Although it sounds strange, there are many people who think that our dreams together are more than just dreams. Sure, they are something we experience while we sleep, but they are in the eyes of some more real than one might expect.
A new study from researchers at Roma Tre University in Italy has published something on the subject recently and it's getting a lot of attention for good reason. This study suggests that our daily lives impact our dreams and that our dreams impact our daily lives. Sure, that may sound simple but it goes much deeper than it seems.
For this study, the researchers working on it analyzed the dreams of many people. In fact, they looked at over 20,000 dreams and, well, the things they found were pretty interesting. By looking into the Dream Bank, these researchers were able to test what is called the "continuity hypothesis." For those unaware, the "continuity hypothesis" in relation to dreams is a hypothesis that suggests that the content of our dreams is largely continuous with "waking dreamer concepts and concerns" according to Psychology Today.
The abstract of this study is as follows and was published in The Royal Society Publishings:
Sleep scientists have shown that dreaming helps people improve their waking life, and they have done so by developing sophisticated content analysis scales. Dream analysis involves time-consuming manual annotation of the text. That is why dream reports have recently been algorithmically mined, and these algorithms focused on identifying emotions. However, in doing so, the researchers have not addressed two main technical challenges: i) how to extract the aspects of dream reports that the research has found important, such as characters and interactions; and ii) how to do it in a principled and literature-informed way. To address these challenges, we designed a tool that automatically scores dream reports by putting to work the widely used dream analysis scale by Hall and Van de Castle. We validated the tool's effectiveness on handwritten dream reports (mean error is 0.24), scored 24,000 reports—far more than any previous study—and tested what sleep scientists call the "continuity hypothesis." on this unprecedented scale: we found supporting evidence that dreams are a continuation of what happens in everyday life. Our results suggest that important aspects of dreams can be quantified, making it possible to build technologies that bridge real life and dreams.
Through this research, it was noted that dream reports seem to contain statistical markers that reflect things that dreamers likely experienced or went through in the real world/their real lives. It seems that through this we could conclude that there is some kind of continuity between what we see in our dreams and what we go through here in our lives while we are awake. Yes, more research will need to be done to further analyze this, but it is something that we as human beings have thought to be true all along, for the most part.
We often tend to try to analyze our dreams to see what they mean to us and this only further proves why we should somehow be doing exactly that. Don't get me wrong, there are some people who think that dreams are just dreams and nothing more, but they could be so much more. That in itself is something we could one day do. What do you think of these findings?