There are four stages of sleep. These stages take approximately 90-120 minutes to complete, and repeat themselves throughout the night. People are very capable of dreaming in any of the four stages of sleep, but the most vivid and memorable dreams
generally occur in deep sleep, otherwise known as REM sleep. A person can have as many as five to seven dreams in one night, but most of the time we only remember the ones that occur closest to morning, or whenever we wake up. Some people do not remember their dreams at all.
The first stage of sleep is a light sleep. During this stage, heart rate decreases as well as body temperature. During the second stage – a deeper sleep – body temperature continues to drop, and muscles relax. The immune system begins to repair the damages of the day, and there is increased blood flow to the muscles. You are completely asleep at this stage. The third stage of sleep is even deeper. Metabolic rates are extremely slow during this stage. During the fourth stage, or REM sleep, the eyes move back and forth rapidly. Breathing may become erratic and brain activity increases. This is the stage where most dreams occur.
There are several types of dreams. One of these types is the daydream. Daydreams occur during the waking hours. This is when we let ourselves drift off into our fantasy world. Our level of awareness decreases, and we let our imaginations run away with us. Experts say we spend between 70 and 120 minutes a day daydreaming.
Lucid dreams are dreams that we can control. During lucid dreams, we realize we are dreaming. Most people wake themselves up during a lucid dream, while others have developed the skill to remain active in the dream. These people are able to influence the outcome of their dreams without waking.
Everyone knows what nightmares are. Chances are we’ve all experienced them in our lives. They are unpleasant, disturbing dreams that cause us to wake up feeling anxious, frightened, or even sad. Some nightmares are merely a repeat of a traumatizing situation that occurred earlier in life. These are called post-traumatic stress nightmares. Experts say that nightmares are more likely to occur in people suffering from or who have a family history of mental illness, those who’ve abused drugs or alcohol, and those who are severely depressed or suicidal. Nightmares may be the way the subconscious mind addresses a fear or other problem. It is thought that until this fear is acknowledged, the nightmares will continue.
Recurring dreams are dreams that happen often with little change. These dreams can be either positive or nightmarish. These dreams may be the result of unresolved problems or conflicts. In some cases, addressing and fixing the conflict stops the recurring dream.
Healing dreams are thought to serve as a messenger to the dreamer regarding their health. Experts say that our bodies communicate with us through our dreams, sometimes giving us a warning about our health. These dreams can inform us that something isn’t right with our bodies before the physical symptoms appear.
Prophetic or precognitive dreams are dreams that seemingly tell us the future. Experts say that these dreams are just our mind’s way of showing us the little details we may miss on a conscious level. Piecing together these details may give us clues as to what might happen that we otherwise ignore.
Epic dreams are very compelling dreams that stay with you for long periods. These dreams can feel like you dreamt them only yesterday, when in actuality it’s been years since you’ve had that particular dream. These dreams may leave you feeling like you’ve discovered something amazing about yourself or about the world. These dreams are often very beautiful and inspirational.