Although most people will have forgotten 90% of them just a few short minutes after waking up, dreams are our constant nightly companions. Researchers even have reason to believe that many animals dream—including birds and some reptiles. What do we know about these fantasy worlds we escape to during sleep?
Studying dreams is a challenge because they cannot be directly observed or transmitted into the conscious world. But, modern science give us a glimpse into our dreams: using the neurological measurement of brain waves, by observing external sleep behavior, and through laboratory studies where subjects are awakened from different sleep phases and interviewed about their dreams.
Some facts about dreaming have emerged using these methods. For example, through questionnaires, researchers have been able to identify universal themes in the dreams of people from all over the world. Whether you are Chinese, Canadian or German, you have likely dreamt about being chased. Dreams about being tested, falling and flying are also common across cultures.
External factors like light, a dog barking, and even odors in the air can all be perceived while we are asleep; and, thus, they can influence what we dream about. How many hours you sleep also tends to be directly correlated with the length of your dreams, with one dream lasting up to 60 minutes!
So, here are some tips to better savor our dreams and remember them more:
What do you dream about at night? What about during the day: what do you wake up inspired to achieve?