Larry Schwartz of BodyMindSoulSpirit.com writes:
A new survey suggests men and women may dream differently.
There aren’t many things that fascinate, frighten, sadden, intrigue, confuse, or enlighten us more than dreams. While science seems stumped about dreams, artists are inspired, creating countless books, movies, poems, paintings, dances and plays about dreams in an effort to understand more about this mysterious unconscious existence we enter when we sleep.
More than 100 years after Freudwrote The Interpretation of Dreams, we still aren’t exactly sure what a dream really is. Science tells us that our sensory abilities (like vision, hearing, etc.) reside in various areas of the neocortex of our brains, and that during sleep these various areas fire randomly, producing illusions that seem disjointed and enigmatic. (In other words, dream-like.) Freud theorized that dreams were manifestations of our deepest, sometimes darkest desires. Still others have posited that dreams are sort of virtual simulations in which we rehearse threatening situations in case they happen to us in real life (and in fact some dream studies have shown that 70% of dreams involve threats of some kind).
Dreams often draw on our memories, but because long-term memory is associated with another part of the brain, the hippocampus, and the neocortex and the hippocampus don’t communicate well during sleep, our memory dreams are often fragmented and rarely follow a sensible plotline. We also have different kinds of dreams during different stages of sleep. Dreams during early REM sleep (a lighter phase of sleep) tend to incorporate recent memories from our waking hours. Dreams during late-night REM sleep tend toward the strange and fragmented. Non-REM sleep (a deeper sleep) tends to produce shorter but more straightforward dreams.
In the end, we still don’t know why any of this is so, although there is some speculation that dreams help integrate new memories with past experiences. There is also evidence that the free association of dreams helps the brain to be more creative and solve problems more efficiently.
Amerisleep, an online mattress company, recently did a survey of more than 2,000 men and women across America to see how their dreams compared. While the results aren’t strictly scientific, they paint an interesting picture of the shadow world we spend a third of our lives traveling through.
1. The subjects of recurring dreams.
Dreams may start recurring at any point in our lives, but the survey participants most commonly reported (39%) that they began having recurring dreams in childhood, while 21% said adolescence, and 15% said as adults. A full 25% said they had never had a recurring dream.
It is rare to find a single person who has not had a dream about falling. Indeed, over 53% of the survey participants report recurring dreams about falling. Not far behind are recurring dreams about being chased (almost 51%). Here are some of the other most reported recurring dreams (rounded up to the nearest percent):
- Being back in school (38%)
- Being unprepared for a test or event (34%)
- Flying (33%)
- Having sex with someone you shouldn’t be having sex with (32%)
- Encountering someone who has died in real life (31%)
- Death of yourself or a loved one (30%)
- Having your teeth fall out (27%)
- Being lost (27%)
- Running but getting nowhere, or running in slow motion (26%)
- Being late or missing a plane, train or bus (26%)
- Being paralyzed or unable to speak (24%)
- Discovering your partner has cheated on you (18%)
- Seeing snakes, spiders or other creatures (17%)
- Intruders breaking into your house (16%)
2. Our jobs may dictate our dreams.
People in certain professions seem more prone to having certain recurring dreams. According to the survey, 74% of people in the telecommunications business have had recurring dreams about falling. Forty-six percent of those in public safety (police, fire, paramedic, security) fly in their dreams. Our randy military personnel lead the pack in dreams about having sex with someone they shouldn’t be having sex with (50%). Fifty-five percent of people who work in journalism, publishing or writing, report having recurring dreams about being back in school. Twenty-six percent of retired people find themselves naked in public. And early childhood education professionals often find themselves unable to find a toilet (25%).
3. The kinds of dreams we have.
About 70% of participants say that their dreams are either “realistic” or “somewhat realistic.” The remainder report that their dreams tend to be “somewhat bizarre” or “very bizarre.”
Read more HERE.