Have you ever wondered about the true value of dreams and dreamtime? Researchers believe we learn more about our feelings, beliefs and values through our dreams. Dreams heal the ravages caused by day-to-day living, but your dreams also reveal and impact on your hopes and aspirations for your future. Someone wrote, “Dreams are for chasing. All you need is the courage to catch them”.
Our brain remains active throughout the night and dreams can subconsciously help us sort through complicated thoughts and feelings. Without dreams you lose interest in life. You become bored and tired of the same monotonous routines of daily living and life loses its excitement and that quickly leads to entertaining the Black Dog of depression. The true value of dreams is that they help us have hope for a better tomorrow. The future would be very bleak without dreams. Not only that, dreams allow you to reach beyond yourself to strive for the stars.
Dreams are Unique to You
Each dream you have is specific to you, as the symbols and images that appear in your dreams have meaning and connections related only to you. Dreams have an impact on your aspirations and desires.
We may not always be able to make sense of our night dreams, but they are a vital part of our wellbeing. However, these dreams often have no direct resemblance to your life, though day dreams are closely linked to your imagination, hopes and aspirations for your future. If Eddison and his fellow-scientists had never dreamed of an electric light bulb, we might still be sitting in the dark.
Dreams and Your Emotions
The true value of dreams is that they take the sting out of any painful or emotional experiences. Dreaming is like having overnight therapy, while our other senses are dulled by sleep. Dreaming of a better future plays a large part in overcoming and surviving adversity.
Dreams allow us to process upsetting memories in a safer, calmer environment. Emotions are dampened or brought into a better perspective through the regenerating quality of sleep.
During the vivid dreaming state of sleep, the brain is in the Rapid Eye Movement sleep mode, and completely devoid of the anxiety-triggering molecule, noradrenaline. Most of our muscles relax completely preventing us from acting out our dreams.
The True Value of Dreams is Problem-solving
During dreamtime, memories are fused and blended together in abstract and highly novel ways. The dreaming brain puts together ideas that would normally not go together. Researchers say we think in ideas when we are awake, but during sleep, we think in pictures, which is a very important distinction.
The real value of dreams is that the brain cogitates vast swaths of acquired knowledge and regularly creates a mindset that may help us solve previously impenetrable problems. REM sleep helps a person make more sense out of what knowledge they have. It is therefore good advice, to “Sleep on a problem”. A study showed that people were able to solve 15-35% more anagram puzzles when woken during REM sleep. These participants reported that the solution just ‘popped’ into their head effortlessly.
The True Value of Dreams and Creativity
The true value of dreams is seen in the creativity of dreams. The brain has the ability to ‘cherry-pick’ salient fragments of what we experience and attempts to place them within the catalog of preexisting knowledge.
Experiments on both humans and animals support the theory that dreams are a unique form of informational experimentation, as it regurgitates new information. Dreams then, allow our brain to organize and consolidate the material. Every time you ‘view’ an experience, emotion, or information, that data is more firmly imprinted on your brain.
The True Value of Dreams and Their Healing Power
Dr Matthew Walker, an English scientist and professor of neuroscience and psychology, said, “It’s said that time heals all wounds, but my research suggests that time spent in dream-sleep is what heals.” To live, is to know adversity and the real value of dreaming is that it provides essential, and emotional, first aid to our ravaged soul. Without the ability to dream we would have no hope for tomorrow.
I can vouch for this from personal experience. At 31 my husband was killed in an aircraft accident. I gained tremendous comfort from the nights I dreamed about him, for he was real in my dreams. Of course, there was an awakening to the reality of the loss in the morning, but there was a healing comfort in the time spent with him in the dream. It eased the pain of the reality of the traumatic loss and gave me the courage to go on. It helped me to deal with the world-altering experience of grief.
The Value of Nightmares
Even nightmares have a place in our life, as they can be unwelcome images of negative things that have happened, or could happen in our life. In a nightmare there is less emotional control and an overwhelming sense of emotional arousal. Once we learn to deal with nightmares and their causes, there can come healing of the mind.
Nightmares can be the brain’s attempt to find a solution to things that might happen. A recurring nightmare could help keep us on our guard or enable us to face our fears.
If you experience a recurring nightmare, there are effective ways to deal with it. Writing the nightmare down will bring it clearly into your conscious mind. Then spend time thinking about how the nightmare might have a different ending. This is turn, will hopefully influence your subconscious mind and help you deal with stress, or the things you fear.
Occasionally you will experience a lucid dream, but this is a rarity. A lucid dream is when you become conscious you are dreaming and you keep dreaming. In other words, you were dreaming while asleep, then coming awake you continue to dream. This is usually a dream you enjoy being part of. However, scientists are baffled as to how and why lucid dreams occur.
The important thing is to know that dreams do not rule our life, but are merely part of our sleep routine. Also, you can alter the ending of a dream when you return to conscious thought, which can ease your mind.
Sleep is Vital
It is important that you get enough sleep, hopefully eight hours, so that the body has time to relax into the REM state as dreams are a major part of our wellbeing. It is therefore vital we encourage the body to reach REM state. Here are just a few tips.
Make sure your bedroom is dark and do not look at bright light sources such as computer screens and cell phone, for at least a couple of hours before settling down to sleep. Ooops! That may upset some people, but it is a scientific fact. You need to allow time for the brain to settle down.
The worst thing I can do as I begin to drift off to sleep, is to start composing a new article in my head. That will absolutely guarantee that I will lose around three- or four-hours sleep, which leads to that hung over effect the next day.
To ensure a healthy life, you need to have a regular routine, as the body has an internal clock. Go to bed and wake up at approximately the same time. There is no such thing as catching up on ‘lost sleep’, as lost sleep ever remains just that. Where possible, keep the temperature of your house cool at night. A lower room temperature signals your brain that it is time to sleep.
If you wake in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep, don’t lie tossing and turning in bed, but sit up and read a book. Studies have also shown that people who meditate fall asleep quicker and the quality of sleep is improved.
Caffeine and alcohol are not sleep inducers, but will either keep you awake or stimulate frequent wake-ups, so neither of these are desirable. I went from not drinking coffee after midday, to not drinking coffee at all. I still love the smell of freshly brewed coffee, but too many sleepless nights helps strengthen my resolve.
The Danger of Never Dreaming
Researchers say that if you never dream you put yourself at higher risk of obesity, memory loss, and inflammation throughout your body. This can lead to autoimmune troubles. Without a dream you will never reach beyond yourself. Early explorers would never have found new lands if they had not first dreamed of discovering them.
Lack of night dreaming is usually due to a lack of quality sleep, which can lead to physical or mental health problems. You need to work at the quality of your sleep, just as you need to consider the quality of your food, exercise etc. A diet made up of only junk food has dire consequences. The same can be said of unhealthy sleep patterns.
Dreams are a vital part of being healthy, just as exercise is. However, the greater value of dreams, is that without a dream you have a very bleak future, so set the scene to enjoy your highly valuable dreamtime. I repeat one of the opening statements: “Dreams are for chasing. You just need the courage to catch them.” Enjoy the chase.
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Wendy is an inspirational writer, for which she has a strong passion. She is also very passionate about her garden and family. She says life is too short to waste, so live it to the fullest.