Dreams refer to successive ideas, emotions, images and sensations that independently take place in the mind as a person sleeps. Dreams usually occur in rapid eye movement stage during sleep, commonly known as the REM phase. They can last a couple of seconds or as long as half an hour. Amnesia during dream time is a common occurrence. However, if a person is woken up during the REM phase of sleep, they will be able to remember the dream they had. It has been recorded that the average man has between three to five dreams each night, with others having as many as seven dreams in a night. These dreams become lengthier as the night gets old. Through oneirology, the scientific study of sleep, scientists have projected that two out of the eight hours the average man sleeps are spent on dreams (Moffit, 2003).
Dreams have different effect on different people, and with different intensities. Whereas some of the effects could be physical such as excessive sweating, bed letting and sleep talking, dreams are known to have both negative and positive psychological effects on people. Though the effects of dreams on human life are still a bone of contention between scholars, I am of the opinion that dreams indeed have psychological effects on the dreamer and in extension, those that are around them (Moffit, 2003). This is explains why some people cannot wait to get into bed and experience dreams while others dread sleep so as to avoid any instances of dreaming. Some dreamers recall their dreams vividly as if it was a true occurrence that they witnessed. Others have a sketchy idea of what the dreamt about, while others have no idea what they dreamt about (Moffit, 2003).
Psychological dream research, which would explain the psychological effects that dreams have on people, requires thorough dream content analysis, addressing validity and reliability. Research carried out on different respondents indicate that dreams affect the day time moods of people, more so negative toned dreams that are in extreme times referred to as nightmares. After investigating the different causes and influences of the morning mood, Moffit (2003) found out that dreams are the predominant factors that inform the morning mood. As such, dreams affect the positive and the negative emotions in the morning alike. It is however crucial to note that nightmares and negative dreams affect morning moods to s greater extent in comparison to happy dreams (Moffit, 2003).
Dreams influence character. People in the society have been known to undergo character change due to an encounter they had in a dream. It is not surprising to come across a case where a person’s behavior has been influenced by a dream (McNamara, 2004). Dreams are thought to be an unexplainable set of events that occur when one is semi conscious, and are largely associated with superstition in many cases. They are therefore viewed as a voice of reason from a supernatural being that is trying to convey a message. The influence that dreams have on behavioral traits is overwhelming (McNamara, 2004).
Dreams shape the type of social interactions that abound in the society. This is so because dreams simulate social interactions (McNamara, 2004). Some people describe social interactions as the thing that most people are fond of and attracted to. It therefore comes as no shock that dreams mostly describe social interactions. If a person who had been dreaming is woken up at the REM phase of sleep where he can recall what the dream was about, chances are that they will give a narrative that involves them in one way or another at times with clear visual detail and a wide array of emotion (McNamara, 2004).
If you think about it, dreams are a secondary product of brain functionality. I say so because the primary activity if the brain s the thought process that occurs when a person is conscious (McNamara, 2011). Unlike what people think, dreams do not exist as a separate entity on their own. They are informed by activities of the previous day and the mood that the dreamer had on her bed before falling asleep. As such, dreams can be thought of as quasi therapeutic (McNamara, 2011).
Dreamers have been known to feel as though the dream they had solved a specific problem that they had, and also soothing emotional discomfort while at it. The types of dreams that people vividly remember are those that reflect their emotional lives and have an impact on their emotional being at that time. For example, expectant mothers more often than not dream about creatures, all in anticipation of the birth of their child. In dreamland, the mind is safe to explore feeling without physical presence (McNamara, 2011).
Feelings that are attributed to the present state of the dreamer are usually connected with memories of past events, hence making up the present events in the dreamer’s emotional life. Trauma plays out this phenomenon clearly. Trauma and physical pain are usually replayed though the dream process (Freud, 2007). This either occurs with precise accuracy with regard to the events that caused the trauma or varies, though they both elicit the same reactions from the dreamer. As has been experienced by many trauma patients, dreams after trauma usually follow a pattern (Freud, 2007). The dreamer then goes into survivor’s guilt mode, a state of uncertainty where they blame themselves for what occurred. Since trauma is connected to several other memories of the dreamer, dreams will eventually return to their normal patterns, especially of the dreamer heals emotionally. If recovery does not occur successfully, the dreams usually continue as a symptom of post traumatic stress syndrome (Freud, 2007).
How dreams are interpreted and perceived also play an informative role in as far the outcome and effect of the dream to the dreamer is concerned. Conventional deram analysis, though not accurate defines what a certain dream means to the dreamer and the people arpond the. As such, the dreamer is inclined to act in accordance with the interpretation given, if not for anything, to safeguard his own interest, especially if the consequences as outlined in the interpretations are dire (Freud, 2007). Sigmund Freud alludes that the hian psychology is prone to several factors that influence and at times dictate the life of a human being. A dream is one such phenomenon that has an unprecedented effect on the very existence of man (Freud, 2007).
Dreams have several psychological effects as illustrated above. People who dream are undoubtedly affected by their dreams though to varying degrees, sometimes unconsciously. Psychological effects of reams are responsible for human interaction.
Alan Moffit, M. K. (2003). The Functions of Dreaming. New York: SUNY Press.
McNamara, P. (2004). An Evolutionary Psychology Of Sleep And Dream. Westport: Greenwood
McNamara, P. (2011, May 7). The impact of dreams on your social life. Psychology Today , p.
Freud, S. (2007). The Interpretation of Dreams:The Complete and Definitive Text. Sioux Falls: