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Dream Analysis

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Topics: Dream, Dreaming, Sleep
Since the beginning of time, dreams have been a mysterious wonder amongst humans. The word "dream" comes from the Middle English word dreme, which means, "joy" and "music." Everyone has dreams, and those who say they don 't in fact do, but just don 't remember their dreams. A person spends 6 years of their life dreaming, which is equivalent to 2,100 days in different world (dreamfacts). Many people often have weird and unexplained dreams that they usually just overlook, but research is showing that there is meaning behind dreams. In the Ancient time, the Greeks and Romans would visit dream temples to search their dreams as messages from the Gods (Gackenbach and Bosveld, 1989). Today, through advanced extended studies and research, psychologists have made remarkable theories about the characteristics of dreams, their functions, and what they mean. People can correlate their dreams into real life to solve problems and better understand themselves, once they 're able to determine these factors.

When people sleep, they go through a four stage cycle which lasts for about 90-120 minutes and repeats itself about four to five times on average, but may repeat as many as seven times in one night. Dreams may occur through any of the four stages, but are most remembered by people in the last stage of sleep known as the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage. In this stage of sleep, the dreamer 's eyes move back and fourth rapidly, and occurs about 90-100 minutes after they fall asleep. Also in REM sleep, the dreamer 's blood pressure rises and their heart rate and respiration speeds up, and their voluntary muscles are paralyzed. Most people have several dreams in one given night, but they usually only remember very little about them. A person who lacks dream activity could have protein deficiency or a personality disorder (dreamfacts). There are five major characteristics of dreams. One is that most dreams consist of familiar people to the dreamer. The second characteristic is that most dreams take place in a building, home, or recreational area. Another is that strong feelings may occur in dreams such as anger, fear, or pain. Also, dreams can feel very real to the dreamer. They can be watching the dream or be participants in it. Last, elements from the dreamer 's previous day may be part of their dream 's content (Scheingold, 2002).

There are several different types of dreams. The first type of dream is a daydream, which is classified as a conscious state between being asleep and awake. It occurs when peoples ' mind wonders. On average, people daydream 70-120 minutes a day. The second type of dream is a lucid dream. This dream occurs when the person realizes they 're in a dream, and usually wakes themselves up. Some cultivated dreamers can remain in a lucid state of dreaming, becoming an active participant in their dream without allowing themselves to awaken. Another type of dream is a nightmare. A nightmare is described as a disturbing dream that causes the dreamer to wake up feeling anxious and scared. Recurring dreams are repeated dreams that have about the same story and theme, most being nightmares. Another type of dream is a healing dream, which refers to the dreamer 's health. A prophetic dream, also known as a precognitive dream, is a dream that supposedly foretells the future. Last, there are epic dreams, which are dreams that possess beauty and contain archetypal symbology. These dreams are said to be impossible to ignore because they are so big, vivid, compelling (dreamtypes/index).

Dreams have always been interpreted to serve a function to the dreamer. Even blind people dream, because vision is not the only sense that constitutes a dream (dreamfacts). Sigmund Freud who lived from 1865-1939 analyzed dreams in order to understand certain aspects of one 's personality (dreamtheory/freud). He believed that dreams functioned to satisfy unconscious sexual and aggressive wishes, because such wishes as those were unacceptable to the dreamer and had to be disguised. Therefore, they appeared as a symbolic form in a dream. In more recent years, dreams have been viewed as a "rehearsal" by simulating dangerous and threatening events to help increase one 's chances of survival. However, researcher J. Allan Hobson (1988) rejected this notion and came up with the theory of "Activation-Synthesis Hypothesis of Dreaming," which suggests that dreams are only the brain 's attempt to figure the random firing of neurons during REM sleep (Wood, Wood and Boyd, 2004). Studies have found that a person 's brain waves are more active when they are dreaming than when they are awake (dreamfacts). Hobson also believes that dreams have a psychological significance because the meaning that the dreamer imposes of their dreams, reflects their own personal experiences, memories, drives, associations, and fears (Wood, Wood and Boyd, 2004).

Therapists believe that people should remember their dreams because they contain thoughts that they aren 't usually aware of, which could help people better understand themselves and solve problems. Even though dreams are not reality, they can provide important information about how individuals see reality. Some suggest keeping a dream journal in order to understand and learn from their dreams. They give the following steps to increase one 's chances of understating their dreams: "Upon awakening try to remember what you dreamed. Immediately write down the details of any dream you can remember. Next, read what you wrote about the dream. Go over each element and write down any details you may have forgotten to include the first time. Then, relax and try to think of anything the dream reminds you of. This may be a memory from years ago or it may be something that happened recently. Next, write down the memory or incident that the dream reminds you. What happened, where did it happen, how did you feel, who else was there? Next, read over what you have written about the dream as many times as you wish, thinking about its message to you. Consider its relationship to other dreams you may have had recently, even dreams you may have had during the same night. Last, allow the dream to speak for itself. If you try too hard to understand it, you will no longer be relaxed." Many dreams are too difficult to understand, so very few dreams will truly be helpful. Sometimes, a dream 's meaning may come to the dreamer after they 've thought it through after several days or had a similar but clearer dream (Scheingold, 2002). Using dream analysis is useful in identifying the source of one 's problems, but it isn 't easy. There are several different meanings that dreams may have and why they occur. Dreams are generally classified as daydreams, lucid dreams, nightmares, recurring dreams, healing dreams, prophetic dreams, or epic dreams. Many people experience recurring dreams. Recurring dreams may occur because a conflict depicted in the dream has not yet been solved and ignored. It has been found that once the dreamer finds a resolution to the problem, their recurring dream usually ceases. Healing dreams are thought to serve as messages to the dreamer in regards to their health. Dreams like this may be telling the dreamer that they need to go to the doctor or dentist. Prophetic dreams seemingly foretell the future. One rational theory that attempts to explain this dream says that a person 's dreaming mind is able to piece together bits of information and observations that they would normally overlook or do not seriously consider. Perhaps the most common types of dreams that people are aware of are nightmares. They are suggested to occur by a dreamer who is ignoring or refusing to accept a particular life situation. Nightmares are an indication of a fear that needs to be confronted or acknowledged, and are a way for people to take notice. However, people who have regular nightmares have been linked to a family history of psychiatric problems, bad drug experiences, people who have contemplated suicide, and/or rocky relationships. Additionally, nightmares can be a response to real life trauma and situations. These types of nightmares are classified as Post-Traumatic Stress Nightmare (PSN) (dreamtypes/index). Another type of nightmare that people confuse is night terrors.

People tend to get nightmares and night terrors confused. Night terrors are an inherited disorder where a child tends to have dreams during deep sleep from which it is very difficult to awaken them. They occur in 2% of children mostly aged 1-8 years, and are not caused by psychological stress, unlike nightmares. A night terror usually begins 1-2 hours after going to sleep and lasts for 10-30 minutes long. During a night terror, a child may get agitated and restless but cannot be awakened or comforted. They may also sit up or run helplessly about, possibly screaming or talking wildly. They commonly appear to not realize that anyone else is present even though their eyes are wide open and staring, and tend mistake objects or persons in the room for dangers. Night terrors are scary but harmless. They can be prevented by keeping the child from becoming overly tired, and by using prompted awakenings (Schmitt, 2002). The general dreams that can be classified are daydreams, lucid dreams, nightmares, recurring dreams, healing dreams, prophetic dreams, and epic dreams. However, there are specific details of general dreams that could have a significant meaning to the dreamer. One common specification of a dream is falling. A falling dream is an indication of insecurities, instabilities, and anxieties. Someone who has a falling dream is usually feeling overwhelmed and out of control in some situation in his or her life. Falling dreams can also reflect a sense of failure or inferiority in some situation where the dreamer feels shameful and lacks a sense of pride. According to the Freudian Theory, falling dreams indicate that the dreamer is contemplating giving into a sexual urge (fallingdreams). Another common dream is chasing dreams. Chasing dreams often occur from feelings of anxiety. Running is an instinctive response to physical threats in the lives of humans. In this dream scenario, the dreamer is being pursued by an attacker. Therefore, chasing dreams can also represent the dreamer 's way of coping with fears, stress, or various situations in real life. Instead of confronting the situation, the dreamer is running away and avoiding it. The direct analysis of chase dreams is the fear of being attacked, where such dreams are more common among women than men (chasedreams). A third common dream is nakedness. This dream scenario occurs when someone is going about their normal daily routine like going to school, waiting for the bus, or just walking down the street, when they suddenly realize that they are stark naked. Nudity symbolizes a variety of things. When someone becomes embarrassed that they are publicly naked often reflects their vulnerability or shamefulness. They may be hiding something and are afraid that others can see right through them. Naked dreams may also being telling the dreamer that they are trying to be someone they 're not. Nudity may also symbolize being caught off guard. Many times, when the dreamer realizes that they are naked in a dream, no one else seems to realize. The small percentage of dreamers that are proud of their nakedness in their dream and show no shame or embarrassment represents unrestricted freedom (nakeddreams). Other common dreams that people may experience are fighting dreams, which indicate inner turmoil, or flying dreams, which signify a sense of freedom where the dreamer had once initially felt restricted (dreamdictionary/f2).

Although there are several reasons why a person may dream, as well as what their dream may mean, there are also other factors that influence one 's dreams. The following few dream facts are helpful pieces of information that dreamers should know. Five minutes after the end of a dream, half of the content is forgotten, and after 10 minutes, 90% is lost. Dreamers who are awakened right after REM sleep are able to recall their dreams more vividly than those who slept until the morning. Researchers found that during dreaming through REM sleep, male 's experiences erections. Therefore, "wet dreams" may not necessarily have to do with the dreamer having sexual dream content. People who are giving up smoking have longer and more intense dreams. In a poll, 67% of Americans have experienced Déjà Vu in their dreams, occurring more in females than males. Last, if you are snoring, then you cannot be dreaming (dreamfacts). Dreams have been a mystery among people since as long as humankind. Although there are several theories about dreams, psychologists think that they have now found the characteristics of dreams, their functions, and what they mean. Dreams will probably be used in the future for psychologists to better understand the aspects of one 's personality, like Sigmund Freud did. Once people truly understand their dreams, they can correlate it into their real life. It is unlikely that someone will ever be able to give a complete explanation of dreams. Therefore, dreams will always be mysterious because they bring people into a different and unexplainable "world" while they sleep every night.

References
Dream Facts & Tidbits. Retrieved October 10, 2004 from the World Wide Web: http://www.dreammoods.com/dreaminformation/dreamfacts.htm Dream Theories: Sigmund Freud. Retrieved October 10, 2004 from the World Wide Web: http://www.dreammoods.com/dreaminformation.dreamtheory/frued.htm

Dreammoods.com. Retrieved October 10, 2004 from the World Wide Web: http://www.dreammoods.com/dreamdictionary/f2.htm Gackenbach, J., & Bosveld, J. (1989). Take Control of your dreams: the technique of lucid dreaming can help you use your dreams to explore your psyche. New York City: Sussex Publishers, Inc.

History of Dreams. Retrieved October 10, 2004 from the World Wide Web: http://www.dreammoods.com/dreaminformation/history.htm "I 'm Being Chased" Dreams. Retrieved October 10, 2004 from the Internet: http://drea mmoods.com/cgibin/chasedreams.pl?method=exact&header=dreamed&search= chaseintro

"I 'm Falling" Dreams. Retrieved October 10, 2004 from the Internet: http://dreammoods.com/cgibin/fallingdreams.pl?method=exact&header=dreamid&search=fallingintro "I 'm Naked" Dreams. Retrieved October 10, 2004 from the Internet: http://dreammoods.com/cgibin/nakeddreams.pl?method=exact&header=dreamed&search=nakedintro Remembering Dreams: Why Should You Bother Remembering Your Dreams?. Retrieved October 10, 2004 from the World Wide Web: http://www.dreammoods.com/dreaminformation/recallingdreams.htm Scheingold,, L. (2002). Clinical Reference Systems. Understanding Dreams. Retrieved October, 10, 2004 from the Internet: http://80galenet.galegroup.com.indianapolis
.libproxy.ivytech.edu/servelet/HWRC/hits?r=d&origSearch=true&bucket=ref&o
=&rlt=1&n=10&1=d&items=0&c=4&tcit=1_1_0_0_0&docNum=A1061811471&sgPhrase=false&locID=ivytech17&secondary=false&t=RK&s=1&SU=dream

Schmitt, B.D. (2002). Clinical Reference Systems. Night Terrors. Retrieved October 10, 2004 from the Internet: http://80galenet.galegroup.com.indianapolis.libproxy.ivytech.edu/servelet/HWRC/hits?docNum=A106810904&tcit=1_1_0_0_1&locID=ivytech17&rlt=1&lrti=2&origSearch=false&t=RK&s=1&r=d&items=2_7a5&lpi=5&secondary=false&o=&lsi=6&n=10&origSubj=dreams+dream+interpretation&1=d&sgPhrase=false&seg=0&c=6&bucket=ref&SU=Nightmares

The Sleep Cycle. Retrieved October 10, 2004 from the World Wide Web: http://www.dreammoods.com/dreaminformation/dreamresearch.htm Types of Dreams. Retrieved October 10, 2004 from the World Wide Web: http://www.dreammoods.com/dreaminformation/dremtypes/index.html Wood, S.E., & Wood, E.G, & Boyd, D. (2004). Mastering the World of Psychology.
Boston: Pearson Education, Inc.

References: Dream Facts & Tidbits. Retrieved October 10, 2004 from the World Wide Web: http://www.dreammoods.com/dreaminformation/dreamfacts.htm Dream Theories: Sigmund Freud. Retrieved October 10, 2004 from the World Wide Web: http://www.dreammoods.com/dreaminformation.dreamtheory/frued.htm Dreammoods.com History of Dreams. Retrieved October 10, 2004 from the World Wide Web: http://www.dreammoods.com/dreaminformation/history.htm "I 'm Being Chased" Dreams. Retrieved October 10, 2004 from the Internet: http://drea mmoods.com/cgibin/chasedreams.pl?method=exact&header=dreamed&search=

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