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mental activity associated with the rapid-eye-movement (REM) period of sleep. It is commonly made up of a number of visual images, scenes or thoughts expressed in terms of seeing rather than in those of the other senses or in words. Electroencephalograph studies, measuring the electrical activity of the brain during REM sleep, have shown that young adults dream for 1 1-2 to 2 hours of every 8-hour period of sleep. Infants spend an average of 50% of their sleep in the REM phase (they are believed to dream more often than adults) a figure which decreases steadily with age. During dreams, blood pressure and heart rate increase, and breathing is quickened, but the body is otherwise immobile. Studies have shown that sleepers deprived of dream-sleep are likely to become irritable and lose coordination skills. Unusually frightening dreams are called nightmares, and daydreams are constructed fantasies that occur while the individual is awake. Studies have demonstrated the existence of lucid dreaming, where the individual is aware that he is dreaming and has a degree of control over his dream.

Sigmund FreudFreud, Sigmund
, 1856–1939, Austrian psychiatrist, founder of psychoanalysis. Born in Moravia, he lived most of his life in Vienna, receiving his medical degree from the Univ. of Vienna in 1881.

His medical career began with an apprenticeship (1885–86) under J.
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, in his pioneering work The Interpretation of Dreams (1900, tr. 1913), was one of the first to emphasize dreams as keys to the unconscious. He distinguished the manifest content of dreams—the dream as it is recalled by the individual—from the latent content or the meaning of the dream, which Freud saw in terms of wish fulfillment. C. G. JungJung, Carl Gustav
, 1875–1961, Swiss psychiatrist, founder of analytical psychology. The son of a country pastor, he studied at Basel (1895–1900) and Zürich (M.D., 1902).
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 held that dreams function to reveal the unconscious mind, anticipate future events, and give expression to neglected areas of the dreamer's personality. Another theory, which PET scan studies appear to support, suggests that dreams are a result of electrical energy that stimulates memories located in various regions of the brain.


See J. A. Hobson, The Dreaming Brain (1988); M.-L. von Franz, Dreams (1991).


An involuntary series of visual, auditory, or kinesthetic images, emotions, and thoughts occurring in the mind during sleep or a sleeplike state, which take the form of a sequence of events or of a story, having a feeling of reality but totally lacking a feeling of free will.


a. mental activity, usually in the form of an imagined series of events, occurring during certain phases of sleep
b. (as modifier): a dream sequence
a. a sequence of imaginative thoughts indulged in while awake; daydream; fantasy
b. (as modifier): a dream world
References in periodicals archive ?
Samadhi--State of consciousness independent of waking, dreaming or dreamless sleep accessible through meditation, righteous conduct and Divine grace.
You don't so much 'fall asleep' during these twenty minutes as plummet into a near coma, so deep and dreamless that when you wake, it's in the manner of Basil Fawlty, arms and legs flailing as if somebody's detonated a bomb under your mattress.
I've made peace with the idea of a dreamless sleep where cold is not ice and hot is not hell.
From the dark, dreamless continent of sleep I'd rise and wander through our first floor flat in the two-family house on James Street across the street from Galloway's drugstore.
The muffled sound of Conchita's television, still echoing next door, failed to deprive him of a dreamless, delightful sleep.
It just was, like the nothingness of a dreamless sleep.
Although we may not realize it, we experience our buddha-nature at times when the afflictions are thoroughly disabled, such as between thoughts, in dreamless sleep, at death, and so forth.
We would fall asleep in a short time--a dreamless, wordless sleep in a bed so large it might have been an arctic snowfield (except for the fire between us).
When it grew too hot for dreamless dozing, I picked up my tangle again, and went on ravelling it out, considering now the whole house of war in its structural aspect which was strategy, in its arrangements which were tactics, and in the sentiment to its inhabitants which was psychology; for my personal duty was command, and the commander, like the master architect, was responsible for all.
Song Lines One sea Leads to another (O mirror drunk with salt) Also to that dreamless sleep Where all seas start.
Mummie came into my room at half-past two and woke me out of the dreamless to say that mice had been snootering her.
Finally, with Maria and I both still stroking him, the injection was administered and he slid away into that final dreamless sleep.