What Happens When We Sleep?
- Dreams come in many
forms, shapes and sizes. They can be precognitive and deliver
messages of future events. They can be messages from the higher
conscious mind to solve problems, or share spiritual knowledge
and wisdom. To add clarity to an event, or help prepare the conscious
mind for spiritual work.
- When we dream, we are in an altered state of awareness. It's
one of the best times for our higher self, our spirit guides
and unseen teachers to reach out and make contact with our sometimes
"thick" brains for communication. The hard part is
knowing how to interpret a dream. When do you know if it was
just a dream of past or current events and when is it something
- When we lay down for sleep we migrate through 5 phases of
awareness or sleep. These phases progress in a cycle from Alpha
(being awake) to Epsilon (rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep). After
REM the cycle starts over again, beginning with Beta. We spend
almost 50 percent of our total sleep time in Gamma sleep, about
20 percent in REM sleep, and 30 percent in the other phases of
sleep. Babies however spend most of their sleep time in REM.
- William C. Dement, Eugene Aserinsky, Nathaniel Kleitman and
graduate students at the University of Chicago in the 1950s discovered
and documented REM. The discovery was published Sept 4, 1953.
Criteria for REM sleep include not only rapid eye movements,
but also a rapid, low voltage EEG and, in mammals at least, low
muscle tone. Most of the memorable dreams occur in this stage.
- The following is a brief description of these phases of sleep
from the scientific perspective.
- 1. Alpha - the waking state.
- Common to people who are awake and having a frequency of
brain activity in the 8 to 13 Hz range. These are the alpha waves
of the brain.
- 2. Theta - Light sleep state (Stage N1):
- With a frequency of 4 to 7 Hz range. A person moves from
alpha waves to theta waves of the brain. This stage is sometimes
referred to as somnolence, or "drowsy sleep". This
usually occurs when we first lay down and begin to drift in and
out of sleep. This is the time when we can be awakened easily
to light and sound. Our eyes move very slowly and muscle activity
slows. People may wake up during Theta sleep remembering small
fragments of dreams or disassociated images.
- 3. Gamma - Sleeping state: (Stage N2)
- With a frequency of 12 to 16 Hz, it is characterized by "sleep
spindles" and "K-complexes." During this stage,
muscular activity is measured by electromyography (EMG). The
EMG lowers and conscious awareness of the external environment
disappears. This stage occupies 45 to 55% of total sleep. In
this phase our eye movements stop and our brain waves become
slower, with occasional bursts of rapid waves called sleep spindles.
- 4. Delta - Deep Sleep: (Stage N3)
- With a frequency of 0.5 to 4 Hz, this state produces Delta
waves of the brain. This is considered part of deep or slow-wave
sleep (SWS) and appears to function primarily as a transition
into stage N4. This is the stage in which night terrors, bed
wetting, sleepwalking and sleep-talking occur.
- Here the brain becomes extremely slow. During this phase
brain waves called delta waves begin to appear, interspersed
with smaller and faster waves. It is very difficult to wake someone
up during this phase. Up to this point there is no eye movement
or muscle activity. If you awaken during the Gamma or Delta phase
you often feel groggy and confused for a few moments.
- 5. Epsilon - REM Sleep (Stage N4)
- Epsilon sleep is just a deeper progression of Delta sleep
and continues to produce Delta waves within the brain. We slowly
progress through delta sleep to reach the deepest state of sleep,
REM sleep. When we move into REM sleep, our breathing becomes
more rapid, irregular, and shallow, our eyes jerk rapidly in
various directions, and our limb muscles become temporarily paralyzed.
Our heart rate increases, our blood pressure rises. When people
awaken during REM sleep, they often describe what scientists
refer to as "bizarre and illogical tales".
- According to the Journal of Medicine, "The first REM
sleep period usually occurs about 70 to 90 minutes after we fall
asleep. A complete sleep cycle takes 90 to 110 minutes on average.
The first sleep cycles each night contain relatively short REM
periods and long periods of deep sleep. As the night progresses,
REM sleep periods increase in length while deep sleep decreases.
By morning, people spend nearly all their sleep time in stages
2, 3, and REM."
Importance of Dreams
- Many sleep study programs have documented the effects of
depriving 'dream time' from an individual. Allowing a person
to sleep, but waking them as they enter REM sleep can have disastrous
affects on test subjects. After a 48 hour period, a deprived
subject will begin to show signs of deterioration in their reflects
and responses. Continuing this pattern after 3 or 4 days, causes
the test subject to begin the levels of dreaming seen in Delta
and Epsilon stages of sleep, upon immediately entering Theta
and Gamma sleep. Extending this pattern for longer periods, causes
the test subject to begin hallucinating while awake.
- From a metaphysical perspective, these occurrences are an
indication of the subconscious and super-conscious minds trying
to play "catch up" with the important messages delivered
by these dream phases. When an individual is not allowed to enter
REM, the subconscious mind tries to find other ways to deliver
the dream message.
- From the metaphysical perspective, you have varying types
of visions and dreams during these phases of sleep. Before you
reach REM sleep, your visions or light dreams are a review of
your day just past. What you did, what choices you made and how
they have impacted your spiritual lessons, knowledge and relationships.
REM sleep is astral travel time, what we know as Out
of Body Experiences (OBE). Where you can communicate with
your guides and other souls you interact with during your life,
especially at this time in your life. And the dreams after REM
are a review of your day to come.
- Now the timing, reviewing the day past and the day to come
are just small measurements. You can review several days past,
or even longer depending on the events that occurred months ago
and how they may be affecting your lessons and karma today. And
the same is true for the future.
- Remember everything you do creates an energy pattern. Decisions
you made 3 weeks ago created a pattern that could still be manifesting
today. Things you do today can set into motion events 5 weeks
from today. In dream you can feel and see those patterns from
a super conscious mind perspective and see the probable outcome
of that energy you've already put into motion. These visions
can be messages that you're on the right track, or warnings that
you may have things to do to alter the path and improve the situation.
- During REM sleep when you're traveling on the ethereal plane,
you may review past lives and situations you went through in
the past that are affecting you today. Reviewing decisions, lessons
and patterns to help you make new choices today. These are the
most important dreams you'll have during the night.
- Everyone has the ability to remember the images from this
travel time, but some have a hard time pulling those visual images
back into their alpha state of awareness. If you take an interest
in remembering and working with your dreams, you're likely trigger
that desire in your conscious mind allowing it to be open to
receiving the images and retaining them.
Interpretation. ~ Symbology
- First off, you have to take the dream in the context of your
day. What's happening in your life at the time. The symbology
of the dream will be a means for helping you to understand what
lessons your dealing with or how you should proceed with a current
- Next, you need to determine what images hold what meaning.
All those Dream Interpretation books on your book shelf contain
the interpretation of symbols as they are for the person that
wrote the book. Someone else's idea of what a snake means will
do little for an interpretation of your symbols. You are
the one who's seeing the symbols in the dream, so it's your feeling
or experience with those symbols that hold their meaning.
Here's an example: You and I dream about walking down a path
and a snake crosses in front of us. I associate snakes with healing,
like in the medical symbol. For me the dream might mean I'm on
a path of healing, or a healing will be needed on this path.
As a child you had a bad experience with snakes and you're frightened
by them. So for you, the dream could mean, be cautious on this
path, or taking this path could be dangerous for you. In addition,
the color of the snake might be important, the type of path could
have meaning..was it a dirt road, a small path in the woods or
desert, or was it a paved road. All these little details give
meaning to the entire dream.
Interpretation. ~ People
- People often say "I had a dream about you last night".
When you dream of other people, you are dreaming of a reflection
of yourself, a mirror of you within that person. The symbology
is in the characteristics you would use to describe the person
you're dreaming of.
For instance: you dream of your best friend Judy. Pick 3 things
that describe Judy: caring, overly cautious and always into something.
In the dream Judy was afraid to move forward and jump out of
a burning plane. So the symbolic message might go something like
this. "Currently in your life, there is a great deal of
trial and tribulation. Things feel like they're coming down around
you and although you care about these situations, you're being
overly cautious in how your dealing with them. You need to focus
on one thing at a time in order to move forward through these
- ~ Precognitive Dreams
- Precognitive dreams are just that and you can't mistake them
for symbolic dreams. They are a little more overwhelming and
hold a different energy pattern. When you wake up, you just know
that the experience you've dreamt of will take place. The key
is, what are you going to do with the information. People can
laugh at you if you tell them to watch out for red cars because
you "saw" them have an accident. So let them laugh.
What they do with the information is not your choice and your
mission to tell them was complete. From there on, the responsibility
- Some people have dreams of disasters and don't know who to
tell, for fear of being labeled crazy. If they happen often,
then call a reporter. Tell them you know they won't believe you,
but you just feel as if you have to tell someone. If you continually
tell the same reporter over and over again, sooner or later they're
going to start believing and perhaps there is a way they can
- Can you imagine what might happen in the future if airlines
actually use someone's proven precognitive dreams as a last check
for take off. How many plane crashes could be avoided, and how
many lives could be saved?
- ~ Lucid Dreams
- Lucid dreaming is a method of becoming semi-conscious during
your dreams. Where you can take conscious control of your dreams
and direct them to your desired outcome. This kind of practice
is especially helpful for discovering the underlying issues in
a night mare; or a recurring dream. You can read more about Lucid Dreaming here.
- The best thing to do when you have dreams is to write them
down. The sooner the better. The longer you wait to record a
dream, the more chances you have of forgetting some of the finer
points and details. You can then use this log as a review when
a situation in your life has concluded. This will help you understand
how your sub-conscious mind tries to communicate to your conscious
mind. Through this understanding, you interpretations will become
- You might also think about creating your own Dream Symbology
Encyclopedia. Keep a list of the symbols you see in your dreams
and what they mean to you. In the future when you dream about
one of those symbols, you need go no farther than your own encyclopedia.
- Sources: 1, o2
- Created: 10/5/1996 Updated: