Not all of us dream a lot. Heck, I know few people who can’t recall the last time they’ve been dreaming (aside from day-dreaming). Here are 6 things you may haven’t heard before about this phenomenon.
1. There’s actually a science dedicated to the study of dreams
But it doesn’t deal with interpretation of dreams. Instead, oneirology explores the mechanisms and processes that give rise to dreams (rather than discovering the meaning of dreams). Exploring the meaning of dreams has nothing to do with science…
2. Dream interpretation dates back to the 3rd millennium BC
Sure enough, Jung and Freud included the practice in their psychological analysis but the practice of “reading” dreams existed for thousands of years. In fact, some of the first evidence of dream interpretation dates all the way back to the 3rd millennium BC, to the ancient cultures of the Mesopotamian, which have collected the accounts of dreams (especially those of royal figures) into dream books, complete with interpretations.
3. Most people dream about same things
According to a study conducted in 2004, scientists from the Sleep Laboratory at the Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim, Germany – most of the 55 dream themes occurred at least once in most of the participants’ lifetimes. Additionally, the correlation coefficients for the rank order of the themes were very high; that is, the relative frequencies were stable. And yes, all of us dream about sex.
4. Dreams in color?
It is estimated that roughly one person in eight is limited to black and white dreamscapes. However, this wasn’t always the case — during the first half of the 20th century, the vast majority of people actually used to dream in black and white. Then, beginning in the sixties, the balance began tipping in the direction of color dreaming, the phenomenon that’s caused by the advent of color TV.
5. People trying to stop smoking have more vivid dreams
Smokers who suddenly kick the habit are likely to experience a number of pretty rough withdrawal symptoms, including dreams about smoking. In these dreams, subjects caught themselves smoking and felt strong negative emotions, such as panic and guilt.
6. We still have a lot to learn about dreams
For all the research that’s been done on REM sleep and its role in a person dream state, our understanding of sleep’s deeper mechanisms remain muddled, and there still exists no clear biological definition of the phenomenon. For instance, the link between REM and dreaming was only made as recently as the 20th century and for decades it was assumed that REM sleep was necessary for dreams to occur. It took until 2001, to prove that REM sleep is, in fact, not necessary for dreams to occur.