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Dream Facts

I spent 22 years in the nursing profession. I enjoy writing, reading historical novels, gardening, and helping people live a healthier life.



What is a Dream?

The Webster Dictionary gives this definition of a dreams:

  1. a series of thoughts, images, or emotions occurring during sleep
  2. an experience of waking life having the characteristics of a dream

Oneirology is the scientific word for dream studies. A dream consists of ideas, images, memories, sensations and emotions that occur usually during REM sleep, which s when rapid eye movement occurs. Dreams are involuntary, and your voluntary muscles are typically paralyzed (REM atonia), so you cannot act out the dream. It is typical to have numerous dreams per night of sleep, but most tend to occur in the earlier part of sleep. Dreams last anywhere from a few seconds up to 20-30 minutes.

Most dreams are not remembered the next day unless you are awakened during the dream. While it is surmised that most people dream, there is a small percentage of people that claim they have never remembered a dream. Others keep a journal by their bed to record dreams, as they are looking for clues to their inner lives, possibly premonitions or maybe for creative insight.

Is Dreaming Understood by Scientists?

Scientist do not fully understand the purpose of dreams. Dreams have been of interest to the scientific, the philosophical and religious communities throughout recorded history. Numerous dream interpretations have attempted to draw some meaning of dreams, as they are always searching for that underlying message.

Why do we Dream?

History of Dream Research

Ancient Egyptians believed dreaming was a way to communicate with the gods and that dreams revealed prophecies. Sigmund Freud in the early 1900s developed the “Freudian theory of dreams.” He believed that dreams revealed insight into the emotions and hidden desires, as they were a product of the unconscious mind. He used dream interpretations as a psychoanalytic treatment for patients.

Freud’s theories eventually became the theory for the Oedipus complex. The Oedipus is a complex psychoanalytic theory stating “a desire for sexual involvement with the parent of the opposite sex and a concomitant sense of rivalry with the parent of the same sex; a crucial stage in the normal developmental process.”

Calvin S. Hall, Jr. is also known for work at Case Western Reserve and many other universities in the 1940s. He collected over 50,000 dreams before his death. His conclusions revealed that people around the world had very similar type dreams, excluding cultural differences. He developed a quantitative coding system that divided dreams into specific settings that included characters, emotions, settings and several other categories. His work with numerous people that kept dream journals revealed a consistency in dream content over their lifetime.

Dream of a Child


Normal Dreams Reported

Dreams tend to involve people you know or a familiar location, but they may take on a fantastical feel. Dreams are not always positive, in fact some are frightening. Deams may also be exciting, magical, adventurous, melancholic or sexual.

Nightmares and Lucid Dreams

Lucid dreams occur when an individual is dreaming, yet able to control the some events in their dream. This means that during REM sleep you also have some component of consciousness. Being self-aware in a dream will let you be superman or super-woman, and virtually anything you choose. When I was a child I dreamed I could fly very frequently with the ability to stop in midair. I really do not know if it was a lucid dream, but I loved it. It is possible to learn to do lucid dreaming.

Nightmares are disturbing and cause negative feelings. PTSD patients or domestically abused individuals often have numerous nightmares, yet just watching a horror movie may result in a nightmare. Nightmares may begin between 3 to 6 years of age and be gone by age 10.

The characteristics of nightmares include:

  1. The dreams are vivid and seem real with the dream being more upsetting as the dream progresses.
  2. The storyline of the dream is typically related to safety and/or survival.
  3. The nightmare awakens you.
  4. You will feel anxious, upset, scared, sad, angry or disgusted due to the dream.
  5. You may feel sweaty or have a pounding heartbeat while lying in bed.
  6. You will think clearly when you awaken and will be able to recall details of the dream.
  7. The dream causes such distress you will probably not fall back to sleep easily.

How to Lucid Dream for Beginners

Unusual Dream Facts

Each person’s dreams are unique to them, and there are many unusual facts concerning dreams.

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Some of the unusual facts about dreams include:

  1. A few people have reported they have some dreams that are not in color.
  2. When people were awakened during sleep and asked to pick colors seen in their dreams, most pick soft pastel colors.
  3. Anxiety and negative feelings are the most common emotions experienced in dreams.
  4. People that have been blind since birth experience visual imagery during sleep, but have less time in REM sleep then sighted people.
  5. Brain scans of sleeping people has revealed that the frontal lobe of the brain is inactive, which explains why dreams are difficult to remember shortly after rising.
  6. Researchers believe animals dream.
  7. Across all cultures common dreams include being chased, attached or falling.



Dreams of Men and Women Differ

Numerous studies have revealed men tend to dream about weapons and women dream of references to clothing. Men’s dreams are more aggressive and physically active, while women tend to dream slightly longer than men their dreams contain more exclusion, conversation and rejection.

The dreams of women have more characters. Another interesting feature is men tend to dream of other men twice as often as they dream of women. Women dream about both sexes equally.

In Conclusion

There is evidence in the oldest writing discovered that people wanted to know the meaning of dreams. Here we are centuries later, and we do not have the answer to that question. Dreams could be some psychotherapy for us. We forget 95% of dreams within a few minutes of arising. Perhaps dreams are a way of dealing with problems and stress in our lives. Of course, no one know for sure.

Dream Questions

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2019 Pamela Oglesby


Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 16, 2020:

Hi Rajan,

Thank you for sharing your experience and commenting.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on August 15, 2020:

Very interesting read. Dreams are interpreted differently by different people, I guess, depending on their mental state and their life experiences. I personally do sometimes remember a dream very vividly for days but, as you point out, forget most of them within a few minutes.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on March 11, 2020:

Hi Peggy,

We sure have a lot in common, Peggy. I thought flying would be so wonderful when I was a child. I appreciate your comments.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on March 10, 2020:

It is interesting that you had lucid dreams of flying when you were younger. I also did and loved experiencing them. I often remember my dreams upon awakening. I have never written them down, however.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on November 18, 2019:

Hi Lorelei, Your dreams or we should call them nightmares are horrible. I had a couple of nightmares when I was young also, but they were not reoccurring. I hope you never have that dream again. I do't know why you would have had a recurring dream that is something we see happening today, but it is kind of scary.

I wish I could tell you what to do to not have the dreams anymore but I really do not know what you could do differently. I have not read any research that addresses this issue either. I wish I could tell you something more helpful. You might look at whether you have these dreams when you are overly tired or something like that. I wish you the best. I appreciate you sharing your experience.

Lorelei Cohen from Canada on November 18, 2019:

I tend to have reoccurring dreams. As a child I had 2 and looking back on them now spooks me as one turns out to have a very distinct connection to our modern day. I was in about grade 2 to 4 with the first dream and it was in a school and a feeling of intense fear knowing a murderer was in the school. It always ended with my hiding in a locker in the gym. The last time I had the dream it ended with the door of the locker opening, the intense fear that I was found by the murderer, and someone pointing at me and saying "You are the murderer". After that I never had the dream again but knowing now of the school shootings it definitely shakes me still. My other reoccurring childhood nightmare is of being chased / fleeing through a large building with many floors and rooms. Hopefully it has no connection to a modern event. My last reoccurring nightmare happens occasionally still and is of being followed / stalked by wolves or bears. Fortunately I am more often to have good dreams than bad.

Robert Sacchi on September 19, 2019:

You're welcome.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on September 19, 2019:

Hi Robert, That is so true. There are a lot of grants out there if you have a good plan to carry out your research. Thanks for your comments again, Robert.

Robert Sacchi on September 18, 2019:

The advantage of getting an advanced degree, you might get a grant to study such things.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on September 18, 2019:

Yes Robert, I agree and it will be interesting to see what further research reveals.

Robert Sacchi on September 17, 2019:

These all make sense as far as why people in these categories would be prone to nightmares.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on September 17, 2019:

I have read that PTSD patients and people with anxiety and depression have nightmares. I have also know that children between 3-6 year old have nightmares sometimes because that is when they develop fears. I don't know of any certain type of person that gets nightmares.

Robert Sacchi on September 17, 2019:

I wonder if they carried out studies to see if certain types of people are prone to nightmares.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on September 17, 2019:

Robert, I coulsn't agree more. Thry pretty well know the stages of sleep but it seems that is about all they know. It is an interesting topic though. I feel bad for someone that has nightmares all the time also.

Robert Sacchi on September 16, 2019:

This subject seems to have many questions and few answers.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on September 16, 2019:

While that makes perfect sense, it does not work that way for me. I seldom remember the dreams.

From what I have read the only dreams you remember are those you are dreaming right when you wake up. If someone is awaken unexpectedly and they are dreaming, they remember the dream. I don't think research has found all the answers yet.

Robert Sacchi on September 15, 2019:

The trouble staying asleep would seem to make for more dreams and easier to remember.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on September 15, 2019:

I was thinking about that and I bet it is, but I don't know that for sure. I had great dreams as a child and now they are not exciting at all.

I looked at some sites on the internet and it talked about older people having more trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, but it said we still dream. I couldn't find anything more about the quality of the dreams.

Robert Sacchi on September 15, 2019:

I wonder if that's part of the aging process?

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on September 15, 2019:

Robert, Mine are boring too. When I was a child I use to dream I could fly, which was exciting.

Robert Sacchi on September 14, 2019:

The cartoon was about a boy who daydreamed in school. The vast majority of my dreams are on the boring side.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on September 14, 2019:

Hi gain Robert, Fighting with the numbers is so funny. I remember having lucid dreams when I was much younger but while I remember many dreams now they don't seem so vivid. I haven't had a lucid dream in quite a while. I do remember some dreams and struggles with math and physicist also!

Robert Sacchi on September 14, 2019:

So many questions. I remember having lucid dreams. I remember some where I was "watching" the dream. I know with upper level Math if you aren't dreaming about doing the problems you aren't studying enough. I had one dream reminiscent of a cartoon where the kid was fighting with numbers.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on September 14, 2019:

I am not sure of the answer to your question. There is such a thing as lucid dreams which means you are aware you are dreaming. I could not find any information that compared the dream time to the same actions when you are awake. I wish I knew the answer but I guess it has not been studied.

Robert Sacchi on September 14, 2019:

Do they know if the deams have the same time sensation as when people are awake. For example an experience, if awake, would take 5 minutes would it also take 5 minutes as a dream?

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on September 14, 2019:

Hi Robert, It would be interesting to see an image of your dreams. I think there is a lot we don't know yet. I appreciate your comments.

Robert Sacchi on September 13, 2019:

Very interesting article. That people usually remember only the dreams where they are awakened explains why there doesn't seem to be an ending to most dreams. It would be interesting if they develop a way to image people's dreams.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on May 28, 2019:

Hi Maria, Receiving Gestalt training must have been great. I appreciate your comments as always Maria. Love, Pam

Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on May 28, 2019:

Dear Pam,

I have always found dreams and the process of dreaming to be fascinating.

I learned in Gestalt training how dreams can be used as a mechanism for healing trauma.

Excellent information here - thanks for this! Love, Maria

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on May 11, 2019:

Noted, please.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on May 11, 2019:

I am noting things well.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on May 11, 2019:

Hi Linda, Dreams can be strange or they may make perfect sense. I am glad you enjoyed the article, and your comments are much appreciated.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on May 11, 2019:

Dreams are a very intriguing part of life. I'd love to know what my dog dreams about! Thank you for sharing the interesting information, Pamela.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on May 07, 2019:

Hi Ms. Dora, I think it makes sense to know that events in your life inI appreciate your comments.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on May 06, 2019:

Very interesting. Remember the lucid dreams. Either I don't have them or I don't remember them anymore. Thanks for these explanations. I do believe that dreams have significance concerning what's happening in our lives.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on May 06, 2019:

With this, one can take an inventory of one's life, to look for related events. This can even reveal that the dream is either a day dreaming that now manifests at night during sleep. One can later dismissed such dreams.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on May 06, 2019:

Hi Yves, I think dreams might be a gift also You may remember some dreams that occur closer to your wakeup time, so you may want to writ them down just to see if there is a pattern Dreams are fascinating in my mind, and I have had some that I thought were not finished also. I appreciate your experience and your comments.

savvydating on May 06, 2019:

Pam....I am surprised to learn that most dreams occur in the early part of the night. Maybe this is because I am still asleep and relaxed early on in the night, whereas in the morning, I may be dreaming, but I have to get up out of bed to get ready for work, thus interrupting my dream. So, in my mind, it is those dreams, half finished, I wish to remember, in the event they have something important to say.

In any event, dreams are fascinating things; I am glad we have them. I believe dreams are a gift, no matter when they come to us.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on May 06, 2019:

Many people have dreams that are related to things that happen in their lives, even though they may not be that significant. Thanks you for your comments.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on May 06, 2019:

Hey, Pamela, these dreams are really significant in real life. But let's forget about the interpretations as these are no longer have meaning. Thank you.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on May 06, 2019:

Hi Penny, Children do have some strange dreams. I had a really bad dream at that age where a witch was going to make me sit on this hot pot that was over a fire. I woke up really scared, but thank goodness it only happened once.

I appreciate your comments Penny.

Penny Leigh Sebring from Fort Collins on May 06, 2019:

I had a strange reoccurring dream when I was around 5-6 where a rhinoceros would appear from behind the washing machine and chase me through the house. Never did figure that one out!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on May 06, 2019:

Hi Shauna, You could keep a dream journal since you remember your dreams for a short while after you awake. I don't know if your dreams will begin to make sense, but it can't hurt to try.

I think dreaming about an ex getting in the way may reflect back to feelings in the marriage. I am not sure why cleaning the kitchen is in the dream since you hate cleaning. LOL

I am glad you shared your dream experiences. Thank you for your comments.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on May 06, 2019:

I dream most every night. Well, I guess I dream every night, but I remember most of them the next morning.

For a while, not too long ago, most of my dreams included men in my life who are no longer alive (but they were in my dreams). Not sure what that was about.

Last night a had a weird dream. I was cleaning the kitchen and my ex-husband kept getting in the way. The kitchen looked nothing like mine. It was sparse and ugly. Why my ex was in the dream is beyond me. And I hate cleaning house!

Funny how the mind works when we're not looking, huh?

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on May 06, 2019:

Hi Pop, I think many of us have recurring dreams, but remembering many dreams is unusual. Statistically, they say you forget 95% of your dreams shortly after you get out of bed. You are unique!

Thanks for sharing your experience Pop!

breakfastpop on May 06, 2019:

I always remember my dreams. Some themes are recurring, such as me losing my bag with all my important info. I also get lost when I'm driving over and over again. I have so many recurring themes, they are too numerous to count!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on May 06, 2019:

Hi Linda, I think many of us have recurring dreams, and I have said, "where in the world did that come from" too. I have also seen dogs and cats dreaming. I don't know if large animals dream.

I appreciate your sweet comments so much dear friend.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on May 06, 2019:

I rarely remember my dreams, but when I do I find myself wondering "where in the world did THAT come from!?" Often, I have recurring dreams--the same thing (or close to it) again and again.

I'm sure that animals dream--at least dogs and cats do. I've seen those little paws and legs move like they are running. I just hope that my kitty's dreams are always happy ones.

Thanks for another educational article. I always learn something from you. Well done, dear friend.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on May 06, 2019:

Hi Bill, I certainly appreciate your comments. I actually learn a lot while writing them too, as I start out knowing a little, then comes the research. Thanks Bill.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on May 06, 2019:

Hi Lorna, I would think a stressful day could elicit move vivid dreams. I appreciate your comments.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on May 06, 2019:

I always look forward to your posts because i always learn interesting facts. The education continues under Pamela's teaching.

Lorna Lamon on May 06, 2019:

Great article Pamela - I find my dreams are more vivid if my day is particularly stressful. It is a fascinating subject - thank you for sharing.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on May 06, 2019:

Hi, Pamela, not at all, please.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on May 06, 2019:

Hi Miebakagh, Thank you for your comments.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on May 06, 2019:

Hi Flourish, Talking in your sleep is not unusual. I wonder if you remember the dream you were having since your daughter woke you. I use to remember a dream occasionally but not often anymore. I appreciate you sharing your experience and for making comments.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on May 05, 2019:

Hello, Pamela, dreams are real. The fact is that they depicted realities on the earth and the other unseen world. Thanks for sharing.

FlourishAnyway from USA on May 05, 2019:

I fell asleep early last night and was talking very loudly in my dream and my daughter heard me and insisted on waking me. She said I was crazy talking and repeated what she thought I had said but it wasn’t crazy at all. She just misunderstood. I recalled all of it. I don’t usually recall dreams and actually have a shortened REM period. I know others who can recall theirs. That’s not me. Very interesting hub.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on May 05, 2019:

Hi Ruby, Yes, I knew the Bible spoke of dreaming, and there are some recordings mentioned centuries ago. If I woud have put everything in this article that I read it would have been way too long. I hope you have more pleasant dreams. Thank you so much for your comments

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on May 05, 2019:

This is interesting. I have been dreaming more lately, sometimes they are pleasant dreams and sometimes they are disturbing. The bible speaks of dreaming, so evidently they have been around since the beginning. Informative article. Thank you.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on May 05, 2019:

Hi Eric, Since all your senses work in your dreams maybe you are some type of lucid dream, which is kind of cool. Thanks for sharing your experience and commenting. Be well my friend.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on May 05, 2019:

So cool. My biggest problem with dreams is that I wake up and think they are true. Very strange. Vivid by taste, smell, hearing and sight. I am glad that thing clicks in where I do not move on them. Oh my! I just thought it was normal. My oncologist assures me it is not treatment oriented but I wonder. I like them.

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