In essence, no one knows what dreams are, or dreams. There are no clear facts that can shed light on what they are, where they come from and why we see them. Some scientists believe that dreams are not related to reality, others insist that it is an integral part of a person’s mental, emotional and physical well-being. According to Freud, dreams are a subconscious representation of our innermost desires — an attempt by the subconscious to identify and summarize important thoughts, aspirations and problems that consciousness will later have to deal with. It is only known that dreams are associated with dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter (a substance that transmits signals to the brain), which plays a certain role in making decisions about what to concentrate on: something comes to the fore, the other moves. At the sleep stage, which is most favorable for dreams, that part of the brain that is responsible for emotions, sensations and recollection is activated. (This phase is called BDG – the phase of rapid eye movements, which we will talk about later.) Perhaps the brain interprets this internal activity, giving rise to dreams – films that scroll through my head. According to other theories, dreams help maintain a state of sleep while continuing to occupy the brain; thus, you do not wake up while the other parts of the brain are resting and recovering. However, these are just theories; you are free to add something else to them.
Nightmares are terrible, but from time to time everyone experiences them. Officially, this is called “a deep nightmare from which a person wakes up in a panic state.” Usually nightmares dream in the early morning – and often arise under the influence of negative experiences or thoughts that occurred in previous days. It is believed that recurring nightmares (for example, in a dream you are constantly running, but in fact do not move anywhere) are generated by anxieties. Seeing a terrible dream, a person can experience a brief sleep paralysis if he suddenly wakes up. During the BDG phase, muscular paralysis occurs: after waking up in fright, the muscles can remain for some time still.
Yes, night terrors are scary. Sleep disappears when you wake up feeling an inexplicable fear or panic. The heart jumps out of your chest, you sweat and scream. Such fears worry more than nightmares, as they occur at the stage of the deepest sleep and are not caused by dreams; This is an emotional reaction provoked by something special. It’s good that the next day you don’t remember anything, because you haven’t seen a dream, and there are no unpleasant pictures in your memory. Usually, night fears begin and end in childhood. About 18% of children and only 2% of the adult population are experiencing them. Most often they occur when you are not getting enough sleep, after taking alcohol or under the influence of stress. In adults, nightly fears are usually associated with previous injuries, so if it seems that this applies to you, consult a specialist.
Sleepwalking and talking in a dream this occurs during the deep phase and is not associated with dreams; after awakening, people seldom remember what they said in their sleep (very insulting to witnesses). Sleepwalking, or sleepwalking, is common among children between the ages of five and twelve. It is said that 15% of children at least once walked in a dream. Among adults, this phenomenon is quite rare and covers only 2–5% of the population, most of which become lunatics in childhood. Like night terrors, sleepwalking occurs if you lose sleep, drink alcohol or experience stress. About 4% of adults talk in their sleep (this is also much more common among children). The range of conversation in a dream extends from inarticulate mumbling to eloquent speeches, but it rarely presents a serious problem for the speaker, rather, for the spouse (s).
Night gnashing of teeth (also known as “sleepy bruxism”)
Experts estimate that approximately 8% of the population grinds their teeth in their sleep at least twice a week. The phenomenon is common among those who consume a lot of caffeine, alcohol and nicotine, and can be a symptom of latent stress and anxiety. This not only disrupts sleep, but can cause pain in the jaws, headaches, and even harm the teeth.
Such nonsense, as the inability to fall asleep, can have devastating consequences, but by changing your thinking, behavior and attitude to sleep, you can solve the problem. This is where cognitive-behavioral therapy, CPT, comes into play (see chapter two).