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Research Paper: Dreams

Page history last edited by sneathen606 11 years, 2 months ago

Research Paper: Dreams

By Zachary S, Rough Draft, 4th hour

 

            Have you ever thought about dreams? You may not know it, but everyone has dreams. We still don’t know very much about them, but people have been studying them for centuries. Now we can conclude that there are stages leading up to dreams. Dreams can even have different meanings. Everyone has them, but the history, the stages, and even the interpretation all make up the mysterious night visions called dreams.

 

            Most people think that the study of dreams is fairly recent. That is very wrong. People have been studying dreams for centuries, all the way back to the Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians. The Ancient Greek philosophers such as Aristotle helped enhance modern daydream theories. “…most so-called prophetic dreams are to be classified as mere coincidences…”- Aristotle. The Ancient Greek storyteller named Homer claimed he had a dream from the messenger of Zeus (Hermes). The Ancient Egyptians believed messages from gods/goddesses were meant to signal good or bad upcoming events. Also, when someone was having troubles in their life, they would sleep in a temple, and that morning, talk to the priest about their dream so they could help them. Centuries later, the most well known people who studied dreams were Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, Freud’s idea is that dreams reflected personal wishes to go back to our childhood. Jung (a student of Freud’s) later came up with his own theories. Although, dreams wouldn’t be dreams without the stages of sleep leading up to them.

 

            There are five stages of sleep. The first four are usually just called Stage 1, 2, 3, and 4. The fifth stage is referred to as REM (rapid eye movement) or paradoxical sleep, which I will talk about later. The stages of sleep are very important because they are the process of the human being’s sleep and the time of dreaming. Stage 1 is very light sleep and normally jerky, sudden movements normally occur and it is very easy for someone to wake you up. During Stage 2, your eye movement stops and your brain waves slow down. Sometimes sleep spindles also occur which are quick bursts of brain activity. Although most of your sleep time is in Stage 2, the duration of the stages depends of your age. Stage 3 is the first stage of deep sleep. In Stage 3, if you are woken up (which is very hard anyway), you are normally very disoriented and dizzy for a certain amount of time. Stage 4 is one of the most important because it is the stage where the body does the most regeneration and it is the deepest sleep of the night. During the first five to fifteen minutes of Stage 4, children sometimes experience bedwetting or night terrors (which are different than nightmares). Stage 4 leads into the last stage of sleep, which is REM.

 

           The fifth stage of sleep, which some people argue as the most important is known as REM (rapid eye movement). In 1959, some researchers noticed that a subject’s eyes were moving under their eyelids. They began to suspect REM. During REM, your blood flow, breathing, and brain activity enhances bringing it to the point where the level of activity is about equivalent to when you would be awake, although your arms and legs are immobile. Sometimes, this isn’t the case and this could mean they have a disorder called RBD. The time in REM differs from age to age. For example, babies spend about half their sleep time in REM; on the other hand, adults spend about 20% - 25% of their sleep time in REM. Rapid Eye Movement is also referred to as paradoxical sleep or active sleep. To conclude, some people think REM is the most important aspect of dreaming and other people think dream interpretation is more important.

 

            A dream’s meaning is one of the hardest things to decipher, people have been trying to piece together different kinds of dreams since they were discovered. Dreams can point out thoughts and emotions we don’t want to think about and could be interpreted as references to improving our relationships and lives. Although there are many different kinds of dreams, understanding our dreams can help us understand ourselves. For example, if you have a flying dream (specifically with black wings) it might mean you recently experienced a let down or disappointment and you need to overcome it. Even objects or symbols in dreams can represent things, say you saw a blue bird in your dream, it might mean you’re being arrogant about a situation or idea. As you can see wishes, hopes, and even fears influence dreams, but things that happen in everyday life influence your dreams. William Dement and Edward Wolpert did some tests on average people. They gave them all extremely spicy food and they recorded that one third of their subjects had dreams of drinking. The funny this was, almost none of them were still thirsty after waking up. Here are some more examples of dream interpretations: a falling dream, it might mean you’re not fearful and you will overcome something. A beach: you have a relationship ahead of you. Being chased by a monster: you have features that you think are ugly about yourself. Seeing something burning might mean you have intense emotions about someone or something. These last two examples of things are in the even more mysterious… nightmares.

 

            Some people think nightmares are scary; some people think they’re fascinating. When you wake up hot and sweaty during the night, scared that a monster will come out of your closet or someone will find out about a secret, that’s a nightmare. You may think you’re the only one who has nightmares, but “…85% of adults occasionally experience nightmares…” Although mostly occurring in children, adults still have nightmares. People always want to know what causes nightmares so they can prevent them, but scientists still don’t know what causes nightmares. Fears and traumatic experiences are mostly likely the main cause of nightmares, but researchers argue various types of medication cause nightmares. You may have nightmares fairly often, but researchers have found a way to minimize the number. They had thirty people who have nightmares pretty often, they had them sleep, and the scientists studied them. They found that most of the people didn’t have as many nightmares. They concluded that the people didn’t have as many nightmares because they were in the room. The feeling of another person in the room was comforting. That’s why children sometimes sleep with a stuffed and animal or favorite blanket; it gives them a sense of security to help them relax. Here are two ways to help you calm down after a nightmare: Various relaxation techniques like meditation and deep breathing are helpful. If you have nightmares frequently, you may want to go to a sleep clinic where a professional can talk to you. There are many things that could cause nightmares and different tests that have been done to help us learn more about nightmares.

 

            In conclusion, dreams are very strange things that even today we don’t know much about, but as time goes on we will continue to learn more about dreams. Here’s what we do know: There are stages of sleep leading up to dreams. There are many different ideas to what dreams mean. And those nightmares are normally a mix of fears and everyday life elements that scare us. So, the next time you have a dream, think: What stage of sleep was I in when I had it? What did that dream mean? Was there something that scared me in it? Human beings learning about dreams will help us learn more about ourselves. There are many things making up dreams, the history, the stages, the interpretation, and even nightmares, as time goes on we will begin to learn more about the these puzzling sights we humans experience during sleep.

 

 

 

 

 

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