Time travelling, flying to distant or even fictitious places or squandering a lottery prize: In the dream world into which we disappear at night everything seems possible. However, despite intensive research, we still do not know exactly why we dream at all.
What are dreams?
Dreams are experiences through brain activity during sleep. We dream during deep sleep and during so-called REM sleep. REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement. In this sleep phase we move our eyes back and forth beneath the closed eyelids and we have the most vivid and most emotional dreams, especially in the early morning hours. Children in particular have many dreams but also significantly more often nightmares.
What do dreams mean?
The interpretation of dreams goes back a long way: in the Old Testament Joseph helps the Egyptian pharaoh by interpreting a dream; in antiquity dream interpretation was regarded as a profession. The depth-psychology based interpretation of dreams began with Sigmund Freud's book "The Interpretation of Dreams" around 1900. Dreams and talking about them also play an important role in modern psychotherapy.
Various hypotheses on the function of dreams are discussed in modern dream research:
If we are woken up by an alarm clock, we remember dreams less often. The sudden shock often makes us forget the pictures.
Memory of dreams
Although we almost always dream at night, not all of us can remember their dreams:
Possible meaning of dream patterns
According to dream researchers, most dreams can be classified into seven recurring patterns that could have the following meaning:
Basically, there are no universally valid dream interpretations. Dreams are individual and depend on the life situation and the experiences of the dreamer.
Nightmares are dreams connotated with negative feelings or even frightening dreams. About 12% of Germans suffer from nightmares at least once a week. The occurrence of nightmares is promoted by stress and psychological strain.
Nightmares can also occur as side effects of medication. If you may encounter them from time to time but they do not bother you much, you do not need to do anything about them. However, those who suffer from very intense nightmares should do something against them. In addition to a medical examination, the following procedures can be helpful: