Your Dreams Can Indicate How Healthy Your Sleep Is

It is generally accepted now that sound sleep goes a long way towards good overall health. Recently, scientists have tried to look into one particular side of sleep – dreams. So how often do you tend to dream during your sleep?

Dr. Rubin Naiman from the University of Arizona claims that the answer to this question can tell a lot about the quality of your sleep and the risks of developing mental and physical health conditions in the future. Being a sleep scientist, Dr. Naiman studied the frequency of dreams different people have, and came to a conclusion that a small number of dreams are usually a sign of poor quality of sleep, which in the end may result in many health problems.

The theory behind this conclusion is that dreams occur during so-called Rapid Eye Movement sleep, or simply REM. This is a phase of deep sleep that is also characterized by specific brain activity that scientists don’t fully understand yet. What many experts agree on, though, is that REM plays an important role in the way how the brain restores itself during sleep. So, a small number of dreams imply that you don’t have enough REM and, as a result, your body doesn’t get proper rest during the night no matter how sound your sleep may seem to you.

According to Dr. Naiman’s research, just a few decades ago people tended to dream more often than today. The reason for this is likely to be those drastic changes in the contemporary lifestyle in general. People now work more than previously and, what is important, a lot more jobs nowadays involve brainwork and mental action. Anxiety and depression have become very common among people, and the conditions are proved to seriously affect night sleep among other things.

Be that as it may, even if you dream very seldom, you’re not alone.  A survey has revealed that about 32 per cent of people have no more than one dream per month.

There is hope, however, for those who dream rarely. First of all, not all scientists agree that REM sleep has such a crucial role. Patrick Fuller, a neurologist who specializes in sleep research, says that there has been too little research done to claim for sure that REM necessarily has such a big impact on the quality of sleep. It seems to play a role in certain aspects of memory; however, Fuller says, there are individuals who have very little (or no at all) REM sleep and they seem to function quite well.

Secondly, there is a theory that we all have approximately the same number of dreams. For some reason, though, some people remember them when they wake up and some don’t.