It is required that as human beings we get sleep regularly, but it is not always guaranteed that we have dreams during those periods of sleep. Even when we do, it is not the sum of our slumber. In fact, about 80% of adult sleep does not allow for dreams to occur. Dreams virtually only occur during the fourth stage of sleep known as Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep.
During REM, our body and mind are entranced in a period of changes. Our body heals itself and relaxes our muscles, while our mind becomes very sensitized to forming vivid images... dreams.
I'm not someone who studies oneirology nor am I a sleep specialist, but I have learned a bit about the psychology of sleep, and 'good sleep’ or 7-9 hours of stable sleep in a given night is necessary to be considered healthy. And, unfortunately, I often do not get that type of sleep regularly, hence why I am also less likely to have dreams.
What I do remember from dreaming is how immersed I was in this figment version of the world. I have been told and am aware that I have a creative imagination, so to some degree I like to believe that my imagination is translated in my dreams. I often dream of people I know, whether they know each other or not, in a setting together. This makes sense to me, since I tend to be viewed as a people-person. Their voice, clothes, mannerisms, and any other specifics about them are often pretty spot on in my dreams. My interactions with them are almost natural, it feels almost effortless, virtually decent representations of my relationships to them.
What transpires in my dreams can be easily categorized as happy, fun, or dark.
In the happy dreams, I am often in a setting I feel very comfortable in, and I am doing something I thoroughly enjoy. What is bizarre to me, is that I can feel myself smile in these dreams. I actually smile a lot in these dreams. I am often with family members, friends, or someone I am interested in or attracted to. The latter ones are often very pleasant. It is almost like visualizing and participating in what I hope to happen in reality.
In the fun dreams, there is often something wild or surprising that occurs. It pretty much involves the same people, but more than not, just my friends. What usually happens is that we, or I, do something I would likely not do in reality (but thought of doing at some point or another). It is like an expression of my inhibitions. These are the dreams that I laugh about after, and often feel comfortable retelling to others.
In the dark dreams, there is often a gloom of sadness. Again, it involves the same categories of people in my life. In these dreams something bad usually happens, or terror occurs to the point of being fearful. These are what I also consider nightmares, because they are such a contrast to the other two types of dreams, but I believe there is a meaning to them.
There is a meaning to all my dreams.
Of course, scientifically there is not a direct meaning to every dream one has, but the dreams, in abstract, suggest my lure to my relationships. It has been over two decades since I have had a dream where I was completely by myself. I am always with people I care about. Through the ups and downs of the virtual reality of my dreams, my relationships are in full force.
I like to believe it is my way of trying to garner more quality time with the people in my life. Awake, I engage in my relationships, and asleep, I have found a way to do the same.
But unfortunately, an irregularity in sleep does not foster such dreams. In other words, it is almost as if I am cheating myself of more opportunities to be engaged with those I care about, even if it is a fictional line of events derived from my mind, because I do not have a healthy sleep life.
And to me, this is a prime example of why we have to take care of ourselves before we can form healthy enduring relationships.
I am working on getting to that level of 'good sleep,' because REM is the after party to the party of consciousness and alertness.
And I look forward to attending that after party again… since it's been a while since I dreamed.