Ecclesiastes 5:7 – For in the multitude of dreams and many words there are also divers vanities: but fear thou God.

Although defining what constitutes dreaming is difficult, for the purposes of this paper, we shall define dreams as thoughts that we have while sleeping, and which we remember upon awakening. While everyone dreams, the content of these dreams, and the impact they have on the sleep, can differ greatly between individuals. Dreams occur in all four stages of sleep, including three stages that are not dreaming, the nature of dreams may differ greatly based on which stage they take place in. We now know that dreams take place in all four stages of sleep, beginning early in the development of the brain, and seem to derive in part from a subject stifling thoughts.

Once believed to only occur in the REM phase of sleep, dreams are now known to also take place during the three non-REM stages of sleep. Dreams that occur during REM sleep can be more vivid than dreams that occur during the non-REM phase, because the brains visual cortex is activated. It is during the REM (rapid eye movement) phase of sleep when dreams primarily occur, as it is during this time when the activity in the brain is highest and it is most similar to being awake. You get the most vivid dreams during the phase called REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which is when your brain is most active.

Acts 2:17 – And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:

During REM sleep, your brain activity increases significantly more than non-REM stages, helping explain the different types of dreams that occur during these stages. It is the continual movement of the eyes throughout the sleep stage that defines REM sleep; however, dreams may occur during the other stages of sleep, but these dreams are generally less memorable and far less vivid. As shown by the EEG, dreams involving experiences from wakeful life are generally associated with REM sleep-related theta wave activity, which further supports the notion that REM sleep is associated with emotion processing and memory. At the same time, the brains key emotion- and memory-related structures are activated again in REM sleep when we dream.

Dreams can arise as parts of the brain processing neural signals try to make sense of disorganized responses occurring during sleep. In a lucid dream, it is thought, the brains lateral prefrontal cortex–the part associated with logic and general awareness, which is typically inhibited during REM sleep–is somehow unrepressed, so the dreaming and logic circuits are active simultaneously. This could be because it is the emotional centers of the brain, not the logic regions, which are the ones triggering dreams. One study suggests that the same parts and processes of the brain that modulate emotions in wakefulness are involved in dreams as well (26).

One study suggests that dreams arise more from your imagination (memories, abstract thoughts, and wishes pumped from deep inside your brain) than from perception (the vivid sensory experiences that you pick up in the forebrain). Others think dreams are simply signals fired by your brain while organizing your thoughts and experiences of the day before, which can eventually become memories. It has even been suggested that dreams do not serve any specific purpose, but are merely a byproduct of biochemical processes occurring in the brain exclusively while asleep. There is no conclusive proof about what dreams are made up of, but the consensus is that dreams are collections of thoughts, struggles, emotions, events, people, places, and symbols which are somehow related to the dreamer.

Jeremiah 23:32 – Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD.

There is no definitive proof, dreams are generally autobiographical thoughts that are based on ones most recent activities, conversations, or other issues in ones life. Dreams that help you productively process emotions, memories, and other information can feel really good. Dreams as Memory Helpers One theory that is commonly held regarding the role of dreams is that they help you retain important memories and things that you have learned, to let go of irrelevant memories, and to make sense of difficult thoughts and feelings. Strictly speaking, dreams are images and images, thoughts, sounds and voices, and subjective feelings experienced while we are asleep.

A dream can be explained as a sequence of feelings, emotions, ideas, and images occurring unconsciously in the persons mind at specific stages of sleep. Dreams are universal human experiences, which can be described as states of consciousness that are characterized by sensory, cognitive, and emotional phenomena occurring while asleep. Research during the 1970s showed that, in cases in which the sleeper was denied REM sleep, dreams nevertheless arose, whether in other stages of sleep or even by encroaching on the wakefulness of daytime, suggesting the drive for dreams is so powerful that the brain tries to make up for the loss. During the night, a variety of external stimuli can overwhelm the senses, but the brain usually interprets a stimulus and makes it part of a dream in order to secure continuous sleep.

Joel 2:28 – And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:

During deep, slow-wave sleep, images are mostly driven by the hippocampus during long-term memory consolidation, and predominantly involve memories of events as they happened, with no incidental new combinations of objects seen in the dreams in REM sleep. This could have something to do with the way in which vivid memories are factored into dreams, as well as potentially suggesting that dreams are involved with processing and consolidating memories (15).

Replaying memories in a non-REM dream state might be more useful for abstract information about a general pattern (how things are going), whereas re-playing memories in the more active REM state can help with making surprising connections and realizations. In contrast, NREM dreams typically include more cohesive content, which involves thoughts or memories rooted in specific times and places.

Luke 10:19 – Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

There are factors that potentially affect who recalls their dreams, how much of a dream remains intact, and how vivid the dream is. Each night, you can experience one dream or as many as five or six, depending on how long you sleep and how many cycles of rapid-eye-movement (REM) occur – but you might remember only the more vivid dreams, or dreams that happen repeatedly. It seems our dreams tend to get longer as the night goes on, and when we get the full eight hours of sleep, the bulk of our dreams happen during a typical two-hour stretch of REM.

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