Why Do We Dream?

A friend and I used to talk about our dreams.  Not necessarily our long term goals (that seemed to come too late in the day on the basis that I didn’t think it was required), but instead I would sometimes wake up and find a message detailing a dream that she’d had that night.  It was usually just a list of words, but I soon got the understanding of why they were sent!

I would look it up in my Dream Dictionary and report back.  The best thing about this was that I used to have dreams on a New Moon and she used to have dreams on a Full Moon, so we were never short on a dream to discuss for too long!

Much of the part below about me I wrote around April or May this year (if not a bit earlier), and never published.

Mohinder: Where does it come from? This quest, this need to solve life’s mysteries when the simplest of questions can never be answered. Why are we here? What is the soul? Why do we dream? Perhaps we’d be better off not looking at all. Not delving, not yearning. That’s not human nature. Not the human heart. That is not why we are here…

This quest. This need to solve life’s mysteries. In the end, what does it matter when the human heart can only find meaning in the smallest of moments? They’re here. Among us. In the shadows. In the light. Everywhere. Do they even know yet?

The other night I decided to start watching Heroes again, possibly inspired by Heroes Reborn on 5Star which appears to be OK except for the fact that the snob in me hates the fact it’s not broadcast in high definition.

At the start of each episode Mohinder Suresh voices an intro which he then closes at the end. The quote above comes from the first episode “Genesis” and was ironic seeing as I started watching it and woke up in the early hours of the morning on the sofa with pins and needles in my left hand and a black and white lump purring in my face. I resuscitated my hand, removed the cat, went to bed and dreamt.

My Dreaming

Sleep hasn’t come easy recently. I tried sleeping tablets a few months ago but they didn’t solve the issue, which has been my dreams waking me up and then not being able to get back to sleep because of them. (Indeed, when I was taking the sleeping tablets I actually felt worse from the fact I was getting woken up but still having the drowsiness from the tablet!) The dreams were so vivid and a few actually left me genuinely disappointed that they wouldn’t happen. Some were fairly obvious reminders of times gone by, and one was of me walking diagonally across a junction which is just one of the scariest and most unnecessary risks known to man anyway!

(In case you are wondering, that is said junction at the top of this page!)

The dreams have a common theme and component, and in dream theory this can relate explicitly to that thing in a material sense, the events surrounding that thing or traits or characteristics about it. Or, in other words – anything!

What’s interesting is that my conscious mind really doesn’t want to dream this way! It doesn’t want that subject matter because I know it sucks when I wake up. I know I’m better off without those dreams as the quote from Heroes suggests. My conscious mind is still struggling to work things out around the trigger for the dreams but it knows that, despite the situation feeling wrong, it’s probably just going to have to deal with it.

My unconscious mind still wants to explore it though. I guess it’s trying to work through the issue but if it was going to I wish it would have got there by now!

The Role Of The Moon

A study by British psychologist Richard Wiseman in 2014 noted that, while our dreams don’t change based in the seasons (for example), they do get more weird and wonderful at the time of a full moon.  This builds on Swiss research from a year earlier that found that people take longer to fall asleep, sleep for 20 minutes less and sleep less soundly at full moon.

The full moon also, apparently, alters our production of melatonin – the hormone that can help to induce sleep.  Professor Wiseman believes that this could be one of the factors that makes us dream of weird and bizarre scenarios.

From an evolutionary perspective, the added light of the full moon may have made humans more susceptible to predators.  Therefore, light sleeping would be beneficial.

Professor Wiseman’s discovery was made accidentally as he was conducting a study of half a million people who were played sounds while they slept and then asked to record their dream.  As an example, he found that when someone heard seagulls, they didn’t dream of running away from one of my biggest fears.  Instead, they would dream of the beach.

Solving

What this said to me was that dreams really are linking back to experiences and they can be influenced.  I doubt someone who had never been to a beach or heard a seagull would dream as such.

I know why I was having my dreams.  The moon may have made them more weird, but I’m not sure it really had anything to do with it!  Plus, as I said, I tend to dream on a new moon anyway.

It was as Mohinder said – a need to solve something.  I still dream of the same thing even now, so I don’t think I’ve quite got to the bottom of it.  I still want to though.

There’s a place I go
When I’m alone
Do anything I want
Be anyone I wanna be
But it is us I see
And I cannot believe I’m fallin
That’s where I’m goin
Where are you goin
Hold it close won’t let this go

Dream catch me, yea
Dream catch me when I fall
Or else I won’t come back at all

Dream Catch Me by Newton Faulkner

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