Dream Interpretation | The Senses and Dreaming
The subject of ‘Dreaming and Our Senses’ has often been on my mind. Dreams are nothing if not a FULL on sensory overload most of the time… There are those that say our senses turn off while we sleep and while we dream, and yet, I cannot fathom why they would say such a thing.
I have read numerous articles on the subject, some suggesting the theory that only our hearing stays turned on because we need to ‘hear’ if our lives are being threatened or in danger in some way. Perhaps this theory can more easily be explained looking at more primitive times for humans when sleeping could indeed put you in danger (enemies and wild beasts being some of the dangers).
One of the many reasons I’ve been interested in this subject, is from my own quality of sleep and dreams, and the fact that I am a very light sleeper. In fact, I have often wondered if my senses are on even more acutely when trying to sleep, as I also have trouble actually falling asleep sometimes. My inability to fall asleep easily seems to be contributed to the fact that nothing turns ‘off’ in my brain…my hearing remains on high alert and even my eyes sometimes have trouble just…..closing.
My own dreams are full of brightly coloured images, sounds and most definitely involve a sense of feeling things, whether or not I am actually feeling touch, or just in fact remembering how something feels in my waking life is something up for debate still I guess.
How many times have I woken up from a dream with a pounding heart and a half choked scream in my throat, sobbing and full of anguish – my dream-self having just gone through something physically traumatic and seemingly very, very real.
During a recent dream I was a bird like creature of some kind and was regurgitating something awful (not a pleasant experience!), when I awoke suddenly gagging and almost throwing up. That definitely felt real enough, physically, through senses like sound and touch and sight as well as taste I thought…. While it was a disturbing dream to say the least, it does give me a rather solid example for my own case that our senses do not in fact shut off in any way while we sleep. Rather they seem to serve our dreams with purpose, as remembering anything in life is easier when there are senses involved. Since dreams serve to consolidate our memories during dreaming, it would in fact make sense that we need our senses in order to sort through our ‘daily experiences’ while we dream.
Our emotions and our senses are key to figuring out what is important and what is not; what has an emotional impact between that which hasn’t much effect at all.
It’s through our senses that moments in our lives get consolidated into memories in the first place. Think about instances such as your first kiss, the birth of your child or a traumatic accident etc…all of those experiences, those ‘memories’ are solidified in your brain forever, because ALL of your senses and feelings are involved.
The more emotional and sensory orientated your experiences are, the more likely you are to remember them.