This Is What Happens To Your Body When You’re Dreaming

By Nick Hadji 11 months ago

1. Muscles stop moving

Image source/ thelist.comAs soon as your body hits the REM stage of sleep your muscles go into a kind of temporary state of paralysation where your muscles do not move. Which, is reassuring to know that we are not capable of acting out our dreams (sleepwalking is another thing entirely of course).Original content sourced from

2. Your body truly relaxes

Image source/ wiki.comYou may think you are relaxed when you are chilling on the sofa or lay on a  beach - but the truth is our body is never fully relaxed because our muscles and body is still working all the time. The only time this actually happens is during sleep when it shuts off and relaxes in order to fully recuperate.

3. The frontal cortex in your brain switches off

Image source/ thebraindoctor.comThe frontal cortex of our brain contains a lot of our rationality. For example, our concept of space and time as well as our logic and reasoning skills. As we all know, dreams often don't make sense and if you've ever been lucky enough to fly in your dreams you'll know there's no rhyme or reason.

4. But your brain remains awake

Image source/ wikipedia.comOur body is pretty much functionless in the night whilst we sleep, apart from of course our eye movement and some muscle twitches. But, the brain continues to think, and to make decisions. Of course, not in the same capacity as it would when it was awake of course.

5. Your memories are used to inspire dreams

Image source/ pinterest.comHave you ever heard the fact that your brain cannot make up a scenario entirely from fiction? Well this is true. And if you're wondering how when lots of strange things can happen - it is because your brain takes different aspects from your life and places them together, including from films.

6. It also helps store memories

Image source/ pinterest.comEven though our memories are not directly played out in dreams. dreaming does help us consolidate and help store our true memories into our brains. This is why sleep and specifically dreaming plays a very important role in our memory and how much we can retain in our brains.

7. ... And it produces real emotion

Image source/ newsdaily.comHow is it that we can feel such raw and intense emotion when we dream, when the scenario has not even happened in reality? Again, this is because it uses our memories and real emotions we have experienced in the past which are recreated in our dreams.

8. You enter the REM stage

Image source/ goodlifefitness.comYou'll have heard of the REM phase of sleep before - it is an acronym for rapid eye movement. This is because our eyes are moving very fast under our eyelids while they are closed. And thinking about how strange this would look if our eyes were open, it is a fortunate thing that they do close.

9. This happens multiple times

Image source/ pinterest.comWe do not enter the rem stage and stay in it, nor do we enter once and then remain out of it. We are actually in the rem phase multiple times per night. According to sleep researchers we enter the rem phase for around 90-100 minutes and this happens around three or four times per night.

10. Your visual cortex is active

Image source/ vision.comIf you think about it, it's pretty crazy that we can see our dreams in extreme detail. They appear as real because we can visually see it happening - and of course it is not actually because our eyes are not open and it is not real. But the visual cortex is active and showing us these images.

11. Your body twitches

Image source/ thelist.comYou are falling asleep, and then... a huge involuntary twitch makes you JUMP awake. Or, even worse you are lying next to someone twitching madly. There's a reason for it. It happens as you enter the dreaming phase and your muscles react as they start to relax.

12. But you are totally unaware

Image source/ blogspot.comOur body may be twitching - but these are random twitches as a result of signals to the brain and as out muscles start to relax. But we are entirely unaware when we sleep. This is why it is often considered our most vulnerable state because we have no control over ourselves in that moment.

13. The brain's stem cells fire up

Image source/ thesource.comThe stem cells in your brain can fire up when you are asleep and start acting erratically, sending signals to your brain. In fact some scientists and researchers believe that this is the reason that we dream - because our brains try and make sense of these signals.

14. You may have non REM dreams

Image source/ twitter.comIt's not always easy to distinguish a rem dream from a non rem dream. But, rem dreams tend to be a little more far fetched and crazy. On the other hand non rem dreams tend to be more mundane - for example, doing your weekly supermarket shop...which is not very entertaining at all.

15. You may forget everything you dreamt about

Image source/ Pinterest.comSometimes dreams are so good that you want to remember to tell everyone about it. But, often we wake up and have no idea what we dreamt. Or, we remember for a few minutes before it seemingly vanishes from our brain. Experts think this could be a coping mechanism to help us distinguish what is reality.

16. Brain waves are slower

Image source/ remsleeper.comAs we enter sleep our brain waves start to slow down - hence why you may feel disorientated or confused if you wake up just before or after you have slept. The brain waves are not entirely slow however, there are bursts of rapid brain waves which happen when you are dreaming.

17. Energy is restored

Image source/ blogspot.comWhile we are in the middle of a dream, our body is restoring its energy which is a vital function to maintain our well being and our health. So dreaming is not pointless, we are remaining in a state of sleep while our body can restore and recuperate its energy levels.

18. Your body heals

Image source/ sceincenewsforstudents.comSleep is essential to the healing and repairing of our bodies. While we are dreaming there is another very important process happening in our bodies. This is that the tissue in our body starts to grow and repair itself. The majority of healing happens when we are asleep - hence why it is so important.

19. Sometimes we have nightmares

Image source/ pinterest.comUnfortunately, sometimes (and sometimes frequently for some people) we get nightmares. Which, if you've ever experienced one and I'm sure we all have, you will know how truly horrible they can be. It is caused by the rem stage, when our brain is active and we start dreaming all sorts of strange things.

20. Our breathing slows down

Image source/ blogspot.comOf course, in sleep we are not using our body and so we do not need to breathe as fast. Our body in a way all slows down and so our breathing does too. This is another way that our body gets to relax in sleep...everything slows down and relaxes. Unless it's a nightmare of course...

21. Your heart rate can increase

Image source/ medicaldaily.comThis is pretty much the opposite as when we are awake - because when we are awake if our breathing increases so does or heart rate. During sleep and dreams however it is the other way around and if our breathing slows down, our heart rate actually increases and so this is in fact common as we sleep and dream.

22. You may be working through emotional stress

Image source/ huffpost.comMany researchers and experts believe that dreams have an important function in allowing us to deal with our emotional distress or trauma. They believe that through dreaming it is a way that the mind and body process things so that our body can deal with negative emotions.

23. You release hormones

Image source/ mediblurb.comAs a part of the natural bodily process which happens when we sleep, we also release hormones. Particularly, growth hormones are released. So while we are dreaming about some weird and wonderful thing, hormones are released to aid our body and our cell growth.

24. We sometimes have lucid dreams

Image source/ Pinterest.comLucid dreaming is when we are dreaming but we are aware of it. when it comes along which for most people is rare, is such a treat. A chance to control our dreams and do thing we would never be able to do in real life - and with absolutely no consequences because it is not real.

25. It can affect your mood

Image source/ moodmedical.comWhen we dream, it can have a powerful affect on us. A good dream can keep us happy for the entire day. And, a bad dream or a nightmare can do the exact opposite. In fact have you ever been in a mood with someone because of how they treated you in a dream? Com on, admit it.

26. Some people sleepwalk

Image source/ motessori.comAs we now know, our body should be in the temporary state of paralysation and so theoretically it should not be able to move - at all. Unfortunately for some people, it does not work this way and they find themselves sleepwalking totally unaware and unable to control themselves.

27. Or experience sleep paralysis

Image source/ healthline.comSleep paralysis is a scary concept because the person experiencing it cannot wake themselves up, even though they have become conscious. And so, for the person with sleep paralysis is it a very scary experience. Not everybody will experience this however, some people are very prone to it.

28. Some people believe dreams prepare us

Image source/ pinterest.comIt is the belief of some dream researchers that dreams are intended to prepare us for every day life. So, they believe that the rem stage of sleep is the last stage because this is before we wake and so our dreams are there to get us ready for the day ahead and prepare us mentally.

29. It may be hard to wake up

Image source/ newsmedical.comAside from the first stage of sleep - in which sleep is very light and things will wake you up quite easily, after that it is very hard to wake up. You are totally unaware of what is going on and may not even hear loud noises or be aware of any of your surroundings.

30. You have deep sleep

Image source/ readersdigest.comDeep sleep is the stage before rem. And of course you can never really know what stage you are at as you sleep because you are not aware. But, if you feel particularly groggy and unable to think straight when y0ou wake up - it is likely you were woken from deep sleep.

31. REM Sleep Produces The Most Vivid Dreams

Image Source / Medical News TodayWhen you're in a REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, this is the deepest kind of sleep you can get to, and it's also when you're more likely to have the most vivid dreams. REM sleep happens in short periods throughout your night's sleep, so you may even have more than one vivid dream.

32. Morning Is Better For Dreams

Image Source / The Express TribuneDo you ever fall back asleep after your alarm and have a really vivid dream, one that was longer and had a bigger plot that what you could remember during the night? That's because longer dreams happen during the morning hours rather than during the night.

33. You're More Likely To Remember Dreams On Weekends

Image Source / HuffPost UKWhen you're having a lying in, or maybe setting that alarm for a little later, you're more likely to remember your dreams. This is because you're more likely to have more REM episodes, and longer REM episodes, allowing you to dream that little bit more.

34. We Dream Mostly In Pictures

Image Source / YOU MagazineWhen it comes to dreams, a series of pictures is most common. The majority of dreams will be mainly visual (which makes sense, in your mind's eye) with pictures taking precedence over sound or movement. When you remember a dream, you're more likely to remember the specific picture you saw.

35. Recurring Dreams Actually Have Ongoing Themes

Image Source / Dreams - Wordpress.comIt makes sense for a recurring dream to also have a recurring theme, but there are themes which are also specific to recurring dreams, and these mostly relate to a sense of threat or something that would worry you. In children, this is most likely to be being chased by a monster or falling.

36. Some People Dream In Black And White

Image Source / PixpaHave you ever dreamed in black and white? Or are all your dreams vivid colour? Some people actually do dream in black and white - around 12 percent, in fact. So if you do dream in black and white and thought this was normal, congrats - you're in a very small percentage of rare people!

37. Dreams Are So Strange Because The 'Make Sense' Part Of Your Brain Turns Off During Sleep

Image Source / WikipediaWhen it comes to dreaming, all rational thought goes out the window. That's why dreams can be so darn weird a lot of the time. The part of your brain that's responsible for making sense of information actually shuts down during dreaming. So it's more likely nothing is going to make sense.

38. Your Daily Routine Could Be Setting Up The Plot For Your Dreams

Image Source / The SpruceWhat happens throughout your day, or even the previous day, alongside your thoughts about what happens during this time are all likely to be the subject of your dreams. Granted, they might be a weird and warped version of what happened in your day, but still.

39. You're Most Likely To Dream About Faces You've Already Seen

Image Source / EL PAIS in EnglishThis could be people you know well, such as family and friends, or it could even be that random person you saw on a TV advert for 5 seconds once. Your dreams are most likely to have the faces of people you've already seen, at some point in your life.

40. Less Stress = Happier Dreaming

Image Source / Verywell MindIt may go without saying, as we all know those horrible anxiety-ridden dreams we might get when we're really stressed in our daily life. But it's true that if you're feeling more at ease and not really worrying about anything in your daily life, then happy dreams are much more likely.

41. Sex Dreams Aren't Actually That Common

Image Source / HealthlineIn the land of your subconscious and where dreams and fantasies can be played out, you'd think sex dreams were more common than they actually are. But only around 4 percent of people actually have sex dreams.

42. What Happens To A Man's Body During A Sex Dream?

Image Source / Medical News TodayIt's actually the case that 'morning wood' doesn't really have anything to do with whether a man has had a sex dream or not. Something called 'nocturnal penile tumescence' actually causes erections during a man's sleep, and is not actually stimulated by the dream he's having.

43. What Happens To A Woman's Body During A Sex Dream?

Image Source / Refinery29Women can have 'wet dreams', too, and what happens to a woman's body during sleep if this is the particular dream topic is she can actually release vaginal discharge (in the same way as being aroused) and even orgasm during sleep, if the dream is stimulating enough!

44. Sleeping Face Down Can Actually Affect What You Dream About

Image Source / Philadelphia InquirerSleeping facedown can actually make it more likely that you'll have a sex dream, but that's not all it can encourage. If you sleep on your stomach, you might be more likely to dream about being unable to breathe, being naked, being locked up or swimming.

45. Sleep Sex - Like Sleep Walking - Is Actually A Real Thing

Image Source / Medpage TodayJust another amazing (and weird) thing your body can do while you're asleep is actually have sex. Just like sleep walking, your body can move to engage in sexual behaviour, even full intercourse. It's a condition called sexsomnia.

46. Nightmares Are More Likely To Happen At A Certain Time Of Night

Image Source / PsyPostNightmares are actually set up to occur at a certain time of night - and if you have them frequently, they're more likely to happen at the same sort of time, every time. Nightmares are most common in the last third of the night's sleep cycle. Which is probably why a lot of people wake up from a nightmare at the 'witching hour' of 3am. Creepy.

47. 'Grief Dreams' Are A Thing

Image Source / NBC NewsGrief dreams are when you dream about loved ones who have passed on. They're also more common during the holiday season, at a time when you're meeting up with family and friends, and also at a time when you're more reminded of their absence.

48. Nightmares Are More Likely If Your Metabolism Is Increased

Image Source / WikipediaThere's a saying that if you eat cheese before bed it can give you nightmares - which is true, but only because it's more about eating late, no matter what the food item. If you eat too close to bed time, your metabolism increases and makes your brain and body more 'switched on' - which can then make nightmares more likely.

49. Recurring Nightmares Could Actually Be A Recognised Disorder

Image Source / Consequence of SoundIf you have nightmares regularly, it's not as simple as 'oh it was just a bad dream, you'll be fine'. If your nightmares are so bad that you're constantly distressed and even find it hard to function properly, you might have a condition known as nightmare disorder.

50. Nobody Actually Knows Why We Dream

Image Source / Behavioral ScientistDreams are fascinating, but the most fascinating thing of all can be that nobody actually knows why we dream. Even the biggest and brightest of the world haven't been able to figure out why you have stupid dreams about losing your underwear or your teeth falling out. Why do our brains feel the need to play out a movie every night? That's the question.