From a physiological perspective there are 5 stages of sleep, 1) light beginning sleep where we transition from awake to sleep; 2) brain waves change, body temperature drops and heart rate slows; 3) brain waves continue changing and we transition from light sleep to deeper sleep; 4) deep sleep characterized by very slow delta brain waves; and, 5) REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep where dreams occur. REM sleep is a paradox in some ways because the brain becomes active again in a different way than when we’re awake, our heart rate increases again and we may breathe a little faster, yet our muscles become very relaxed, almost paralyzed. There is still a debate in the scientific / medical communities as to the need for certain amounts of sleep. My personal opinion is its very important. We could debate endlessly about the physical health benefits of sleep, but if you don’t allow your subconscious to dream, to clean out closets and talk to you, there are any number of possible mental and spiritual problems that can arise.
Not everyone has vivid dreams, some of you think you don’t dream simply because you really don’t recall your dreams when you awake. But you are dreaming and the dreaming is important whether you remember it or not. We basically all have photographic memories in the sense that our subconscious records everything we see, feel, hear, smell, touch, think, then stores it somewhere in the deep recesses of our brain. Much of this information can be considered information overload or just not necessary, so the subconscious needs to release it, clean it out and reorganize the remaining stored information. This occurs during REM sleep.
For those of us who remember most dreams and for the even fewer of you (like me) who are vivid dreamers, REM sleep is vital for our mental and spiritual health. I admit there are many nights when my brain cleans (but even awake I’m a clean freak so . . . ), and truthfully too many nights cleaning out old, mostly forgotten, useless images from the deep, dark basement of my subconscious leaves me more frustrated than rested. My common sense and intuition tell me its crucial because once the cleaning and reorganizing are done, my subconscious can speak to me, reveal my frustrations, longings, desires, perceived obstacles, worries and path to happiness. Thus allowing me to deal with my deeper issues before they are out of control.
Never underestimate the power of your conscious and subconscious mind. Never dismiss any dreams too lightly until you’re sure it’s just a cleaning spree, and pay attention to the dreams which evoke intense emotions or which recur often. They are trying to tell you something and if the dream comes often, it’s most likely something important.
Have a great weekend everybody and if you need more information about dreams or some help decoding dreams, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org