How do we dream?

Dreams are scenarios or pictures that the brain creates during sleep. They can be interesting, funny or frightening, but how do we dream and does dreaming affect our sleep? In this article, TEMPUR® answers these questions and helps you on your way to a better night’s sleep.

DOES EVERYONE DREAM?

Everyone dreams for approximately two hours every night, whatever age you are. Some research has even shown that we have several dreams during this two-hour period, which usually lasts for five to twenty minutes. It has been shown that even babies dream.

However, not everyone can remember their dreams and a staggering 95% of dreams are forgotten by the time we wake up. A reason behind this is due to the fact that during sleep, the brain is constantly sorting essential and nonessential information. Therefore, if the brain doesn’t value the information in the dream, it simply won’t retain it.

WHY DO WE DREAM?

We usually dream during REM, or Rapid Eye Movement, sleep. REM sleep occurs during the first 90 minutes after falling asleep. This is a vital part of the sleep cycle and each phase of sleep is important and beneficial to the body and mind. During REM sleep our brain’s activity is increased which promotes learning and creates dreams.

There are many theories as to why we have dreams, as researchers haven’t agreed on one specific reason. However, one theory is that we experience dreams to confront feelings and emotions that haven’t been addressed before in the conscious mind.

Dreams can also act as creative inspiration and bring new ideas from past experiences, which we wouldn’t have considered before.

DOES DREAMING AFFECT SLEEP?

Dreaming is a very natural process, meaning it doesn’t affect sleep. However, sometimes recurring bad dreams can affect our physical and mental health, as they disrupt sleep and make us feel tired the next day.

Although dreaming doesn’t necessarily affect sleep negatively, if you remember a lot of your dreams it may be a result of you waking up often throughout the night.

HOW TO FEEL MORE RESTED WHEN DREAMING

Dreaming occurs during REM sleep and as a result of this, there are many ways in which you can improve REM sleep.

Firstly, try to establish a bedtime routine. Ensuring that both your body and mind are ready to sleep is key. Establishing this routine will show the body that it’s time to rest, therefore making it easier to fall asleep. During your bedtime routine it’s a good idea to relax beforehand, such as reading a book. Reading a book may also stimulate your dreams as it gives your brain new ideas and scenarios.

Making your bed more comfortable will also improve your REM sleep as it helps the body to relax and wake up less frequently – and waking up less frequently means that you are in REM for the needed time. You can improve the comfort of your bed by upgrading your mattress and pillows to ensure that you have a good night’s rest.

Making sure that you receive sufficient sleep will allow your body to go through the full sleep cycle, making you feel more refreshed when you wake up. Everyone experiences dreams and they are a natural part of sleeping. Focusing on how you sleep is really important and should help improve the quality of your dreams.

What do you commonly dream about? Do you have any tips for improving your sleep quality? Let us know in the comments below…

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