Dreams have a long history both as a subject of conjecture and as a source of inspiration. Throughout their history, people have sought meaning in dreams or divination through dreams. They have been described physiologically as a response to neural processes during sleep, psychologically as reflections of the subconscious and spiritually as messages from the Almighty or predictions of the future. Many cultures practiced dream incubation, with the intention of cultivating dreams that were prophetic or contained messages from the divine. Jews have a traditional ceremony called hatovat chalom – literally meaning making the dream a good one. Through this rite disturbing dreams can be transformed to give a positive interpretation by a rabbi or a rabbinic court.
The content of dreams could be:
(1)Emotions: Anxiety is the most common emotion experienced in dreams. Negative emotions are more common than positive ones. U.S. ranks the highest amongst industrialized nations for aggression in dreams.
(2)Sexual: Sexual dreams occur no more than 90 percent of the time and are more prevalent in young to mid teens. sexual dreams may result in orgasm or nocturnalemission. These are commonly known as wet dreams.
(3)Recurring dreams: Up to 70% of females and 65% of males report recurrent dreams. The term recurrent dream means- same dream narrative is experienced over different occasions of sleep.
(4)Common themes: Content-analysis studies have identified common reported themes in dreams. These include: situations relating to school, being chased, running slowly in place, sexual experiences, falling, arriving too late, a person now alive being dead, teeth falling out, flying, embarrassing moments, failing an examination, not being able to move, not being able to focus vision and car accidents. Twelve percent of people dream only in black and white. people with synesthesia have never reported black-and-white dreaming, and often have a difficult time imagining the idea of dreaming in only black and white.
Other Associated Phenomena:
(1)Lucid dreaming is the conscious perception of one’s state while dreaming. In this state a person usually has control over characters and the environment of the dream as well as the dreamer’s own actions within the dream. The occurrence of lucid dreaming has been scientifically verified.
(2)Dreams of absent-minded transgression (DAMT): These are dreams wherein the dreamer absentmindedly performs an action that he or she has been trying to stop (one classic example is of a quitting smoker having dreams of lighting a cigarette). One study found a positive association between having these dreams and successfully stopping the behavior.
(3)Dreaming and the ‘ real world’: Dreams can link to actual sensations, such as the incorporation of environmental sounds into dreams such as hearing a phone ringing in a dream while it is ringing in reality, or dreaming of urination while wetting the bed. Except in the case of lucid dreaming, people dream without being aware that they are doing so.
(4)Recalling dreams: The recall of dreams is extremely unreliable, though it is a skill that can be trained. Dreams can usually be recalled if a person is awakened while dreaming.Women tend to have more frequent dream recall than men.
(5)Deja vu:The theory of dealing with dreams indicates that the feeling of having previously seen or experienced something could be attributed to having dreamt about a similar situation or place, and forgetting about it until one seems to be mysteriously reminded of the situation or place while awake.
Purpose of dreams:
The contents and biological purposes of dreams are not fully understood, though they have been a topic of speculation and interest throughout recorded history. The scientific study of dreams is known as oneirology. here is no universally agreed biological definition of dreaming. General observation shows that dreams are strongly associated with rapid eye movement sleep, during which an electroencephalogram shows brain activity to be most like wakefulness.