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Thetwaves - brainwaves during sleep
THETA WAVES AND JON WINSON
The father of modern dream analysis in not in my opinion Freud, Jung or any other of the likely names in dream analysis. No it is Jonathan Winson - a scientist from the 1960s. He established exactly what the function of dreams are. They link with recent events and thoughts and how we process them. He introduced some unfamiliar words to dream analyzers - the Theta rhythm, the hippocampus, the neocortex.
Many people believe erroneously that humans can record every detail of every moment in their lives. That if you hypnotize someone they can recall every last detail. This is just impractical. Every second hundreds of images are being processed, smells detected, tastes interpreted. So much information would make the brain an unwieldy and unpractical tool.
Jonathan Winson develops the idea that for humans their success is not that they record every last detail but they are very efficient in processing information which is essential for survival.
Animals which are less effective at this tend to process information on the spot. They take sensory information and also the memories that they have and on the spot update their strategies for survival. But this method is time consuming and rather ineffective.
Dreams perform an important function in humans. They help us transfer information from the short term memory to long term memory. This helps us to improve our strategies - we perform better at life. It helps us reflect on what was successful for us and what was not.
Dreams are especially important because this process of sorting information out tends to be done in sleep - its an OFF-LINE process. We store information that is important in short term memory then when we sleep we intensively cram periods of learning into REM sleep. We take information that is relevant to us, information about learning how to perform tasks etc. - then we devise new strategies and this information is then stored in long term memory. Dreams are about our survival strategies
To me this explanation is very valid - for one reason sleep deprivation shows that going without sleep is very harmful. Perhaps this explains that when we are deprived of sleep then we suffer from real confusion. Perhaps the brain is overloaded with short term memories - it continues at the pace it is used to. It continues to collect every last bit of useless information. Yet it is not discarding information? So if this process does not take place - if we do not dream then we are very damaged. WE cannot process information. We become confused and indeed after a time start to hallucinate. Dreams then are essential to process data - that data is not processed at any other time.
One thing Winson mentions is that dreams help us improve our survival strategies. Perhaps that needs a little refinement. Any dream analyzer would tell you that dreams are about emotions, but these are a bit wishy washy and unimportant surely as regards survival.
No - dreams perform not just survival strategies but they help us process information about our emotions, tasks that we have learnt, language, and opinions about everything. Man is not just a strict survival machine . Man is rather a social animal - an animal who speaks, thinks, talks, learns, laughs and feels emotion. Dreams help us reformulate our views on most important matters. They edit out old and unused data and add in new data.
We also need to understand that the brain is not just one brain but two. We have two absolutely perfect but very different computers - the conscious and the unconscious mind. They work in very different ways. The conscious takes data and stores it laterally - it builds up a series of blocks and then comes to an answer. But the unconscious works the other way round - it spots a problem and works out what is the cause. It works backwards - seeing the bigger picture. So dreams integrate old data with new data. They also act as a bridge between the conscious and unconscious minds.
So what exactly does this mean? If we know what dreams do and what functions they perform then we know the type of things that cause dreams. Dreams are stuck in the here and now. They are about processing information and transferring the important bits into long term memory. So a dream maybe about a song we heard which emotionally or intellectually we find very important. Or it maybe about some task we are trying to learn and master. Important emotional issues may also be the subject of dreams. We can also have dreams about conversations or events we have scene. Indeed anything that is important and relevant to our long term memories is likely to feature very strongly in dreams. So the best way to learn what a dream is about is to write down all these little things that have stuck in our memories from the day before: Songs, jokes, conversations, little things that have stuck in your memories, emotional issues, and things we are trying to learn. Most dreams will be about things on that list. Its as simple as that!
Precisely the function that the dreams play in sorting out our memories is open to debate. It is certain that thetawaves emerge at night and help sort out our memories. However, is this process directly connected with REM sleep. Some doubt remains there. Some believe that it is in Non-REM sleep that this process takes place. Memories are transferred back and forth between short between the hippocampus and neo - cortex during sleep and gradually our long term memories are updated to take account of new experiences from the day. Such people state that dreams play no real role in this. They maybe play out such newly formed thoughts in our minds in the form of movies. The actions maybe there to stimulate the brain during inactivity. It may also be connected with neural patterns. Thoughts have to be imprinted on our memories and replaying emotions maybe the brains way of pushing new thoughts to the front of our minds
But I believe that Winson does prove the vital connection between REM sleep and our emotions, our learning, our general survival techniques.
LINKS TO RELATED WEBPAGES
NEURAL NETWORKS : Understand how dream symbols are linked to neural networks. CLICK HERE
WHY INTERPRET DREAMS : Is it possible to truely interpret a dream? Should we base important decisions on dream interpretations?CLICK HERE
How to understand dreams : Understand how dreams link to the conceptual mind. Guess the issues which have given rise to your dream by writing down quotes which Capture the essence of what you feel on a given topic. If dreams link to the generation of ideas and conceptual emotions its simple. Write them down. You may not understand the link between your dreams symbols but surely it will capture your feelings. CLICK HERE
How to understand dreams : Learn how to interpret and analyse dreams. See how conceptual feelings are translated into dream symbols. CLICK HERE
Examples of real dreams: A collection of several dreams containing one dream symbol(in this case snakes). See how real dreams can link to reality.CLICK HERE
An essay on dream symbolism : A huge study of dreams condensed into one page. Many snake dreams have been studied and felt to be understood properly. Each quote shows how a the snake dream relates to real life emotions. It could represent jealousy or a complaint made against you. Many different possible meanings are explored.CLICK HERE
A study of nightmares: This article takes many dreams which have been researched and believed to be understood. Therefor by reducing a dream interpretation to a quote we can start to build up our knowledge of what triggers nightmares.CLICK HERE
Frequently asked questions: An article explaining some frequently asked questions. Answers some crucial questions linked to this websites approach to dreams.CLICK HERE