We spend around one third of our lives sleeping. Among other things, sleep gives us a chance to have dreams, apparently around four of them each night. We forget most of them upon waking. Through dreams, our brains process all the information, memories and unconscious cues we pick up during the day. Sometimes they get interpreted into weird narratives that make no sense to our conscious minds, but link up perfectly in our grey matter.

If you think dreams are mysterious, here are a few facts that will add more depth to their mystery.

  • Dreams inspire and evoke creativity. Apparently Paul McCartney woke up with the tune for The Beatles’ ‘Yesterday’ in his head, and John Lennon wrote his song ‘#9 Dream’ based on a dream he had.
  • Eating different types of cheese before bedtime can influence dreams in different ways. A 2005 study found that cheddar triggered dreams about celebrities and blue cheese triggered dreams that were bizarre.
  • People who watched black and white television in their childhood are more likely to dream in monochrome, according to a study.
  • When we’re experiencing a lucid dream (which means we’re aware that we’re dreaming), we’re sometimes able to participate in the dream or possibly even manipulate an experience in our dream environment. Online gamers who have developed skills in controlling an avatar on-screen could find that these skills translate well in the context of dreams.
  • People can’t snore and dream at the same time.

Evidence indicates that dogs, cats, rats, birds and other animals dream too. A recent study found that rats dream about their desired future, such as how they might go about finding a tasty treat. Zebra finches (a type of bird) aren’t born with song melodies hard-wired into their brains; they learn them and practice them in their sleep, as evidenced by brain activity.

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Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts is founder of Red Rose Consulting; business leader and educator; author and speaker; adviser on marketing, creative thinking and leadership.


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