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why do we dream the things we do

Some factors that affect us when weвre awake can also influence our dreams. One of the biggest influences on dreams is how much or how little youвre sleeping. Being sleep-deprived for a night or two (or more) can make parts of your brain much more active when you finally do slip into REM sleep. Youвre likely to have more vivid dreams if youвve had some restless nights. Youвre also more likely to recall those dreams, too. Being pregnant is also a catalyst for vivid dreaming. Increased hormone production affects the way your brain processes thoughts and emotions. This often leads to some intense dreams. Mental health disorders such as depression and, as well as
and other mood-related conditions, can trigger intense and sometimes disturbing or negative dreams and nightmares. The medications for these conditions, including and antipsychotics, are also associated with a higher risk of nightmares. There isnвt indisputable evidence that certain foods lead to wilder or better dreams.

But itвs clear that some foods may set the stage for you to remember your dreams better. High-carb foods, for example, can give you quick energy. But after a while, they can leave you feeling down. Anything that affects your waking mood is likely to affect your unconscious mood, too. So, if a sugar crash has you moping around during the day, those feelings could carry over into your sleep. Also, food that causes you to wake up throughout the night may result in you waking up more frequently in the REM stage. When that happens, youвll probably remember more of your dreams. Just as little or interrupted sleep often results in more vivid dreaming, a good nightвs sleep will cut down on the intense dreams youвll recall. A found that one good way to sleep more soundly is to exercise in the morning. A good run or other cardio workout before noon helps set your clock so that youвre more inclined to fall asleep faster and spend more time in deep sleep than if you didnвt exercise or if you exercised late at night.

Runners and other serious fitness enthusiasts tend to spend less time in dreamy REM sleep, which is one of the lightest stages of sleep. Also, the more effectively you can de-stress during the day, the less likely youвll be to bring stress and anxiety to bed. That should help cut down on nightmares and interrupted sleep each night. What Do Dreams Mean? Just as there are varying opinions as to why we dream, there are also different views as to what dreams mean. Some experts say dreams have no connection to our real emotions or thoughts. They are just strange stories that don't relate to normal life. Others say our dreams may reflect our own underlying thoughts and feelings -- our deepest desires, fears, and concerns, especially recurring dreams. By interpreting our dreams, we may be able to gain insight into our lives and ourselves.

Many people say they have come up with their best ideas while dreaming, so dreams may be a conduit of creativity. Often people report having similar dreams -- they are being chased, fall off a cliff, or appear in public naked. These types of dreams are likely caused by a hidden stress or. While the dreams may be similar, experts say the meaning behind the dream is unique to each person. Therefore, many experts say not to rely on books or "dream dictionaries," which give a specific meaning for a specific dream image or symbol. The particular reason behind your dream is unique to you. Although scientists can't say for sure what dreams mean and why we dream, many people find meaning in their dreams. Why Do Nightmares Occur? , or bad dreams, are common in children and adults. Often nightmares are caused by: Stress, conflict, and fear If you have a recurring nightmare, your subconscious may be trying to tell you something. Listen to it.

If you can't figure out why you are having bad dreams, and you continue to have them, talk to a qualified care provider. They may be able to help you figure out what is causing your nightmares and provide tips to put you at ease. Keep in mind that no matter how scary a nightmare is, it is not real and most likely will not happen to you in real life. What Are Lucid Dreams? Have you ever had a dream where you knew you were dreaming during your dream? This is called a lucid dream. Research has shown that lucid dreaming is accompanied by an increased activation of parts of the that are normally suppressed during sleep. Lucid dreaming represents a brain state between REM sleep and being awake. Some people who are lucid dreamers are able to influence the direction of their dream, changing the story so to speak. While this may be a good tactic to take, especially during a nightmare, many dream experts say it is better to let your dreams occur naturally.

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