Sleep & Dreams

Dream1What really happens when we go to sleep, and what our dreams tell us

WE'RE ALL FASCINATED BY OUR DREAMS, but most of us don't have a clue what they mean. And the rest of us can't even remember what we dreamt about. Well, consider this: Experts say that keeping a closer eye on your dreams can actually help you improve your life. "Every night when you dream, your subconsciously assess what's going on in your life," says Gayle Delaney, PhD, author of In Your Dreams. "And if you pay attention, you can use it as a way to solve problems." Here's how to decipher your dreams, use them to your advantage, and understand why you have them in the first place.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE GO TO SLEEP
In the first 90 minutes of sleep, you go through deepening stages-ranging from light sleep to deep sleep. Upon entering REM sleep, your heart rate and breathing become irregular, your eyes move rapidly and your brain activity rises toward the same level as when you're awake. That's when you do about 80 percent of your active dreaming-and when dreams are most vivid. You'll go through this sleep cycle three to five times during the night, spending more time in REM sleep with each one until you wake up in the morning.

Read more: Dreams-What realy happens when we sleep