Why do you dream? And why do you have nightmares?

Why do you dream?

We all dream, but we don’t always remember them: what do our dreams mean and why do we dream or have nightmares?

It has happened to everyone, at least once in our life: we go to sleep after a long day – whether it was positive or more demanding, it doesn’t matter, and when we wake up we realize we have had a dream! But why do we dream, exactly? What are the motivations, causes, and inputs that then lead us to process some images, sounds, and dynamics in our very personal dream world?

We will go to see not only why we dream, but also why we have nightmares, why we dream about people, and why sometimes dreams disappear from our minds shortly after opening our eyes. It must be said, first of all, that everyone dreams: adults, children, and the elderly of all sexes and backgrounds. The reasons are very specific: let’s go and discover them all.

Why do you dream? And why do you have nightmares?

Before answering the age-old and only apparently simplistic question “why do we dream”, a necessary premise: what dreams are. In principle, we all know this, but in scientific terms, the dream represents a set of images, thoughts, and sensations that are processed during sleep and projected in a dreamlike way in our mind. This happens because, although at rest, our brain never really shuts down completely. On the contrary.

Our psychic activities are in constant ferment even at night, and dreams are created thanks to the neural connections and connections guided by both the events and the emotions that we are able to feel. Of course, dreams can be bizarre, funny, romantic, some would even dare to say premonitory … but when it comes to nightmares, instead? What changes in our psyche, and why do we have nightmares?

Processing emotions: positivity and negativity

Both dreams and nightmares are nothing more than the decoding of the emotions we accumulate during the day. Or at least, this would seem the most rational explanation: in reality, the “science” behind the interpretation of dreams is still in full evolution. It is no coincidence, however, that, following a shocking or traumatic event, this is forfeited in our memories and then leads to dreams or … nightmares. The nightmare, in particular, represents the fears and oppressions that have been experienced, putting together real episodes, excerpts from one’s own experience, and even dialogues from books, films, and TV series.

A state of anguish terrifies those who live it and have experienced it and can lead to sweating, palpitations, and even psychological discomfort. However, those who have “bad dreams” are not always anxious person, depressed, or with post-traumatic stress syndrome (these are the main categories that include those who have recurrent nightmares), since there are many other reasons that lead us to reflect on “negative Our emotions of the REM phase. These also include alcohol abuse or a particularly heavy dinner!

The various stages of sleep: when do you dream?

Dreams and nightmares can come to our minds at any time of the night, but not at any stage of sleep. Experts have identified different phases of sleep and, among these, a specific one in which dreams are revealed. Let’s see them together.


In this phase, there is a lighter and more alert sleep, a sort of suspension between the waking state and the actual sleep. Our body lowers its temperature, and the muscles tend to relax and slowly slow down the heartbeat. Even our eyes, although closed, move slowly under the lids in an increasingly slower way.

Light sleep

In this phase, we can say that we have really fallen asleep, even if in reality we are deeply relaxed but prone to awakening. We are therefore not yet in deep sleep, but totally abandoned awaiting his arrival.

Deep sleep

It is very difficult to wake up when you are in deep sleep, and in general – when you do, you find yourself confused and very agitated. The heartbeat is significantly slower, all muscles are relaxed, and brain activities also slow down with metabolism.

REM sleep

Only when the REM phase arrives, the deepest and most enveloping one, can you dream. In fact, unlike deep sleep, in the REM phase, our brain activities return to waking up, and our eyes move under the eyelids. It increases blood flow, breathing, and thus brain activity, which is why one dreams or has nightmares. It is hypothesized that one enters and exits from the REM phase up to 5 times in a single night, for an alternation of sleep cycles.

What if I never dream?

We often hear people say that they never dream, never have nightmares, and always sleep peacefully and deeply. In reality, this is not the case: we all dream, but not everyone is able to remember dreams once they wake up. Even those who recognize that they have dreamed, in fact, have enormous difficulties in remembering details of the story if not immediately marked on a notebook or notepad.

Lucid Dreams – What Are They?

You know when you are dreaming and suddenly… Do you realize that what you are experiencing is really a dream? Recognizing a dream state and having the perception of it is what is commonly called “lucid dreaming”, or the ability to recognize the dream during the REM phase. There are people who even manage to “pilot” dreams that will through an uncommon and very fascinating meditative technique, which is part of oneironautics.

It is extremely difficult to be able to condition your dream in the way you prefer, but the oneironaut has this ability. There are also those who, in the middle of a nightmare, manage to tell themselves to wake up: this phenomenon (much more widespread) is also part of lucid dreams.

Curiosity of dreams

The world of dreams is really special: there are some curiosities, still apparently inexplicable, that make it even more fascinating. Let’s see something together:

Men and women dream differently

The contents seem really different, and appear differentiated according to the sex of the dreamer.

One never dreams of strangers

Even if the memories of the dream can deceive us, in reality, we never dream of strangers: all the faces are of people known, glimpsed, or known for a few minutes.

Nobody reads in dreams

There are real areas of the brain that are deactivated during sleep. Among these is the one that normally allows us to read books, signs, or others. By concentrating, in fact, it is possible to make a local mind and realize that in dreams you have never read anything!

Some dreams are recurring all over the world

Have you ever dreamed of falling from heights? To find yourself naked while you are giving a public speech? To be chased? Here, everything is normal. These are common dreams all over the world! Even the most fearful of all: that of repeating a school year even when you are an adult.

Pay attention to the position in which we fall asleep

Yes, it seems that even the position can affect the type of dreams. Those who sleep on the left side tend to have bad dreams, those who sleep on the right instead have pleasant dreams, and those who sleep on their stomach have a better chance of having red light dreams. But try not to sleep on your back: it is the position of nightmares and night anxieties!

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