“My family and I had come on a vacation to Goa. I was standing on the beach enjoying the sunset, dressed in pink shorts and a yellow shirt. After sometime, we were travelling in a boat .It was our best holiday till date. Suddenly, the wind grew strong and our boat was caught in a storm. It upturned and the last thing I heard before sinking were the cries of my family”, I woke up with a start and realized it was just a dream. I am sure each one of us would have experienced similar dreams. Either we would be the characters in the dream or we would be witnessing the story (most of the times unrelated random events) unfolding which most of the time, we fail to remember after waking up.
Dream is a fascinating subject still debated among the neuro scientists and the psychoanalysts, wherein the former research the occurrence of dreams and the latter try to figure out their meanings. The most common theory is that the hippo-campus, an area deep in the fore-brain, categorizes the day’s events and shifts them to long-term memory for permanent storage. During this relocation, the past events of the long term memory may get triggered and this results in a sequence of various events occurred at different time periods culminating in your peculiar dream.
Studies show that almost everyone dreams, except those affected by stroke or parietal lobe disorders. The dreams last for about 20 minutes on an average, whenever we sleep. The time before we wake up has the most active dreaming phase. Dreams occur during the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) phase of sleep. In this phase, the motor signals are inhibited which explains the stillness of the body; otherwise just imagine the chaos that would occur if we move in response to our dreams, which would be funny as well as a disaster. Your eyes though, remain active thereby darting here and there during sleep.
Usually, what we think before sleeping off marks the content of our dream. This is why we have subject related dreams during exams, exciting dreams before a trip and other similar scenarios. The themes of the dreams are usually based on suppressed thoughts. When we try to forget or suppress something then that becomes the theme of our dreams. Most of the time, this is the reason why our fears are expressed in our dreams, because we try to bottle them within us.
Visually-challenged people also have dreams but their visual responses are less and their dreams are constructed majorly by tactile, gustatory and other olfactory components. In the case of the dumb and deaf, they have comparable dreams to that of able persons. Individuals born with paraplegia were found to have dreams, in which they were physically active and had well-developed motor skills. It may be observed from the above information that the visual centre of the brain plays a significant role in the shaping of dreams.
Have you ever wondered if our dreams can be manipulated? Can our sub-conscious mind be controlled like the movie “Inception”? The answer is a yes, our dreams can be controlled but manipulating that of others’ is entirely fiction. The ability to know that you are dreaming and being able to change its elements is called Lucid dreaming. Lucid dreamers tend to become aware during their dreams and learn to control them. They can change the scenarios, insert new characters of their liking and create their own story, thereby, literally “Living their dreams“.