Dreams are an amazing phenomenon and considering you spend roughly six years of your life in dreaming. It’s quite curious that what are dreams and why do we dream but we often brushed them aside to be quickly forgotten. Night after Night, Sleep after Sleep our brain go to work and bring us some of the most incredible dreams and often seemingly random imagery and story lines but what are our dreams and like the many science fiction stories or movies could we ever figure out what we see in a dream.
You may have heard people referring to brain waves before, but have you ever stopped to think are these brain waves carry information and are they plainly similar to radio waves? The answer is yes both brain and radio waves are forms of electromagnetic radiation. Waves that travel at the speed of light, every time you think thousands of neurons fire from your brain at the same frequency and generate a wave. These waves oscillate at around 10 to 100 cycles per second. Radio waves on the other hand oscillate at around 50 million to 1 billion times per second.
Scientists have long used this phenomenon to measure brain activity and interface the brain to electronic devices. It allows us to see which parts of the brain are active for different activities and similarly which parts of the brain are active during a dream. Strange as it may seem we still barely understand might be sleep let alone might be dream. There are so many theories of dream and brain, because we can’t really measure or know what people dream about without waking them up and asking them. Of course this is subject to forgetting or other errors.
Unfortunately there is no device that exists that allows us to peer into the brain of a dreamer or is there?
Scientists have created a technique to record dreams. This mind – reading technology began with the functional MRI scanner inside which subjects were shown simple pictures made up of black and white pixels. The software then finds patterns in the brain activity that corresponds to the specific images. For example if the letter N was shown this software would record exactly how the brain reacted. After sufficient data, the subjects were shown completely different images and the software will predict and recreate what it thought the subjects were seeing. But it is still an unsolvable mystery.
Why Do We Dream
Dreams are part of our everyday lives but have you ever wondered why we dream during sleep… well you’re about to find out. Dreams are sequences of images, ideas, emotions and sensations that occur in the mind during sleep mainly during the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) stage. REM seems to be linked to a cluster of memories this may last 5 to 20 minutes, 3 to 5 times a night and sometimes even up to 7 times while you sleep. On average in 8 hours of sleep 2 hours of them are spent in dream. Dreams have been viewed as a connection to the unconscious. They range from normal and fun too overly severe.
Dreams are generally outside the control of the dreamer with the exception of Lucid dream. Lucid dream is being aware that you were in a dream. You could have control over the role in the dream or be able to change the imagery and experiences in the environment. There is an increased amount of activity in the parietal lobes making lucid dream a conscious process. Some researchers suggest that dreams serves no real purpose, well others believe that dream is essential to mental emotional and physical well being.
The activation-synthesis model of dream
Circuits in the brain become activated during REM sleep which causes areas in the brain involved emotions, sensations and memories to become active. The brain synthesizes and interprets the activity and attempt to find meaning in these signals. All the dreams in your head are just your brain trying to stitch some memories together.
So what is the best dream have you ever had.