Here are some other things you may have noticed about your dreams:
- Dreams tell a story. They are like a TV show, with scenes, characters and props.
- Dreams are egocentric. They almost always involve you.
- Dreams incorporate things that have happened to you recently. They can also incorporate deep wishes and fears.
- A noise in the environment is often worked in to a dream in some way, giving some credibility to the idea that dreams are simply the brain's response to random impulses.
- You usually cannot control a dream -- in fact, many dreams emphasize your lack of control by making it impossible to run or yell. (However, proponents of lucid dreaming try to help you gain control.)
Dreaming is important. In sleep experiments where a person is woken up every time he/she enters REM sleep, the person becomes increasingly impatient and uncomfortable over time.
To learn more, check out How Dreams Work.
How Much Sleep Do I Need?
Most adult people seem to need seven to nine hours of sleep a night. This is an average, and it is also subjective. You, for example, probably know how much sleep you need in an average night to feel your best.
The amount of sleep you need decreases with age. A newborn baby might sleep 20 hours a day. By age four, the average is 12 hours a day. By age 10, the average falls to 10 hours a day. Senior citizens can often get by with six or seven hours a day.
Tips to Improve Your Sleep
- Exercise regularly. Exercise helps tire and relax your body.
- Don't consume caffeine after 4:00 p.m. or so. Avoid other stimulants like cigarettes as well.
- Avoid alcohol before bedtime. Alcohol disrupts the brain's normal patterns during sleep.
- Try to stay in a pattern with a regular bedtime and wakeup time, even on weekends.
For more information on sleep and related topics, check out the links on the next page.