Beyond the world that we know so well, lies another one, just as magnificent – the world of dreams! Each one of us has witnessed thousands of dreams, but probably passed it off as a compilation of random thoughts. Nothing can be farther from the truth! Here is some trivia for you-

In most cases, dreams occur in the REM (rapid eye movement) stage of your sleep, when your brain works vigorously (similar to the condition of wakefulness). Dreams are witnessed in other stages of sleep as well, but they tend to be vague and are difficult to recollect.

The duration of a dream ranges from a few seconds to as long as twenty minutes. Research has shown that an average person sees 3 to 5 dreams per night, but some people can have about seven dreams in a single night.

“Dream incorporation” is a phenomenon wherein real external stimuli are incorporated into the dream, so as not to awaken the sleeper. For instance, one dreams of the phone ringing, when it actually is, or of urination, when wetting the bed.

“Lucid dreaming” occurs when the dreamer knows that he is dreaming. Sometimes, he can control his own, or even others’ actions in the dream. This has been proven scientifically. Lucid dreamers are called ‘Oneironaut’.

In “dreams of absent-minded transgression (DAMT)”, the dreamer indulges in those activities that he has been trying to avoid – like a smoker who is trying to quit, dreams of lighting a cigarette. DAMT make you wake with a pang of guilt. DAMMIT!

Some people admit to dreaming in black and white only!

“Déjà vu” is the feeling of ‘been there, done that’ in your dream, while facing a similar situation in your waking hours.

“Hallucination” is dreaming while you are awake! This differs from day dreaming mainly because your perception is unusually vivid, clear, and exhibits qualities of a real dream.

“Nightmares” are unpleasant dreams, which elicit extreme negative responses, ranging from horror to sadness, and awaken the dreamer, who is then unable to sleep for a long time.

“Night terror” is a parasomnia disorder, which causes feelings of terror or dread. Victims, predominantly children, who are often said to scream, have their eyes wide open, but are not actually awake. They seem to be protecting themselves from some possible threat.

What is astonishing is that people with diverse backgrounds and different corners of the world, witness similar dreams! Here are some of them which you might identify with, and what they could possibly mean –

Exam dreams – You have forgotten to study for your exam! You are late! You know nothing! Your pen stops working! Or you miss the exam altogether..! And bam! You have failed!!
Relax! There are people at the ripe age of 40 still witnessing this…Such dreams are indicators of your plummeting self confidence and your fear of being rejected. You are probably trying too hard to please others.

Falling dreams – You are on the verge of dozing off, and suddenly you miss a step! Your body gives a jerk, and you wake with a start! Ouch!
Falling dreams occur in the initial stage of your sleep, and are flanked by muscle spasms, called myclonic jerks.
(Please note that you WILL NOT ACTUALLY DIE if you fail to wake up before the fall).
Falling denotes your insecurities and inadequacies. Chances are that you are selling yourself short.

Naked dreams – You are dreaming of nothing spectacular as such, and then it hits you: you are naked in full public view!! This typically extracts either of these reactions – (A) You are petrified! This shows that you are vulnerable. Maybe you are hiding something (just like clothes hide your body). Or you are afraid of being embarrassed in public. Interestingly, if no one else in your dream notices your nudity, it implies that these concerns are baseless, and your fears are imaginary.
(B) You are proud of your nakedness. This symbolizes your free-spirited nature and your love for yourself. However, this can also mean that you are trying to gain attention in the wrong way.

Flying dreams – Flying dreams are a type of lucid dreams (i.e. you know that you are dreaming). If you are the sort who enjoys your flight and gets a thrilling sense of liberation, chances are that you are on cloud nine (pun intended).
If you aren’t so lucky, and find it tough to fly, it suggests your lack of control over a situation/ your life.
Unluckier still, if your ride gives you goose bumps, it says that you are not ready to face some challenge yet.

Chase dreams – You are desperately being pursued by somebody who wants to cause you harm or kill you… You are thoroughly exhausted. Yet, you run. You scream for help. Nobody seems to bother. Nobody seems to notice. You run till you can run no more. You collapse…
And what you notice next is that your brother isn’t too pleased at being woken up past midnight by your howling and screeching.
Little does he know that it was a result of the stress and pressures that chase you in your waking life! The next time, ask yourself who was chasing you, so you can get a hang of what is affecting you.

Teeth dreams – The only dream I haven’t seen is the “teeth dream”, and so that is the only one I find funny. Sources, who do not wish to be identified, have personally described to me their toothless versions, and let me tell you – it ain’t pretty.
Such dreams arise due to the phobia of aging. Teeth are associated with attractiveness, and their lack implies a shaky self image (also a fear of public embarrassment) and a feeling of unattractiveness. In fact, research has shown that women in menopause have such dreams frequently.

Dreams are perceived to be messages to you from your subconscious mind. In fact, some of the greatest ideas were conceived when the person was dreaming!

So the next time you dream something particularly nasty, don’t curse! It might just help you to hit that problem on its head.

– Divya. Ganapathy
(A Minerva M Writer)
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