About Dreaming

We all do it. Well, that is about 98% of us. Yet science and the medical community at large does not yet know all there is to know about dreaming.  We do know where in our brains the dreaming occurs. It occurs in the Secondary Visual Cortex. Our Primary Visual Cortex processes what we see in our waking hours however it is in the Secondary Visual Cortex that we humans imagine, visualize and dream. The content and purpose of dreaming is not understood though it has been a topic of speculation throughout history.

What is dreaming? If we research Oneirology (the study of the process of dreams instead of analyzing the meaning behind them) we find that dreams contain a few base components such as:

  • Thinking that occurs under minimal brain direction, external stimuli are blocked, and the part of the brain that recognizes self shuts down

  • An experience that we believed we experience through our senses

  • An experience of something memorable during sleep

As esoteric and vague as the above reads it get even more clinical. In summary a dream, as defined by Oneirologists, is a report of a memory of a cognitive experience that happens under conditions that are most frequently produced in a brain function called sleep during the suspension of consciousness.

Oneirologists are also masters of the obvious.

Now, I am no Oneiroligist but I do know a little about dreaming. Have you ever seen a television program or read a newspaper article near the end of your day and had a dream about the subject matter? There is a direct correlation between our last conscious thoughts and the content of our dreams. Our conscious memories, therefore, must take up a huge chunk of our brain space. We continue to process our conscious memories into sleep. It makes good common sense to make your last waking thoughts about something pleasant or relaxing as opposed to filling up your brain's last awakened cells with a tragic news story or other disturbing images. If you find yourself going through a period of nightmares or simply no dreams at all try to make yourself view a pleasant image or visualize a relaxing scenario. You might be surprised how well it works to get those R.E.M. dreams flowing positively.


handI have written extensively over the years about the process of falling asleep and have sorted my journal into four areas of interest.