Two-thirds of people report experiencing recurring dreams, especially during times of stress. Researchers evaluate how the phenomenon occurs, and factors that contribute to recurring dreams.
Effectively, mammals "dream" about the world they are about to experience before they are able to open their eyes and possibly before they are born. Researchers found before a newborn mouse opened its eyes, its retinal waves flow in a pattern that mimics the activity which would occur as the animal moves through the environment.
53% of dreams can be traced to memories, and of those, 50% are linked to memory sources of multiple previous life events. Additionally, 26% of dreams are associated with impending events. Future-orientated dreams become more prevalent during deeper stages of sleep.
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Inspired by techniques to train deep neural networks, researchers have proposed a new hypothesis of dreaming. The hypothesis suggests the strangeness of our dreams may help our brains better generalize our day-to-day experiences.
More than 80% of patients nearing the end of life reported experiencing dreams that were vivid, meaningful, and transformative. Patients reported the dreams made them feel supported, reassured and helped them to accept their impending death.
During REM sleep, people are able to interact with researchers and engage in real-time communication. The study reports while dreaming, people can follow instructions, perform simple math, answer yes and no questions, and tell the difference between different sensory stimuli.
Using EEG to measure REM sleep allowed scientists to distinguish dreaming from wakefulness.
Aphantasia, a disorder in which people are lack the ability to mentally visualize imagery, is also associated with a widespread pattern of changes to other important cognitive processes. Many with aphantasia report a reduced ability to recall past events, imagine the future, and dream.