There are five main types of dreams - daydreams, normal dreams, false awakenings, nightmares and lucid dreams. Take a look at the features of these hypnotic states and how each one can introduce you to the phenomenal world of dreaming.
Scientific studies reveal that most people daydream for a whopping 70-120 minutes per day. During this time, you are only semi-awake - not asleep, but not fully checked-in with reality, either. It starts with a compelling thought, memory, or fantasy about the future, and your imagination runs away. The longer you daydream, the deeper you become immersed in your private fantasy land. Contrary to popular belief, daydreaming is an important part of dream research. As with all types of dreams, you enter a kind of hypnotic trance and allow your subconscious thoughts to rise to the surface. In daydreams, the right (creative) brain is dominant and you lose awareness of reality. Deeper worries or concerns will surface, usually by acting themselves out in the daydream. This only serves to reinforce negativity - so next time you are fantasizing about bad situations, turn it around and consciously create a positive outcome.
I know "normal dreams" is a contradiction in terms, but let me assure you I simply mean your usual types of dreams, where you have no idea you're dreaming - at the time, anyway. In a typical dream, you could be having tea with the Pope and think nothing of it; you accept your dream reality as it is. Everybody in the world has normal dreams every single night. These dreams that arise out of REM sleep are essential to our survival - we would die without them. Assuming you get eight hours of shuteye, you will dream for about 100 minutes, with longer and more vivid dreams occurring shortly before you wake up. -3-
Lucid dreams are the best types of dreams and I'm guessing the reason you are here reading this. Most lucid dreams arise spontaneously from normal dreams (called Dream Induced Lucid Dreams). All you need to do is teach yourself to constantly question your reality and you will become lucid much more often. Alternatively, you can have lucid dreams by walking your brain from a conscious state directly into a dream state. This technique has been used by Tibetan Buddhists for over 1,000 years and is today known as Wake Induced Lucid Dreams. It involves a two-step process of meditation and inducing sleep paralysis. You will soon enter your very own lucid dream world.
False awakenings are basically very vivid types of dreams. They begin in your bedroom, with you waking up, and somehow your conscious brain mimics every detail of the room, exactly as it should be. Unless you question your reality on waking (like many lucid dreamers) you don't stand a chance...
In the western world, nightmares are considered to be normal types of dreams with a very scary twist. In nightmares, you don't know you're dreaming so the subconscious mind takes everything on board as if it were really happening. Some nightmares can be so vivid that the sensory system is triggered and you can feel certain types of pain. It can be very unnerving. According to dream analysis, being chased by a monster or dark character in a nightmare represents our evolutionary fear of being hunted. Children - who are arguably more vulnerable than most adults - report this type of dream the most. Studies show that nightmares are usually caused by sickness, stress, trauma, and drugs or alcohol.
From the 1940s to 1985, Calvin S. Hall collected more than 50,000 dream reports at Western Reserve University. In 1966 Hall and Van De Castle published The Content Analysis of Dreams in which they outlined a coding system to study 1,000 dream reports from college students. It was found that people all over the world dream of...