Dreams Essay Research Paper DreamsI

Dreams Essay, Research Paper


I’m at a party on a Saturday night. Everyone from the senior class is there and the few juniors that hang out with us. It is the first party of the year. All my friends are gathered in Dana Mottet’s beach front house. Her parents were gone for the weekend and it was the perfect opportunity for a party. Also, her twenty-one year old brother decided to help us out in the drinking department by taking a trip to the liquor store. We all sat around thinking about how it’s going to be the best year of our lives. I mean, after all, we are seniors and we rule the school. All of a sudden out of nowhere my best friend and I are out in the middle of the lake in her paddleboat. I look down into the water and I see something shiny at the bottom that keeps attracting my eye. I tried to ignore it but I couldn’t, as I reach into the water to try and grab the mysterious object I get pulled in. All I remember is screaming and trying to get out of the water but I couldn’t, something kept pulling me back down. After frantic screaming, everything stopped and became silent. I had drowned. The sound of my alarm clock kept going off, which woke me from my sleep. I realized that I just had a very strange dream.

Most mornings, I wake up remembering that something happened. It takes me awhile to realize what I remember was a dream. Sometimes they seem so real; I don’t believe it was a dream. I have always wondered why we dream. It doesn’t make much sense to me for us to think about almost real-life situations in our sleep. What is a dream? Why do we have them? How do our dreams relate to real-life?

The Webster’s dictionary definition of a dream is a series of thoughts or visions during sleep. However, to begin understanding what this definition means, we must first start with a thing called rapid eye movement sleep or REM sleep. This means sometime during the eight hours a person is asleep, they will spend some of the time in REM sleep, where their eyes are moving at a fast pace. Research has shown that when a person is in REM sleep, their brain waves are being monitored and they will look like they are awake rather than asleep. This conclusion that came from many studies is that when a person is sleeping and their eyes start moving, they are in the middle of a dream. It has been concluded that when dreaming, people are consciously aware that they are asleep. (Crisp, 182)

Even though most of our bodies take a rest while we are asleep, our autonomic and peripheral nervous systems are still very active. There are also several changes in the body the blood flow to the brain increases, heartbeat becomes irregular, the muscles in the face and the fingers twitch, and breathing becomes irregular. We also lose control of large body muscles. There is a theory saying that the reason we lose control over the muscles is so we don’t act out our dreams. (Crisp, 186)

People probably wonder how long we spend dreaming. In a survey among college-age adults, fifteen percent said they had a dream they remembered every night, twenty-five percent said they had a dream most of the nights, and one third said that they rarely or never had a dream. (DeLaney, 50) We spend much more time in the world of dream consciousness then we realize. The average college student spends two hours every night in REM sleep and this is divided up into four to six episodes. How long the dream actually last varies but the longest dream actually last about an hour. Many of us wonder why we don’t remember all the dreams we have in a night. It is because the dreams happen so fast. However, if we were to be woken during or soon after the dreams, we would remember it. (DeLaney, 132)

We don’t just have dreams during REM sleep; it has been proven that dreams happen during non-REM sleep, too. The dreams that happen during non-REM sleep are brief, fragmentary impressions that are less emotional and less likely to involve visual images. When a person is woken during non-REM sleep, they will often deny that they were even asleep. This is because the dreams resemble daytime thoughts. Non-REM dream activity occurs during half of the other four to six hours of sleep. (DeLaney, 140)

The images and characters in a dream are an important part of the dream aspect. How about we say you were having a dream about washing dishes. We will most likely be able to visualize the image of washing dishes but will be less likely to “hear” the clatter of the dishes or, to “feel” the hot water on your hands. One-fourth of dream images include auditory sensation, twenty percent include bodily sensations, and less than one percent includes tastes and smells. The color of a person’s dream is usually between black, white and color. The images in a dream are bright and clear as if awake, but they are murky and drab in color. A dream will usually include a few intense colors but the backgrounds are blurry. When it comes to characters, we often play the leading role in our own dreams but are absent ten percent of the time. Half of the other characters are friends, acquaintances, and family members the other half are people you don’t know or can not recognize and four percent are animals. There is an even mixture of men and women, but men are more likely to dream about women then women are. (Crisp, 153)

The emotion of a dream plays a big part in what a dream is. Studies have shown that three-fourths of all dreams have some negative or positive emotional content. Those dreams re occur are most likely to be negative. In a survey done by Psychology Today, the dreams that occurred most often are dreams of the person being chased or falling. Flying, naked in public, and unprepared for an exam were also common of recurrent dreams. Women who have dreams are more likely to have negative dreams than men.

Day residue and stimulus incorporation is the explanation on why we have things from our real life in dreams. For example, most of us have had a dream where the phone is ringing, but in reality it’s the alarm clock or even the real phone. This is called stimulus incorporation, which is defined as stimuli that occur during sleep that are incorporated into dreams either directly or in an altered form. Day residue is the content in dreams that is similar to events in the persons waking life. For instance, if we were to fail a test at school during the day, it would be incorporated into our dreams that night. (Kalat, 160)

Now, as there is a reason for everything in life, there is a reason why we sleep and dream. As we all know from experience, limited sleep can cause fatigue, sleepiness, and irritability. In many experiments, people were awakened when they entered REM sleep but were allowed to have non-REM sleep. The lack of REM sleep caused the patients to be irritable, inefficient and fatigued. When they were finally allowed to sleep through the night, they showed an increase in the amount of REM sleep as if they were catching up on what they missed. (Kalat, 161)

Now when I wake up and know I had a dream, I can think about why I had it. I can think about what I had done the day before or what I was even thinking about before I fell asleep. This will explain why I had a dream. So now I know why we have dreams and the importance of them.


Crisp, Tony. Do You Dream? San Diego: Neville Spearman, 1971.

DeLaney, Gayle. All About Dreams. San Francisco: Harper Publishing, 1998.

“Dreams.” Webster’s Dictionary. 1999 Ed.

Kalat, James. Introduction to Psychology. 5th Ed. Belmont, CA: 1999.

Crisp, Tony. Do You Dream? San Diego: Neville Spearman, 1971.

DeLaney, Gayle. All About Dreams. San Francisco: Harper Publishing, 1998.

“Dreams.” Webster’s Dictionary. 1999 Ed.

Kalat, James. Introduction to Psychology. 5th Ed. Belmont, CA: 1999.


ДОБАВИТЬ КОММЕНТАРИЙ  [можно без регистрации]
перед публикацией все комментарии рассматриваются модератором сайта - спам опубликован не будет

Ваше имя:


Хотите опубликовать свою статью или создать цикл из статей и лекций?
Это очень просто – нужна только регистрация на сайте.

opyright © MirZnanii.com 2015-2018. All rigths reserved.