Understanding Dreams

Essay by Lissa166High School, 12th gradeA+, November 2004

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The subconscious is usually the right side of the brain or the opposite side of the persons writing hand. Within the subconscious lie different types of things such as suppressed emotions, creativity, and basic human instinct (Ullman and Zimmerman 1979). The conscious part of the mind works when people are awake and is the part of the mind that handles things that people can understand. No one truly knows why a person can't interact with the subconscious while awake, however studies show that dreams are a way in which people can better comprehend its behavior. The condition of the body during dreaming is interesting because the brain shuts off all sensory receptors thus, canceling all somatic impulses (Ullman and Zimmerman 1979). This puts the body in an almost paraplegic state. The brain however continues to control all autonomic functions such as blood flow, heart pulsation, and lung inflation. During the sleep, homeostasis will fluctuate because sleep occurs on four stages (Davidmann, 1998).

The individual goes from awake to stage 1, then to 2, 3, and finally 4, the deepest stage of sleep. After spending about twenty minutes in stage 4, they return to stage 1 and progress back to stage 4. The individual will continue to make these cycles throughout their sleep. Most individuals will experience about 4 to 5 cycles a night (Davidmann, 1998). This is why humans are more apt to wake up at specific times in the night and not sporadically (most people do not notice this however). During stage 1 the individual will experience what has been named REM (Rapid Eye Movement), I will make further elaboration on REM momentarily. For now I would like to point out that during REM the body will show more signs of consciousness by spontaneous muscle contractions, flagellate excretion, and...