My Igbere people have an idiom – “ adakpa ezi uka, okuku elieru gaa nnò” When translated literally means “ When important discussions are going on, a fowl will audaciously trek to the native lavatory “. I discussed the topic “how much sleep do we really need” A regular responder from Aba, who I thought, like others, would have asked me to discuss the sequence “sleep disorders “, rather chose to ask “do dreams play any role in our health”.
For crying out loud! I remonstrated within myself to no one in particular. Did I discuss dreams? Am I, an astrologer or a diviner? I only mentioned dreams, while explaining sleep processes. Yes, like the Igbere adage, when the animal kingdom is discussing how to survive man’s inhumanity to animals, a fowl instead of contributing, will push fellow animals aside and hurry to the local community lavatory. Initially I ignored him, but when two other people asked dream related questions. I caved in and decided to discuss dreams.
• As an orthodox doctor, I shall only limit my discussion to scientifically proven aspects of our dreams and health. If you want the other version, of course you know where to go.
• Yes, dreams play roles in our health. If we do not dream while sleeping, mental derangement gradually sets in. It is a scientific desidaratum that everybody dreams while sleeping. Only that most of us do not remember our dreams in the morning.
How do we define a dream?
a) A dream is a succession of images, ideas, emotions and sensations that usually occur involuntarily in the mind during certain stages of sleep.
b) The scientific study of dreams is called oneirology
c) Dreams mainly occur in the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage of sleep – when brain activity is high and resembles that of being awake.
d) At times dreams may occur during other stages of sleep. However, these dreams tend to be much less vivid or memorable.
e) The length of a dream can vary, they may last a few a few seconds, or approximately 20 – 30 minutes. People are more likely remember the dream if they are awakened during REM phase.
f) The average person has three to five dreams per night, and some may have up to seven episodes. However, most dreams are immediately or quickly forgotten.
What is the theory of a dream?
1) Many endorse Dr Sigmund Freud’s theory of dreams – “that a dream reveals” insight into hidden desires and emotions. Dr Freud, who developed the psychological discipline of psychoanalysis explained dreams as manifestation of one’s deepest desires and anxieties, often relating to repressed childhood memories or obsessions.
2) Again Dr Sigmund Freud believed every dream regardless of its content, represented the release of sexual tension.
3) Dreams can have varying natures, such as being frightening, exciting, magical, melancholic, adventurous or sexual. The events in dreams are generally, outside the control of the dreamer, with exception of lucid dreaming, where the dreamer is self-aware.
4) Dreams can at times make creative thought occur to the person or give a sense of inspiration.
5) Dreams according to Prof Coutts play a central role to improve the mind’s ability to meet human needs during wakefulness.
Other hypothesis of dream.
6) Dreams allow the repressed parts of the mind to be satisfied through fantasy, while keeping the conscious mind from thoughts that would suddenly cause one to awaken from shock.
7) Dreams regulate mood.
8) Prof S Ferenczi proposed that the dream, when told, may communicate something that is not being said straight.
9) LaBerge and Degracia suggested that dreams may function, in part, to re-combine unconscious elements.
10) Herodotus in his “The Histories” writes – “The visions that occur to us in dreams are, more often than not, the things we have concerned about during the day.
11) Dreams are also a recreation, reflection, re-fantasising or re-visionalizing of childhood or life-long experiences and making them appear normal. Example dreaming and associating with your long dead father, mother, uncle, aunt or other relatives without thinking they are abnormal.
What is the relationship of dreams with medical conditions?
• There is a scientific evidence that certain medical conditions especially neurological, according to Dr Sigmund Freud, have impact on dreams.
Example most people who were paralysed through spinal cord injury were known to known to have started the process of recovery after dreaming of walking.
• Just last week after the Las Vagas gun massacre in USA, as reported by CNN.
A man who was shot at the spinal cord, and pronounced by doctors as not being able to walk again, took his first step after dreaming of walking, and affirming that no gun shot from an evil man would prevent him from walking. The body, the spirit, the dream and of course God all positively Made him walk again.
What is our take this week?
Each night before you sleep, pray for positive dreams and ask God to intervene in your life difficulties. When you dream it, God willing you will live it.
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