Importance of Dreaming and College Students

Many teenagers and young adults believe that sleep is the greatest thing ever. Dreaming, along with sleep itself, is a great way for humans to remove themselves from the potentially stressful aspects of life. In dreams, fantastic things happen. Sometimes they seem real, and sometimes they may seem completely fictional. However, this is what dreaming is all about. Humans don't necessarily know what or why dreams are what they are, and I, along with many other young adults, are extremely interested in them.
external image REM%20Sleep%20Stage.jpgchart showing REM sleep, during a regular night sleep

What is a dream?

A dream is defined as any of the images, thoughts or emotions that are experienced during sleep. These experiences can be vivid, faint, full of happiness, or frightening. That is what makes dreams so interesting. They can feel so real.

Why do we dream?
Simply, we do not specifically know. It may seem baffling, since we spend some much time sleeping or dreaming. You must understand, however, that sleep itself still tends to be seen as a scientific mystery. Some theories suggest that dreaming serves no purpose, while others believe that dreaming is essential for mental, physical, and emotional well-being. Ernest Hoffman, director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Newton Wellesley Hospital in Boston, Mass., suggests that "...a possible (though certainly not proven) function of a dream to be weaving new material into the memory system in a way that both reduces emotional arousal and is adaptive in helping us cope with further trauma or stressful events."
Dream Theories

  • Psychoanalytic Theory of Dream
The psychoanalytic theory of dream refers to Freud's suggestion that dreams were representing the unconscious desires of humans. This links Freud's idea of personality, that humans are unconsciously driven by aggression and sexual instinct, so some of these emotions and desires to the unconscious dream.
  • Activation-synthesis Model of Dreaming
This dream theory was first proposed by J. Allan Hobson and Robert McClarley. In 1977, they believed that circuits in the brain are activating, which leads to emotions, sensations that are intertwine to create images or dreams in the subconscious. This model suggests that dreams are a subjective interpretation of signals that are created by the brain during sleep.
external image activation_synthesis.jpg
an attempt to demonstrate the activation of both the pons and cerebral cortex

There are many other theories that normally receive little to no credibility.

Lucid Dreaming


A different perspective of lucid dreaming

What is Lucid Dreaming?

Lucid dreaming is when you know you are dreaming. Lucid dreaming is very controversial, but is known to some as a learn-able skill. Many scientific experiments have given little proof on if it is a true trait or not. Lucid dreaming is when you consciously control what you dream about.

Why Lucid Dream?

Lucid dreaming is supposed to be used as a way to practice creative problem-solving, role-playing real life situations, and facing fears and stopping nightmares by confronting them in your dreams. Lucid dreaming has been questioned whether it is pointless, but the main reason to lucid dream is because it is said to give a vivid, detailed dream, which you normally should remember most of the aspects within the dream. The point, therefore, is to create a completely safe and virtually perfect situation where you can control what happens, entirely. All of this knowledge, however, has not yet been proven, but some evidence supports this information.

Developing the Trait

People attempt to develop the trait with many different drills or procedures, that are believed to help you realize how and what you dream of, and helps you grasp your own dream patterns.
  • Dream Journal
Many professionals believe that if you record your dreams into a notebook, where you write down every detail of the dream that you can remember, you will be able to recall these images in a conscious state, and hopefully link some of the abilities that normally evade everyday humans. The main point of a dream journal is to see similarities between certain dreams. These consist of characters, themes, or scenes and settings, which sometimes can be overlooked when recalling your dreams from the top of your head.
  • Dream Recall
This is more of a mental seasoning for your conscious and unconscious mind. The function of dream recall is to see how well you can remember the dreams as the day progresses. The main example is when you wake up, you recall what your dream was the night before. As the day goes along, you randomly should ask yourself what the dream consisted of, and do the same before you go to bed at the end of the day.

external image garfield-dreaming-of-garfield-sleeping.jpg

Work Cited

Lucid Dreaming: Awake in Your Sleep. (n.d.). Lucid Dreaming: Awake in Your Sleep. Retrieved December 3, 2013, from http://www.susanblackmore.co.uk/Articles/si91ld.html

Cherry, K. (n.d.). Why Do We Dream? - Top Dream Theories. About.com Psychology. Retrieved November 30, 2013, from http://psychology.about.com/od/statesofconsciousness/p/dream-theories.htm

Home. (n.d.). Lucid Dreaming Dream Views RSS. Retrieved December 3, 2013, from http://www.dreamviews.com/content/

Perelberg, Jozef. (2003). Dreaming and Thinking. London, England.

(2004). Dreams. Dreaming. Vol. 10 (issue 1)

Hobson, J Allan. (1933). Dreaming: intro to the science of sleep. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press