Dreams are mysterious and scientists don’t fully understand them or why we experience them. What they do know is that our dreams are most vivid during REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. Here are some other interesting facts about dreams.
- Dreams tend to be longer in the early morning - REM sleep occurs in short bursts, punctuated by gaps of about 90 minutes. It seems that we dream more and longer towards the end of our sleep, such as early in the morning.
- Childhood nightmares decrease after age 10 - Kids may start having nightmares between ages 3 and 6, but happily, they will start to become less common from around age 10.
- Medications can cause nightmares - Some medications such as antidepressants and strong painkillers can increase how often a person has nightmares.
- We have lots of dreams every night - Most people aged 10 or over will have around four to six dreams each night.
- Some dreams don’t happen in colour - Have you had black and white or monochromatic dreams before? Are you even aware of whether you dreamt in colour or not? A small percentage of the population reports only dreaming in black and white.
- When you’re dreaming, your body is paralysed - This is nothing to be freaked out about! When we undergo REM sleep, our voluntary muscles are paralysed. It is totally normal, and in fact, some people find that they experience temporary paralysis within the first few minutes after waking.
- Animals dream too - All mammals and some birds experience REM sleep. If you have a dog or cat, you have have noticed them dreaming. It’ll usually look like stirring in their sleep, maybe a bit of involuntary twitching or even some murmuring. Cute!
It’s normal for your dreams to be weird – That’s because the part of the brain responsible for logic and reasoning shuts down when we dream.