Vivid dreams are dreams that feel real. This means, instead of vague dreamscapes, you can remember details, sounds, topics of conversation and even smells.

Dreams that feel real can leave a lasting impression upon you when you wake. They can even terrify you at times. When I dream, I usually have vivid experiences like this. While these dreams used to scare me as a child, I have become accustomed to the influence. Now, I concentrate on discovering why they happen.

Possible meanings of dreams that feel real

Because I am a spiritual person, I can tell you many reasons behind dreams that seem real. On the other hand, because I find science interesting, I have to include scientific reasons as well.

The truth is, no one knows for sure where vivid dreams come from and why they come at all. We just have to take a look at a few theories to help us sleep better at night. Hmm…Let me start with scientific answers.

1. REM Cycles

To understand a bit more about dreams, you should study REM cycles and how they pertain to the overall vividness of dreams. There are several cycles of sleep, with REM being the most active cycle. The brain is engaged almost as if you are awake, except you are not. Instead of seeing images from life, you see images from your dreams. Your heart races and your breathing does as well.

This alert state in sleep could be the reason why dreams are so detailed. If you are awakened during one of the REM cycles, you will be better able to remember these dreams that feel real.

2. REM Rebound

The strange thing about REM sleep is that when it’s deprived, it can rebound on the next sleep cycle, and with a greater intensity. This thing called “REM rebound” has the ability to create dreams that feel real, and dreams that haunt us for days.

There are a few ways that REM rebound would occur. For instance, substances, such as alcohol or drugs will suppress REM sleep. When a person comes down from the effects of the substances and then sleeps again, REM cycles will be much longer and more intense. It’s really as if the REM cycles are making up for lost activity during sleep.

Another way you can experience REM rebound is due to sleep deprivation. The simple loss of sleep means loss of REM cycle time, thus creating a rebound during the next opportunity. Since cycles are more intense, then dreams can become almost lifelike in clarity, although still sometimes quite illogical.

3. Mental Disorders

As you may have guessed already, mental disorders can affect our sleep creating horribly lucid dreaming. Disorders such as bipolar, alone, or this condition coexisting with other disorders, can have a long list of reasons for vivid dreaming. For instance, if you suffer from bipolar disorder, your manic symptoms can cause sleep deprivation, and you already know where that leads with REM rebound.

You can also suffer from coexisting sleep apnea, which affects around 30% of those with bipolar disorder. With sleep apnea, cessation of breathing disrupts sleep patterns, thus causing more vivid dreams when REM sleep does happen. Too much sleep, due to depression or depressive episodes can also cause nightmares or vivid dreams.

In a nutshell, mental illness will never be a friend to the sleep cycles, and dreams that seem real will often happen to victims of these illnesses.

4. Pregnancy

During pregnancy, dreams that feel real are more common than before pregnancy, and there are three basic reasons why. First of all, hormones change during pregnancy and this affects waking and sleeping time equally.

Pregnancy also causes women to sleep more and the more you sleep, you more you dream. This creates more time for cycles which govern vivid dreams and their occurrence.

Finally, pregnancy means waking more during the night because of the increased need for urination (due to fetus pressing against the bladder, in case you didn’t know). The more you wake during dream episodes, the better you will be able to remember what you dreamed.

5. Messages

I hate to tell you this, but science doesn’t have all the answers. Sometimes dreams are more than just hormones and cycles. Sometimes, especially when vivid dreams are repetitive, there is something or someone trying to send a message.

Yes, dreams can be used to send important information to someone who cannot hear these things while awake. The reason why I tell you this is because I have tested dreams with confirmation of their messages.

On many occasions, I experienced dreams that feel real and remembered their content. Upon waking, I paid attention and watched for the confirmation. More times than not, I have discovered a great message that was dire to my given situation in life, or sometimes to warn me of an impending event or death. While creepy, paying attention to these vivid messages could be beneficial to your own situation.

6. Color associations

I remember a dream that I had almost 20 years ago. It was so vivid and interesting that I can remember the words spoken, the images and the color scheme to this very day. Here’s a breakdown:

  • The dream was set in black and white and it appeared as if you were watching on an old movie reel, you know, grainy quality and all. In the scene, a woman ran through a cemetery with a bundle clutched closely to her chest. A voiceover spoke. “She brought the souls from the cemetery”.

This was my dream, and I have been searching for these past two decades for an answer. Do I believe it’s hormones? No, I do not. But I did learn a bit about color connotation connected with dream meanings. Here’s what I’ve discovered about black and white, as my scenery had not other colors:

  • Black denotes loss, which can mean death. It also relates to evil, your subconscious feelings, and mystery. The white tone represents spiritual growth, passion, or even can mean devotion. For now, I am still unsure of the meaning of my dream. I encourage you to pay attention to the colors, however, as they have a large influence on the substance and meaning.

7. Enlightenment/awakening

Dreams can also come as elements of your awakening. Yes, your dreams could be making you face the things that you need to understand in order to reach enlightenment. Your third eye could be pushing and trying to open to the things around you.

Spiritual beings, angels, ancestors – they could all be trying to help you encounter the uncharted territory of your mind. Listen carefully to the messages, however illogical as they may seem, and keep a journal to help you on your journey.

Dreams that feel real can remain mysteries

Even though your dreams are the substance of sleep and its conditions, they can also be governed by something much bigger than we are. In fact, some mysteries aren’t meant to be torn apart, and maybe this is one of them.

Dreams are real, so why should we wonder at why they seem so intricate and detailed. The mind, the universe is so vast and mysterious, that the wonders of our dreams can only be counted among all the other spectacles that surround us.

If you’re interested in learning more about your dreams and their meaning, by all means, keep learning!



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