Vivid dreams stick around

d8981436ec617bc6351f33556637e958The dreams we have are a succession of images, thoughts or emotions that pass through our minds during sleep. While some dreams are harmless, others evoke feelings of fear, terror, distress or anxiety. These dreams are known as nightmares and usually cause the sleeper to suddenly awaken in a cold sweat with a rapid heartbeat. Whether a dream or a nightmare, any dream vivid enough will awaken the sleeper with experiences of intense feelings. Some people remember their dreams while others do not. Typically I forget about my dreams the second I wake up, but over the last week I’ve had three dreams that stuck with me well after I’d left my bed. These dreams were all different, but shared a highly realistic component. I was immersed in each reality, and even after I’d opened my eyes I still felt like I was living in that reality.

Each dream starred a person who played or currently plays an important role in my life: my boyfriend/future husband, my best friend and childhood best friend/crush. The scenario for each dream was determined based on my relationship with said person and its effect on my past or future. The first dream’s  vividness shocked me into believing it had been a nightmare even though its plot was pleasant. I met my best friend in middle school and our ongoing friendship is built on the adventures we have when we’re together. This dream included three adventures: trying to attend a university fair, tracking down friends at a Chinese restaurant and sitting next to a naked man at Mass. The second dream was a futuristic dream where I got proposed to, married and gave birth to my first son. The intense emotions of pure joy woke me up and made me feel my left hand for my ring, which of course was bare. The third dream involved an elementary school crush who also happened to be one of my best friends – except the dream was set in present day and featured us catching up with each other.

All three of these dreams left me wanting more – more romance, more adventure and more reminiscing. But that’s the downside of vivid dreams: you have to wake up at some point. The biggest mystery is why these unforgettable dreams and nightmares randomly happen. What is the root cause? Everyone dreams, but why do specific dreams spark intense feelings that stick with us long enough for us to regurgitate them to others in full detail? Some googling indicated that stress, new sleep patterns, spicy food before bed, sleep apnea, anxiety or mental disorders can produce vivid dreams. While I don’t know which factor caused my own dreams, as long as I’m not dreaming that I’m trapped in a dark room full of snakes then I’m completely fine if these vivid dreams continue.


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