sleepwalking.
Sleepwalking is a rare sleep disorder, where people don’t just act out their dreams, but go on real (unsafe) adventures at night.
If you want to know more, an interesting reading, that observes the odd occurrence of sleepwalking is Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep.
After a sleepwalking episode, where he crashed into a hallway wall, he decided to investigate the strange science of sleep.
9. Blind people dream, too
A study proved that even people that are blind since their birth experience visual imagery in their dreams, too.
They have eye movements that correlated to visual dream recall. The blind participants of the study reported the same dream sensations, including visual content.
10. Men and women dream differently
Researchers found some differences between men and women when it comes to the content of the dreams.
For instance, more than once, men reported dreaming about weapons, and more aggressive content, whereas women dreams contained more rejection and exclusion, also more conversation than physical activity.
Also, women tend to have slightly longer dreams with more characters, too.
Another founding is that men dream about other men twice as often as they do about women, while women tend to dream about both sexes equally.
11. Some dream in black and white
A small percentage of people claim to only dream in black and white. Back in the days, scientists revealed that most likely, the reason was the television, that was only black and white.
Therefore, the percentage was higher.
Nowadays, however, fewer people report that their dreams are black and white.
12. DMT – the spirit molecule
Dimethyltryptamine, also known as DMT is an isolated and synthetic form of the chemical our brains produce naturally during dreaming.
It is released during dreams as well as at or shortly before birth and death
DMT is produced in our pineal gland, along with the hormone melatonin, that affects our sleep patterns and circadian rhythms.
Based on Dr. Rick Strassman research and observations, his hypothesizes is that when a person is approaching death or possibly even just in a dream state, the body releases relatively high amounts of DMT.
Dr. Strassman believes that DMT could explain some of the wild imagery described by survivors of near-death experiences as well as those recounting their dreams.
The majority of his volunteers reported profound encounters with non-humans and deep spiritual experiences.
13. Dreaming a stranger?
You may think that you are dreaming a person you never saw before.
The truth is that we mostly dream people, that we encountered in real life.
The thing is that it is impossible to keep track of thousands of faces that we come across each day.
So most likely, we won’t remember the person in our dream.
14. What about This man?
Long story short, This man appeared first in 2006, where a patient of a well-known psychiatrist drawn a face, that appeared repeatedly in her dreams.
Soon after that, another patient recognized this face.
The psychiatrists decided to send the portrait to some colleagues.
This results in finding out that This man appeared in the dreams of plenty of patients. They all claimed that they never saw this face before, in real life.
Today, more than 2000 people claimed that this man appeared in their dreams.
Believe it or not, the whole story sounds a bit odd and even scary. To find out more about it, check This man website.
15. Dreams renew your creativity
Dreams can improve your performance in seemingly unrelated areas of your everyday life. Yep, that’s true!
According to research reported by the American Psychological Society on the psychology of dreams, they work wonders for your creative faculties in particular.
If you’re an artist, you might have already spotted this. However, this also applies to things like creative problem-solving.
Apparently, this is because the process of dreaming is a lot like using your imagination to be creative.
Furthermore, you may find direct inspiration in your dreams.
16. Our brain is more active while we dream
Sleep studies provided information that tracks electrical activity in the brain.
They figured that the brain is more active while we dream than when we are awake!
This has a lot to do with the events of waking life.
Your brain is busy learning from the earlier hours, processing problems and information that remain, and making sense of everything you saw and felt during the day.
17. Real feelings
If you are a lucid dreamer, you can reach a stage where you feel the sensations so strongly that you can experience real feelings.
You can even eat dream food or experiencing strong sensations, such as orgasm.
An experiment done with Beverly D’Urso in the Stanford Sleep Lap was successful and later on published in Journal of Psychophysiology as the first recorded female orgasm in a dream.
18. Dreams can be very symbolic
Have you ever checked a meaning behind a dream symbol that you had, and you related to it, a lot?
Well, the truth is that if a dream is on a particular subject, it doesn’t always mean that the dream is about that subject.
It may sound confusing, but let me give you an example:
If you dream about your ex, that doesn’t mean that he thinks of you or you miss him/her. It often symbolizes a warning, that you should not repeat past relationship patterns with your current partner.
It manifests to let go of past habits that no longer serve you.
So keep in mind that there may be some deeper symbolic meaning behind. The symbol(s) picked up in your dream world can be hinting towards something else.
19. Negative emotions
Unfortunately, researches showed that the most common emotion experienced in dreams is anxiety.
The three most widely reported sensations felt during dreaming are anger, sadness, and fear.
If the negative emotions are more common than a positive one, you may consider learning lucid dreaming.
This will give you the change to recreate your dream and to overwhelm the negative emotions that appear.
Another reason for WHY you should learn lucid dreaming if you are experiencing unpleasant episodes of nightmares!
With lucid dreaming, you will achieve a higher state of consciousness while you dream.
This is a therapeutic method which allows you to shape your dreams the way you want, furthermore, it can prevent nightmares.
21. It’s hard to read or check the time while dreaming
There are some rare cases, where people are able to do these tasks. However, the majority of people reported that reading is not possible, while they dream.
This one is actually a good lucidity trigger. If you are dreaming, you will notice difficulties to read or to see the time.
For instance, the text might be very blurry and the clock might change drastically, in a matter of seconds.
If you ever see a clock in your dreams or a text to read, try it out. This may spark lucidity!
22. Dreams and Deja vu
Have you ever done something that you felt you already did it?
You thought “Hey I’ve seen this somewhere” “I’ve been here before”.
People regularly report that they had experienced a certain situation in a dream, which they have had a chance to experience later on in real life.
That is called precognitive dreaming.
People always debate whether this is a big coincidence or if we are actually capable of sometimes seeing the future while we are dreaming.
Whatever the answer is, we know that this happens occasionally to almost everyone, and it still remains the most fascinating and shocking mystery of dreams.
23. Toddlers don’t dream of themselves
Till the age of 4, toddlers cannot include themselves in their own dreams.
This is because they are not self-aware about themselves.
Also, because their brain is less developed since birth in order to dream more intense and deep.
24. Reoccuring dreams
A recurrent dream is experienced frequently and repetitively.
They occur in between 60% and 75% of adults, and more often in women than men.
Some common themes include: being attacked or chased, falling, being stuck, being late, missing or failing an exam, and even losing control of a car.
Theoretically, recurrent dreams are assumed to show the presence of unresolved conflicts or stressful situations in an individual’s life.
25. Some dreams changed human history
You remember that I said dreams renew your creativity?
The truth is that a lot of creations, that chanced and even improved our world, were inspired through dreams.
A few examples include:
THE SEWING MACHINE
The creator, Elias Howe had a violent dream based on his frustrations. He dreamt that cannibals threatened to kill him if he couldn’t come up with a design.
The movie wasn’t based on one dream, but rather a series of lucid dreams the director, Chris Nolan had.
Larry Page had an irrational fear that he was admitted into college because of an error. He thought he would be kicked out of college.
That anxiety fired a dream of downloading and storing the Internet on individual PCs.
That gave him the idea of creating a searchable database of links to web pages and that led to the creation of Google.
THEORY OF RELATIVITY
Einstein’s idea came to him in a dream when he was just a teenager.
His dream led to his realization that events look different depending on where you’re standing due to the amount of the time it takes light to travel.
THE SHAPE OF DNA
Dr. James Watson had a dream of a double-sided staircase.
Another one was of two snakes coiled around each other with their heads at opposite ends.
But this dreams Watson understand the structure of one of the most influential discoveries of the last century.
THE PERIODIC TABLE OF ELEMENTS
In 1869, Dmitri Mendeleev published what he saw in a dream.
Unlike some other scientists on this list, his dream was pretty simple as he just saw all of the elements fall into place on a table.
26. Sleep deprivation can lead to psychosis
A lack of REM sleep and dreaming during can lead to the disruption of healthy functioning.
It actually very dangerous and serious.
If you regularly disrupt your sleep, you are prone to psychotic disorders such as hallucination, irritation etc.
27. Sleeping less than 6 hours reduces life expectancy
In order for your body to go through all cycles of sleep, which are 5, 7+ hours is required.
A lower amount of time leads to a lack of healing and recovery of brain cells.
Continuously operating in such conditions may lead to the degradation of brain cells, moreover a fatigued and tired brain.
28. 17 hours
17 hours is the maximum hours you can be awake before you start experiencing the symptoms of sleep deprivation.
That include impaired vision and motor functions as that of a person with a blood alcohol level of 0.5%
29. 11 days
Back in 1965, 16-year-old high school student Randy Gardner stayed awake for 11 days and 24 minutes – that’s 264.4 hours straight
Although it’s unclear exactly how long humans can survive without sleep, it isn’t long before the effects of sleep deprivation start to show.
After only 3 or four nights without sleep, you can start to hallucinate.
30. Your surrounding matters
Temperature plays a huge role, also other factors in your surroundings, such as light and noise.
It’s quite difficult for the body to sleep if the temperature is too high.
In order for you to sleep, the temperature does decrease within the body, in order to initiate the process of sleep.
Furthermore, studies revealed that sleeping in a cool place improves the frequency of REM sleep, therefore dreaming, too.
A cool room will help to fall asleep easier, it will avoid waking up during the night, which will automatically increase the time in and intensity of your dreaming.
31. 10 minutes or more
The average person without extreme sleepiness should fall asleep in five to 15 minutes.
If it takes longer than 20 to 30 minutes to fall asleep, this may be a sign of insomnia.
If sleep onset occurs in less than 5 minutes, this may be an indication of a pathological level of sleepiness or a sleep disorder.
32. Food matter!
Some foods can drastically increase your dream content and vividness!
It is mostly related to the nutritional value of certain foods.
For instance, foods that are rich in vitamin B6, such as bananas, oranges, beans, nuts, carrots, and spinach, might cause some vivid and long dreams!
33. Sleeping Beauty Disorder
Also known as Kleine-Levin Syndrome (KLS), is a rare sleep disorder.
In this condition, a person sleeps for prolonged periods of time, experiencing cognitive or mood changes, hypersexuality and other symptoms.
The condition primarily affects adolescent males, though females can also be affected and the age of onset varies.
Yes, this is a word! 😀
What is more, it’s a condition in which a person will engage in sexual acts while still asleep.
The state usually occupied by another sleep disorder it can include such acts as masturbation, fondling themselves or others, having sexual activities with another person; and in more extreme cases, sexual assault.
35. Dream incorporation
External stimuli manage to invade our dreams!
A flow of information from our sensory systems continues to be active. Moreover, it is possible to fluidly incorporate it into a dream.
Our mind starts to interpret the external stimuli that come to our senses while we sleep, so they become a part of our dreams.
For instance, if we hear a sound in reality, then we will incorporate it into our dreams in some way.
However, if it is too loud, it would lead to an awakening.
36. Animals dream, too
Dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, mice, wolves, giraffes, zebras, lions, elephants, and many other animals dream.
Studies have actually proven that many times, that some animals show similar brain waves during REM sleep as we do.
If you have a dog or cat, watch when he/she is sleeping.
Any kind of paw movements, that indicates they are running, it is possible to mean that they are chasing someone/something.
If you don’t have a dog, check out this funny video of a dog, running in his dream!
37. Night terrors
Night terrors, or parasomnia, are not the same as nightmares.
They are episodes of screaming, intense fear and flailing while still asleep (they are often paired with sleepwalking).
They affect from 1%-4% of children between the ages of four and 12, while they are rare in adults.
Often, night terrors occur in those who abuse drugs or alcohol or have a sleep disorders such as apnea.
The difference between sleep terror, nightmare and sleep paralysis is:
- Sleep terrors – acting in real life, while still being asleep
- Nightmares – you are acting INSIDE of the dream
- Sleep paralysis – you are consciously awake, but your body is still ”asleep”
38. Melatonin and other supplements help you to dream more
Your brain produces melatonin naturally. It is the hormone that basically controls our sleep.
Melatonin simply makes our dreams more vivid. Also, it increases the ability to remember them and to feel in control.
A research was done, and it demonstrated that melatonin impacts dreaming variables and bizarreness.
39. Light interrupt and decrease your dreaming
As sleeping in a warmer room, light can also affect negatively on your dreaming patterns.
When the brain senses total darkness, the body produces melatonin– the hormone that helps the body to enter deep sleep faster.
The exposure to light during sleep interferes with your sleep cycle, preventing you from the long and deep night’s rest.
Simply said – exposure to light decreases melatonin levels.
The two biggest distractions from a proper rest can be noise and light.
The truth is that any form of light (lamps – in your room or the ones on the streets outside, TVs, moonlight, sun, etc.) can keep people from reaching a deep and restful sleep.
The simple solution? – consider getting a sleeping mask.
40. Smells & sounds can affect positively on your sleep
Essential oils and scents can invoke strong emotions, even unconsciously.
What is more, they can even stimulate different states, such as lucid dreaming! Smells such as lavender or rose are proven to induce more (positive) dreams.
Furthermore, sound can affect too. The most efficient way to induce various states is through binaural beats.
Binaural beats are two different tones of frequencies, played at the same time, separately to each ear.
This vibration of sound creates an effect on the brain which allows it to enter various states. See the picture below the states you can induce, by using these beats!