How many times a night do people dream? It's a common question with an answer that involves how long a person sleeps for a sustained period of time and the number of REM (rapid eye movement) cycles.
How Many Times a Night Do People Dream?
Most people dream anywhere from four to seven times per night, with each dream progressively lasting longer as the body remains sleeping. If a person has a particularly striking dream, it may seem like it lasts an hour or more, but the truth is that most dreams are short. What happens is that when a person falls asleep dreaming doesn't start immediately. A person will typically go through a first of a series of sleep cycles.
In the first cycle, it takes anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes for the body to go into a state where a person can start dreaming. The stage of sleep during dreaming is called rapid eye movement or having a REM cycle. During a typical night, an adult will spend 20 to 25 percent of time in a REM cycle, so it's a small, but important component of sleep. Interestingly, during REM sleep a person's mind is just as active as during waking periods, except not all parts of the brain are working. Here are some more things to keep in mind about dreaming:
Length of Dreams
Early in the sleeping cycle, dreams are shorter, lasting an average of only five to ten minutes during the first cycle. The longer a person sleeps, the longer the time spent dreaming, so by the final sleep cycle, they've been dreaming for as long as 30 to 35 minutes. That's why sometimes it's easier to remember dreams in the morning after sleeping late on a weekend. As the REM cycles become longer and more vivid, dreams are more likely to be remembered upon waking.
Dreams Occur Nightly
Most dreams are forgotten by the time waking occurs, but this doesn't mean they didn't happen. Every person dreams nightly, which means that in a week's time the average adult has had 28 to 42 dreams. Each time a dream cycle starts up again, the mind experiences a new dream. This is why it might be hard to remember more than one dream. With so many dreams to remember each none, it's no wonder most people can only remember one or two at most.
Reasons for Dreaming
There are certainly some mysteries involved in why people sleep and dream. Nobody knows for sure why we dream and many types of dreams are open to interpretation, but what is known is that sleep is critical to the human body. How many times a night do people dream can depend on the amount of prolonged sleeping time. To make sure the proper amount of sleep and dreamtime are happening, aim for seven to eight hours. During sleep, major organs get a rest and healing occurs, so shut eye every night it important to staying healthy.
Tips for Better Sleep
For a person who is concerned they're not getting enough sleep to experience all of the dream cycles and healing that occurs during sleep, there are a few things that will make a difference. First, if sleep disorders or severe insomnia are problematic, see a specialist. Second, make sure the bedroom and daily habits of the sleeper are conductive to a good night's sleep. Try things like wearing ear plugs, making sure the room is dark enough and keeping the same bedtime and waking times. If sleep problems become an issue, make sure to seek professional help.