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Dreams: The Mental Pictures Essay

1224 words - 5 pages

The average person spends more than one-third of their life sleeping, and over this period of time he or she can have as many as 1,825 dreams (Wicklinski). By definition, dreams are mental images, thoughts, or emotions that are experienced while sleeping. In the beginning, dreams were thought to be messages sent from the gods or spirit world. Researchers now have many theories explaining why people dream. Many of these theories believe that dreams can resemble an individual’s sensory experiences or even secret wishes. All people dream, but only forty-two percent can recall their dreams from the night before (“Dreams”). Dreaming is important because it can impact people’s health, provide insight into what they are feeling, and reveal information about their behavior.
It is very important that people dream if they want to remain in good health. Sleepers can cycle through five stages of sleep continuously throughout the night. The most important sleep cycle is Rapid Eye Movement (REM). REM sleep can last for up to five minutes at a time, and is entered multiple times throughout a night’s sleep (Barrett). The brain stem, which controls a person’s emotions, memory, and desires, is very active during sleep. However, the “reasoning brain” is shut down. A person’s brain also cuts off all signals from the senses and blocks messages sent to the muscles, which prevents someone from acting out his or her dreams (?Andre-Clark). Dreams occur during the REM phase, which is the most restful time of sleep. For this reason, scientists have concluded that dreaming is beneficial to an individual’s health. Robert J. Hoss, author of Dream Language, states, “Dreaming is linked to learning and to repair of the body and mind.” As a person ages, the amount of time spent in REM sleep decreases. Newborns spend about seventy-five to eighty percent of their time sleeping in REM sleep cycles (“Dreams”). Elderly people are entered in REM sleep for one-fifth of this time (Kettelkamp 61). These observations suggest that people dream less as they age, therefore affecting their mental state. Without REM sleep, people can experience hallucinations or “waking dreams,” which can affect their memory, learning, and ability to focus on tasks. Through science it has been proven that dreaming is essential to the prosperity of a human’s mental health and can even improve one’s mood.
By interpreting a person’s dreams, psychologists can gain insight into the emotions he or she may be feeling. Sigmund Freud was one of the first researchers to publish a book on his knowledge of dreams. Freud believed that dreams are the “royal road to the unconscious” and contain a person’s unconscious desires (“Sigmund Freud”). Nowadays, dreams are interpreted not by their story, but by their emotional color. During sleep, the brain replays emotional experiences from throughout day. Often, dreams offer alternative solutions to these experiences. Many psychologists believe that...

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