No one actually knows why people dream. Doctors have theories though. One theory that doctors have is: When you are at school, home, or somewhere, there are so many things that are going on that you don't think about during the day, night, etc. When you sleep, in other words dream, you think about all of the things that have happened. Also, during the day or night, if you are worried or upset, or feeling something about someone, something, etc., it all comes out. You think/ dream about it when asleep.
When people ask doctors and/or scientists," Does everyone dream?" Scientists and/or doctors say no. Some say that they are not sure. Some people don't dream. They can skip the 1st stage of sleep: REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. Scientists and/or doctors don't really know why some people can do this. But they can.
There are 4 steps to sleep. REM stage is the dreaming stage. The REM stage of sleep stands for: Rapid Eye Movement. You can find out more on the stages of sleep in the other Dream sections
Children have the scariest dreams of all people. They range from animals to bedtime stories. They dream about things that you would not expect.
Animals play a big part in children's dreams. If your dog is sick, you might dream about your dog dying. Bedtime stories can also have an effect on children's dreams. If the child's bedtime story is about golf, he or she might dream about being a pro-golfer.
Usually when sweet dreams happen, the child usually does something good. But the child's sweet dreams vary with each child's interest. For example: if the child scores the last point to win the game, he or she will most likely have sweet dreams.
Children sometimes need to take their minds off things. Dreams work well for this. Children have a lot of subjects when they dream. I personally like to dream. Children's dreams are very interesting.
How Do We Dream?
Understanding the sleep cycle is the first important part of understanding dreams and how dreams happen. The average human being spends eight hours a day, fifty six hours a week, two hundred twenty-four hours a month, and two thousand, six hundred eighty-eight hours a year sleeping.
Sleep is thought to be made of two basic forms known as slow wave sleep (SWS) and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Humans seem to go through four really sharp stages of SWS and then enter REM sleep. The four stages plus REM are mostly happen various times every nightly sleep cycle.
While awake and alert, a human's EEGs (electroencephalograms) contain beta waves at 14-30 Hz, which is relatively high frequency and low voltage activity. When the human is resting and quiet, the EEGs have alpha waves at 8-13 Hz with slightly higher voltage. As humans begin to fall asleep, the EEGs have slower, higher-voltage delta waves, which are a large number of brain neurons (e.g., nerves) firing in unison. The myth is that we "drift off to sleep." The reality is that the onset of sleep is quite sudden. Stage ones sleep involves our breathing slowing, our muscle tone decreasing, and our body relaxing, with slow and low-voltage EEG. Stages 2-4 are notable for the person not awakening by outside push. These stages are marked by increasing frequency of delta waves, and the continued slowing of the body's functions. An exit from the pattern of Stage 1, then 2, 3 and 4 is a sign of physical and/or psychological disorder.
Rapid eye-movement sleep differs from the 4 stages of sleep. During REM sleep, EEG activity of the brain resembles the awake but resting pattern. During REM, there are no delta waves, and the voltage activity is low and fast. To an observer, a human in REM sleep's eyes are beginning to move rapidly beneath the closed lids, as if the human is watching a movie. Also, during REM sleep, there is almost a full clampdown of muscle responses of the body. The body almost seems to be paralyzed.During REM, dream activity is happening.
Dream research has tended to focus to a big degree on dream interpretation and meaning. It may be less interesting to consider how dreams happen. Recent discoveries find that dreams are neurocognitive in origin. To understand dreaming and particularly to understand dream content, it is necessary to better understand dreaming as a developmental cognitive achievement. The word "cognitive" refers to "thinking". "Neuro" refers to "the central nervous system". "Developmental" refers to the changes and maturation that occur from birth. Finally, the neurocognitive system, which is developing and maturing, suggests that there are several forebrain structures which are important to dreaming. Recent research states that the limbic, paralimbic, and associational areas of the forebrain are vital to visual dream imagery. Related research reports that dreaming is a cognitive achievement and in humans develops over the first 8-9 years of life and happens at about the same pace as other developmental areas such as cognition and language. Young children's dreams are very different from adolescent dreams or adult dreams. Until recently, dreams were believed to occur only during REM sleep. Some scientists, known as "brainstorm theorists" believe dreams may occur during Stage 2 Non-Rapid Eye Movement Sleep (NREM). These same scientists believe brainstorm stimulation is as important to dreams as stimulation of the forebrain areas mentioned earlier in this section.
Humans usually enter REM ninety minutes into sleeping and go through Stages 1-4, plus REM, 5-6 times per night. In one year, a human could have on average 1825 dreams of which the typical human remembers only a few of their dreams. REM sleep is thought to be vital for memory and learning. Sleep, particularly REM sleep, is hypothesized to be restorative in nature. If deprived of REM sleep, humans become irritable, anxious, and depressed. When deprived of REM sleep, some humans go into "REM rebound". In other words, REM periods of sleep would occur more often and for a longer period of time than is typical. Drugs and medications frequently interfere with dreaming which suggests that there is a neurochemical relationship to dreams. Recent research is looking at the relationship between the neurochemical dopamine and dream activity. Serotonin may also have a relationship to dreams.Nightmares & Night Terrors
A nightmare is a scary dream caused by unhappy thoughts in your subconscious and being abruptly awakened afterward. You usually remember your nightmares. People have nightmares in REM sleep which means rapid eye movement. Studies show that 5 out of 8 people have nightmares when they are adults.Nightmares usually occur between 4 and 6 am. Nightmares can range anywhere from falling in a bottomless pit to breaking up with a loved one. It is common for a child to have one to two nightmares a week. Nightmares don't happen much as children get older. Night terrors (also known as Pavor Nocturnus),on the other hand are very different. One thing is that night terrors occur in a deep non -REM sleep. Instead of moving into another stage of sleep, the child gets stuck between stages of sleep. Night terrors happen in children 3 to 5 years old. Night terrors usually stop occurring by school age. When having a night terror the child's eyes are wide open. The breathing and heart rate may increase. The child is also screaming and flailing his or her arms. There have been some cases of children getting out of bed and running around the room. Night terrors are not normally dangerous, but the things children do while they are having a night terror may be very dangerous. There is no known cause for night terrors, but doctors say it has to do with physical condition such as apnea (breathing disorders). Nightmares and night terrors are scarey for children but are not dangerous. If your child has night terrors you should not have bunk beds and should put child gates at their doors. Night terrors generally happen at the same time each night so you should try to wake your child up each night minutes before the terror happens.
Sleepwalking is a sleeping problem affecting about 10% of all humans at least once in their lives. Somnambulism is the most common for ages four to twelve. Somnambulism is another name for sleepwalking . The difference between older people sleepwalking and younger people sleepwalking is the sleep pattern. The pattern changes and sleepwalking disappears as a child gets older.
Sleepwalking usually occurs two hours after a child goes to sleep. This point is when the brain waves have become larger and he/she is in a deeper sleep. The eyes of the sleepwalker's are usually open. It is usually impossible to wake a sleepwalkers, but it is not harmful. Studies show most sleepwalkers cannot hear ordinary sounds. Sleepwalkers forget that they were sleepwalking that night in the morning. Sleepwalking lasts 5-15 minutes and can happen more than once in one night. Most sleepwalking is not dangerous though some sleepwalkers cause injury to themselves and others.