Have you ever mistaken your dream for reality? Have you ever tried to wake up from a dream only to find yourself in another dream? In my experience, there’s a thin line between dreams and reality. I’m guessing this is how Christopher Nolan came up with the concept for the movie Inception: a dream within a dream.
But wait, what is a dream?
Dreams are successions of images, ideas, emotions and sensations that occur involuntarily in the mind during certain stages of sleep. Dreams mainly occur in the rapid-eye movement (REM) stage of sleep when brain activity is high and resembles that of being awake. Dreams can last for a few seconds, or as long as twenty minutes. People are more likely to remember the dream if they are awakened during the REM phase. The average person has about 3 to 5 dreams per night, but some may have up to 7 dreams in one night. The dreams tend to last longer as the night progresses. During a full 8-hour night sleep, two hours of it is spent dreaming.
A few years ago I started paying more attention to my dreams, trying to make sense of them and figure out what it is they’re trying to tell me. And I realised, from what I can remember of my dreams, that what seemed to make perfect sense in my sleep is actually quite impossible in real life. Things like jumping from one location to another in the span of a few seconds or interacting with someone who has passed away. In a dream anything is possible and not only that, everything seems perfectly normal and natural… almost like they’re meant to be.
Another thing I’ve noticed in dreams is their tendency to morph into a totally different scenario, most often, one completely unrelated to the previous situation. And what’s more, they tend to make these 180° turn without reason or warning, it can happen anytime. One minute you’re in school with your friends, the next you’re all alone in the middle of the woods. The same with people’s faces, you can be absolutely certain who was or wasn’t in your dream. But sometimes when you wake up you kind of stop and think ‘was it really him/her?’ Sometimes someone’s face will change right in front of you, confusing you even more. Other times you wake up and get the feeling that you know that person who starred in your dream but you can’t quite put your finger on his/her identity. This has happened to me countless times and it drives me mad, it’d bug me for the rest of the day.
The interesting thing about dreams is that you can’t force it. How many times have you tried to fall back into a dream just after you wake up or make up your own one just before you fall asleep? If you’re like me, you’d know that it never works that way. They need to come naturally. Some dreams you forget the instant you open your eyes. Other dreams linger and stay with you maybe for a few hours, maybe a few days. And once in a blue moon you get that dream that makes you scream “what the hell was that?!” in both a good and bad way. Those dreams tend to etch themselves in my memory. Either way no two dreams are ever exactly the same and you can never know or even guess at what to expect when you fall asleep every night. Quirky, little things dreams are… the heart of my fascination.