Frequently Asked Questions



1. What are dreams?

1. Dreams are hallucinations that occur in sleep. They are normal hallucinations in that they are sensory images, mostly visual but auditory and other sensations also are experienced, that we believe to be real at the time but are not actually happening. They have a story-like structure.

2. What are common themes in dreams?

2. Common themes are driven by emotions such as Anxiety (dreams of being late, not having attended classes, being chased,, being insecure such as falling, socially inappropriate such as being naked in public or in the wrong bathroom.

3. What would you suggest for the prevention of nightmares?

3. Nightmares are a “wake-up call” that you are overwhelmed with a trauma you had not anticipated or have not met before. Prevention? No one can prepare for 9/11 or an earthquake. What you can do afterward is realize you have survived and are now able to cope with the fear and loss by remembering that you are strong enough to have survived.

4. What are the differences between dreams and nightmares?

4. A nightmare is a very strongly frightening dream that wakes you.

5. What do you think about people’s beliefs in dream catchers?

5. They are a reminder that bad dreams can be handled.

6. Why do we have dreams?

6. Dreams are part of our mind’s work. It processes and saves in long term memory new information about our “self”. It updates our identity program nightly by assigning new experiences that have emotional impact on our strategies for survival, into the network of similar memories.

7. When are dreams experienced?

7. Dreams are regularly experienced during REM sleep which occurs every 90 minutes throughout the night.

8. What exactly is REM sleep?

8. REM sleep is short for Rapid Eye Movements. It is a time when the sleep lightens to look much like waking except for the presence of loss of tone in the large muscles and rapid synchronous movements of the eyes.

9. Who and what experiences dreams?

9. All humans have REM sleep and so do all mammals. We can only say they are “dreaming” when they have REM if they can report a dream experience when we wake them during REM. So infants who have a lot of REM sleep (about 50% of their sleep) do not report dreams until they have some language skills about 3-4 years of age.

10. Do dreams have benefits/effect on humans?

10. Dreams have a job to do as a natural process just a digestion is a natural process which benefits us without our being aware of it. Dreams are regulating emotion and updating our self-system.

11. How often do we dream?

11. Most people dream 3 to 5 times nightly depending on how many hours they sleep.

12. Do twins have similar or linked dreams?

12. Identical twins have more similar experiences during the day than other children and therefore may have more similar dreams.