Dream Interpretation Nighttime | Dream Meanings


Nighttime is the feminine side of the day. Because there is darkness at night, any dream that takes place at night is rooted in the shadow and pertains to the hidden aspect of your nature.

Complete Dictionary of Dreams | Dr. Mıchael Lennox

If a scene in a dream takes place at night, it signifies exploring what is hidden or shadowed in the subconscious. Nighttime may reflect your unconscious concerns versus your conscious concerns.

Ariadne's Book of Dream | Ariadne Green


Nighttime | Dream Interpretation

The keywords of this dream: Nighttime

Elephant

(Arrogance) In a dream, an elephant represents a respected and feared enemy who is dull-witted, who carries heavy burdens or responsibilities and who is expert in war tactics.

An elephant in a dream also signifies arrogance. Riding an elephant or controlling it in a dream means establishing ties with a leader or a politician and profiteeringfrom one’s connection. It also means living a long and a prosperous life. Riding an elephant during the nighttime in a dream means rising in rank, and should one be suited for leadership, he will receive it then engage in a war which he will lose. Riding an elephant during the daylight hours in a dream means divorce, perfidy, betrayal or deceit. Milking an elephant or taking something out of its trunk in a dream means either extortion or receiving lawful money from a powerful person.

It is also said that an elephant in a dream represents a mighty king who is gracious and generous, patient and tender hearted.

If an elephant hits someone with his trunk in a dream, it means receiving benefits from such a person or inheriting something from him, receiving a political appointment, or becoming wealthy through high connections.

An elephant in a dream also represents righteous people, scholars and noble ones.

An elephant in a dream also denotes hardships, toiling, then relief from adversities. Seeing an elephant in a dream and failing to ride on it means lack of integrity or loss of business. Seeing a dead elephant in a dream means that the ruler or a great person from that land will die, or that a noble person will be killed. Seeing an elephant in a land other than its native land in a dream means adversities.

If one faces a threatening elephant in a dream, it means an illness. Ifone falls under the feet of an elephant in a dream, it means his death. Speaking to an elephant in a dream means receiving a precious gift from someone in authority. Running away in fear of an elephant in a dream means being persecuted by someone in authority. Riding an elephant during a war in a dream means defeat and subsequent destruction. Eating elephant’s meat in a dream means money. As for worldly people, seeing an elephant in a dream means benefits, but as for pious and religious people, it denotes adversities. Riding an elephant in a dream also may denote lies or oppression.

An elephant entering a land other than its natural habitat signifies an official visit of a king or a president to another country, or it could mean invading it.... Islamic Dream Interpretation

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Islamic Dream Interpretation

Water

(Life; Rain; River; Vapor) Water in a dream represents a happy life, money, prosperity, expansion of one’s business, increase in one’s income, or it could mean marriage. Ifone sees the water pure and abundant in his dream, it means lowering of prices, peace and socialjustice. Ifone sees himselfchewing on water in a dream, it means toiling and hardships related to earning his livelihood. Drinking a glass of water in a dream means protection against any danger from one’s enemy and it denotes a prosperous year for the one who drinks it in a dream. Drinking more water in a dream than what one usually drinks in wakefulness means longevity.

If one glass of water does not quench one’s thirst in the dream, it means discord between husband and wife. Ifone immerses his hand in water in a dream, it means that he will play with money and confuse himself. Fresh potable water or a well in a dream also could be the immediate cause of a trial, fight or calamity. Giving someone a glass of water in a dream is glad tidings of a child. Drinking a glass of spring water in a dream means conceiving a child, or that he will receive benefits from his wife. In this sense, glass in a dream represent the substance of a woman and water represents a fetus. Drinking hot water in a dream means distress and adversities.

If one is pushed into a pond or a river of clear water in a dream, it means receiving a pleasant surprise. Seeing oneself submerged in a body of water in a dream means facing a trial, distress, bewilderment and adversities. Carrying ajar of clear water in a dream means receiving an inheritance. Asking people for water to drink in a dream means lying to them by claiming to be needy. Stagnant water in a dream means imprisonment, distress, or depression.

It is said that stagnant water in a dream has weaker meaning than running water. Bad smelling or putrid water in a dream represents a wretched life. Bitter water in a dream means a bitter life. Boiling water in a dream means suffering from heat.

If boiling water is used during the daylight in a dream, it means suffering from chastisement, afflictions and punishment for one’s sins.

If used during the nighttime in a dream, then it means fear of evil spirits. Salty water in a dream means hardships and difficulties in earning one’s livelihood. Murky waters in a dream represent unlawful earnings. Black colored water in a dream means destruction or family problems. Drinking black colored water in a dream also may mean blindness. Yellow water in a dream means an illness. Boiling water, blazing water, or oozing water in a dream means change of one’s status, or being deprived of God’s favors for lack of gratitude and for being a hindrance against those who do good. Drinking polluted seawater in a dream means turbulences, distress and sufferings that will be brought about by someone in authority.

If seawater runs inside one’s dwelling place or business, and if one drinks from it in a dream, it means an illness.

If everyone drinks from it in the dream, then it means a plague. Murky water in a dream denotes a tyrant.

If a sick person bathes in murky water then walks out of it in a dream, it means that he will recover from his illness.lfhe is facing adversities, it means that he will be able to overcome them.

If he is incarcerated, it means that he will be released. Pure potable water in a dream means salvation. Saltwater in a dream means distress.

If one sees murky water gushing froth from a water well in a dream, it means a bad marriage. Walking on water in a dream represents the strength of one’s faith, certitude and trust in God Almighty. This is particularly true if while walking one also speaks words of wisdom and piety. Otherwise, walking on water in a dream could mean ascertaining something that is not too clear. Walking on water in a dream also means undertaking a dangerous trip and trusting in God Almighty for protection and guidance. Walking on water in a dream also means undertaking a dangerous venture. Ifone walks back from the water to dry land in a dream, it means that he will satisfy his needs or desire. Falling into a deep sea or a deep river but not reaching the bottom of it in the dream means wealth and prosperity, for the world in a dream represents a deep ocean. Ifone falls into a river and ifhe is overcome by water in a dream, it means that he will fall sick.

If he drowns in a river in a dream, it means his death. Falling into water in a dream also could mean happiness, joy, or blessings. Observing the reflection of one’s face in the waters looking beautiful in a dream shows kindness toward one’s household and neighbors. Reaching a pond ofclear water in a dream means speaking good words. Pouring water inside a bag in a dream means spending money to please a woman. Pouring water over a place where it is of no benefit in the dream means wasting one’s money. Floods in a dream means distress, suffering and corruption, depending on their strength.

If the water level of a dam or a river rises and inundates people’s homes and businesses and becomes a threat to people’s lives in a dream, it means discord and trials after which evil people will be eliminated from that place. Ifone sees water flowing over his own roof in a dream, it means a quick distress, or a permanent stress that will be brought by someone in authority. Sweet potable water in a dream represents lawful earnings, a good heart, knowledge, revival, recovering from a dangerous illness, a wife, a husband, or marriage.

If one drinks a sweet and a refreshing glass of water from a permissible cup in a dream, it means that his marriage is proper. Otherwise, if the container from which one drinks in his dream is unlawful, it means that his marriage is illegal from a religious point of view. Water in a dream also denotes the drink of poor people, or what gallant people exchange and share among themselves.

If a thirsty person quenches his thirstwith water in a dream, it means comfort, appeasement of one’s bewilderments, prosperity verses poverty, or reuniting one’s family. Bathing in fresh spring water in a dream means payment of one’s debts. Ifsweet and potable water becomes salty in a dream, it means apostasy, or strayingfrom the path of God Almighty and meeting with insurmountable difficulties. Carrying water in a container in a dream means conceiving a child and increase in one’s income. Abundance of water at a time when it is supposed to be low, or drought at a time when it is supposed to be raining in a dream means injustice, abuse, high prices, divided opinions, weaknesses, or payment of financial damages. Clear water in a dream also means recovering from trachoma.

The explosion of a water tank or a pipe in a dream means distress, trouble and adversities. Green colored water in a dream means a long illness or a wretched life. Drinking black colored water in a dream means becoming blind. Sucking water in a dream means tight circumstances.

If unexpectedly one is showered with hot water in a dream, it means a fever, an illness or a scare from evil spirits, the intensity of which is relevant to how hot is the water. Ifone’s garment gets wet in a dream, it means changes in one’s travel plans, or it could mean delaying a project, or failure of one’s plans.

If a poor person sees himself carrying a container of water in a dream, it means money.

If a rich person sees that dream, it means marriage, or conceiving a child. Carrying water in a purse, socks, a cloth, or in any porous material in a dream means pride about one’s wealth, status, attainments, fame and living conditions. Pouring water into a container in a dream means getting married. Bathing in cold water in a dream means repenting from sin, recovering from an illness, release from prison, payment of one’s debts, or dispelling one’s fears. Drawing water from a well in a dream means earning money through deception and fraud. Channeling irrigations to water a garden or a farm in a dream means earning money from a woman.

If the trees of one’s garden or farm do blossom in the dream, it means conceiving a child from such a woman. Watering a garden or a farm in a dream also means having sexual intercourse with one’s wife. Ifpure water gushes forth from one’s mouth in a dream, it means that he is a gnostic and people will benefit from his knowledge, wisdom and admonition.

If one is a young merchant, it means that he is a truthful person. Sweet water in a dream also represents the element of faith in God Almighty, while saltwater represents the element of atheism. In a dream, water also means wealth. Seeping water from a crack in a wall means adversities and distress caused by a brother or an in-law.

(Also see Distilled water; Earth; Ophthalmologist; River; Walking on water)... Islamic Dream Interpretation

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Islamic Dream Interpretation

Night

A nighttime setting is common to many dreams. However, extreme darkness suggests that you are hiding something or are unwilling to see things clearly. You may be the type who likes to ignore, minimize, or hide problems.

The darkness represents a lack of awareness and illumination.

If you honestly look at the content of your dream, you may be able to identify some areas of your life or personal experience that need warmth, light, and airing.... The Bedside Dream Dictionary

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The Bedside Dream Dictionary

Night

If you dream of nighttime, then your unconscious desires and the shadow aspects of your life are being allowed to express and reveal themselves. In terms of the stages of life, nighttime represents the end of life, wisdom and old age.

If this is a dark night of the soul, this is a time when the light/solutions/hope/God feels distant, and clarity is waning. This period is usually followed by an extreme breakthrough. See Breakdown/ Breakthrough and Dark.... Strangest Dream Explanations

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Strangest Dream Explanations

Moth

Material aspects: The moth is largely associated with nighttime and therefore connects with the hidden side of our nature. Also, because the moth can be self-destructive when there is light around, it may highlight personal weakness. It also tends to symbolize our dream self and the more transient side of our personality – that part that finds difficulty in settling to proper tasks.... Dream Meanings of Versatile

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Dream Meanings of Versatile

Dream Symbols

Dream Interpretation & an A to Z dictionary of symbols and their meanings helps you make sense of your dreams and harness them to increase your creativity, solve problems, find life purpose, and obtain accurate personal guidance. A to Z Dream Dictionary and Dream Interpretation will help you become an expert dream interpreter.
Dream symbolism communicates more accurately than a thousand words when the dreamer understands what the chosen dream symbols mean. One symbol can represent different ideas, concepts and things to every individual. Their divine secrets will release your concealed potential so that you can design the destiny you have always longed for. With in-depth, classic meanings and an empowering technique for personalized interpretation, our site is the most complete and balanced guide to understanding your dreams. As omens or insights, as alarms or a memory, for years people have been interpreting their dreams in different way, with whatever comforts them, but now we have science. Researchers have spent time in comprehending, studying, understanding them, for all dreams don’t really say the same story. It becomes fascinating and complicated when people from diff a rent cultural background, societies, past, present, living standards, problems, mental illness report same dreams. Features an alphabetized list of over 42.000 dream symbols and meaning with classic. This dictionary of Christian Dreams, China interpretation of dreams, India interpretation of dreams contains over 24700 indexed entries and this dictionary of islamic Dreams contains over 5300 indexed entries. Also, Psychological / emotional perspective, Material aspects and Gives gender – specific, interpret of dream. Dreamfairy.org the complete dream dictionary is the only interpretation site based on concrete data about real people's dreams and how the real events in their lives relate to their nighttime visions.
  • You will be able to interpret the hidden messages revealed to you in your sleep.
  • See how to use dreams to solve problems and explore past lives and look into the future.
  • Extraordinary color illustrations conjure up the mystical images of your dreams.
  • A dream that takes place on an island may indicate a need for personal space.
  • A dream of rabbits running in green grass is a good omen.
  • A ship in dock or on a calm sea may promise happiness in love. By deciphering the language of your dreams, you can achieve greater spiritual awareness and lasting happiness.

Understand the meaning of dreams. Great dictionary of dream interpretation. Dreams Interpreted, the most compelling and thorough study of all the symbols that appear in our dreams. By reading the dictionary definitions, you'll be gin to understand symbology in a much deeper way. You’ll learn how to synchronize your body, emotions, mind, and soul to experience the full meaning of your dreams and, in some cases, make them your reality.

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Dreampedia

Bat

You are exploring the darker, more hidden side of your nature.

The bat is capable of navigating through the night and without the benefit of sighted vision; as such, the bat represents your consciousness of what can be found when you trust the darker side of your nature. In dreams, the shadow (as represented by nighttime) is the most valuable area for truly understanding who you are, so the presence of a bat in your dreams indicates that this exploration is getting assistance from the unknown.... Complete Dictionary of Dreams

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Complete Dictionary of Dreams

Black

The darker sides of life connect with the color black. Though it is thought of as the absence of color to some, in the world of physics, black is actually the presence of all colors in the object that embodies it.

It is the color that absorbs the most light, retains heat, and is associated with death, as it is the opposite of life-affirming white. As the color of mourning, black clothing represents the social construct of receiving consolation in some cultures. When we are in mourning, we are surrounded by people who share in our sadness. In the same way that a black shirt will absorb all wavelengths of sunlight, a person in mourning wears black in order to absorb the light from those who surround him or her. In the world of fashion, black has a connotation of being trendy and sophisticated. Nighttime is when blackness reigns, bringing secrecy and the ability to hide into this color’s symbolic meaning.... Complete Dictionary of Dreams

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Complete Dictionary of Dreams

Day / Daylight

Daytime as opposed to nighttime represents the conscious mind as opposed to the unconscious. Seeing what we are doing. Can refer to one’s mood: a sunny day is bright and cheerful whereas an overcast day is different.

The word “day” plays a role in many idioms, from “bad hair day” to “make my day.”... Dream Symbols in The Dream Encyclopedia

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Dream Symbols in The Dream Encyclopedia

Night

Dreaming about the darkness of the night often indicates that situations are not clear or need to be put to rest before accurate decisions can be made.

If nighttime indicates pleasure to the dreamer, then recreation and entertainment may be in order.... Dream Symbols in The Dream Encyclopedia

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Dream Symbols in The Dream Encyclopedia

Time Of Day

If a dream is specifically set during daylight or nighttime, take into account your waking associations with early morning and nighttime.

If you are a night owl, a nighttime dream will have a far more positive interpretation than if you were an early bird. You may also associate daytime with routine and work and nighttime with relaxation and freedom. Dreams that take place in bright daylight also suggest your conscious waking life and feelings of optimism and clarity, and dreams of nighttime can indicate the unconscious as well as negativity and ignorance. Twilight in dreams can suggest a period of uncertainty and possible ambivalence as far as your direction in life is concerned. It may also suggest the afterlife.

Just as the 24-hour day is symbolically linked to the human life cycle, so too are the seasons: spring symbolizes birth and childhood and new beginnings; summer, adulthood; autumn, middle age; and winter, aging and death. The seasons can also signify your state of mind with spring representing optimism; summer, confidence, autumn, relaxation and reward; and winter, retreat. When several days, weeks, months, years or even longer pass in your dream, your unconscious is reflecting changes in your life or suggesting that your focus has currently been on things that are not relevant. Along with the second and minute hands on a clock, these dream images suggest slow and careful progression—or the need for it—in your waking life. Dreams of specific hours of the day may refer to your age, to a regular event in life or to a saying; for example 12 noon is middle age, or may refer to something that happens at that time of day, 11 o’clock may be the eleventh hour and so on. Noon may also be associated with lunch and nourishment, midnight with mystery and 6 o’clock with finishing work. See also NUMBERS.

The Past and the Future... The Element Encyclopedia

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The Element Encyclopedia

The Nature Of Sleep

What is sleep exactly? Although we know that all creatures that live sleep, and although science has diligently studied sleep in many sleep laboratories around the world, sleep itself—and its by-product, dreams—remains something of a mystery.

As I mentioned, you spend about a third of your life sleeping. If you have a life span of seventy-five years, you’ll be asleep for twenty-five of those years. Imagine! Yet, despite the prevalence and common experience of sleep, only recently did science begin to understand what it is all about.

Although dreaming and its causes are still a matter for speculation, brain wave studies provide important information about sleep itself. In a normal night, a person passes through four different stages of sleep, identifiable by brain wave patterns, eye movements, and muscle tension.

In the first stage, the pattern of the brain waves goes from what is known as beta, or normal waking consciousness, to alpha, the first step into sleep. The beta phase is 13 to 26 cps (cycles per second, the speed of the oscillations in the brain wave cycle), during which you are awake and fully functioning, studying, working, socializing. The alpha phase is 8 to 13 cps, a state of deep relaxation during which you are still aware of your surroundings, whether with eyes open or closed. It is the precursor to sleep and the stage reached during light meditation. Alpha is the sort of somnolent state we might go into on a long train ride when we have been staring out the window at a monotonous landscape for hours and are lulled by boredom and inactivity.

During the alpha stage, heart and pulse rates slow down, blood pressure drops slightly, and so does temperature. Your muscles are in a relaxed condition and you experience mental “drifting.” Images described as hypnogogic may float through your mind, seemingly unrelated to anything or else variations of what you were thinking or doing just before going to bed. These hypnogogic images can be vivid, as if drug-induced. Sometimes these images are quite meaningful and may startle you back to the beta state. When this happens, you may experience your muscles jumping back to the ready-to-go stage, a common happening that is called the myoclonic jerk.

Stage three is called theta and is represented by 4 to 8 cps, the same rate you display during periods of intense daydreaming (when you can actually forget where you are) or deep meditation. This stage of abstractedness is sometimes called a brown study. In the theta state, you are neither fully awake nor fully asleep. Yet you are in a light slumber, and, if not disturbed, you will fall asleep. The brain wave pattern of theta is characterized by rapid bursts of brain activity. Sleep researchers believe that theta is truly a sleep state, but when disrupted out of this state many subjects report that they were not asleep but merely “thinking.”

Researchers believe that it is during the theta stage that most dreams occur.

Dreams are recognizable to an observer by what is called rapid eye movement, or REM. The eyeballs move back and forth like someone watching a tennis match under their closed lids. Researchers originally discovered REM by watching cats sleep, and if you observe either a cat or a person sleeping, you will notice their eyes moving back and forth. A cat or dog may twitch as if running, but during REM a human’s muscles are virtually paralyzed. The period of REM ordinarily lasts for several minutes at a time, switching on and off. If you awaken during a REM period, you will most likely remember your dreams easily and in great detail.

“Dreaming liberates perception, enlarging the scope of what can be perceived.”
Carlos Castaneda,

The Art of Dreaming

The last stage is delta; at 0 to 4 cps, it is the slowest and is evident during the deepest part of the sleep cycle. This is the state when you are totally out and even a ringing telephone or alarm clock may not wake you. Teens often experience this deepest level of sleep in the early morning hours, which is why they are often hard to wake up for school. Teens actually do better when allowed to sleep late: you function better, learn better, and generally feel better when you are able to “sleep yourself out.” It’s unfortunate that teens are often mandated an early rising time for school or even before-school activities, such as sports practice. It’s not only how much you sleep, apparently, but also when you get your sleep that counts.

People awakened from the delta stage of sleep will feel disoriented and only half awake, and they will want nothing more than to go back to sleep. If, for example, a need to visit the bathroom wakes you from a delta sleep, you may bump into the furniture or the walls, even though you know your way around. During delta, there are no eye movements. It is also the time that sleepwalking occurs. As most everyone knows, a sleepwalker can move around unerringly, as if awake, and should be left alone unless he or she is in danger. If not awakened, sleepwalkers almost always make their way back to bed without a problem, and when they do wake up they have no memory of their nighttime excursions.

An average complete sleep cycle lasts about three hours. For the first hour and a half of the cycle the sleeper moves from a waking state to light sleep to REM sleep to deep dreamless sleep. The cycle reverses itself in the second half, returning upward (so to speak) from the deep sleep of delta to the lighter theta- alpha stages. As brain activity rises, so do blood pressure, pulse, and temperature. In warm weather, you may be awakened by feeling hot as your body temperature returns to normal. This is always a clue that you are in the process of waking up, and it’s a good sign to be aware of so that you will focus on your dreams and be ready to take notes on them.

Every night you go through three or four complete sleep cycles of ninety minutes each. The first REM period of the night lasts five to ten minutes. During each cycle, the REM is repeated, lasting longer as the night progresses, while the time between the cycles gets shorter. Your last REM can be as long as an hour, and this is prime dreamtime with excellent chances for good recall of your dreams. What this means in practical terms is that, if you sleep for seven hours straight, half of your dreamtime will occur during the two hours before you wake up in the morning. An additional hour of sleep will give you an additional hour of dreaming! This is a powerful argument for getting to bed early enough to get eight hours of continuous sleep. Of course, these figures are based on laboratory averages and may not hold true for every person—you are an individual and will sleep and dream in your own way. I have found that I dream twice as much as the average reported by sleep studies, sometimes with less sleep than the average, sometimes with more.

None of these states of consciousness—beta, alpha, theta, delta—are foreign to us. We cycle through all four of them during the course of twenty-four hours, slipping in and out of them, mostly without noticing. For example, during normal beta wakefulness, you may drift off into a daydream or reverie, thinking about tonight’s date or tomorrow’s picnic, and enter the alpha phase for a while. The phone rings, or a friend speaks to you, and you snap back into the beta state.

Or you could be driving your car along a monotonous route with little to pay attention to and slip for a few moments into the theta phase (lots of people fall asleep at the wheel for a few seconds and then quickly recover) only to flip back into beta as you see a sharp curve up ahead or hear another car honking. Everyone has had the experience of “dropping off” for a couple of seconds during ordinary everyday activities (or, perhaps, lack of activity).

For those who want to pursue dream studies, it’s important to pay attention to these alpha-theta states. There is a twilight zone where you are neither asleep nor awake but are alert to slight disturbances. It’s here you may catch a dream as it is forming, and it is in this state that you are best able to give yourself instructions for remembering your dreams-to-come and for “programming” dreams to fulfill specific purposes.

Use the following exercise to track your own personal sleep patterns. Following the format given here, keep a record of your sleep habits for two weeks in order to prepare for the exercises throughout this book. You’ll find out a lot about your sleep needs, when you dream, and your level of recall. Over time, even from day to day, you may find differences that are worth noting. Then, if you want to continue the process, record your sleep habits in a separate notebook.... Dreampedia

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Dreampedia

Adaptive Theory

Adaptive theory speculates that species-wide sleep patterns developed as a way of adapting to the environment. Grazing animals, for example, sleep relatively few hours a day in short bursts. According to adaptive theory, this is a response to the necessity of constant alertness for predators.

By way of contrast, animals with few natural enemies, such as opossums and gorillas, sleep up to fifteen hours per day. Adaptive theory hypothesizes that the sleep pattern of human beings developed after the species began living in caves, which offered protection from encounters with powerful nighttime predators.... Dreampedia

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Dreampedia

Why Do We Dream? Physiology Of Dreams

“Everything serious comes to us at night.”
CICERO

What happens when we sleep?

Why do we sleep? The answer is not as simple as it seems. We sleep so that our body can rest, we think at first. However, science has not been able to prove concretely that sleep is necessary for physical recuperation of the body. Experiments performed on rats have proven that when deprived of sleep, these animals die.

But human nature is not as simple as that of rats. Everyone knows people who barely sleep. The most extreme case, published in some scientific magazines, is that of a man who claims not to have slept since contracting a serious illness. In a similar vein, some individuals with a highly developed spirituality are able to remain conscious all night. We’re not referring to a student during exam time drinking coffee or taking stimulants to stay awake more than twenty-four hours straight. We’re talking about people who can achieve advanced levels of relaxation through deep meditation.

It is known that anxiety and lack of concentration increase considerably after a night or two without sleep. One theory related to sleep affirms that we sleep to conserve energy. However, another suggests that we rest to conserve our food stores, since when we lose consciousness, we repress the hunger mechanism.


How much do we sleep?

Sleep at different ages

In the course of his life, a person has, on average, 300,000 dreams. As we age, both the time we spend sleeping and the time we spend dreaming decrease gradually.

Newborns sleep almost all day, alternating hours of sleep with short spells of wakefulness. By one year of age, they sleep fewer sessions but for longer in total: they have cycles of 90 minutes of sleep followed by another 90 minutes of waking time. Gradually, the child will sleep more at night and less during the day. By 9 years of age, most need between 9 and 12 hours of sleep a day.

The average for an adult is between 7 and 8.5 hours. But after age 70, we return to the sleep phases of childhood and sleep fewer hours continuously.

There are arguments that even claim we have slept since ancient times in order to appear a less tasty snack for nocturnal predators (when we sleep, our body looks like a corpse).

There are theories to suit everyone, but we shouldn’t forget the fundamental: for almost all of us, sleeping is a relaxing and pleasant experience that lasts between six and eight hours each night, an experience that is utterly necessary to “recharge the batteries” of our bodies.

It’s no coincidence that we choose nighttime to sleep. In the darkness our vision is reduced, the world becomes strange, and as a result, our imagination runs wild. Our minds remain occupied with images (that is, dreams). At night, our eyes don’t work, but we have a need to create images. If for some reason we are deprived of sleep, the following nights our dream production increases, since we spend more time in the REM phase (the period of sleep when oneiric thoughts are most active). Therefore it seems evident that we need dreams to live.

Some ancient civilizations believed that dreaming served, more than anything, to be able to dream. They were convinced that oneiric activity wasn’t the result of sleeping, but rather the reason for it. Some scientists, however, don’t share the theories of our ancestors when it comes to the reason behind our dreams.

There is a scientific school of thought that asserts that oneiric thoughts are simply a neurophysiological activity that comes with sleep. According to this theory, when we sleep we generate spontaneous signals that stimulate the sensory channels in the mind. The brain transforms these signals into visual images and induces the dreamer to believe that he is living real experiences.

Up to that point, perfect. But, why do dreams have such an interesting narrative? Why do they so often express metaphoric language? Why do they narrate stories that directly affect us? There is no concrete or scientific answer to these questions.

Percentages of REM sleep

Cold-blooded animals never dream; the cold temperatures at night cause them to hibernate and all their vital functions, including the brain, slow down. Only when the sun comes out or the temperature rises to an acceptable level do they recuperate all vital functions. The only cold-blooded animal that has shown signs of dreaming is the chameleon.

On the other hand, we know all warm-blooded animals dream, since REM-phase activity has been detected in all of them. Birds dream only about 0.5% of the time they spend asleep, while humans dream up to 20% of the time. There are exceptional cases, such as that of the Australian platypus, that never dream.

Other theories suggest that dreams serve to eliminate unnecessary facts from memory, since we can’t store everything that happens every day. According to this thesis, at night we erase the “archives” we don’t need, just like a computer. The sleeping mind tests the process of erasing in the form of dreams, which would explain why they’re so difficult to remember. There are obvious limitations to this theory if you keep in mind that, occasionally, oneiric thoughts work creatively (they go beyond the information that we give them). These don’t have much to do with the merely “hygienic” function that the aforementioned scientific community claims. Often, dreams don’t eliminate the useless leftovers of daily experiences. Quite the opposite: they give them a surprising new shape, so when we wake up, we can reflect more deeply on their meaning.

The phases of sleep

Even though we don’t realize it, when we sleep at night we pass through four different phases of sleep. Each phase is distinguished by the deepness of sleep. That is, when we are in phase 1, it is a fairly light sleep; during phase 4, we reach maximum intensity.

When we go to sleep, we enter a period in which we gradually pull away from the exterior world. Little by little, our sleep deepens until finally (phase 4) our breathing slows and becomes regular, our cardiac rhythm slows down, and our body temperature decreases. Therefore the body’s metabolism also reduces its activity.

More or less an hour after falling asleep, your body has already gone through the four phases. At this point you begin to go back through the levels until you return to phase 1. This brings along an increase in respiratory and cardiac rhythm. Parallel to this, brain waves once again start to register an activity close to that of consciousness. You are therefore in a moment of transition, demonstrated by the fact that at this point the body tends to change position.

All signs indicate that any noise might wake us. But that’s not the case: since your muscle tone has been reduced, this is actually the moment when it’s most difficult to regain consciousness. At the same time, your eyes begin to move behind your eyelids (up and down and side to side). This ocular phenomenon, which anyone can observe easily, is known as the REM phases, which stands for “rapid eye movement.”

Certain areas of the brain are associated with different functions and human skills, translating external sensory stimuli into a well-organized picture of the world. In dreams, those same stimuli produce different reactions. If a sleeping person hears a sound or touches something repulsive, those stimuli will probably be integrated into their dream before they wake up.

The REM phase

The REM phase is particularly important for those interested in dreams. All studies indicate that during this brief spell (from five to ten minutes) we typically experience the most intense oneiric activity. Some of these studies, done in a sleep laboratory, have observed that eight out of ten individuals relate very vivid dreams when woken up right at the end of the REM phase. These periods alternate at night with what we could call non-REM phases, that is, periods when no ocular movement is registered.

How many times do we reach a REM stage at night? It is estimated that each cycle is repeated four to seven times. As the hours pass, each phase gets longer. This way, the final REM stage might last twenty to forty minutes. On average, an adult enjoys an hour and a half of REM sleep each night, although for older individuals it may be less than an hour and a quarter. Babies, on the other hand, remain in the REM phase for 60 percent of the time they spend asleep.

In any case, let’s make this clear: not all dreams are produced during this period. It has also been demonstrated that humans generate images in other stages. However, these are dreams of a different quality, since during the non-REM phases, our oneiric activity tends to generate only undefined thoughts, vague sensations, etc. Nothing close to the emotional content that characterizes dreams produced in the REM phase.

The oneiric images produced in the most intense phase (REM) are more difficult to remember. One method to remember them consists of waking up just after each REM phase.

As we’ve commented already, those who wish to read their dreams have to first do the work of remembering them. If we want this work to be 100 percent effective, we can use a method that, although uncomfortable, almost never fails: wake up just after every REM phase. If you want to try this method, set your alarm (without music or radio) to go off four, five, six, or seven and a half hours after falling asleep. You can be sure that if you wake up just after one of the REM phases you go through each night, you will enjoy vivid memories.

This is the process used in sleep laboratories, where oneiric activity is studied through encephalographic registry of electrical brain activity.

The people in the study—who are volunteers—sleep connected to machines that register their physiological reactions (brain waves, cardiac rhythm, blood pressure, muscle activity, eye movement, etc).

At certain points during the night, these reactions indicate that, if you wake them, they will be able to tell you what they dreamed. This is because the phase that produces the most intense dreams (REM) is characterized by a physical reaction easily observed: the rapid movement of the eyes of the dreamer.

With this method, sleep laboratories can collect proof of precisely

when subjects are dreaming. And given that oneiric images are difficult to remember, the lab techniques have been a great advance in dream research. Some experts assert that thanks to the scientific advances of the second half of the twentieth century, we have learned more about sleep processes in the last fifty years than in all the history of humanity.

What do we dream?

A wide study done in France on the subject of dreams produced these results:

  • Relationships with partners (18%)
  • Home, especially that of our childhood (15%) -Aggressors, thieves, being chased, etc. (10%)
  • Missing the train; embarrassing baggage (8%) -Water, wells, tunnels; traffic accidents (6%) -Forgotten children or babies (5%)
  • Snakes, fires, stairs (5%)
  • Negative animals: spiders, cockroaches, rats, etc. (4%) -Clothing or lack of clothing; nakedness (3%)
  • Losing teeth or other alarming situations (2%)

Hypnagogic images: between waking and sleep

As we’ve seen, throughout the night our sleep is divided into four distinct phases. But what happens just before we sink into the first phase? Are we still awake? Not exactly. In the moments when our mind decides between wakefulness and sleep, we begin to lose contact with the world around us, without the characteristic physiological changes of sleep.

This intermediate point has been called the “hypnagogic state” by psychologists. This is a period when, despite the fact that we’re not asleep, our brains generate images that can sometimes be very beautiful. In some ways, these images rival those found in our dreams.

Hypnagogic images of great visual beauty evaporate like bubbles when we wake up and are barely remembered.

However, the hypnagogic state cannot be considered a truly oneiric state. Among other reasons, the scenes produced in this phase are unrelated to the episodes with a more or less coherent plot that characterize dreams.

In the hypnagogic state we produce unrelated images that hardly connect to each other and that, unlike dreams, are not linked to our daily experiences. This phenomenon occurs not only before sleeping but also in the moments before waking up, when we are not yet conscious enough to be aware of them.

Sometimes, before falling asleep we also experience a curious sensation of floating or flying, or we may see very sharp scenes, with a clarity comparable to that of real visual experiences. These types of images, like dreams, evaporate like bubbles when we wake up and we barely remember them, which is a shame because their beauty slips from our minds. In any case, unlike oneiric thoughts, the hypnagogic state is little use for understanding the messages our subconscious wants to send us, and we should value it more for its beauty than its transcendental content.

Salvador Dali, painter of dreams.

To remember them you must not lose consciousness during the apparition. That is, you must observe the process of the hypnagogic state without falling asleep. It seems simple but it is not, because you must submerge yourself in sleep while the mind remains aware of the events happening in its interior. With a little luck, we can see some of the marvelous “paintings” of our private museum.

The surrealist artists of the 20s and 30s knew all about this. This is how Salvador Dali, fervent lover of hypnagogic scenes, turned to what is known as “the monk’s sleep.” He went to bed with a large iron key in his hand. With the first dream, the key would fall to the floor and he would wake up suddenly. In his mind he recorded the hypnagogic images he would later transfer to the canvas in his masterful style.

The seven “chakras,” or centers of subtle energy in the ayurvedic hindu medicine (1).
The nadis according to Tibetan tradition (2).
The meridians of traditional Chinese medicine (3).

If you have difficulty retaining the hypnagogic state, try centering your attention on a concrete point. For example the “third eye” of the yogis (that is, between your eyes), in the area of the heart, or in the top of the head. These three positions are, according to the philosophy of yoga, the centers of subtle rather than physical energy in the human body. You need a place to direct the mind. Another trick to hold attention without effort is to think abstractly about the name of the object you wish to see. This doesn’t mean you have to “create” the images; you just have to induce its appearance during the hypnagogic state. Entering through meditation is also very useful and beneficial.

Sometimes, the hypnagogic scenes are not as pleasant as we would like, but we must confront them in order to strengthen our ability for self-control. If they persist, try following the previous advice. Think abstractly about the name of what you want to see, resisting the temptation to construct it in a certain way from the conscious mind.

The main advantage of the hypnagogic state is that it brings us progressively closer to our deep Self . . . and all that helps to understand and better benefit from dreams.

The same subject can have very different meanings depending on the circumstances and personal situation of the dreamer.... Dreampedia

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