Why Do We Have Nightmares?

Dreams can be frightening and unpleasant, these dreams are classified as nightmares. People often wonder why we dream so when they are undesirable dreams it raises even more of a question. Nightmares can often reflect your awake or conscious mental state or can come from past traumatic experiences. Traumatic events, for example car accidents or wars can cause nightmares with reoccurring themes. In addition different substances can cause nightmares, such as drugs or medication, particularly if they effect your neurotransmitters in any way. Some drugs that effect the neurotransmitters are anti-depressants and narcotics.  Another, yet uncommonly known reason for nightmares has to do with what psychologists call “thin boundaries of the mind”. People with “thin boundaries of the mind” are often prone to nightmares and tend to be more creative and imaginative thinkers, often having trouble distinguishing fantasy from reality. And lastly there are nightmares called idiopathic nightmares, which basically means we don’t know why they happen they just do.

Over all interpreting any type of dream is tricky and just like anything else in life each person has their own perspective and interpretation of what is going on in there head. Getting professional help with interpreting dreams is great but in the end you know yourself the best and know more about what’s going on in your life than anyone. I am not dead set on what I think dreams mean but I do believe they have a purpose and aid the brain in one way or another. I don’t particularly think that dream dictionaries are accurate because each person is different, and different people have different feelings regarding various things so there can’t be a universal meaning the applies to everyone.

 

 

Source Type: YouTube Video

Comparing Different Dream Propositions

In this article I will be comparing 3 different views regarding dreams, Freud’s View, Biologists View, and the view addressed in the book cite below. To do so I will be presenting 9 different “yes or no” propositions and will answer them from the perspective of each view.

  1. Dreams are irrational or psychotic mental products
    1. Freud’s view: yes
    2. Biologists: yes
    3. Source view: no
  2. Every dreams is a fulfillment of a wish
    1. Freud’s view: yes
    2. Biologists: no
    3. Source View: no
  3. Dreams are “the royal road” or at least a good road to the unconscious
    1. Freud’s view: yes
    2. Biologists: no
    3. Source View: yes
  4. Dreams are disguised-the products of censorship
    1. Freud’s View: yes
    2. Biologists: no
    3. Source View: no
  5. Dreams are essentially a random pattern of activity
    1. Freud’s View: no
    2. Biologists: yesa
    3. Source View: no
  6. The dreams (manifest dream) is important without interpretation or translation
    1. Freud’s View: no
    2. Biologists: no
    3. Source View: yes
  7. Dreams are useful (functional) even if forgotten
    1. Freud’d View: no
    2. Biologists: no
    3. Source View: yes
  8. Dreaming is on a continuum with waking, reverie, daydreaming
    1. Freud’s View: no
    2. Biologist: no
    3. Source View: yes
  9. In dreaming begin responsibilities
    1. Freud’s View: no
    2. Biologists: no
    3. Source View: yes

I wouldn’t say that after learning these basics that my opinion has changed because a personal opinion is still developing. I would say that it opened up my mind a little bit to see other standing opinions about dreams.

 

 

Source Type: Book

Source: Dreams and Nightmares- The New Theory on the origin and meaning of dreams by Ernest Hartmann M.D.

Types of Dreams

In addition to different dreams meaning different things, dreams also fall into categories or different types of dreams. The three main types of  dreams include normal dreams, lucid dreams and nightmares.Normal dreams are when people are  dreaming but can’t distinguish their dreaming world from their reality. During a normal dream the dreamer experiences a series of events in an alternate reality but to them, it feels as though it is very real. Lucid dreams is when the dreamer is aware that he or she is dreaming and can sometimes control the dream.Lucid dreaming requires more conscious thought than normal dreaming. Lastly there are nightmares. Nightmares are similar to normal dreams except there I one big difference. Nightmares are accompanied with some sort of fear, paranoia and/ or anxiety. Nightmares commonly talked about and tend to be quite vivid and unpleasant for the dreamer. Often times people will wake up from a bad nightmare because of how stimulating nightmares can be. And usually when someone wakes up from a nightmare, realizing that they were only dreaming, they will experience a great deal of relief. For me, while reflecting back on past experiences with me dreams I can remember experiencing each type of dream I learned about today, without knowing that there were specific categories for them.

Source Type: Website article

Source: http://www.end-your-sleep-deprivation.com/types-of-dreams.html

Dream Dictionary Interpretations

 

We all at some point have had a dream with the same general theme, concept or events as someone else. There seems to be dreams that almost everyone has had. So one of the most common types of dreams there are includes falling. According to this dream dictionary falling means that you have lost control of something in your life. It is considered a way for your unconscious mind to communicate to your conscious mind that something is wrong. Another common type of dream for someone to have is a dream where they are being chased. It is thought that when someone has a “chase dream” they are feeling as though they are unable to cope with their fears and have trouble facing reality. One more type of dream that is common among people is dreams where you fail a test. These dreams a thought to reflect a lack of confidence in yourself. One humanly impossible power that appear in dreams is flying. When it comes to dreams where you are flying, they can be interpreted based on the context of the dream. If someone is having a hard time flying or “taking off” in a dream that can be an indication that in someone’s actual life there is someone that is holding them back from reaching that next big step in life. If someone is scared of flying due to not being able to control yourself in the dream it could indicate that you are experiencing a lack of control in your life. My personal opinion with dream dictionaries is a little skeptical. I believe that dream dictionaries could have some truth behind them but you cannot generalize dream definitions for everyone. I think the meaning of dreams varies from person to person. Yes, I do think that similarities between the meanings of different people’s dreams is possible but may not always mean the same thing.

 

Source Type: Dream Dictionary

Source: http://www.dreamdictionary.org/common/falling-dreams/

Dreams in other cultures

In American culture today dreams are interpreted differently often based on the views of different psychologists with theories of their own. Opinions on dreams also vary between cultures. People from ancient Egypt, ancient Greece and ancient Rome all had their own cultural opinions on dreams. Egyptians looked at their dreams as messages from the gods particularly the dreams of the pharaohs. With the ancient Greeks there were two different philosophers of the time, Aristotle and Hippocrates. Aristotle believed that people were “achieving pure wisdom” during their sleep. Often times big decisions were based off of dreams. Dreams impacted their military decisions and even some prophecies. The other philosopher of their time was Hippocrates and he believed that dreams indicated mental health. He did not think that they  came from any sort of divine power but just from human thought. Then there were the Romans who based their ideas off those of the Greeks. It was said that  Augustus Cesar believed so greatly in the power of dreams that he would make anyone in the village that had a dream about the empire talk about it the their town’s market. In addition the Roman’s believed that dreams came from our minds and experiences and not from the gods. Overall dream interpretation have been looked at through many generations, their are a lot of good theories but they still have yet to be proven as a whole.

Source Type: Another Blog

Source: A blog- http://blog.snoozester.com/history-and-meaning-of-dreams-in-ancient-cultures/

Freud’s Take on Dreams

Freud looked at dreams as a way into someone’s unconscious mind.  He thought that dreams often portrayed wish fulfillment which he theorized through dreams of his own and the dreams of his patients. One of his dreams that helped him with his theory went like this “Freud dreamed that he met Irma [one of his patients]  at a party and examined her.  He then saw a chemical formula for a drug that another doctor had given Irma flash before his eyes and realized that her condition was caused by a dirty syringe used by the other doctor. Freud’s guilt was thus relieved.” He believed he had this dream to help get rid of the guilt he felt for his patient not getting better as quickly as anticipated. Freud also interpreted things in dreams as symbols but not universal dream symbols but symbols that meanings were individualized based on the person. His example for this idea was when he had a patient that didn’t like his sister-in-law and he often referred to her as a dog. At one point this patient had a dream of him strangling a dog which Freud then interpreted it to really be a dream about his sister-in-law. He thought that the symbolism was that the dog was symbolizing his sister-in-law and that the wish fulfillment was him really wanting to hurt or straggle her not the dog. It was Freud’s understanding that this dream was to in a way fulfill his wish without the guilt of really thinking about killing or harming his sister-in-law.

Freud’s way of thinking when it comes to dreams makes a lot of sense to me but at the same time it is not something that I can make my definite opinion. I would need to do more research looking into other ideas and reasons. Even though Freud’s theory makes  sense to me, he didn’t do a whole lot of experimentation to conclude the way he did and he really only based his idea off what he found from himself and his patients dreams and experiments.

 

Source Type: Website article

Source: http://www.simplypsychology.org/Sigmund-Freud.html

Why do we dream

Before we dig deeper into what people think dreams mean let us first establish what a dream is. According to Merriam-Webster dictionary a dream is  “a series of thoughts, visions, or feelings that happen during sleep.” Now there’s another question follows which is “why do we dream.” There are a few common theories explaining why the we dream. Freud’s theory is that we dream of objects we see daily but their is a symbolic meaning behind those objects in dreams that fulfill subconscious wishes. Another theory is that we dream to forget. This occurs as our brain goes through the events of the day while we are sleeping a dumps the unnecessary neural connections. One other theory is that we dream to keep our brain working. Almost as if dreams are a “screen saver” so when we sleep the brain doesn’t totally shut down. The next theory is that we dream to rehearse things like bodily processes and instincts. For example in a dream where you are getting chased or are in a fight it allows you to “practice” fight or flight instincts. Another example is if you dream of an attractive person your reproductive system could be getting a little “practice” as well. In addition, some believe that the purpose of dreams is so we can heal. If you dream of a traumatic event in your life it can help “take the edge off” that painful experience be helping you look at things in a different perspective with less stress. The last theory that was mentioned in my research is where the term comes to “just sleep on it” when it comes to problems you are trying to solve. People believe that your mind can create limitless scenarios that help you look at your problems in a different perspective and form solutions you normally wouldn’t reach while you were awake. In my opinion I think that all of these theories could be valid and that there probably isn’t just one reason why we dream, but even though so much research has been done and we have made so many advancements we are still haven’t concluded a definite reason for our dreams.

 

Source Type: Youtube video

Sources: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2W85Dwxx218

About Me/About my Blog

Hi! I’m Tayla, I like playing sports, baking, art and spending time with my friends. This blog is going to be focused on the key question “Do dreams have meaning.” In this I will be exploring as many views of this question as I can. I chose this topic because what goes on  inside our brains that makes us who we are fascinates me. Dreams seem like a hidden part of our mind that is waiting to be observed to dig deeper into our subconscious. I like mystery type things and dreams are like unlocking a whole new world.