Dreams and Sleep
Throughout history, dreams and sleep have been a subject of interest. In ancient Greek mythology, people believed that sleep was ruled by the goddess hypnos. Hypnos is the brother of an Thanatos yani, the goddess of death. There is a myth that Hypnos lived in a cave on a Greek island and that it was flooded by the river of forgetfulness. His sons, Morpheus, Phobetor and Phantasos, represent dreams and fantasies seen during sleep. All these mythological features are the personalized state of sleep. Phobetor is the personified state of the nightmares seen in dreams. Morpheus is the goddess who drives the dream and makes forgetting. In addition to Greek mythology, many cultural dreams in the ancient times have seen dreams as events that predict the future.
Content of Dream
The most common emotion among the emotions that make up the dream content is anxiety.
Men have more aggressive dreams than women. The findings showed that similar content in life persists in dreams. 10% of dreams have sexual content and are higher in young people. 12% of people reported that they had only black and white dreams (Hall 1990).
In addition, one can often see himself / herself in certain situations. These include chasing, flying in the air, slowly running, falling, having sexual intercourse, being naked, being late; taking an exam unprepared, seeing a dead person alive, having an accident, deteriorating health and illness dreams.
According to Freud and his psychoanalysts, who study dreams, dreams provide the expression of emotions and desires that we normally suppress in our conscious world, thus creating a harmony or balance between the suppressed and open content in our minds. Freud argued that another function of dreams was to maintain sleep. According to Freud, dreaming keeps one’s attention in the inner fantasy world and prevents him from awakening with environmental stimuli.
Through dreams we can live as part of dreams during the night without awakening the external stimuli, so that sleep can continue. However, when the mind detects danger stimuli, it awakens in the expectation of emergencies.
According to Jung, another important psychoanalyst and founder of the analytical psychology school; dreams are manifested by symbols reflecting both the individual and the common unconscious. These symbols are common to many cultures and express human fundamental fears.
Conscious dream ”Lucid dreaming ”
The situations and events encountered in the dream life are often improbable, and also beyond the control of the dreamer. Very few parts of the flowing dream life can be remembered, remembered parts are often possible if they cause an emotion and affect the person. In spite of this, the ’smart dream’ is also aware that one is dreaming.
Some people can live it as dreaming in a dream. Sometimes it is possible to interfere with various aspects of the dream, such as changing the environment, objects or persons and the flow of events in the dream.
The state of consciousness is partially restored in intelligent dreams. A person knows that he is in a dream, but he continues his dream life. The environment in the dream is much more realistic. The wise dream is more evident, more remembered, in the near term of waking up. Intelligent dreaming comes into play in problem-solving dreams and dreams of recruitment. The person realizes that he is in a dream and begins to intervene in the dream process semi-consciously.
Sleep does not consist of a single period, and it’s characterized by mild sleep, deep sleep and rapid eye movements. It is called REM sleep because of the rapid eye movements resulting from deep brain structures and observed in the eyes.
In REM sleep, which lasts about 2 hours per night, we often dream, and dream for 6 years in our whole life. REM sleep is higher in the second half of the night and dreams are more common in the second half of the night.
Amygdala, which is the center of emotions of excitement, anxiety and fear in the brain during the REM phase dreams, is highly active. However, the forebrain part of the brain that is reasoning is asleep.
Observations have shown that the dream has a strong connection with REM sleep. 80% of people woke up during REM period. They said that they are living in a dream.
However, non-REM sleep is also less frequent, although there is a dream experience. While REM sleep dreams are more related to unconscious processes, dreams in non-REM phases are more realistic. The cause and effect connection and time and space connections are better preserved.