factors that influence dreams

When we sleep, external stimuli become part of our dreams. Our brain has the ability to integrate the ‘interference’ in dreams in order to make us remain in the sleep state.

Therefore, there are several factors that influence the events and sensations in our dreams. What are they?

1. Sounds

Have you ever dreamed that your alarm clock is ringing? Such dream can be caused by the sound coming from an alarm, and it shows how the sounds you hear may actually be incorporated into a dream and affect the story we see while we sleep.

2. Scents

German researchers studied the effect of external scents in dreams. They made the participants in REM sleep phase smell either a “good” scent (roses) or a “bad” one (rotten eggs). Roses had a positive impact on the dreams of the participants, while the eggs didn’t.

Scientists explain that if we smell flowers or a nice perfume when we are awake, it will probably cause us positive emotions. So, the dream that you see in your sleep follows the same pattern. There is also biological explanation for this phenomenon, as the limbic system of the brain that regulates the perception of smell also controls emotions.

3. Posture

Recent study conducted in China showed that people who sleep face down frequently see erotic dreams or dreams in which someone is stalking them.

The explanation is that when we sleep in this posture, our genitals come in contact with the bed and therefore there is a subsequent stimulation. At the same time, breathing is prevented.



Another surprising finding is that we better remember dreams we saw when we keep the same posture after waking up.

4. Psychological state

Naturally, our psychological state affects our dreams. Depression, for example, seems to have an impact on the colors we see in our dreams. The dreams in black and white or shades of gray can be a sign of depression.

Besides the colors, our psychological condition affects weather patterns in our dreams. Stress brings tornadoes, while mental calm brings sunny days.

5. Abstaining from something

When we are on a diet, sometimes we see in our sleep mouth watering dishes and desserts. When you abstain from something, whether it is food or cigarettes or anything else, then you will probably see in your sleep.

6. Medications and vitamins

The drugs we take affect our dreams in many different ways, and intervene in the REM stage of sleep.

The nicotine patches, for example, often lead to vivid and life-like dreams. In addition, medications affect our ability to remember the dreams that we saw.
 



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Anna LeMind

Anna LeMind

Anna is the founder and lead editor of the website Learning-mind.com. She is passionate about learning new things and reflecting on thought-provoking ideas. She writes about science, psychology and other related topics. She is particularly interested in topics regarding introversion, consciousness and subconscious, perception, human mind's potential, as well as the nature of reality and the universe.