Do Dreams Reveal Our Unconscious Thoughts?

Aleksa, Qamaria, Adam, and Nevethana

Introduction

This page discusses whether dreams reveal our unconscious thoughts or if they are just irrelevant. It will inform the researcher about the history of dreams and the relation of dreams to the unconscious mind. This page will also discuss the possibility of dreams having a deeper meaning to them and how to interpret them if so. There will be a number of case studies and experimental research done on sleepwalking and dreams and what goes on in the mind during them. This page informs researchers on the effects of not having enough sleep in your system and what it will do to your body.

The Unconscious Mind

The biology of our unconscious mind contains our basic instincts: eros and thanatosh. These are the respective names for the primitive urges for sex and aggression. While we are fully aware of what is going on in our conscious mind, the information stored in the unconscious mind is mostly unattainable. Psychologist Sigmund Freud believed that dreams and slips of the tongue, now popularly known as “Fredudian slips,” reveal ones pre-conscious and unconscious mind. A well-known example of such a ‘slip of the tongue’ is when a British Member of Parliament referred to a colleague with whom he was irritated with, as 'the honourable member from Hell' instead of from Hull. (McLeod, 2009)

McLeod, S. (2009, January 1). Unconscious Mind. Retrieved April 14, 2015, from http://www.simplypsychology.org/unconscious-mind.html

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“The Unconscious Mind” by John A. Bargh and Ezequiel Morsella, members of the psychology department at Yale University, defines the term “unconscious mind” along with providing readers with theories that have been formed around it. Further, they contrast it with recent findings. Most psychological scientists view the theory of or the concept of the “unconscious mind,” as the shadow of a “real” conscious mind. Although, there is now extensive research that indicates that the unconscious is not “identifiably less complex, controlling, deliberative, or action-oriented than is its counterpart.” (Bargh, and Morsella) The stigma that surrounds this idea is due to the operational definition within cognitive psychology that associates the unconscious mind with subliminal. Bargh and Morsella reviewed the evidence that challenges the restricted view of the unconscious mind that has emerged from contemporary social cognition research. This contemporary research has established the existence of a variety of independent unconscious behavioural guidance systems (perceptual, evaluative, and motivational). Taking on this perspective, it is concluded, “in both phylogeny and ontogeny, actions of an unconscious mind precede the arrival of a conscious mind.”

Bargh, J., & Morsella, E. (n.d.). Association for Psychological Science. The Unconscious Mind.

The textbook of Psychoanalysis (second edition), by Glen Gabbard, Bonnie Litowitz, and Paul Williams, discusses the concept of the unconscious mental processes. It touches upon Freud and his original work on the elucidation, description, and clinical correlations of unconscious processes. Freud made entirely new observations and inferences based on his development on the use of free association and focused mainly on the nature of the unconscious conflict. The article then discusses the unconscious processes, which were first observed in clinical disorders. These processes proved to be similar to those exhibited in dreams, where the dream work “creates compromise formations between instinctual drives and the censorship exerted by the ego and the superego.” (Anton, 2012) To account for some of the workings of the mind, Freud inferred systems of mental life; primary and secondary processes, along with regulatory principles; please principle, reality principle, and repetition compulsion. Authors Gabbard, Litowitz, and Williams then argue that y and experience. They play a large role in clinical psychoanalytic work. “Psychic reality, the patient's unconscious reality, is a crucial subject of interest.” (PsycINFO Database Record, 2014)

Gabbard, G., Litowitz, B., & Williams, P. (2012). Textbook of Psychoanalysis (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Pub.

Author of “The Power of Your Subconscious Mind,” Joseph Murphy, defined the conscious mind as the “rational level” and the unconscious mind as the “irrational level.” In his third chapter, How Your Own Mind Works, he divides the content amongst several sub-chapters: “Conscious and subconscious terms differentiated,” Experiments by psychologists,” “The terms objective and subjective clarified,” and “The subconscious mind cannot reason like your conscious mind.“ In the first subtopic, Murphy compares and contrasts the conscious mind with the reasoning mind. He writes that the reasoning mind makes decisions; meanwhile the unconscious mind “accepts what is impressed upon it or what you consciously believe.” (Murphy, 2012) It does not argue with you nor does it reason with you like your conscious mind does. When one is not making any conscious decisions or forming thoughts, your body is still functioning. This means that breathing, circulation and digesting food is all subconscious, experiments and research that have been conducted. The results of said experiments clearly portrayed the difference between the conscious reasoning mind and the subconscious that showed to believe anything that the conscious mind believes to be true. As the chapter progresses he clarifies more terminology: the conscious mind is sometimes referred to as the “objective mind” because it deals with outward objects, it observes your physical environment and uses all of your senses. The subconscious mind is often referred to as the “subjective mind.” Murphy states that the subjective mind “is the seat f your emotion and the storehouse of memory. Your subjective mind performs its highest functions when your objective senses are in abeyance.”

Murphy, J. (1963). How Your Own Mind Works. In The power of your subconscious mind. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall.

Freud and Jung

The theories formed by famous psychologists Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung are the foundation of how we view dreams today. Having a very close relationship created through mutual respect and psychological intrigue Freud and Jung were very good friends. Freud even referred to Jung as his "heir". Yet despite this the relationship was eventually concluded as both psychologists began to view the topic of dreams and it's relation to the unconscious mind differently.
The founder of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) is one of the most influential psychologists of the twentieth century. Renowned for his approach towards treating patients, Freud allowed his patients to talk freely and express their feelings openly. Freud formulated the idea of the psyche and it’s three parts (id, ego, superego) and was the first psychologist to begin research on the unconscious mind.
Freud believed that a person’s unconscious expressed itself through ones dreams. In fact, he considered dreams to be “the royal road of the unconscious”. According to Freud, the ego’s defenses lowered during an unconscious state allowing repressed memories and feelings to resurface in a somewhat distorted form.
After he himself had an eye-opening dream, Freud discerned that the major function of dreams is wish fulfillment. Freud distinguished a dream in two parts, manifest content and latent content. Manifest content is what the patient remembers, usually influence by the events that occurred during the day before the dream. Latent content is the symbolic meaning of the dream (the underlying wish). The underlying wish is translated into the manifest content by the process of dream-works.
Dream-works transforms the repressed wish into a nonthreatening form that does not conflict with the Ego’s defense mechanisms (for more information on Freudian defense mechanisms please see Chapter 4.4 of Mind by Andre Kukla) allowing sleep to be uninterrupted. Contained within the process of dream-works are the concepts condensation, displacement, and secondary elaboration. Condensation, displacement and secondary elaboration distorts the latent content of a dream into altered concepts in the manifest content.
Condensation: Joining two or more ideas/images into one idea/image.
Displacement: The transformation of a specific person or object into something/someone else. (The process of displacement in dreams is different from the displacement defense mechanism. It entails a aesthetic transformation rather than a shift in emotion.)
Secondary Elaboration: How dream-works strings together ones unconscious wishes into a believable, logical order of events. Secondary elaboration further blurs the line between manifest content and latent content.

Source:McLeod, S. (n.d.). Sigmund Freud's Theories. Retrieved April 14, 2015, from http://www.simplypsychology.org/Sigmund-Freud.html

To understand Sigmund Freud’s ideas on the importance of dreams in more depth please see the link below. The link will take you to part 1 of a 4 part video series explaining in detail Freud’s first book on the topic, "The Interpretation of Dreams".

Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams part 1-4: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lig53eW2ptg

Carl Jung (1875-1960), Sigmund Freud’s protégé, believed that Freud’s theory of the unconscious was incomplete and pessimistic (as many of his theories were). Jung’s theories of dreams and Freud’s theories often conflicted which each other. Freud believed that the unconscious was merely a place to store repressed feelings and desires. Jung agreed with this statement, referring to it as the personal conscious. However, Jung believed in another form of the unconscious, one that he called the collective unconscious.
The collective unconscious is distinct from the personal conscious as it is connected to all people and humanity as a whole. The personal unconscious varies from person to person (it is personal) while the collective unconscious is universal. Jung believed that inside the collective conscious held universal images and symbols called archetypes. Jung believed that dreams gave insight into both a patient’s personal unconscious as well as their collective unconscious.

Source: Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. (n.d.). Retrieved April 14, 2015, from http://historacle.org/freud_jung.html

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While Freud interpreted dreams on an objective level, relating to the dreamers real life (people, situations etc.) Jung believed that dreams also contained a subject level. Dreams reveal, symbolically, features of the psychological life or the psychological transformations of the individual. In this way dreams indicate changes to the development of the individuation process. The individuation process integrates our conscious and unconscious lives using dreams to allow the mind to function smoothly.
For example, if a person were to have a dream of their mother, subjectively, it is not the evocation of the person’s mother; it is the symbolic representation of the anima, the feminine side of the psyche. A mother could also be a representation of basic biological nature.
Another of the contrary theory between Freud and Jung, Freud’s approach to dreams were retrospective while Jung took a prospective approach. Freud’s approach refers mainly to past events (such as a patients childhood) to interpret dreams. Jung’s prospective approach treats dreams like “a map of dreamers future psychological evolution towards a more balanced relationship between his ego and the Self.” (Dream Interpretation at Jung)

Source: Dream Interpretation at Jung. (n.d.). Retrieved April 14, 2015, from http://www.carl-jung.net/dreams.html

Jung’s prospective approach is compatible with Freud’s free association method however, Jung adds to the method of amplification. Amplification and free association differ as free association is sought after and does not always directly associate with the dream itself. Amplification is the precise expression of a dream and attempts to uncover what elements the dreamer has formed the dream around. One of Jung’s favourite questions using the method of amplification was “Suppose I had no idea what the word (the word refers to the specific dream object in question) meant, describe the thing to me in such a way I cannot fail to understand what it is” (The Amplification Method)

Source: The Amplification Method. (n.d.). Retrieved April 14, 2015, from http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/the-amplification-method/

Dream Meanings and Interpretations

Do dreams have meaning?

Author M. Rajamanickam, wrote in his book Experimental Psychology With Advanced Experiments, about different dream theories. Rajamanickam discusses Calvin Hall’s theory that dreams are expressive in nature. According to Hall, a person’s dreams are based off of the problems in their lives and in the dream; they are imagining solutions to those problems. In the dreams, a real object may appear as something symbolic. This is thought to be more symbolic than seeing an image of a real object in a dream. Studies done by Halls and Van de Castle show that dreams do not explicitly reveal their meanings. Dreams are always symbolic and cannot be looked at in a logical sense. Halls and Van de Castle mention that some people forget their dreams, and some people claim they don’t dream at all, which is not true. In a case like this, people claim they don’t dream when really, they do, they just forget everything they’ve dreamt about. Every normal person dreams every night during his or her sleep.

Rajamanickam, M. (2004). Experimental Study of Dreams. In Experimental psychology with advanced experiments (Vol. 1, p. 332). New Delhi: Concept Pub.

In the first chapter of Sigmund Freud’s book, Psychology Of Dreams, before answering the question of whether or not dreams have meaning, he primarily looked at the possibility of the dream having any subliminal significance. Secondly he looked at the likelihood of the dream having any meaning, and if it made any sense. According to Freud, many philosophers consider that the basis of the dream life is when the subconscious activity is at an unusual state that they celebrate because they believe its some kind of elevation to a higher state. Freud quotes something that Thomas W. Schubert claims, “The dream is the liberation of the spirit from the pressure of external nature, a detachment of the soul from the fetters of matter.” In this quote, Schubert is explaining how he believes that dreaming is a way of escaping reality and being free to do what you please without the restrictions and pressures of the societies norms. According to medical writers, dreams are not at all a psychical experience. To them it is just science and have no greater meaning behind them. Freud states that the view that dreams have a deeper meaning to them is most popular amongst people. They believe that their dreams, in some way, tell them about their future.

Freud, S. (1920). Dreams Have Meaning. In Dream Psychology; Psychoanalysis For Beginners, (pp. 8-9). New York City, New York: The James A. McCann Company.

Interpreting dreams

In the second chapter of Sigmund Freud book, Interpretation of Dreams, He mentions that he believes that dreams are capable of being interpreted. He says that he doesn’t agree with any dream theories except for the one by Karl Albert Scherner, a German philosopher and psychologist. His theory states that in order to interpret a dream you must first identify the meaning. To do this, he says that you must substitute it with one of the many psychic activities that take place within our mind that we would consider of great importance to us. Freud mentions two methods that could be used when trying to interpret a dream.
The first method would be to look at the dream as a whole and replacing it with alternative more understandable and related content. This is called symbolic dream-interpretations. He gives and example of the biblical Joseph, and his interpretations of the Pharaoh’s dream. His dream of 7 fat cows followed by 7 lean cows that devoured the first 7 was a symbolical substitution for 7 years of starvation in Egypt. The second method he talks about could be described as the cipher method because it treats dreams as some kind of coded message that has to be translated. The example he gives was about a dream that he had about a letter and a funeral. When he referred to a dream-book, he found that the letter meant being annoyed, and the funeral translated to an engagement. The only thing remaining was to find a connection to his life. He says that an important fact of dream interpretation is that it’s not to be done the whole dream, but just to a section of it, as if the dream was in a group and just one part of the group needed to be specially analyzed.

Freud, S. (1900). 2. In Interpretation of Dreams (3rd ed., pp. 83-86). The Macmillan Company.

The Consequences of Sleep Deprivation

Sleep encompasses around one third of everyday life and is essential to function normally. However, what happens when a person doesn’t get enough sleep or any sleep at all? It has been estimated that 20% of adults suffer from insufficient sleep. Lack of sleep is both detrimental to a person’s functionality but also a danger to others. Three areas measured when studying sleep deprivation are motor performance, cognitive performance, and mood.
Motor vehicle crashes related with sleepiness have a similar fatality rate and injury severity level to alcohol-related crashes. The risk of an accident increases when a person does not get a sufficient amount of sleep causing human-error related accidents This occurs due to the effect sleepiness has on the brain. Neural systems, particularly the ones involved in executive function (such as the prefrontal cortex) are susceptible to sleep deprivation. It appears that loss of sleep has an effect on prefrontal cortex related executive attention and working memory abilities. In fact, sleep as well as wakefulness is regulated by a biological clock located in the hypothalamus (the executive center of the brain).
Risk assessment, and other divergent skills responsible for decision-making are effected by sleep deprivation. Other skills effected include: maintaining interest in outcomes, insight, updating strategies based on new information, assimilation of changing information, lateral problem solving ability, innovation, mood appropriate behavior, communication and empirical memory skills.
Almost all forms of sleep deprivation have an effect in negative mood states. Feelings of irritability, anxiety, depression, confusion and loss of vigor are especially vulnerable to insufficient sleep. Fatigue and related mood states are effected by sleep deprivation on a greater scale than its effect on cognitive performance and motor functions.

In the video below, an American college student attempts to go a week without sleep while performing normally in a college environment. As you can see, sleep deprivation affected his productivity and efficiency exponentially as well as his mood. Sleep is a very important factor in life, as important as eating or drinking.

Documentary, No Sleep for a week:

Source: Durmer, J., & Dinges, D. (n.d.). Neurocognitive Consequences of Sleep Deprivation. Retrieved April 14th, 2015, from http://faculty.vet.upenn.edu/uep/user_documents/dfd3.pdf

The Mind and Brain When Sleepwalking

Sleep Walking Case Study

This study asks if sleep disorders explain brutal murder or unexpected suicide. It follows a 59-year-old male named Brian who evidently choked his wife of 40 years to death. Brian claimed he was in a deep sleep and doesn’t recall any of it. Sixteen months later, he appeared in court to face charges of murder. Prior to the jury coming to its verdict, it addressed the question of if Christine Thomas’ death was the fault of her husband or a tragic accident over which he had no control. Brian suffered from parasomnias, a sleep disorder, which symptoms are sleepwalking and night terrors. While asleep, these people have been known to collide into objects, drive, make phone calls, cook meals, all with no recollection of their actions in the morning. In extreme cases of parasomnia subjects pose lethal threats to themselves as well as others, according to Mark Mahowald, director of the Minnesota regional Sleep Disorder Centre and a neurologist at the University of Minnesota. Mark has studied cases in which people ran into traffic while asleep or woke up and realized that they had their wives trapped in a headlock. “Sleepwalking and other parasomnias were long thought to be signs of an unresolved emotional conflict. Freud theorized that sleepwalking represented an attempt to fulfill an unconscious desire.” (Randall, 2013) What Freud would have taken away from Brian’s case, is that his unconscious mind did what his conscious mind prevented him from doing. Advanced technologies have now allowed researchers to have a better understanding of the workings of the brain. These conditions are now viewed as the result of a flaw in the sleep cycle, or a flaw of the brain's functions that allows a person to be unaware of what the body is doing.

Randall, D. (2013, January 2). Dangerous Dreamers. Retrieved April 14, 2015, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/201212/dangerous-dreamers

Experiments and Research on Dreams

A paper written by Carey K. Morewedge and Michael Norton reveal that through 6 studies, they tested the theory of whether people thought the information received from dreams were meaningful. Most people, as Morewedge and Norton predicted, had said that they do believe that dreams reveal hidden truths about themselves. The surveys also revealed how most peoples dreams were more of an influence on them than their actual conscious thoughts. Morewedge and Norton did a study on some students and asked them to imagine one of three scenarios happening the night before a flight. Either the consciously thought about their plane crashing, they dreamt that their plane crashed, or that a real plane crash took lace on the route they planned on taking. People who believed that dreams had a hidden meaning to them were more likely to change their flight plans because of dreaming of a plane crash than an actual plane crash happening on their scheduled route. People who believed otherwise were not as likely to change their plans, but they still felt that the dream would have some sort of influence over them. The results of this study revealed that the students were more prone to changing their travel plans after dreaming of a plane crash. Hearing of a plane crash and dreaming of one caused the same amount of anxiety. The study done by Morewedge and Norton proved that dreams really do have an influence on our actions in reality depending on the relevance it has to our life.

Morewedge, C., & Norton, M. (2009). When Dreaming Is Believing: The (motivated) Interpretation Of Dreams. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 96(2), 249-255 http://careymorewedge.com/papers/dreams2.pdf

In Anna Mancini’s paperback, Your Dreams Can Save Your Life, She talks about how dreams can potentially save your life. Mancini gives multiple examples of people who have sensed the dangers of the environment through their dreams. She gives an example of Adolph Hitler, and how he was saved by his dream. During the Battle of Somme in 1917, Adolph Hitler was only a young corporal. One night he was awakened by petrifying nightmare. He dreamt that he covered in building rubble, dying. He was very pretty shaken up about this so in order to calm himself down, he decided to leave the building he was in to get some fresh air. While he was outside trying to convince himself it was nothing more than a nightmare, moments later, a bomb fell on the building he just came out of, killing all the soldiers in it. In this case, it goes to show that because of his subconscious, he naturally sensed danger and left the premises, saving himself without even realizing. Mancini believes that because he had better communication between his body and subconscious, he had a better survival instinct.

Mancini, A. (2012). Historical examples of people who retained their ability to sense the dangers of their environment. In Your dreams can save your life. Buenos Books America Llc.

Dreams Case Study

This case study follows a now middle-aged female named Barb Sanders. Researchers collected various samples within her dream journal of 3,116 dreams over the span of 20+ years. Barb is an every-day woman who lives an average life. She was interviewed along with various friends of hers for verification on the events that have occurred. “The dreams were coded with the Hall and Van de Castle system of content analysis, this is called a ‘blind analysis.’” (Dumhoff) Blind analyses are crucial in experiments; they prevent researchers from forming biases. The study shows that a large amount of dream content is important people in our lives, and our most significant interests, worries, and fears, and how they are continuous with waking thought. Often this content is shown in the form of worst-case scenarios. “Dreams are dramatizations, or enactments, or our thoughts.” (Dumhoff) After conducting many experiments and interviews with Barb, results showed that her social interaction and activities in the her dreams reveal her inner concerns and walking conceptions in relation to the significant people and interests in her life. Yet some elements of her dreams were not in line with her real life worries, abilities, and walking thoughts, such as her excellent riding and shooting skills. “These elements may reveal the limits of cognitive capabilities during sleep, or they may be the products of figurative thinking. Similarly, the unusual elements in the dream reports, ranging from composite characters to metamorphoses, may define a dimension that goes from the metaphorical to the nonsensical -” so and so wrote/said/yelled/cried. Research on Barb continues today.

Domhoff, W. (n.d.). Barb Sanders: Our best case study to date, and one that can be built upon. Retrieved April 14, 2015, from http://www2.ucsc.edu/dreams/Findings/barb_sanders.html

Sleepwalking (what causes it, what does it reveal about the unconscious mind)

Sleepwalking, also known as somnambulism is a behavior disorder that occurs during a deep sleep state, which leads to walking or acting out complex behaviours while still being asleep. What causes somnambulism? This activity is most commonly seen in childhood and young adults. A person who inherited certain genes also have a higher chance of developing sleepwalking habits. Other causes of sleepwalking include lack of sleep, stress, anxiety, interrupted sleep, medication or the change of a person’s sleeping environment. According to Bruno Dubuc, internal stimulus have the ability to wake the body up while the mind is still asleep. For instance, the need to urinate while in deep sleep can contribute to sleepwalking. Once the body is activated, a person can stand up, walk, open doors and even operate heavy machinery. The moment the brain wakes up and the sleepwalker snaps out of the dreaming state, they will have no conscious awareness of this event. Dreaming is a mental process of thoughts which are conveyed in our subconscious minds. This is a state of mind that stores information a person’s conscious mind cannot process quickly. This information is then stored away until it can be recalled by the conscious mind. This will explain how many people will forget what they have dreamed about the moment they wake up, and during the middle of the day are able to recall that dream. Dreams incorporate many symbols that are kept in our subconscious mind and at many times are synonymous to what we experience in the future, revealing what is to be known.

Dubuc, B. (n.d.). The Different Types of Sleep. Retrieved April 10, 2015, from http://thebrain.mcgill.ca/

What goes on in the mind/brain when dreaming/sleepwalking?

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This figure illustrates all five stages in the sleep cycle

Neuroscience distinguished sleeping in two different forms. One being non rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. During the NREM state, eyes are fixed beneath the lids. REM sleep, being the opposite includes the eyes constantly moving around under the lids. A person who sleepwalks is categorized under non rapid eye movement sleep because at this state, the sleepwalker’s eyes are usually open and focussed on where they are walking to. Owen Flanagan explains in his book, Dreaming Souls: Sleep, Dreams, and the Evolution of the Conscious Mind of the science behind what goes on in the brain when someone is in deep sleep. During the sleep cycle, while a person is in an absolute deep sleep, there are changes happening in their brain. Pulses travel to higher brain regions and when this happens, sleepwalkers are not able to have any recollection of acting out certain behaviours in their sleep.

Flanagan, O. (2000). Dreaming souls sleep, dreams, and the evolution of the conscious mind (p. 13). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

A brief explanation of the differences between each stages in the sleep cycle is given below:

There are four stages to break down what goes in the mind of sleepwalkers. Each stage is increasing into a deeper sleep state as the night progresses.

Stage one is of the non-REM sleep and is when a person lies down and closes their eyes. During this stage, muscles in the legs will start to contract a few times and then begin to relax, where the person will continue to stay asleep. The quick beta waves in the wakefulness stage is replaced by a much slower alpha waves. When these waves change, it portrays the state at which the person is sleeping at and because this is the first stage, stimuli from the outside environment can contribute to a person waking up easily. When a person is awaken from stage one sleep, they’re response tends to be that they have only been sleeping for a few minutes.

Stage two is a state of light sleep where the occurrence of the EEG trace reduces while the amplitude rises. During this state, the theta waves are seen to be disturbed by high-frequency waves called sleep spindles, which only last about two seconds. These sleep spindles are created between both the thalamic and cortical neurons. The difference between stage one and two can be seen by how easy it is for a person to wake up. Due to people spending majority of their hours sleeping in this stage, it takes more effort to wake up a stage 2 sleeper.

Stage three is considered to be a moderate deep sleep. Sleep spindles still appear in the EEG trace and K-complexes occur in this stage as well. Stage three duration can last up to ten minutes and as each stage progress, it becomes more difficult to wake up the person sleeping. Meaning sleepers at stage three will show less response to outside stimuli unless the noise being made occurs near the person.

Stage four is in the non-REM sleep cycle. This is the deepest state which one can be sound asleep in. the brain’s temperature reduces as well with heart rate, breathing and the person’s blood pressure. The duration of this stage can last about thirty to forty minutes and movements of some body parts like arms or legs are possible to move. Somnambulism and other night terrors are only seen in stage four non-REM sleep.

Stage 5, REM sleep. This is the last stage where eyes move rapidly under the lids because dreams will occur in this stage. Other symptoms of this stage is blood pressure will rise as well as heavy breathing. In this stage a person will not be able to feel their body from the neck down. This is so it prevents us from acting out what we dream. The brain erases the information that is seen to be unnecessary while storing all the important new ones. This state will occur within the first seventy to ninety minutes of deep sleep. REM will occur more than once during the entire sleep cycle and is the last state the brain is at before repeating the stages again.

Winson, J. (1990). The Meaning of Dreams. Scientific American, 58-59.

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