What Are Dreams?



Aliyah Newton

Have you ever wondered why we all experience dreams, what they signify, or why they are so strange? Dreams are not just random stories your mind makes up. They all have a purpose and a reason. First, dreams prepare you for scenarios and consolidate and analyze memories (like skills and habits). They also help your brain process memories and decide what to put in your long-term memory.

While you sleep, your mind enters different stages of relaxation. One of which is called REM which means Rapid Eye Movement. We dream every time we cycle through REM, which, on average, is three to six times a night. Scientists have found each dream to last from 5 to 20 minutes. They also found that when humans wake up from sleep, they can’t remember 95% of their dreams. 

There are many different types of dreams. First of all, have you ever been having a dream and suddenly realized it was a dream and had control over it?; This is called a lucid dream, and many people experience them in the middle of another dream. Studies have found some people can increase their ability to control their dreams. Next are interpretations. If an individual has studied for an exam all day or has been cooking in the kitchen, their dreams will most likely include the things they studied or their kitchen and food. These are interpretation dreams. There are many more types of dreams, including recurring dreams, vivid dreams, prophetic dreams, and of course, nightmares.

Nightmares are still a mystery to scientists, but experts have found individuals dealing with stress and PTSD are most likely to have nightmares. They continually obsess over their fears and anxieties, which causes them to encounter them in their dreams. 

Surprisingly most people remember their dreams in color. A study found 80% of people younger than 30 dream in color. While just 80% of people over 60 reported having black-and-white dreams. Over the past few years, more people have reported having colored dreams, and scientists believe this is due to the all-color content of recent films and television programs. We have learned much about dreams through studies and research, and there is still more to discover. Dreams will always be a mystery to us, but in the meantime, each night, we can all enjoy watching little films called dreams.



MediLexicon International. (n.d.). Dreams: Causes, types, meaning, what they are, and more. Medical News Today. Retrieved February 10, 2023, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/284378?scrlybrkr#forgetting-dreams 

Team, B. and S. (2022, August 18). Why do we dream? Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved February 10, 2023, from https://health.clevelandclinic.org/why-do-we-dream/