Dreams are a mysterious part of our sleep, and have intrigued humans since ancient times. Though the reason for dreaming is still not fully known, researchers have learned much about this part of our unconscious mind. Here's some of what we know.
Blind people still dream
People who are born blind experience a heightened sense of taste, touch and smell in their dreams rather than visual imagery. People who lost their vision early in their lives may still experience visual images or colors in their dreams. People who lose their sight later in life still dream in visuals, although the images tend to fade as they grow older.
Lucid dreaming occurs when a person is partially or fully aware that they are dreaming. Some people try to use techniques to control their dream during this state. Researchers have even begun to explore the possibility of using lucid dreaming to treat nightmares and other psychological issues.
We spend two hours dreaming every night
Most of us dream every 90 minutes, which typically happens during Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. We spend more than two hours dreaming every night.
We spend 1/3 of our life sleeping
In a lifetime, we spend about 25 years asleep, and six years or more are spent dreaming. Almost all of our dreams are forgotten upon waking.
'Alien abductions' are likely due to sleep paralysis
People who claim to experience alien abductions are likely having an episode of sleep paralysis, which can also produce hallucinations, as the cognitive/perceptual and motor aspects of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep are out of sync.