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What causes us to dream at night?

What causes us to dream at night?

Did you know that everyone dreams at least 3 – 6 times per night, and around 95% of us forget our dreams by the time we get out of bed?

The brain is quite active during sleep which causes us to dream, and as much as some dreams are soothing and entertaining, some can be very scary and realistic.

What are dreams?

Dreams are images, thoughts and stories that occur while we are asleep. Some dream in colours while others dream in black and white.  Dreams are more likely to happen during the REM stage of sleep – (you can see more about it here effects alcohol has on sleep) which are a lot more vivid and bizarre while non-rem dreams tend to involve more thoughts and memories.

Why do we dream?

But also there are many theories of why we dream but even with research at the moment, it still seems to be be impossible to prove why we dream at night.

Different theories include –

Helping to build memory

Cleaning up the clutter in the mind

Keeping the brain active to function properly

During times of stress and anxiety we dream more

Types of dreams –

There are many types of dreams that fall under certain categories, Lucid, Vivid, and common theme.

Lucid dreams – this is when you are aware you are dreaming, you can actually sometimes control the lucid dream, you may be able to change the storyline of the dream, this actually reduces nightmares and anxiety.

Vivid dreams – Vivid dreams are intense and realistic dreams that linger in the mind and relate to real-life memories. Like other dreams, vivid dreams are a lot more intense that is can affect your mental health. The main causes of these dreams are Sleep disruptions, medical conditions, medication, stress and anxiety and substance abuse.

Themed dreams

Theme dreams are the most typical dreams that people get, being chased, death of a loved one, accidents, falling or drowning.

What are nightmares and what causes them?

A nightmare is a bad dream that causes a person to wake up from sleep. Nightmares can feel threatening and scary and can be destressing at times. Worries, fears and negative thoughts are what may cause nightmares to happen.

Do dreams affect Sleep?

Dreams don’t affect sleep, it is actually part of a healthy sleep and completely normal. Nightmares on the other hand are negative on sleep as it involves more distress and wakening up, having constant nightmares leads to insomnia and can cause sleep issues.

 

If you do have trouble sleeping especially with nightmares you can try some of the advice in our how to sleep better guide.

 



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