How do dreams work?

Everyone dreams. Even people who are 100% sure they do not dream, dream. The average person enters the Rapid-Eye-Movements phase up to five times a night. During those phases you can dream up to seven times, a dream lasting anywhere from a few seconds to half an hour in length. That adds to a total dreaming time of 1 to 2 hours. Scientists have found that the brainwaves that are produced while dreaming are just as active as the ones you produce when you are awake. They might be even more active. This might be because most dreams are negative. This does not necessarily have to mean that you have nightmares most of the time, because those can be quite rare. Negative dreams just means that you experience anger, sadness or anxiety as these are the most common emotions while dreaming.


Lucid Dreaming

Lucid dreaming means the dreamer is aware that they are dreaming and can control their dream. They can basically design their own dream. This sounds a lot more positive than the negative emotions you produce in a normal dream, right? That’s why many psychologists use it in their treatments for people dealing with depression, self-mutilation and the worst case of nightmares and the anxiety resulting from them. Lucid dreaming can be quite difficult and it takes a lot of effort and training to achieve the lucid state, yet there are many ways towards it. Here’s the easiest way to go about it:

3-Step plan to achieve lucid dream

  • Keep a journal and write down at least one dream in your dream journal every morning when you wake up. This will help you remember the dreams and recognize when you are in reality or in a dream.
  • Perform reality checks throughout the day, consciously check the clock or count your fingers. Be self-aware of the reality all around you, realize this is the reality you live in and not a dream.
  • Perform at least 20 minutes of mindful meditation. This exercise has you experiencing being awake while in a relaxed state.

What to do when you are in a lucid dream; reality checks!

  • Study the details of your hands, how many fingers do you have?
  • Check your watch or a clock. You should not be able to read the time or to read in dreams at all.

What to do in your lucid dream?

  • Stay calm! If you are too excited you might wake up.
  • This dream is in your control, you can alter it any way you want.
  • Explore!

Sleep paralysis

When you fall asleep your body paralyses itself. This is in self-defence from hurting or injuring yourself. This only happens while in the REM-state and sometimes, while falling asleep or while waking up you might experience sleep paralysis. This is the inability to move, speak or react while you are in a transitional state between wakefulness and being asleep. The paralysis can last a few seconds and in some situations minutes.

People who have been monitored while having sleep paralysis experienced extreme panic attacks, seen terrifying hallucinations ( because you are awake while in a dream state), creatures or individuals entering the room. Many people spoke of demonic entities or voices in their bedroom. This can be a scary experience but there are a lot of techniques to try and control how you sleep. In my own experience do I only get into sleep paralysis when I am alone and in a stressful period.

When in this state try to focus on body movement, eye movement or breathing to break the paralysis. There are many breathing techniques which can help you. It is also important to make sure you have the right sleeping environment. Such as a room which is not too warm, dark enough and barely or no technology near the bed. Avoid sugars and caffeine and consider taking a hot bath before going to bed. If you experience these occurrences several times a week, you might do best consulting a doctor.

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