Is it important to dream when you sleep? Science says it helps you cope with your real life fears:
Dreams unsurprisingly hold immense spiritual significance in all major world religions: The Greeks attributed prophetic power to it while a number of Hindu myths use dreams as tropes to signify divine command.
Speaking realistically, there are two kinds of dreamers: people who remember their dreams as clearly as the film they just finished watching and people who wake up with vague recollections but nothing concrete.
Personally speaking I like it when the former happens after a good night’s sleep. Here, however that is not the focus.
Scientists say that on one hand they do tell vivid tales, on the other, dreams help you cope with your fears in real life.
Ask someone you know their phobias: along with the list of fears they will rattle off quite the list of coping mechanisms they use when things get too scary.
For example, someone who is afraid of clowns wouldn’t be reading Stephen King’s It for the heck of it; someone who is afraid of snakes, wouldn’t be seen looking under rocks in a forest and someone afraid of spiders wouldn’t mind getting pest control guys to kill a spider on the bathroom mirror.
Experts however recently opined that such elaborate strategies might not be needed to survive your fears: dreaming alone should cut it.
Huffington Post reported on a study done by the Journal of Neuroscience. The study revealed how people who spent more time in the REM state of sleep, had less fear-induced reactions to mild electric shocks the next day.
For laymen, REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement. There are periods of high levels of dream activity and these occur in 90 minute spans throughout the night.
Because of the brain’s frequent activity during this time, the researchers believe that the act of dreaming can protect a person from “enhanced fear” and make them less prone to trauma — as if we needed another reason to stay in bed longer.
So how does this REM help in overcoming fears?
The study in the Journal of Neuroscience was conducted by the Boston University School of Medicine.
The study revealed the presence of a specific brainwave, otherwise known as the P-wave that is triggered during these periods of REM sleep. This wave makes it possible to consolidate memories of safety; much like the Patronus charm in Harry Potter.
The lead author, Subimal Datta said how crucial these P-waves were in facing the fears we have in real life.
It’s also very helpful in synchronised use with exposure therapy, a method used to treat anxious patients by exposing them to their fears in a safe environment in order to create what is called an extinction memory to replace feelings of disturbance.
To prevent your fears from becoming disorders, the brain must be trained to replace angst with comfort in a controlled environment.
To see the benefits of REM, make sure to get adequate sleep:
A good night’s sleep is always crucial: it helps you remember things and carry out your day-to-day activities with ease. Dreaming is important, as it might help you face your fears in real life!
Striving to sleep enough and get adequate rest is as important as anything else in life.
You would want to create the optimal sleep oasis in your bedroom to ensure you have a proper night’s sleep.
Pro-tip: try eating lighter foods for dinner; that way you will ensure that there’s little possibility of stomach burns in the middle of the night.
Make sure you hydrate yourself before you go to bed too.
Sweet dreams and sleep naked!