Dreaming: the brain doesn’t sleep when you do


Clara McKoy

Do specific types of dreams have different meanings? How often do most people remember their dreams? Allen, Leatham and Hayes discuss with McKoy.


McKoy: Hi, I’m Clara McKoy and today I’ll be discussing all things dreams with freshman Andy Allen, sophomore Audrey Leatham, and senior Sevy Hayes.

The concept of dreams is a universal one. But how many individuals know the impacts dreams have on our wellbeing, or what exactly they mean?

The scientific community remains divided over whether dreams have specific meanings or not. Some believe that dreams are entirely spontaneous, while others think that they can determine a considerable amount about a person’s identity. Regardless, extensive research has suggested that dreams play a role in emotional processing and creativity.

According to Matthew Walker, director of UC Berkeley’s Center for Human Sleep Science, dreams during rapid eye movement (or REM) sleep offer emotional resolution to difficult experiences that occur in real life. He described it as overnight therapy and explained that the lack of noradrenaline and activation of the memory and emotional areas of the brain are to thank. Noradrenaline is an anxiety triggering molecule, and the lack of it during REM sleep allows a calmer space for the brain to process emotions and memories.

Additionally, he pointed out that during REM sleep, the conjunction of acquired knowledge with the endless possibilities in an unconscious brain fuels creativity and enables a mindset in the brain which better allows it to problem-solve.

Lauri Quinn Loewenberg, a professional dream analyst, explains that one of the issues with assigning meaning to particular types of dreams is that “dreams and their meanings are so very personal because they are based on the person’s individual life experiences.”
With that being said, let’s dive into some of the dream experiences that Andy, Audrey, and Sevy had to share.

Allen: My name is Andy Allen, I’m in ninth grade and my pronouns are he, him.

McKoy: Do you have any like dream conspiracies or like thoughts about what different types of dreams mean.

Allen: Scary dreams for me happen like about people that I’m like afraid to a certain degree. I mean I don’t have very many fun dreams … when I do it’s, they’re unrealistic. So I feel like all my dreams are more like the creative or paranoid side of me.

Hayes: I don’t know, I remember my mom told me once though that everyone you meet your dream is just another version of you. Which is always something that I think about which is so weird.

Leatham: I think that often they are in relation to things that are happening in your life or like things that are happening in your mind.

McKoy: Have you ever dreamt about something before it happened?

Allen: I guess that kind of makes me think of like, the whole idea of deja vu. And I’ve heard some people when they experienced that they’ll be like, “oh, I have a dream about this”, and it to me, it almost seems like that’s what it’s coming from.

Leatham: When I was like ten maybe with the first hamster I had, um, I like dropped him and he like splatted and died. And there’s this kid that I don’t know anymore, but he was there too. And then, like, last year, my hamster did not splat but I dropped him … very sad. And he died, and – yep.

McKoy: Have you ever had, like reoccurring dreams during your lifetime?

Allen: Yes. Um, so whenever I would sleep at my nanny’s house when I was younger, I would always have the same dream where in the dream I was back at my original house or the house that I lived in, and I was like, chained to the bottom of the steps to the basement and I like a finished basement like it’s not a scary place, and then there would be like these red-eyed wolves that would come. And I would wake up crying and sweating and terrified because they would come and try to, I don’t know what the end result was, but I’ve had that dream probably like, 12 times.

Hayes: I, honestly, it’s not really a nightmare anymore, but it was a nightmare from when I was a kid, where I was being chased by all these little like pirate goblins and a jaguar, on the back of like a golf cart at my family’s cabin. And it is the only dream that like I vividly remember. And I had it a few times and I had the same dream once or twice.

McKoy: And then how often do you remember your dreams?

Hayes: I feel like I usually remember them pretty often. But I definitely remember them like for the first like day and sometimes I’ll forget.

Leatham: I don’t dream very often anymore but I used to dream a lot. And when I, when I’m sleeping in a new place like in a hotel or something. I have very vivid dreams and I often talk in my sleep.

Allen: Recently I haven’t been remembering them at all, but the only time I can actually remember, a dream, probably happens like once every couple months, like, otherwise I remember it. And then, like, an hour later I got to talk about it and it’s gone, I can’t remember it at all.

McKoy: What types of things do you dream about the most often or is it kind of random?

Leatham: Recently, a lot of death, and things that are happening in my life like the day before I got my braces on, I had a dream that I saw myself with braces and I looked really weird but, I don’t know, just things that are happening in my life.

McKoy: Once again, I’m Clara and this has been a discussion about dreams with Andy, Audrey, and Sevy.