Blind People Dream Differently
Have you ever wondered how blind people dream? Whether they dream during sleep or not? Are you curious to explore the truth behind it? Let’s find out.
We know that dreams are a mixture of thoughts, feelings and primarily visual perception of this world. Wait, do you think these are mandatory to dream? Unlike many of us, blind people lack eyesight to see the happenings of this world. But it won’t stop them from dreaming. Yes, they do dream in their sleep.
Tell Me How
Dreams are involuntary hallucinations that portray emotional, scary, abstract, joy or bizarre sensations because of the activity of the brain, most of which occurs during the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) stage.
Blind people dream without visual imagery. Their dream concentrates more on sound, taste, touch and smell.
Recent research data showed that one who lost their sight after birth could visualize dreams. But they must have splendid memories of their life events before they lose their vision.
The intensity of this memory depends upon the age and impact of an event. However, the clarity and frequency of such visual threads often decrease upon ageing, fading out bit by bit with time. Late blind people experience more tactile sensations during dreaming.
Studies showed that those who lost vision before age 5 are less likely to imagine their dreams.
People who lost their eyesight after 15-20 years can visualize dreams. The brain reconstructs their old memory and converges their present thoughts and feelings with it.
For example, if a person had a pet dog in his childhood. Unfortunately, a car accident killed the dog and made him blind. His memory and bonding with the pet will remain in his brain. Suppose he bought a guide dog for him after the tragedy. Now he hears the barking and tactile sensation of the dog.
Most probably, he dreams of his old dog with the new one’s sound and behavior.
Most of them get depressed when darkness controls their life. Who can stay happy when their visual freedom vanishes in an unfortunate incident?
But they are luckier than congenital blind people since they could replenish their nostalgic memories and still see their dream or reframe a new world!
On the other hand, people born blind experience dreams in a much-varied way as their dreaming focuses on taste, touch, and smell.
During their sleep, noise generated nearby dissolves in their dream much better than sighted people.
Their brain needs to compensate for the absence of eyes. Therefore other senses are much more accurate and sharp than normal beings.
People blind since birth have no visual idea of this world. So it is not easy for them to define their dreams. Even sighted people find it hard to interpret visual dreams roughly.
We are engaged with the magic of vision every day. Then too, it is a challenge to rewind dreams. Imagine the difficulty of blind people.
Dreams are good as long as it turns out to be a nightmare. We may experience an increase in heartbeat, sweating, muscle pain and so on.
The frequency of nightmares is much higher in blind people. When they open their eyes from dark to much darkness, it is the worst feeling ever.
In 2014, researchers of the Danish Centre for sleep medicine studied the dream patterns of 50 volunteers. They published results in Sleep Medicine. The volunteer team includes 11 congenitally blind, 14 late blind, 25 sighted people.
The individuals need to record their dreams over four weeks. Every day they filled the following questionnaire,
- What was the theme of your dream?
- Did you feel emotional responses?
- What visual images did you see? If yes, then is it black & white or in color?
- Did you experience any sensation of taste/ touch/ smell/ pain?
- Did you hear any sound or noise?
- Was it a nightmare?
- Is the dream realistic/bizarre?
After one month, they analyzed the data and arrived at the following conclusion,
- Congenitally blind people experienced more sensation of sound, touch, taste and smell than sighted people.
- Late blind individuals reported more tactile dream components.
- The emotional responses and theme of dreams are somewhat the same with both blind and sighted people.
- Congenitally blind had more nightmares compared to the late blind and sighted people.
What if you are blind and deaf?
Wait, what about deaf-blind people? Do they dream?
We all have heard of Helen Keller, one of the most inspiring personalities in the world. She was deaf and blind. Amazingly, she knitted her thoughts of dreaming. In her autobiography, The Story of My Life, she stated her dreams had changed completely when her teacher entered her life.
Previously, there were no sound, visual images and absolutely nothing in her dreams except fear. As soon as she gained more knowledge and understanding of the world, her thought process changed, offered her vivid dreams.
“My dreams have strangely changed during the past twelve years. Before and after my teacher first came to me, they were devoid of sound, of thought or emotion of any kind, except fear, and only came in the form of sensations. As I learned more and more about the objects around me, this strange dream ceased to haunt me; but I was in a high state of excitement and received impressions very easily.
— Helen keller
The feeling of ground shaking, pain in the body, the smell of objects and the surface texture were the main impressions in her dreams.
More Realistic Dream
Blind people dream a lot but with distinct sensations and varied perceptions. But what do they aspire to the most?
“A transition from darkness to light.”
To see this world. That is the actual dream.
- Yes, Blind People Dream, Too
- Curious Kids: What do blind people experience in their dreams
- Do Blind People Dream?
- The sensory construction of dreams and nightmare frequency in congenitally blind and late blind individuals
- Helen Keller's Dreams
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Mehul Jacob