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A high school athlete can dream of advancing their career to college, or even professionally. A filthy rich man can dream he is poor and living in the slums. Author Naomi Epel believes that "Your unconscious knows things your conscious doesn't. It can be an alley with new insights" (Von Kreisler 143).

According to recent research, most dreams have been described as distorted reflections of our daily lives. They do not necessarily have to be symbolic pictures or unconscious wishes, as Freud believed, or random images caused by brain signals. Experts now believe that dreams are so closely related to our waking lives that we can use them to help organize and work out inner conflicts (Von Keisler 141). A Harvard neuroscientist, Robert Stickgold, Ph.D. and his colleague J. Allen Hobson, M.D. have created a new model of dreaming. Numerous sections of the brain aid in dreaming, but they have concluded that it is a bottom-up process which is triggered by a region called the pontine brain stem, or pons. These pons, referred to as FTG's, or gigantocellular field of the tegmentum, begin to aid in the dreaming process when the brain goes into REM sleep. REM is referred to as rapid eye movement ("How to Build...").

In order for people to dream, they must be in a period of rest which they lose awareness of their surroundings. This is more commonly known as sleep. Once a person has fallen asleep, they will enter into the first of five stages of sleep. Stages one through four are usually termed as non-REM sleep with stages three and four also being referred to as delta sleep, due to the evidence of low frequency brain waves. It is said that non-REM sleep makes up about 80% of sleep and REM sleep makes up the remaining 20%. Stage one lasts around seven minutes. This stage is a time when the brain produces alpha waves as we are going from being awake to sleep (Dream Talk). Stages two through four are periods in which the dreamer falls deeper and deeper into sleep. Declining during this time are the dreamer's muscle tension, heart rate, respiration, and body temperature. Stage four is the deepest stage of sleep and this is where sleepwalking and night terror occur in children. Neither of these occurrences are remembered. The fifth stage is the REM sleep and this occurs approximately an hour and a half from the time you fall asleep. The REM stage is also referred to as Paradoxical Sleep because the body is in a state of physiological arousal. In this stage, the brain is highly active and this causes REM (Dream Talk). According to Robert Stickgold, Ph.D., "The mind becomes clinically insane for two hours every night. We hallucinate wildly, see and hear things that aren't there. We become delusional" ("How to Build..."). The brain will also produce fast frequency, low amplitude beta that are normally produced when a person is awake. Since the waves produced during sleep are identical to those while you are fully awake, your heart rate, oxygen consumption, breathing, and eye movement are also identical. The only thing that is affected is the muscle tension in the neck and limbs. Throughout an eight hour night, the mind will cycle through the five stages between five and six times. The pattern would look like this: Stage 1...Stage 2...Stage 3...Stage 4...Stage 3...Stage 2...Stage 5 (REM)...Stage 2...Stage 3...Stage 4...Stage 3...Stage 2...Stage 5 (REM)...etc. It has been reported in sleep studies, that 80% of people awakened from REM sleep were dreaming (Dream Talk).

What determines the content of your dreams? According to Dr. Stickgold, all dreams are given, or assigned an emotion. This emotion has to be established before the dream can develop a plot, characters, or a setting. Those signals reach one of the brain's emotional centers which "chooses" a mood or emotion. It is not yet known exactly how the ...

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Keywords: dreamstudio, dreamstime, dreams and nightmares case, dreams meaning, dreamscape, dreams come true, dreams face, dreamseller

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