No matter how pragmatic or analytical you are, you can't avoid it. You're a dreamer. Everybody dreams. We dream one to two hours a night, and typically experience four to seven dreams in that time. Some people remember their dreams more vividly than others, and some claim they never remember dreaming at all, but dreaming is a natural and integral - if still mysterious - phase of the sleep cycle.
There is still some confusion as to exactly what purpose your dreams serve. Researchers have found evidence that dreaming helps deposit recent events and feelings into long-term memory. And most agree that dreams are a way of processing unresolved fears and desires, which make them an excellent way of clueing you into your own subconscious struggles. Have you're dreams been particularly violent lately? You may be frustrated with an injustice of struggling with something you want to change. If you find yourself endlessly searching in your sleep - even for something mundane like a name tag or your keys - it could be that you feel there is something missing in your life.
They aren't just idle brain chatter; your dreams can be excellent tools in processing your thoughts and feelings. Dreaming about little yellow balls after a day of tennis is a pretty easy connection, but some of our less literal associations can be enlightening about everything from how you feel about your ex to what you're in for in the next phase of your life. If you're planning to pay more attention to your own dream world, here are a few tips that can help:1. Keep a dream journal next to your bed
Try to make a habit of thinking about your dreams as soon as you wake up, especially if they were particularly vivid or disturbing. Then, write them down. We're more likely to remember nightmares, so these can be a good place to start.
2. Don't wait until after breakfast
As is turns out, dreams really are fleeting! You'll forget half the content of a dream within five minutes of waking. After ten, you'll lose about 90%. So write them down as soon as you can.
3. Pay attention to recurring dreams or themes
These represent recurring issues in your life. You may think you've dealt with a particular issue, but if a problem continues to turn up in your sleep, it's a sure sign that it hasn't been resolved.
4. Go beyond the literal
Ever had a dream about Brad Pitt, but he felt like someone else you knew? Your subconscious is dense with thoughts, feelings and images. The more you pay attention to these many layers, the more likely you are to discover something useful about yourself.
5. Rely on your instincts
Dreams tend to communicate in intangibles, in the way something feels rather than what exactly transpires. That means there are no true universal guides. A dream-death that indicates hopelessness in one person might mean a readiness for a new beginning in another. While dream books might give you clues and talking about them can help you process your dreams, only you are qualified to interpret them.