“A dream is a wish your heart makes, when you’re fast asleep”.
Dreams are one of the biggest mysteries about our sleep – and we all wonder from time to time what exactly they are. Does dreaming serve a purpose, and how can we remember the good ones? Some, of course, we would rather not remember. Especially those that can lead to waking in the night, a key cause of disrupted sleep. Here, we take a deep dive into dream analysis to discover are they really wish our hearts make when we are fast asleep.
What are dreams?
Dreams are essentially a series of images, thoughts and feelings we experience in our sleep. A little like our favourite movies, they can range from romantic, a tad scary to totally weird. They help the brain to process events and information we’ve gathered throughout the day. This can lead to some dreamy benefits – though before we get to those, let’s take a look at what causes our bedtime movies in the first place.
What causes dreams?
There are a few different theories on what causes us to dream, from simply processing and consolidating what happened in the day, interpreting random signals from the body and brain during sleep, and expressing our unconscious desires and wishes. Dreams can be approached from a scientific or psychoanalytical perspective; both views have been substantiated with plenty of research on brain activity during dreaming, though no exact answer has been confirmed as prevailing.
Why do we only remember some dreams?
Most of our dreams occur during the REM stage of sleep; a particular group of neurons fired during this stage could affect the ability of the brain to remember this information after a good night’s sleep. A study found this is a time when our brain actively forgets, so if you are not someone who remembers their dreams – this could be why. One theory of why some people are more likely to remember their dreams is due to a stronger ability to memorise things in general. So, is there a way that you can remember more of your dreams? Yes, by working on strengthening your cognitive skills, you could wake up with more sweet dreams to share.
How can you improve your ability to remember your dreams?
If you would like to be able to remember more of what you are dreaming of, there are some other simple things you can try. Here are some top tips for working on your dreaming skills;
Keep a dream journal – By keeping a notepad on your bedside table; you can wake up and record anything you remember as soon as you wake up, which is when your dream memory is most likely to be at its strongest.
Avoid abrupt alarms – Waking up naturally may make recalling more details of your dream easier. Abrupt alarms can pull you out of sleep too rapidly, affecting your ability to remember what you were dreaming about.
Set a bedtime routine – A relaxing and consistent bedtime routine can help ease you into a deeper, longer sleep, giving you more dreaming time and strengthening your cognitive ability to restore the information come sunrise. Ensure you have an irresistibly comfy mattress, bedding and pillows so you look forward to snuggling into bed.
What are the benefits of dreams?
Whether you have sweet dreams or scary ones, there is good news for all dreamers. Dreaming has some great benefits for your brain, such as:
1. Helping you to process emotions – We are more likely to dream about emotionally intense situations, events and experiences. This can help process emotions, enhancing mood and making you less reactive in the waking day.
2. Memory boost – Dreams can help to consolidate new information and strengthen your ability to store it in memory, a great way to help you prepare for exams or morning meetings.
3. Fresh perspectives – Another benefit of dreams is they can offer an alternative way to solve a problem or take on a situation without the limitations of the thinking process. Some of these fresh perspectives may be worth writing down the morning after in your dream journal – who knows, and you could dream up just the breakthrough you need.
4. Reveal a heart’s wish – Cinderella might have been on to something. You may discover something you truly desire when you enter the dream world. One of the most beautiful aspects of dreaming is it can transport you to the deepest wishes in your heart – from white sandy beaches, meeting the love of your life, to finding the best mattress for a great night’s sleep.
The dreamy take-away
From the scientific explanation of dreams to the physcology of dreaming, there is no definitive answer as to what dreams are or why we have them. And perhaps it’s the mystery that keeps them soooo… Dreamy?
There are ways that you an strengthen the ability to remember your dreams, from keeping a journal to take notes in the morning and getting the right bedding to set you up for a good night’s sleep.
Dreaming has proven health benefits, including emotional release and memory strengthening. Want to discover more about dreams? You can find more resources here, and of course, stay posted for future blogs.
Here at Panda, our heart wishes for everyone to enjoy the sweetest dreams.