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Article I came across today.....Part 1What Causes Vivid Drea
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2009 8:33 pm    Post subject: Article I came across today.....Part 1What Causes Vivid Drea Reply with quote

This is the first part of the article...

What Causes Vivid Dreams?

By: Molly Mann (View Profile)

Recently, I went through a period of having nightly dreams that were so vivid and frightening that I would wake up in a battle stance against my imaginary attackers, only to find my cat staring at me like she desperately wanted a new owner. Nightmares are one thing, but these were so lifelike, it took me a while to separate the dream from reality after waking. I still recall each sensory detail of those dreams in all their horror.

We spend about six years of our life dreaming and have accumulated much lore about what those dreams mean, but scientists who focus on oneirology—the study of dreams—still know very little about the actual process of dreaming. We do know that they arise from Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, in which the brain is as active as it is when the body is awake. Sometimes these dreams are extremely vivid, so much so that the dreamer often has trouble understanding that he or she is not actually awake.

Vivid dreams can be either pleasant or frightening. They have a variety of potential causes, from deeper systematic woes to simpler dietary hiccups. Provided they are not associated with any adverse health effects, vivid dreams can be a tool for achieving more lucid dreams and increased awareness while dreaming.

You Should See Your Doctor If …
You notice symptoms of bipolar disorder or diabetes, since both of these conditions may cause vivid dreaming. Both interrupt REM sleep and therefore affect the body’s ability to separate dreams from waking perceptions. The same effect can occur from taking depression medication, sleep medication, and some over-the-counter drugs. If you notice a recent development of abnormal dreaming associated with a change in your health, it is a good idea to see your doctor to rule out any of these possibilities.

Expecting More Than Work Tomorrow?
Many pregnant women experience vivid dreams, both pleasant and disturbing. Researchers have concluded that these dreams are a way for expectant mothers to prepare for the huge life changes that will accompany their child’s birth. Women have reported dreams of cutting their stomachs open to pull the baby out before it comes to term, delivering deformed children or beasts, or being caught unprepared for motherhood once their babies are born. There is no reason to believe these dreams are prophetic or in any way based in reality. They are simply the result of hormonal changes and the need to discharge fears surrounding the anticipated event of birth. It may be helpful to speak to a support group of other pregnant women, mothers, your partner, or a therapist about these fears, but they are completely normal.
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