Scientists working on the effect of sleep on the human body are still learning about the effect of dreams on our minds and bodies. All they know for sure is that we have to dream. It is also worrying that the trend of “dream deprivation” is increasing, so let’s look at the possible consequences and why our ability to dream is so important. We all have the ability to dream. When we sleep, we are often immersed in a living story that can be completely rational, completely silly, sometimes giving us feelings of happiness, sadness, confusion or even terror.
However, despite the current research, there is still no definitive answer to the question “why do we dream?” Numerous studies have been conducted on dreams and why do people dream, what is their purpose and what happens when we are deprived of this particular phase of sleep? Scientists have managed to answer to some of these questions, but to a large extent, the dream is still a mystery.
Let’s start with what science knows. Sleep can be divided into two different phases:
– Rapid eye movement (REM) and nighttime refreshing sleep (NREM). A typical sleep cycle lasts between 90-120 minutes and we should experience about 4-5 sleep cycles each time we sleep. Normally there will be long stages of NREM sleep, also referred to as “deep sleep” which indicates shorter stages of REM sleep. But as the night progresses, NREM time will gradually decrease and REM levels will increase, especially during the last two sleep cycles, where REM can last up to an hour. This is important because the dream is believed to occur during REM, when the brain is just as active as it is when we are awake! You will notice changes such as fluctuations in body temperature, increased blood pressure and heart rate and corresponding contractions.
What happens when we do not get enough REM sleep?
What happens when we are deprived of our dreams?
– Sleep deprivation is definitely in the public consciousness right now with 1 in 3 taking only 5-6 hours of sleep a night. However, while the symptoms of sleep deprivation are well documented, the concept of dream deprivation is still relatively unknown. Obviously the side effects of dream deprivation have been investigated. A 1960s study found that people who were selectively deprived of REM sleep experienced weight gain, increased irritability, difficulty concentrating, and anxiety. This is consistent with another study, which showed that REM deprivation has the effect of increasing pro-inflammatory cytokine levels, causing an inflammatory response.
Why does dream deprivation affect our health so clearly?
The exact mechanism is not well known but scientists seem to believe it can be related to the processes that take place in your body during REM sleep. How do we benefit from our dreams? It is believed that our dreams are closely linked to our emotional and psychological health, which to some extent makes sense given the impact that dreams can have on how we feel. We have all seen nightmares from which we wanted to wake up as soon as possible and we all had dreams that we would like to last longer. In cases of mental disorders, such as depression, sufferers have been shown to dream up to 3 times more. Although there are no clear answers, most scientists agree that the dream can help with the following cognitive processes: Memory: You may think you have a good memory, but the chances of remembering every occurrence that has ever happened in your life are impossible for good reason. Similar to the principles of how a smartphone works, all of them Memories would use a lot of “data”, just as we thought our dreams could act a bit like a housekeeper and decide which memories we need and bind them and which ones we do not need. As Francis Crick put it, who co-discovered DNA: “Sometimes we dream to forget.” Emotions: It is not surprising that dreams are so connected to our emotions and we believe that when we dream, it helps us to process emotions or fears through complex processes, transforming our emotions into a more tangible form that we can see and deal with. . In this way, the dream assumes the role of self-help healing, to which we all have access. Survival Instincts: In a way, just as dreams can help us work on ourselves through fears and uncertainties, they can also serve as exercises for instincts. survival. Think of it as a training simulation – in our dreams we often encounter frightening situations, whether we are trying to escape a monster or to find ourselves naked in front of our colleagues. This gives our brain the opportunity to process what it could do in the eventual scenario, so that if it ever occurs when we are awake, we can react properly to reality. All these are very important and necessary for our survival.
How can we prevent REM sleep deprivation?
1 – Get rid of your alarm clock
If you are like most of us, it is probably a daily occurrence to try to tolerate the alarm clock as part of your morning routine. However, as REM sleep normally increases towards the end of the sleep cycle, this rude awakening can do far more damage than bothering you as the first thing every morning. Alarm clocks are not the only culprit – the bright ones Lights and digital screens also affect the sleep cycle, so it is important to keep them in the bedroom as low as possible. Alternatively, you could use a mild wake-up call. These types of alarm devices gently illuminate the room, gradually waking us up and not suddenly pushing us apart from a dream.
2 – Watch your diet
Processed sugars, processed fats and caffeine are detrimental to sleep patterns. Alcohol is another stimulant that you should definitely try to avoid. Instead, divert your thinking to good things in life, such as eating plenty of nutrients and eating nutritious foods. Achieving a balance of protein, complex carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables can go a long way toward setting sleep patterns.
3 – Watch Your Medication
Sleeping pills have already been prescribed to 60 million Americans and it is believed that this number could to reach 10 million in the UK, which may not be good news for REM sleep. Now this may sound a bit contradictory – surely sleeping pills will help you fall asleep? It is not so simple, while sleeping pills cause drowsiness, rarely promote REM or deep sleep that can lead to deprivation. You should also keep in mind that sleeping pills should be taken on a short-term basis and definitely not for more than a month, unless prescribed by your doctor. If you are looking for a natural alternative, you could try valerian with hops and it can be taken for a longer time. By gently helping your body achieve a natural sleep cycle, they do not have any of the side effects associated with conventional sleeping pills.
4 – Try to put your stress to sleep
It is no secret that stress affects sleep patterns and is one of the main causes of problems such as insomnia. Unfortunately, Dream deprivation can also cause increased stress levels, so it is important to try to break the cycle by tackling the cause immediately. The best way to beat stress is to just be polite to yourself – eat nutritious foods, have plenty of fresh air and take some time to focus on yourself. Of course this is not always possible, especially if you are trying to take care of a family or are concerned about business matters, but 30 minutes a day can make a difference. If you need a helping hand from Nature to deal with your stress, you could try oat extract, helping to gently treat the symptoms of stress to make you feel more like your old self.