As I doze into sleepless slumber


Snowy Li

Most people don’t remember their dreams, and I am no exception. The ones that easily come to mind, however, are extraordinarily clear, complete with the most outrageous plots and characters. From repeated public embarassment before school to flying around on angel wings, these strange dreams reflect how I understand the reality around me and how they, in turn, may have affected my daily life.  

First and foremost, when and even how someone wakes up from his or her sleep is crucial to recollecting these imaginative scenes. Around the end of the Rapid Eye Movement cycle (a slumber pattern the human body and mind goes through while sleeping), if a person wakes slowly and without abrupt movement to get out of bed, then he or she is more likely to call a dream to mind. This occurs similarly with nightmares, which commonly arise because of stress-inducing events, such as huge exams coming up or a major presentation the next day. Bizarrely enough, I tend to only recall when I’ve had nightmares, but not what they were about. I also find that, likely because of my need to rush in the early morning to catch the bus instead of slowly getting ready, I easily forget these visions quickly after I wake up.Stress, as exacerbated by school or social events, etches itself deeply into most people’s lives and, thus, their dreams. For me, this anxiety awakens every first day before a new school year, as I always have a nightmare the night prior. Usually this fright involves forgetting my backpack at home — not that it would’ve mattered on any first day — and then enduring the mockery of random peers I’d never met. The background of my illusion changed as I gradually grew up and journeyed through different schools, but the plot never altered. I frequently woke up in a cold sweat, shaking, before my alarm bell rang. My steely resolve to have a pleasant first day, however, quickly override my shudders. I typically attribute these recurrences to the inevitable awkwardness and fear of meeting new classmates and teachers every school year; I admit it is difficult for me to open up to strangers, so perhaps these imaginative sequences really reflect my shyness. Possibly, this introversion stems from a distrust of others at first, before getting to really know someone, or my usual avoidance of situations where I’m the center of attention. [TS_VCSC_Image_GIFPlayer image=”322525″ trigger=”hover” preloader=”22″]Surprisingly, dreams use only small parts of real-life occurrences to create a new scene instead of deriving a sequence from any 24 hours. These night time inventions incorporate about 50 percent of the day to warp and reorganize into something entirely different. On the other hand, just 1.5 percent of these imaginations come from everyday matters without any alterations. This disconnection from reality largely originates from how heavily someone sleeps and his or her susceptibility to being woken up. Although currently there is no clear answer to why humans possess such a trance, theories claim these hallucinations to be an aid in maintaining short- and long-term memory, extended emotional and intellectual connections as well as one’s development of creative processes. 

The dream I most vividly remember happened early this year when I was napping in the glorious, sun-lit afternoon. With no major errands to run and a comfortably warm room, I finally got some nice shut-eye. Perhaps lulled into relaxation by the rays shining through veiled curtains, I saw myself flying over gorgeous mountains filled with fauna and flora while I drifted lazily through the air, bouncing off of hilltops and prancing in a colorful field. I woke up feeling refreshed and content; I had enough energy to finish off my chores for the rest of the day. 

Although I’d like to think otherwise, the nap, and not the dream, probably just allowed my body to rest for energy needed later on. My wishful outlook may extend from my existing hopes about these hallucinations, which might not actually provide anything real after all. Some research concluded that whether or not a fantasy while snoozing results in certain effects on an individual depends on his or her predisposition to the contents of the visions, originating from factors such as religion and cultural background. Even one’s judgment of actual friends and peers may depend on previous attitudes toward others. So while I certainly enjoyed that delightful, sunny nap because I felt much happier afterward, the energy for later tasks could have simply emerged from a pleasant sleep and already lowered stress levels. 

In the end, dreams remain mysterious fragments of the imagination whose impacts and origins are still widely unknown. They could play a vital role in daily life through their potential to strengthen memory and understand ongoing events in the day, or, are merely fantasies without real significance. In any way, I’m constantly delighted (and sometimes scared) of the new scenes playing and replaying in my head at night, in anticipation of whatever comes next. 

What memorable dreams have you had? Let us know in the comments below.[parallax_row direction=”down” image=”322522″]