Rats are considered pests, as they can overpopulate and bring with them destruction and disease. They are inexorably bound up in our history as the carriers of the Plague.
The consequences for not attending to them properly are recorded in our mythology as a loss of innocence, as in the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, who, when not paid for his services of ridding the town of its rats, took away the children of the town and led them to their deaths. Rats can be found in sewers, basements, and dark corners. This expands their association with shadow material, which is all the things about ourselves we wish were not true or that we would rather not look at.
If rats appear in your dreams in any fashion, there is something to investigate under the surface.
1. Demonic, (feed on garbage someone who spread diseased words
2. Unbeliever (unclean animal);
3. Evil spirit;
4. Plague; 1 Sam. 6:4 & 1 Cor. 10:30 (demons); Ps. 22:13.
Rats can be found in sewers, basements, and dark corners. This expands their association with Shadow material, which is all the things about ourselves we wish were not true or that we would rather not look at. If rats appear in your dreams in any fashion, there is something to investigate under the surface. The consequences of not exploring these dark places are that it can lead to some sort of destruction.
An interesting juxtaposition to all this darkness is that laboratory rats, which live in sanitary conditions and are usually white in color, are responsible for enormous benefits to mankind by giving up their lives for scientific experimentation. More has been done with rats to advance science and medicine than with any other animal. The meaning here is that if you diligently and systematically investigate your Shadow, enormous benefits can come to you and your path of transformation.
What the rats are doing in your dream will inform you of where you are in your process of lifting your shadow. If they are very frightening to you, then you are just beginning your search of the underlying troubles in your path. The more open you are to their presence, the more open you are about your own psychic shadow. Needing to exterminate them may parallel a need to uncover, discover, and discard some element of your thinking or behavior. It is important to investigate your personal pestilence. And don‚Äôt forget to pay the piper!
To dream of rats symbolizes the presence of extremely disagreeable or distasteful thoughts. Alternatively, it signifies feelings of uncertainty, guilt, envy, or other repressed emotions that are eating at you. It may also stand for someone who personifies the characteristics of a ‘rat.’ A black rat represents secrecy and deceptive acts.
A white rate is an omen that you will receive help from am unexpected source in your time of trouble and distress.
To dream that a rat is biting your feet portrays your daily life as a ‘rat race.’ You have a preoccupation with your ever busy waking life.
1. A sense of trickery afoot, deception of someone close.
2. Difﬁculties are on the way (many rats).
3. Difﬁculties are on the way out (white rats).
4. Feelings of upset or disturbed state of being.
5. Smart and pervasive emotions or reactions are underfoot and just out of reach.
They are unpleasant and symbolize danger, poverty, filth, and illness. Your unconscious mind may be bringing up unpleasant images due to a disturbance in daily life.
The dream’s purpose is to make you aware of negative feelings that may encourage you to directly deal with the negativity in your life. Dreaming about rats leaves the dreamer feeling apprehensive and disgusted. Attempt to connect these feelings with those things that produce this type of anxiety during the day.
Many enemies through whom the dreamer will suffer losses, trouble and anxiety.
bait for, putting out: your intel igence determines your future.
being bitten by a: envy wil create an archenemy out of a best friend.
catching, in a trap: are disliked by others for your cowardice.
cat, in the house: unfinished business wil become successful.
gnawing: an acquaintance is envious of your life.
killing a: deviousness wil attend al undertakings.
many: serious trouble from another’s dishonesty, leading to poverty.
of: injury caused through deceit and decay of trust.
placing hands on a: wil succeed by dealing with the worst, first.
rat catcher, of a: you wil soon attract a new lover.
catching rats in a field: are committing treason by betraying another’s confidence.
many: wil receive vindication from people who did you wrong.
white: wish ruin of very bad enemies; get over it.
sweethearts dreaming of: fear a rival does not believe you deserve to be so fortunate.
swimming from a sinking ship: row your boat in the other direction.
trap, setting a: that which you have feared wil be tempted to expose itself.
white: don’t fol ow the leader; take the tunnel with the light at the end.
To dream that you have committed it shows great contentions and debates; but to dream you have resisted the temptation, shows victories over your enemies.
To dream you meet with an adversary, denotes that you will overcome some obstacle to your happiness—if you are a lover, you will conqu er some powerful rival, and be happy.
To dream you ride an ass, that bears your blows, and the more you beat, the slower his pace, denotes that you will be married to a virtuous industrious wife, but your passion will ruin her. If the ass mends his pace under your blows, and throws you she will prove incontinent.
To dream you are at the altar, and receive the holy sacrament. is a very unfavourable omen, and denotes many heavy and severe afflictions.
To dream that you see it cloudy, and afterwards clear and serene, denotes one part of your lifetime will prove unhappy, the latter part the reverse.
To dream you are angling, betokens loose desires in the m ale; such as seeking opportunities of inveigling some innocent female.
To dream that you are in a passion and angry with any one, denotes you have many enemies ! if you are in love, be sure that some rival is slandering you to your sweetheart. If you dream you see another in a passion with you; it is more favourable, if you are in love, your sweetheart will fall sick, and you will experience some weighty loss.
To dream you see angels, is a sure sign that some one is near you—if a woman with child dreams of them, she will have a good time, perhaps twins.
To dream of seeing apples, and they eat sweet and ripe, is a sure sign of prosperity, especially to virgins; if they should eat sour, it signifies much sorrow and unhappiness.
To dream that your apparel is proper and suited to the season of the year, denotes prosperity and happiness. To dream you are dressed in new clothes, is a favourable sign, and portends honour and succsss in your undertakings.
So dream you see a ghost, is very unfortunate: If it is of a comely aspect, and dressed in white, it shews deceit and temptation to sin; if you are in love, it is a sign of your not being beloved in turn, and that you are in the habits of friendship with one who is your most inveterate enemy.
To dream that your arms are withered and decayed, shows that the person will decline in health or fortune; if they appear to be more plump and grow strong, you will meet with unexpected prosperity; if your arms are broken, you will lose some dear friend by removing to a great distance, if your right arm is cut off, you will loose a near male relation, if the left, a female.
It is good always for a rich man to think or dream he is in authority.
To dream of bacon, denotes the death of some friend or relation, and that enemies will endeavour to do you a mischief; in love, it denotes disappointment and discontent.
BARLEY - BEEAD
To dream of eating barley-bread, betokens health and great comfort to the dreamer.
To dream you are in a boat on clear water, is very good, and indicates joy and prosperity.
To dream a bullock pursues you, beware of some powerful enemy, particular if the dreamer is a female: It a cow, a female is an enemy.
To dream you bathe, and the water seems clear, you are sure to prosper, everything will be well with you; but if the sorw. water appears muddy, you will be apt to meet with shame and sorrow.
To dream that you are in bed, implies that he or she will be married at the end of the month.
To dream you see a great quantity of loaves, denotes success in life. To dream that you are eating good bread, denotes many friends.
To dream they sting you, denotes loss of good character, and if you are in love, of your sweetheart.
To dream of dancing at a ball denotes that you will be addressed by a lover; the prospect will be a momentary pleasure he will become your husband to a certainty
To dream yourself or friend is buried, fortells a serious fit of illness.
To dream that you are in church, and that the parson and pulpit are in white, and that he preaches a sermon to your taste, you will soon be married. If the parson is in black, and the congregation sing a hymn, it denotes grief.
If a man dreams of a cat, and he caress her, and she scratches him, his sweetheart is a spiteful termagant. If a female dreams of a cat that acts similarly, she may rest assured that she has a rival.
If you dream the clock falls or breaks, it denotes danger, especially to the sick. It is always better to dream of counting the hours of the forenoon than the afternoon.
To dream you eat cheese denotes profit.
To dream that you make a cake signifies joy and prosperity.
To dream of clear burning coals, denotes prosperity, especially in love; coals in their natural state indicate trouble and discontent; extinguished coals, announce the fall of fortune, or the death of some near friend.
To dream you are climbing a tree, and gain the top, you will rise to preferment, or your love will succeed; or if you dream you climb a very steep hill, foretells many difficulties in life.
To dream a candle burns bright and clear denotes a pleasing letter from your sweetheart; but if the candle’s blaze gets cull, you will be disappointed.
To dream of crowns denotes riches and honour.
To dream you are playing at cards, it denotes that you will soon be in love. If you hold a great many court cards, if you are single, you will soon be married and happy.
To dream you are gathering ripe corn, promises you success in your enterprise, but if it is blighted or mildewed, you will be a great loser.
To dream of them denotes prosperity in life; if you have children they will all thrive, if you are in love your suit will be successful.
To dream you are in a dairy, skimming the cream off the milk, and that your sweetheart partakes of the cream, denotes him inclined to luxury. But if he drinks the milk, it is a sign of frugality.
To think yourself in the dark, is a token of affliction, and loss in trade; to get out of darkness, into sudden light, is a sign of rising to eminence, or of escaping out of prison.
To dream of death, denotes happiness and long life. To see him sink into the ground, is a certain death. The married to dream of death, implies a loss or second union.
If they fawn and fondle upon you, it is a lucky omen: if they are barking and snarling at you, then depend that enemies are secretly endeavouring to destroy your reputation; if you are in love be careful of your present sweetheart.
To dream of the devil denotes many troubles. If he appears in fire immediate misfortunes will befall yau. A widow to dream of the devil, after she has buried a bad husband, is sure to have another—so widows, beware.
To dream you are dancing at a ball, or entertainment, fortells you will shortly receive some joyful news from a long absent friend : to the sailor, a pleasant and successful voyage, increase of children to married persons; and to those in trade, much business, and happy in marriage.
To dream you are drowning, or see another so situated, is good to the dreamer, and denotes that he will be preserved through many strange difficulties.
To dream you are in debt, and pursued by bailiffs, indicates that you will fall into some unexpected difficulties, or great danger.
To dream of an elephant, is a very fortunate dream it denotes an acquirement of riches, and happy wedlock.
To dream you see an eagle or a hawk perched, and they suffer you to caress them, you will be married to a military man, either a officer, serjeant, or private.
To dream you see others eating, is a bad omen. But if you dream you are asked to eat, and partake of those things you like best, some relief, perhaps will follow.
To dream of eggs, is honourable. whatever you are then about will succeed. To dream of broken eggs, if married, you will have no children. But to dream of eating them, you will have many.
If you see evil spirits in your dream, it is a sign of sickness, if you seem to exercise them, and they vanish, you will get over your difficulties.
To dream of an earthquake, warns y ou to be cautious and careful. If you see houses tumble, your friend s will feel a shock, public confidence is lost, or some dire calamity will defall them.
To dream of flies or other vermin, denotes enemies of all sorts. To dream of killing them is a very good omen.
To dream of a fox is the forerunner of much difficulties, beware of some designing adversaries.
To dream you fall into the mire, and you are covered with filth, if a servant, you will lose your character through pilfering; if the dirt gets into your eyes, you will experience confinement, most likely be imprisoned; if you see clouds rapidly moving beware of transportation. To run and fall, then rise, and run again, is a sign that you have a litigious temper that will ruin you. But to dream you run without interruption, is a sign of indifference, and that you will accomplish your design.
To dream of fire, denotes happiness, health and marriage, and many children. To dream you see burning lights descending, as it were from heaven, is a very bad sign; it portends Some dreadful accident to the dreamer, such as being hanged, loosing your head, having your brains dashed out, breaking a leg, or other strange accidents—to the lover, it also denotes the loss of the affections of your sweetheart. —to the tradesman, bad success in business. To dream that you are burnt by fire, denotes great danger, and that enemies will injure you, to the sailor, storm and ship wreck.
To dream you make a sudden fort une, is a very bad omen.
If in your dream you are crossing newly ploughed fields, promises some unexpected misfortune from a person who has no children, if the fields are covered with corn, it denotes having children.
If you cut your finger and the blood runs, you will get money where you least expect it; if you do not see any blood you will have a quarrel or law suit for money which you paid before.
To dream you have any thing given to you is a sign that some good is about to happen to you; it also denotes that speedy marriage will take place between you and your sweetheart.
To dream of geese is the forerunner of good, they denote success and riches, also faithful sweethearts.
If you are walking in a beautiful garden, you will soon be advanced in fortune, if you are gathering the fruits of it, you will be happy in marriage, and have many children.
To dream of the gallows, is a most fortunate omen, it shows that the dreamer will become rich, and arrive at great honours.
To dream you see a grave, fortells sickness and disappointment, if you are in love, depend you will marry your present sweetheart.
To dream of seeing giants is ominous of good if you are in trade, you will have a great increase of business.
Dreaming o f hail, denotes grief and much sorrow.
To dream o f being hated, by friends or enemies, is an ill omen.
T o dream of travelling over steep hills, shows that you will encounter many difficulties. and enter upon some arduous undertakings; if you descend the hill easily, you will get the better of all your difficulties.
To dream of building a house is a very favourable omen; if you are in trade it denotes success, in love, that your sweetheart is good tempered and faithful, and will make you very happy.
To dream that you are hunting a fox, and that he is killed, shows much trouble through the pretensions of false friends, but that you will discover them, and overcome all their machinations.
To dream of infants shows trouble, and in health, except you see them playing, you may then expect to receive great satisfaction from a distant part.
Dreaming of ice is a very favourable omen; to the lover it shows your sweetheart is of an amiable temper, and faithful; to the tradesman, it denotes success and riches, to the farmer a plentiful harvest.
For one to dream he hurt with iron, shows he will receive damage.
To dream of keys is favourable, to a person in trade and to a sailor—they denote some gift, and that the dreamer will become rich.
To dream you give a knife, indicates you will have much contention; to give one to your intended, shows he will loose her; she will cut your acquaintance.
If you receive a letter in your dream, it betokens a legacy or presents; if you send a letter, you will shortly relieve a person who is in distress.
To dream you climb a ladder, denotes a happy marriage with the object of your affections, and that you will become by industry, rich, and settle your children happily.
To dream you are dressed in clean linen, denotes that you will shortly receive some glad tidings— if it is dirty, then poverty, a prison and disappointment in love, with the loss of something valuable
To dream of seeing a lion, denotes that you will appear before your betters, accumulate riches, and marry a woman of great spirit.
To dream you are buying meat, signifies that friends will step forward, and be of great assistance to you, and that you will overcome difficulties, and acquire great riches
To dream of paying money denotes success in you afairs, the birth of a child, or the gain of a law suit; if received, you will thrive.
To dream of seeing your mother, is a certain paognostic of some agreeable adventure being about to happen to you, and that you will hear from a friend at a distance.
To dream you hear delicious music, is a very favourable omen; it denotes joyful news from a long absent friend.
To dream of the moon is a very favourable omen, it denotes sudden and unexpected joy, great success in love, and that the dreamer is tenderly beloved. To dream of seeing the new moon is good for tradsmen, farmers, and lovers; it is the forerunner of success snd happiness. To handsome women it is a good sign to see a full moon, but not to ugly ones.
To dream of monkies is ominous ef evil, they announce deceit in love, unfaithfulness in the married state, undutiful children, malibious enemies, and an attack by thieves.
To dream of nakedness, denotes scandal of character, to dream you see a naked woman is lucky; it fortels that some unexpected honours await you.
To dream of being ridden by the nightmare, is a sign of sudden marriage, or to be domineered over by a fool.
To dream of eating oysters, indicates a coming of much w an t; to open oysters shews we stand in need of assiduity in our business.
To dream you are eating oranges, implies grief and wounds.
To dream of seeing fair and white cattle, shows virtuous inclination; to see fat or lean oxen, signifies present gain or misfortune.
To dream you are in an orchard, denotes that you will become rich by the inheritance of a good legacy— that you will marry much to your advantage.
To dream of seeing the stately oak, is a sign of long life riches, and great gain.
To dream you write on paper, signifies an accusation will be made against you.
To dream you are looking at any beautiful pictures, denotes that you will be allured by false appearances into some very disagreeable situation; if you are mrrried, be sure your partn e r deceives you, and prefers another; and that the person who estranged her affections is your most intimate friend.
To dream of falling into a deep pit, shows that some very heavy misfortune is about to attend you—that your sweetheart is false and prefers another—to a sailor, it forbodes some sad disaster at the next port you touch a t.
Dreaming of seeing a comedy, or farce, indicates sucmuch god, cess in business; to dream of acting in a play, seldom indicates much good.
To dream of loosing a purse, signifies good, if it be full; but bad. if it be emty. To dream of finding a purse, is a very favourable omen.
To dream you are quarrelling denotes that some unexpected news will reach you. and that your sweetheart is about to marry another.
To dream of being in a shower of rain, denotes great success in your undertakings, it is particularly favourable to lovers it denotes costancy, affection and a sweet temper.
To dream of seeing river water clear, indicates good but to dream of swimning in the sea signifies great peril and danger.
To dream of rats, is a sign of many enemies and that you are exposed to many dangers from pretended friends.
To dream you are reading scientific books shows approaching wisdom.
To dream you see a flock of sheep feeding, denotes success in life.
To dream you see the ground all covered with snow, is a favourable dream; to a young man; shows he will marry a virgin and have children. x
To dream you have a new pair denotes triumph over enemies
To dream you are swimming with your head under water shows that you will experience some great trouble, and hear some very unpleasant news from a person you thought dear. To dream you are swimming with your head above the water denotes great success in your undertakings, whether they be love, sea farming.
To dream you loose your teeth denotes the loss of some friend by death; and that troubles and misfortunes are about to attend you.
To dream you are in a tavern, feasting with friends, signifies joy and comfort
To dream you find a treasure, shows you will be betrayed by your bosom friends.
To dream you fall into the hands of thieves, shows loss and trouble.
Dreamimg of thunder signifies affliction to the rich; but to the poor repose.
To dream you are cutting down trees, forbodes heavy losses in business; to climb them, denotes advancement in dignity.
To dream o f being in hollow vaults, deep cellars, or at the bottom of coal-pits, signifies that you will match with a widow.
To dream you drink vinegar, indicates sickness.
To dream of eating victuals, signifies loss of money V ERMIM. To dream of being covered with vermin, such as lice, betokens long sickness, if the lice remain; bnt if you cast them off yon will be delivered of troubles.
To dream you are walking in a dirty muddy place, fortels sickness and vexation; to a lover, it denotes his sweetheart to be bad tempered and unfaithful; to the tradesman, it fortels dishonest servants and loss of goods by fire.
To dream you see or are walking in a field of wheat, denotes great prosperity and riches—in love, a completion of your most sanguine, wishes, and fortels much happiness, with fine children when you marry.
To dream of a wolf, signifies an avaricious, cruel, and despotic person; if you dream you conquer a wolf, you will conquer a designing enemy, who has long endeavoured to prey on you—to dream you are bitten by one, shows you will receive some injury from a pretended friend.
To dream you are cutting or chopping of wood, shows that you will be happy in your family, and become rich and respectable in life.
For a man while sick, to dream of wedding a maid, denotes death; if to a deformed woman, it signifies discontent; to a handsome person much joy.
To dream of drinking wine with absent friend, signifies a speedy meeting; but to be drinking it by yourself, indicates you will became a great drunkard; and if you do, you may depend on it, it will speedily prove your ruin.
To dream of war, denotes trouble and danger to all.
To dream you are drinking water, denotes great trouble and adversity in trade, loss of business and arrest.
To dream you are stung by wasps, signifies vexation and trouble by envious persons.
WATER - MILL
To dream of being at one is a favorable omen.
To dream you are buying or selling of wool, denoted prosperity and great affluence, by means of industry and trade; to the lover it is a favorable omen; your sweetheart is thereby shown to be of an amiable disposition, very constant, and deeply in love with you.
A man to dream that h e sees his wife married to another, it betokeus some change of affairs.
To dream of high winds, storms and showers of rain, shows you will be crossed in love.
To dream of yellow colour, denotes to the married women, great trouble from a female friend, and the loss of her husband’s affections. To the lover it signifies he will marry a virgin, who will give herself up to the first man she likes.
To dream you are young, fortels peace, delight, and fruition of your desire.
To dream of having to bear the yoke, denotes danger, if it be a woman, she will be ready and willing to obey her husband, and careful to govern her family.
An indication of the funeral of a very aged person, by whose death the dreamer will derive some benefit, or a protecting hand among the relations of the deceased person.
When you dream of zones, fortels much trouble and vexation; to the tradesman, imprisonment, and loss of goods; to the lover, unfaithfulness in his sweetheart, and disappointments in his undertakings.
... 132 common dreams dream meaningCommon Dreams
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:
Hypnagogic images: between waking and sleep
- 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%)
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.
... why do we dream? physiology of dreams dream meaningDreampedia