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Whenever I want you all I have to do is dream
Dreams have been an interest to humans for ages. In ancient cultures, dreams were a very important part of oral and written tradition, especially because dreams were thought to be prophetic, or that they were the only channel of communication between divinity and humans, for example.
From a less romantic point of view, dreams have also been thought as being the expression of fears or desires that we don’t express openly. The truth is that dreams are not easy to study. Neurobiologists have tried to decipher the mysteries behind dreams and in more recent research, they have been able to come with a few explanations on how dreams are created and if they have a specific purpose.
REM and non-REM sleep
The sleeping cycle is divided into four stages, being the third and fourth the deep stages of sleep. At the same time, specific periods of time that are characterized by rapid eye movements, known as REM cycles, occur during the sleeping cycle.
In total, during one night we spend from 80 to 100 minutes under REM sleep.
Non-REM cycles refer to the periods of time where no rapid eye movements are detected, which is basically the rest of the time we are deeply asleep.
What is the relation between REM cycles and dreams?
Dreams happen while we are asleep, although we also “daydream”, but that is a different story. Because REM cycles occur at the end of a sleeping cycle and during the less deep sleeping stages, they share characteristics with our awake conscious state.
When we are awake, we are aware of what is happening around us and with ourselves. When we dream, we are also conscious but this type of consciousness is different because, even though we experience emotions and feelings, we think we are awake when we aren’t and so, we are not having any contact with the exterior world or with our bodies, whatsoever.
Dreaming consciousness allows our brain to create the most weird links and mixture of things, people and situations, which don’t happen when we are awake. When dreaming our brain fails to recognize that it is actually dreaming, and that everything that is happening in the dream is not part of the real world.