It seems as real as something that actually happens Even though the body is asleep, the brain is still awake. Dreams not only give insights, but can warn about possible dangers. Dreams serve an important function in peoples’ lives. Scientists are finding out things about dreams that dreamers themselves have never known. They can learn how many dreams a person has in one night. They can also tell how long a dream lasts. One of the first things scientists learned about is the close relationship between dreaming and the rhythms of sleep.
Everyone passes throu9h periods that include both deep and light sleep. For most people each period of sleep lasts about one and a half to two hours. At the end of each, a person has a period of dreaming. Research indicates anyone who sleeps eight hours a night has about five dream periods. Each dream period usually consists of several different episodes or adventures lasting five to ten minutes. As the night goes on, dream periods become longer. The first dream period may last only a few minutes while a drearn period just before waking may last as long as forty-five minutes.
During eight hours of leep, a person dreams a total of about one to two hours (Miller, 1980). Dreams affect the body’s internal processes. An exciting dream will cause the dreamer’s heart to beat faster and his blood pressure to increas. Researchers have also learned that eye movements are linked to dreaming. During a dream the dreamer’s eyes usually move rapidly back and forth behind closed eyelids. This is called an REM period (rapid eye movement) According to studies, “if you awaken subjects after the onset of rapid eye movements for each period during the night, you may find dreaming occurring in each instance” Robbins, 1988, p. 43).
The dreamer appears to be a spectator watching what goes on in the dream. When people have been blind all of their lives, their eyes do not move when they dream. These people only feel or hear what is happening in their dreams. It has also been discovered that four out of every five dreams are in color. Most dreams occur at the end of the sleeping cycle and are often interrupted (wolf, 1994). Studies conducted by Wolf in 1994 have shown “one may dream several times in the same night, adding confusion to one’s recollection the following morning (p 22).
Some people claim they never dream, but research shows that all people dream, Those who wake up quickly seem to recall dreams better than those who awaken slowly. There are many different theories what causes dreams According to Freud in 1987, “dreams serve as the guardians of sleep” (p. 43). The majority of dreams seem to reflect happenings, thoughts, and feelings of the previous day or two. Many reflect physical sensations and wishes of the dreamer. Some believe dreams are made out of many small parts of memory and imagination that get combined to form dream imagery (porter, 1987).