Monday, May 13, 2013

Why we study dreams and dreaming.

Dreams have been a fascination in the literature and popular culture since the beginning of time. Though we all dream and may not remember our dreams, research has shown that dreaming plays a very important function. One fact is that dreams are connected to the waking day life of the dreamer, which is known as the continuity hypothesis. Have you had dreams that reflect your own waking life is some way and if so, was this important to you in your waking life?

83 comments:

  1. Recently I have found that my dreams often reflect my waking life in some aspects, especially in regards to being in a new relationship and settling back into working full-time as a pharmacy assistant.
    Since I have been back at work my health has been put on the back-burner, I can work an 8 to 10 hour shift and some days I don't take a break because I fear falling behind. I recently had a dream that I fainted at work behind the pharmacy counter. The dream was so vivid that I can remember exactly where I was standing, what I was doing, and which co-workers were in at the time. This dream was a wake-up call to me as I have no been putting myself or my health first. Because of my dream I have been taking the necessary steps to ensure that I can be successful at work but in a healthy manner.
    Therefore, I thoroughly believe that the Continuity Hypothesis is extremely accurate as I have directly experienced it. My dream clearly reflected my waking life at work, and had a direct impact on how I am choosing to work towards being a healthier person in my waking life.

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    1. Similarly to many other posts I often have a difficult time remembering my dreams. However, there are a few dreams that I do remember. One common and recurring dream for myself involves school work and assignments and can probably be classified as a stress dream. This dream occurs especially around the final exam period. The dream always takes place in the library where I usually study, and the characters reflect those I encounter during my waking life within the school environment. These similarities show evidence for the continuity hypothesis. During the dream I am worrying about not having enough time or days to study for each exam. Ultimately, it feels like I am running out of time. I am rushing to study for one course and move on to the next one. During the night I find myself waking up several times and as I fall back asleep I drift back into the same dream characterized by anxiety and worry. This particular dream does have an effect on my waking life in terms of my studying habits. Due to the anxiety experienced in my dreams I find myself studying harder in order to get the studying done and avoid feelings of anxiety.

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    2. I have definately had dreams in the past that have reflected my waking life to a huge extent. I have had people that I have not seen in a very long time either friends or family that are deceased or far away pop up in my dreams if I have been thinking about them recently. In some cases it has prompted me to reach out and attempt to talk to some of the people I have not seen in a while such as friends from elementary school days. I have also had dreams of people close to me being hurt and I find that the dreams influence how I treat them when I am awake because the dream they were in scared me or made me nervous for a short time. And some other dreams are so completely abstract or abnormal it has no effect on my thoughts while I'm awake. I have found that as I have gotten older I tend to not remember my dreams. As a kid I could tell people about my dreams almost every night and now it is only every so often.

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    3. Hi Amanda!
      I am glad that you considered your dreams in your waking life instead of ignoring them.

      In Korean Culture, when people dream about eating food we interpret the dream as an alarm for sickness in waking life. Also, if people dream about their teeth falling out, we interpret that as a sign of death in your family or close friends. It is interesting to know that we interpret differently then the person whose teeth fell off eating sandwich in his dream in the Giant Compass p.60. Like these two examples, some dreams help people to predict their future waking lives.

      Honestly, I cannot say that all my dreams help me in my waking life, but I can say that most of my dreams are continuity of my waking life which I take advantage of with my learning. Unfortunately, sometimes I dream about falling down, being chased, or being late. These dreams make me anxious, scared, and useless in my waking life. Instead of ignoring these dreams, I often think about them in my waking life and try to acknowledge myself that I am at a safe place. This helps me to relax in my waking life and changes my dreams thereafter.

      Again, I agree with you that the Continuity Hypothesis is accurate and yes! I think dreams do affect the waking life and also dreaming life too like a cycle!

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    4. Ashleigh-Anne GureckasMay 22, 2013 at 12:14 PM

      I am not able to remember many of my dreams, it is quite upsetting because I would like to know more about what I dream of and how to interpret it in contrast to my life.
      When I am able to remember dreams, which is quite rare, they usually reflect my waking life in some shape or form. The dream can be completely off topic, but when you sit down and really think about the dream, you can usually realize that you were talking about a subject that ties in with the subject of your dream.
      The continuity hypothesis is quite accurate for my dreams, and logically it makes a lot of sense that we would dream about events from the previous day or expand on our thoughts from that previous day within our dreams. Because the continuity hypothesis has shown to be very true with my dreams, I do not believe that dreams are abstract, but they are meaningful and are created from our mind analyzing the day and all the thoughts and events that occurred in our waking life.

      Reading through everyone else's posts on this site, the continuity hypothesis seems to hold true for everyones dream-wake life and only strengthens my belief about the nature of what dreams are and where they can stem from. I believe the continuity theory is accurate, and it does not necessarily but it can help with daily life. Sometimes when I remember my dreams and I realize how the dreams related to something in my wakeful life, it helps me to further understand my emotional stance or a higher level of understanding of the event or thought, because the dreams usually allow me to expand and think abstractly about what I had experienced or thought when awake. This may mot happen for everyone, but has happened for me in my experience with dreams.

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  2. I have had continuing dreams for the last month that all seem to have a different setting or objective but all have revolved around the same theme of myself trying to help a person that I love, either a family member or my boyfriend.
    Sometimes I am able to help the people in my dream and other times I seem to not be able to, I am held back or unable to help. This makes me very frustrated because in my waking life I constantly try to help others achieve certain things or make sure that nothing bad will happen to the people in my life. I have a certain anxiety about trying to make sure that nothing bad will happen to the people I love. In the dreams when I am unable to help the person I feel angry, anxious, helpless and this is how I feel when I am unable to help people in my waking life. I'm not too sure yet of what these dreams are trying to tell me: Maybe it is that I need to try and let some of the people I love like my younger brother to figure things out on his own and try not to talk control over the situation, that could possibly be why in my dreams I am unable to help him escape or accomplish things?
    The continuity hypothesis is accurate in my life because it plays on some of the same character traits that I have in real life and manages to use them in my dreams as well.

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  3. Amanda, it is great to hear about the wake-up call that your dream gave you and how you have taken steps to become healthier. I too hope that my dream experiences will benefit my life.
    Last night I went to bed consciously thinking about recalling my dreams. I guess I was trying to trick some aspect of my brain into remembering exactly what I had dreamed about. Leading up to this class, I have been very nervous about my inability to accurately recall dreams and have been anxious about strategies to help. So last night after hoping for the best I went to sleep and woke up this morning able to recall my dream! Now the odd coincidence of this, is that in my dream, I was celebrating my ability to recall a variety of other dreams. In essence I was dreaming about remembering dreams. This gave me a new boost of confidence in my ability to vividly recall future dreams. I feel as though I am off on the right foot and look forward to many more chances to recall. Maybe I will even have a dream that results in a positive life change like Amanda.

    So far, I have not had a chance to see if the continuity hypothesis is accurate for me, but I have a new found sense of hope and excitement that it will be!

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    1. Hannah,
      That was really neat that you were able to somewhat consciously engage in your ability to recall dreams. It seems that the section from the text The Giant Compass under the heading Remembering to Remember really resonated in your ability to recall your dreams. I think I am going to try some of these methods tonight in hopes of having better dream recall.

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  4. Samantha BayntonMay 13, 2013 at 9:53 AM

    The majority of my dreams reflect my waking day life in one way or another. Research has shown that the human mind is constantly active during the waking day and only becomes more productive during the nighttime. I have had many dreams that portray images of the future, present and past, which almost always have a connection to my waking life. Having said this, I believe that the continuity hypothesis is accurate.
    For instance, a few nights ago I dreamt that I ate chocolate ice cream with peanut butter swirls. As a child, I was allergic to all nut products however, I got retested at the age of 13 and the results showed that I grew out of my allergy. In my dream I ate the ice cream and became upset and anxiety grew as I thought a reaction would occur. I had vivid thoughts during my dream about my throat closing over which is my biggest fear. The dream showed that nothing happened after I ate the ice cream. Perhaps this was a way to show that I shouldn’t have a fear over peanut products anymore since the ice cream did not affect my health. I believe that the dream was telling me to try new foods and stop being scared since I am no longer allergic. It was also interesting because this happened in waking life about a few weeks ago when my dad purchased the wrong rolo ice cream. I have spent many days reflecting back on this dream ponding what the message may be trying to tell me. I think this dream was significant in my waking life as I am starting to have less anxiety of food items that contain peanuts. I used to constantly check labels of food products and decline any food offered from peers however, this has reduced since I had the dream.

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    1. Hi Samantha, your story reminds me friend of mine who has fear of the height. He told me that one day he dreamt about jumping out from a high building that made him felt comfort and peace instead of scare. This dream encouraged him to go against for his acrophobia. One example that he told me, he tried rock climbing and now he is being able to climb very high without fear of the height. He is very happy that his dream helped him overcome his acrophobia.

      Even though your allergic test showed that you are not allergic to nuts anymore, I am sure that it was not easy for you to try nuts or new food when you have severe allergic to certain food. I am very happy to hear that you managed to trust your dream and overcome your emotion against them.

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  5. I can usually find some element of waking life in my dreams, even if indirectly. For example, if I have experienced stress at work, sometimes I have dreamed that I woke up late for work or have dreamed that I am still in school (high school) and have failed a course or failed to turn in an assignment, etc. Although the dream may not reflect the exact situation I am having, it is very reflective of the feelings I am experiencing in my waking life.
    At other times in my life I have had dreams that include some aspects of my everyday life (i.e. conversations I have had with people) nearly verbatim as they happened. One theory about why we sleep (the cognitive theory of sleep) suggests that we process learning and consolidate memories from the day while we sleep. Perhaps the continuity hypothesis could somehow tie in to this theory in that maybe our dreams could be our brain trying to process what we have seen, heard etc. throughout the day.
    Some dreams I have had are important to my waking life because they indicate to me that I need to address something. The example I provided above (i.e. dreaming about being late for work/school) usually indicates to me that I am feeling stressed about something or need to resolve a situation. Sometimes I am not even consciously aware/ thinking about something (i.e. feeling overwhelmed), but my dreams will lead me to examine my waking life. I cannot always easily problem solve all of my issues, but at least dreams lead me to pay attention to, or begin examining things that need to be addressed, which is helpful in my waking life.

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    1. I have had similar experiences to that of Marsha. I believe that the emotional/ psychological aspects of waking life are often captured within dreams. It is important that dreams reflect our waking life, otherwise we may not realize the subtle, but lasting effects of a poor relationship, poor working conditions, and academic stress.

      To expand on an eloquent idea that Marsha had brought up, which is "cognitive theory of sleep suggests that we process learning and consolidate memories from the day while we sleep". The events illustrated in dreams may be the brain trying to learn things from the environmental exposures of the waking life. Considering the continuity hypothesis the brain may be trying to determine which information that must stay in long-term memory, and which information that was converted to long-term memory is no longer needed by replaying it in a dream. Therefore, the dreaming process is analogous to that of a recording and editing of a video. You keep the details you want to learn and that have significance during your waking life in long-term storage (the recording) and you remove the unnecessary long-term memories consolidation that has no particular significance (editing).

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  6. My dreams usually reflect my feelings I am having in my waking day life as it is not abnormal for my dreams to include aspects of my past, present, and future endeavors. I would consider myself a ‘worrier’ in the real world, and this quality is most definitely reflected in my dreams. Many times I will dream about an event I am looking forward to, or am nervous about; however, in my dream there will constantly obstacles that get in my way while I try to accomplish my task.
    For example, I am starting a new job tonight, and last night I dreamt about the job too, but things kept getting in my way while I was trying to leave for work; my alarm not going off, couldn’t find my keys or my uniform, etc. The entirety of my dream was spent with obstacles popping up, and never actually getting to work. As a result I woke up this morning feeling tired and more stressed about starting my new job.
    Most of my dreams reflect this same pattern, as well as the aftermath in the mornings whether it is an event I look forward to or not. Having said this, I do believe that the continuity hypothesis is accurate as my dreams do reflect my waking life.

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  7. Last semester I took the sleep and arousal course. There was only one lecture on dreaming, which talked about different theories such as Freud, activiation-synthesis, emotion regulation, threat stimulation theory and dream content. This brief introduction opened my interest to dreams and if there was really meaning behind my dreams. I began reading the required readings from the Giant Compass last night. Reading that dreams are a reflection to our waking life, made me reflect on some of my the past few dreams and I now understand how this is true. I lately have been dreaming about someone specific in my life. I am beginning to understand that my dreams may be trying to tell me something. That may dreams may be trying to guide me in my life and that I need to thinking about making some changes in my waking life.

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  8. Similarly to Hannah Silk, I too have trouble recalling my dreams. Sometimes it's so bad that I begin to wonder if I even dream at all, although I've been told many times that we all dream and that it is isn't abnormal to forget your dreams. Taking this course, I too had some hesitations about my inability to recall most of my dreams. When I do try to remember my dream the next morning, it doesn't seem to make sense to me, its all jumbled up into bits and pieces that I can't put together to make a story. Taking that into consideration, I had thoughts about how well I will do in this course, however I am always open to learning new things.

    One of my most dramatic and vivid dreams that I can recall off the top of my head, followed a day at the beach with my friends and family last summer... it was a great day! That night... I laid in my bed thinking about all the events of that day. In my dream, when I saw myself falling asleep, a deep loud man voice said "brace yourself!"... I opened my eyes in the dream to briefly see a huge football player tackle me! I woke up panting frantically, it felt so real! I feel like this dream foreshadowed an event in my waking life in which a month after this dream, someone in my family got very ill. This dream made me more aware that things can change in a split second, from good to bad, and that it is important not to take things for granted and to be prepared or to "brace myself" for all life's "surprises".

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  9. Tishon Walsh-PinnockMay 13, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    The dreams I have often reflect what's going on in my life at that tim. A few months ago I started a new relationship and that created some stressor with my family and friends thus most nights I dreamt about this issues. However, I came to realize that most of my dreams I had were related to the fears I felt that could comes from being in the relationship. The dreams I had during that time helps me to better understand and analyze the issues during my waking stays.

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  10. Michelle McGrathMay 13, 2013 at 1:59 PM

    I often remember my dreams when waking up in the morning, especially if I have been dozing in and out of sleep before being fully awakened. Research says that dreams happen during REM sleep and that this is not a good time to wake up during the sleep cycle. If my waking up feeling disoriented as if right out of a dream in the morning means I am waking up during REM sleep, then I may need to adjust my alarm to improve my sleep habits. These dreams usually contain bits and pieces of my waking life, although they are often presented in the dream in strange, seemingly unrelated ways. I have not taken the time to record and analyze my dreams in the past so I cannot recall a specific instance where the contents of my dream have had an important effect on my waking life. However, I can say that the presence of certain people, things, events and feelings have certainly illuminated my waking life through revealing where my priorities lie, relational issues that need to be dealt with or subconscious emotions that have not yet been understood in waking life. The idea that dreams can provide understanding in waking life is fascinating and I am looking forward to putting the knowledge learned in this course into practice.

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    1. Michelle, I definitely agree with your comment on waking up in the middle of REM sleep. When this occurs, I spend the rest of my waking day with feelings (usually negative) I had during my dreams! I think readjusting your sleep to allow more REM time and waking up at the right part of the sleep cycle might be helpful. I believe there is a popular iPhone application available for public use and it operates to help you wake up after REM sleep. I do not know the full details but it would be interesting to see how successful it is and how it changes how people feel when they wake up.

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  11. Like many, I also go through periods where I can vividly remember certain dreams I have and other times where I wake up and cannot remember a thing. I've caught myself many times thinking, “Oh, that was a crazy dream, I cannot wait to tell (blank) about it” and before I know it, that dream completely escapes my memory. I've heard that it is very common to forget your dreams when you wake up to the point where you question your ability to even dream at all. Ironically, this happened to me this morning! I've always thought about keeping a dream journal but never went through with it. By taking this course, the recommendation of keeping a dream journal finally convinced me to do so. Yet here I was this morning and before I could open my brand new journal to the first page, the memory of my dream vanished.
    I definitely experience periods of the continuity hypothesis when I dream. For instance, I remember when my grandmother was in the hospital. Back story: my grandmother was in and out of the hospital many times for illnesses and this time was no different. Everyone thought that it wasn't serious and she would be out the next day. That night, I had an “empty” like dream. There was no one else in my dream except myself and I just sort of felt lost. Like I was searching for something or someone but couldn't find it/him/her. I woke up feeling sad and lost and desperately wanting to go see my grandmother. Before I knew it, I got a phone call from my mom. I didn't even have to answer the phone to know what she was going to tell me. My grandmother had died that night. Was that empty/lost feeling the void of not having my grandmother around, the fact that I never got to say goodbye? To this day, I'm still trying to interpret that dream. Overall, I look forward to learning about what this course has to offer in hopes of helping me better interpret my own dreams!

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  12. Christine Dunn

    Am am certainly the type of person that doesn't try to inflate what a dream may be.I'm more of the hard evidence type person, however I have had dreams of bumping into people, just to have it happen in my waking life however perhaps the most important is the one involving my children falling into the lake wit their dad.

    One dream that haunted me was of my children falling in water with their father, the water was murky. In my awake state while at the lake in Oshawa I had to use the ladies room as I walked to way I turned around because I had a uneasy feeling. The children's father was distracted with skipping stones with the twin 6 years of age and my youngest who was 4 was not being monitored. I saw the strength of the waves and her unsteadiness in the water. If she would have fallen in, she would not have been found the water was too murky. I noticed she was even more unsteady about to fall, but holding her balance. I yelled back but their father couldn't hear. I ran as fast as I could being approx 20 feet or more. I grabbed my daughter and my heart raced with complete fear. If not for the dreams, I probably would not have looked back and I parish the thought of what could have happened. What ever dreams are, I certainly have learned not to ignore them.

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  13. Prabhjot DhaliwalMay 13, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    I often experience dreams that reflect my waking life. Although, I cannot remember all of my dreams, there are some that I can remember. I feel that the dreams I do remember greatly impact or reflect my real life and that is why I tend to remember those. For example, I have recently begun having a recurring dream about my restaurant business. In this dream I was working during a lunch rush with just one employee, and I ended up having a nervous breakdown due to feeling overwhelmed. I feel like this relates to my waking life, because I work long hours, and try juggling my personal life as well as my education at the same time as attending to my business. At times I do feel extremely overwhelmed. Because of this dream I have begun to focus more on my dreams and try to make changes in my life so that I can prevent future nervous breakdowns or anxiety attacks like the one I had in my dream.

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    1. Angelica Palillo-BucknallMay 13, 2013 at 3:29 PM

      Dreaming can play an important function in waking life as we have read in DeCicco’s The Giant Compass. Dreams can consolidate what we have experienced in waking life or can be quite the opposite. Often, dreams tell us something about waking life, such as people who have dreams of illness. This may be a way of the body and mind communicating to the person through their dreams that something is wrong. The realization in waking life that something may be going on in their body can alert the person to see a doctor. In many cases, it is through dreams that people have decided to make an appointment with the doctor, finding out that the “exploding pipes” they saw in their dreams, was in fact a way of their body letting them know that heart problems or respiratory problems were occurring. My dreams are often vivid, extremely detailed and what seem to be very lengthy. The dreams that often reflect my waking life are those where I wake up very upset because I have dreamt of losing something or being chased and hiding from zombies. The next day, in waking life, I think back to what occurred throughout the day that may have led to these zombie dreams and these dreams of major anxiety. I have found that these dreams occur when my waking life is stressful, I was angry or really upset throughout the day or had any major feelings of anxiety (usually related to work or school). It is interesting that waking life is directly reflected into my dreams because when I am most anxious or stressed, I have frightening dreams where I am stressed and anxious such as losing something or running from zombies. On days where emotions are running high, my dreams are especially a true reflection of waking life.

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  14. Breanne McErleanMay 13, 2013 at 3:09 PM

    I don't remember my dreams regularly. However, awhile ago I was under a lot of stress with work and school, spending most of my time locked away in my room studying and trying to keep up with work. As a result I was constantly having nightmares about my family. Most of my dreams centered around death and illness. Plane crashes killing my entire family and my baby cousin becoming deathly sick were major re-occurrences. After analyzing them and talking about them with my parents, I realized I wasn't spending as much time as I needed with my family. I began setting aside time to relax with my family and visit my baby cousin. After week or so my nightmares stopped happening and I felt fully rested upon waking more often.

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  15. As Lauren Nation, Hannah Silk, and Breanne McErlean have mentioned, recalling my dreams after I have woken up does not always come easy to me. It seems that some months I will have multiple dreams a night that come immediately to mind when I wake, whereas other months it will seem as if I didn’t dream at all. With this said, when I do remember my dreams many of them do pertain to my waking life. Often times when I am stressed or anxious in my waking life this will be reflected in my dreams. For example, often times during exams my sleep will be disturbed by dreams multiple times throughout the night. Especially if my exam is scheduled early the next morning I will often dream that I missed my alarm and slept through my exam, or that I forgot to bring pencils or pens and none of my friends had any spares. Sometimes in my pre-exam dreams I will enter the exam and suddenly realize once every one has sat down that I’ve been studying the wrong subject this entire time. Although these dreams were not important to me in my waking life in terms of providing me with a new perspective on something, they were very reflective of my anxious feelings at the time. For this reason I believe that the continuity hypothesis is very accurate.

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  16. The dreams I have often reflect what's going on in my life at that time. In the last year I have lost two of my grandparents who were very close to myself. I have reoccurring dreams where they are alive and I know that they shouldn't be and I feel very upset by them being there yet everyone else in my family seems to think its normal and I had made up the whole idea that they were ever gone. This leaves me panicking until I finally believe them and when I wake up I finally realize the alternate reality I have created. I have spent a lot of time really struggling to fully accept and believe that they are really gone. I believe in my dreams I am creating the scenario I would prefer and drifting away from what I know is true.

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    1. Maureen PartridgeMay 13, 2013 at 6:43 PM

      This post really resonates with me, I have been where you are, and for me, after some time, the dreams became a more positive way to connect with the loved ones lost. I believe your brain is processing your loss, and in time, hopefully, dreaming of your grandparents will provide comfort.

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  17. As many have stated, I also have a difficult time recalling my dreams in the morning. An exception is when I am feeling extreme emotions. For example, if I am feeling a lot of stress in my life regarding school or relationships it shows in my dreams. Regarding school, I dream about forgetting an assignment, sleeping through an exam, or forgetting course content during an exam. If I am feeling anxious about relationships, I often dream about being left behind, or left out. I find these emotions in my dreams to be very important, as I believe they tell me of issues in my life. For example, I may not be putting enough effort into a course, and my dream may show me I need to study more.

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    1. Maureen PartridgeMay 13, 2013 at 6:37 PM

      I tend to dream quite often, and sometimes I feel I have had so many dreams I haven't slept and am exhausted. It's a bit uncomfortable admitting this dream, but I can't learn about myself without putting it out there I suppose.....Often I dream in repetition, one night dreaming of my Nana, the next my Grandpa and in both dreams, they call are smiling, happy, calling for me to come over to them. (Both have passed away more than 20 years ago). Usually when I dream of them, I have gone to bed feeling very stressed, overwhelmed, alone and upset. When I wake up, I feel a huge sense of release, peace and calmness. This makes me agree with the continuity hypothesis, because after these dreams my stress is reduced, I feel that I can face the upset, and that I am not alone, therefore my daily life has been improved through my dreams. However, I also have dreams that make me say, "Where did that come from"?!

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  18. Maureen PartridgeMay 13, 2013 at 6:40 PM

    Sorry, posting this again, I didn't mean to post that as a reply to Kathleen Haime...I'm new at this blogging thing.

    I tend to dream quite often, and sometimes I feel I have had so many dreams I haven't slept and am exhausted. It's a bit uncomfortable admitting this dream, but I can't learn about myself without putting it out there I suppose.....Often I dream in repetition, one night dreaming of my Nana, the next my Grandpa and in both dreams, they call are smiling, happy, calling for me to come over to them. (Both have passed away more than 20 years ago). Usually when I dream of them, I have gone to bed feeling very stressed, overwhelmed, alone and upset. When I wake up, I feel a huge sense of release, peace and calmness. This makes me agree with the continuity hypothesis, because after these dreams my stress is reduced, I feel that I can face the upset, and that I am not alone, therefore my daily life has been improved through my dreams. However, I also have dreams that make me say, "Where did that come from"?!

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  19. Similar to others, I have a hard time remembering what I dream about throughout the night. I noticed that at certain times I remember parts of a dream, other times I remember the whole dream and most of the time I will instantly forget when I wake up.
    Not all my dreams are associated with my everyday waking life, for bits and parts are twisted. For example, school life, friends and friendships are present in my dream but change sometimes. I guess in a way they change according to how I would like them to be, other times terrible things occur in my dreams to people I care about.
    My dreams can be very bizarre and I try not to dwell on them since I know they are not real, but they sometimes do make me think, especially if it is a dream that brings up memories from the past of an event. With a few things changing in the dream, it makes me wonder if I had acted in those ways portrayed in a dream, what would life be like now.
    As the continuity hypothesis states that dreams are connected to the dreamers waking life, I believe that to be somewhat true and false.
    True since I do dream about people I know about or have heard of but I do not agree at the same time since, a lot of the time my dreams are far off from what I experience on a daily basis.

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  20. I have dreamed on and off throughout my life. Sometimes my dreams are brief and very clear, while other times they are complex and span many scenes and characters, other times they are vague and sporadic. What clearly links all my dreams for me is that they all have something important to tell me about my waking life. Sometimes the meaning is just as vague or ubiquitous as the dream itself. Sometimes it takes several nights of the dream occurring or several days of thought for the meaning to become clear. But most of the time, upon thought, repetition and reflection, the clear meaning of my dreams is revealed. The message that my subconscious has delivered, once interpreted, has frequently put me in touch with my emotions, thoughts, worries and concerns in my waking life. These revelations have helped me to change the course of my life, in that it makes me aware of new choices, hidden problems or paths I can take. My hope is that through this course, we will all become better, faster and more adept at interpreting our dreams so that our ability to recognize and then make clearer choices becomes easier. Happy dreaming everyone!

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  21. Before taking this course, I did not believe dreams meant much to me and my waking day experiences/life. After reading the first couple chapters of The Giant Compass, I have come to see that my dreams have probably meant a lot but that I have always thought too literal about them.

    I find many of my dreams to be about work and school, probably considering the amount of time I spend thinking about these things and that they are the main focuses of my life. I don't know exactly what they mean because I'm not very good with interpreting dreams but I do have a couple guesses. I think that my dreams are often about work or school to maybe tell me I stress out too much about them or that I take stress from work or school home with me.

    I also remember last year always having dreams about not being able to find the kitchen at the restaurant I used to work at or having customers leave without paying. I believe these dreams may have occurred because of the stress work caused me and the feelings I had about always wanting to quit.

    I also have quite a few dreams about current or previous boyfriends cheating on me or lying to me and I often end up waking to feel angry. I believe these dreams occur because of the built up anger I have against the guys who have disrespected me in the past.

    I am definitely excited to dig deeper into the meanings and interpretations of my dreams!

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  22. As a result of a significant experience that I have recently gone through, I am a firm believer in the continuity hypothesis of dreams. Last summer, my boyfriend left for four months for a school exchange in Europe, which was very hard on me. Prior to his departure, I noticed that the emotions I was experiencing in my waking life (e.g. feelings of sadness) made their presence known in my dreams as well; I remember having frequent dreams that involved my boyfriend leaving me behind, me feeling left out, etc. These themes continued to pervade my dreams during his time away, and adapt to whatever emotion I was currently feeling (e.g. I became very jealous, which was quite literally reflected in my dreams that depicted my boyfriend choosing to spend time with others rather than me in a variety of scenarios).

    These dreams continued throughout my boyfriend's stay, and for a bit longer upon his return home as I was still coming to terms with the emotions I had felt so strongly for four months. However, as we began to move past everything that had happened, the upsetting dream imagery gradually disappeared with it, and I have not had any such dreams since. For me, the fact that my dreams directly related to the emotions that I was feeling while my boyfriend was away, and were replaced by more positive dreams shortly after his return home, strongly supports the continuity hypothesis of dreams in this regard.

    ~ Ellen Coombs

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  23. Samantha EllertonMay 14, 2013 at 6:25 AM

    Recently I moved into a new student house. During the process of looking for a new house with my roommates, I have a reoccurring dream in which the current house we lived in was being broken into. One of the reasons my roommates and I decided to move was because the location of the house was not as we had expected. A few houses in our neighbourhood had been broken into and there were people along the streets at all times of the day. I knew this was a concern for me but I was not aware how much it bothered me until it was reflected in my dreams.

    These dreams allowed me to become consciously aware of how much of a concern this worry was, and therefore I voiced this to my roommates and discussed how important it was for me to live in a house that was not in an area such as the one we were currently living in. My roommates also talked about how they agreed this is an important factor so when we finally decided on a house it was in a much nicer area and I now feel safe in our house. This was very important in my waking life as I can now live with less worry and happier as I feel safer in our house.

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  24. As a nursing student, I tend to spend long hours in the hospital for 2 days a week. Since these days are back to back, it is interesting to observe the different types of dreams I tend to have during those to nights compared to the rest of my week.

    According to the continuity theory, our dreams are connected to our everyday waking lives. I have found that my dreams that occur on the nights I work at the hospital are always focused around my patients and charting. The tend to always involve things that I may have forgotten to do or lost, such as where I left my pen or a piece of equipment. One of my dreams even recalled the exact spot that I left my stethoscope.

    These dreams have let me recall things that I previously would have completely forgotten. In turn, it has helped my everyday life as I can go into work feeling reassured about what I need to do. I believe that the contiguity theory helps serve purpose in our waking lives as it has helped me to be a better nurse.

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  25. I also have recently had trouble recalling my dreams when I wake up the next day. I find that some of the dreams that I have had in the past have some relevance to my waking life and some seem to come out of nowhere. The dreams that do have some relevance and really stay with me are the ones that have strong emotions attached to them. Recently I have had dreams that have reminded me of this I had been meaning to do. Mostly these things I had been meaning to do had been put on the back burner because I had been feeling a sense of insecurity about doing them. My most recent dream touched on this and made me feel like I really should be doing these things. One dream in particular made me feel like I would feel released by doing the things I had been avoiding and another showed me how strong my emotions were surrounding the whole situation.

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  26. I often find that my dreams are highly correlated to my waking life. This is often the case with more personal connections and relationships than anything else. I have dreams that tend to mimic the previous or upcoming events in my life and how they will turn out. Often these dreams tend to focus on how events will change the relationship I have with the people I am the closest too. For example I got a new puppy yesterday and the days leading up to picking him up I had multiple dreams that involved how my relationship would change with the people around me. I dreamt about the closeness and content it would add to the relationship with my boyfriend and also about how my family dog may be jealous.

    Overall I find that my dreams often reflect how I believe events or decisions will effect the relationships I have with others both good and bad almost like my own predictions.

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  27. (Maggie) Stephanie SobleMay 14, 2013 at 12:15 PM

    I find my dreams are most certainly correlated to my waking life, yet at times I find they are reflective of day dreams I have had- day dreams that are not realistic of my life at all. However, majority of the time my dreams reflect my fears regarding upcoming events, relationships, career aspirations or school. I generally hold a lot of anxiety about all of the aforementioned topics, and my dreams tend to reflect this anxiety by playing out the worst case scenario. With that being said, however, I find these dreams help me to realize what my fears are about each situation, and it gives me the focus in which I need to self-reflect and analyze these fears and anxieties in order to cope and plan how to approach each situation.

    I also find, in some of the more strange and unbelievable dreams, that I can connect things that happened in my waking life and how they are represented, or misrepresented, in my dreams. I actually enjoy making these connections and usually dissect my dreams in this way, especially when I've had a particularly random and bizarre dream.

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  28. I find that I am able to remember most of my dreams, or at least one of my dreams, each night or at least every other night. I find I dream very often and my dreams can be very vivid and full of emotion. Most of my dreams seem to reflect my waking life as I dream about people and situations that I am dealing with in my waking life. Over the weekend, my partner and I, we have a little girl together, got in a really bad fight where I went to stay with my mom overnight. That night I had a dream that my partner died and in my dream I remember feeling so overwhelmed with grief my heart actually hurt. I woke up crying. To me this reflects my waking life because we had a fight and maybe my dream was telling me I did not want to lose him. I often find my dreams involve people I usually see everyday, however, some of my dreams involve people I never see or even talk to which I find strange. Also, some of my dreams can be so bizarre and fragmented I cannot understand them and I only remember bits and pieces. This course will be interesting because I will be able to understand why my dreams can be the way they are and I will hopefully grasp a better understanding of my dreams. Some dreams I wake up and I know why I dreamed a certain dream and I believe when I have a better understanding of dreaming I'll be able to understand more fully and be able to have a more positive everyday life.

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  29. Mot recently my dreams have definitely been highly correlated to my waking life. About a month ago (and for about 2-3 months prior to that) I had a dream almost every night which consisted of my longing and desire for someone in particular who is a part of my waking life on a daily basis. These dreams were not necessarily important to my waking life in the sense that they enlightened me on my feelings for this person (although I believe they likely made them stronger), however these dreams actually made my waking life a bit more difficult and frustrating. For example, after having had these reoccurring dreams it made interacting with this person daily much harder.

    In addition, I had a very vivid dream a few nights ago I found quite interesting in regards to my waking life- for quite sometime now I have had gastrointestinal problems which have required a lot of medical attention. In my dream, I had lost probably 30 pounds and had been receiving these odd stomach/abdomen massages. This dream has been particularly important to me the last few days because it has made me realize in my waking life that there are many other treatment options for my condition that I can and should be looking into. Definitely some good food for thought!

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  30. Bethany de KoningMay 14, 2013 at 2:29 PM

    I have often found that my dreams have correlated to something that has happened in my day life. About a month after my dad pasted away, a few months ago, I had several dreams that involved my dad being alive in my dream but yet my dream-self knew that he wasn’t. This was definitely important to me in waking life and shook me emotionally. I think these dreams depicted how shocked and confused I was about my dads’ death.

    Yet I have also had dreams were something small, like a random objects or a person that I had seen that day, which was insignificant to me, was involved in my dream. These dreams were still connected to my waking life but about things that were not important to me.

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  31. I have had experiences in dreaming where I have dreamt of a place I went to several times as a teenager and the emotions that were associated with it were felt in my dreams along with the look and the people present. This dream was of an actual place that I had visited as a teenager and felt the same joy in my emotions that I felt as if I were actually there in real life. These emotions were also associated with what I could smell in my dream and what the smells evoked during when this was actually occurring in my life. It was odd to me at first that I could remember smells in my subconscious that actually occurred several years ago but I know that smells are very powerful senses in memory.

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  32. I can still remember some of my childhood dreams. Most of the dreams I remember from childhood were those of scary monsters or dragons. Thinking about my childhood dreams now, I do not believe they reflected my waking life as I had a great childhood and I was not exposed to scary movies. Resultantly, I do not believe that all dreams reflect waking life or some are less apparent than others. However, I have experienced dreams that reflect my waking life now that I am older. Some of these dreams were about workplace situations or school. Most of the ones I remember were about showing up late to a school exam or to work. These dreams likely revealed some of my subconscious fears. Having these dreams was important to my waking life because it allowed me to address these fears. For instance, I would double check the night before work that my alarm was set so that I was not fearful of being late for work or a school exam. The dreams allowed me to better cope with waking life.

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    1. Samantha EllertonMay 15, 2013 at 6:58 PM

      I also agree in that the dreams I remember from my childhood often deal with something I was scared of like a monster, and therefore can see where the assumption can be made that these dreams did not help as much with waking day experiences. However I feel that these dreams still helped in some way, perhaps to a less extent, such as being scared to watch a future scary movie that the monster in our dreams came from. Due to the inability to fully understand what our dreams meant in our childhood which enables us now as adults to let them help with waking day experiences.

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  33. I remember the first time when I finally be able to listen and understand what people are speaking in English (I immigrated from South Korea). It goes back to 2002 when I can to Canada. I was only able to speak "Hi" and introduce myself in English. My listening was very limited. I think it might of been approximately three months later I started dreaming in English. It was a special event in my life because I finally be able to understand what people were speaking in English. I am a different person in my dream. In my dreams, I speak fluently using variety of vocabularies which makes me confident speaking English in my waking life.

    Dreaming also helps me with studying. Even though my English has been improved, my comprehension is limited from reading textbooks. I am lack of vocabularies and culture which is related to language-in my opinion. Often, I fall asleep thinking about what I have learned, especially what I have difficulty understanding in my waking day. Not surprisingly, I dream about the study materials or my dream is somewhat continuous of the study materials. I am strongly believe that the Continuity Hypothesis is accurate from my experiences. Just like when I first learned English, I am a different person who is more capable for everything in my dreams.

    I am a lucky person who takes big advantage of my dreams. I will continue to learn and dream about them. To me, dreaming life is like the completion of my waking life.

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  34. Courtney FriedrichMay 14, 2013 at 4:39 PM

    Ive never really though about how my waking life is reflected in my dreams. However when I think back to my younger self, the dreams that stand out are ones that I regarded as scary. These are ones that typically involved something bad happening to my family or friends. Unfortunately these may be the only ones I remember due to the fact that they were so scary.

    When I consider my waking life in my dreams currently, I realize that when I have a bad nights sleep, I generally have dreams surrounding the stressors in my daily life such as school and work. But when I get a good nights sleep I find myself having much more vivid dreams. However, these vivid dreams are generally very strange and crazy and when I think about them the next morning they seem to jump from one thing to the next. These are the dreams that I would like to interpret and try to understand because I feel they must have something to do with what is happening in my brain.

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  35. Personally, dreams and dreaming are touch and go. Sometimes I remember my dreams and they present obvious relevance to my waking life. However, other nights its all blank and I cannot remember anything. I use to say that I hated dreaming because I would wake up more tired than when I went to bed. On my part I felt like my mind never actual rested. Throughout this past year there has been a gradual increase in which I find myself remembering more dreams. When I do remember my dreams I can often make at least one connection to my waking day. There are many events that happen while I’m dreaming that I cannot fully connect to my waking life. However that does not mean that my dreams are irrelevant or disconnected. I believe it’s due to my lack of knowledge in dream analysis. I have not spent a lot of time analyzing my personal dreams and therefore cannot fully understand their true meaning. Reflecting on my dreams, it is easiest for me to identify events or activities that happen throughout the day, especially events that happen closer to bedtime. For instance, the other night I just glanced at a text message I received a friend but did not respond or even comprehend the message as I was already in bed. That very night I dreamt about that same person in which we were arguing due to unresolved issues. I have not used a theory or method to accurately analyze my dream, however I thought it was convenient that this friend was the last person I thought about before I fell asleep and then they appeared in my dream. Dreams hold a lot of information and I’m excited to discover ways to fully appreciate all the meaning that they hold.

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  36. Often times, I will wake up after having a bad dream, and regardless if I remember the content of the dream or not, it has a negative impact on my mood for the day. Sometimes I will have dreams about people I know and I find that if I see them later that day, my behaviour towards them will reflect the feelings I had in the dream. Negative feelings from my dream seem to carry over even though I know, logically, I have no reason to feel that way towards them. Events like this are important in my waking life when it affects people that are closest to me. For example, I had a dream once where I was kissing a faceless man and I woke up feeling extremely guilty, angry, and upset that I had dreamt something like that because I was in a relationship in waking life. The rest of the day, my partner felt that I seemed distant to him and in the end, I cried and explained my dream and how awful it made me feel the rest of the day. Dreams where I awake am angry or upset, tends to carry over into the next day, and upon introductory readings of this course, I definitely think I should take the time to reflect on why I am having those feelings and resolve these problems with these people in waking life so I don’t spend the rest of the day with a negative feelings hovering over my head.

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  37. Elizabeth SalisburyMay 14, 2013 at 5:37 PM

    It is interesting that when we are prompted to, or take the time to consider it, we can see that our dreams often relate to an event in our waking life. My job can be very stressful at times, and I hold a lot of responsibility. For these reasons, I often make an effort to not bring my work home with me, however there have been times that the stress and anxiety associated with my work has made a presence in my dream images. I also sleep walk, and recently awoke to myself trying to remove an infant from an unsafe situation in my home. It is something that my partner and I often laugh about afterwards, especially since he also sleep walks. However, it is easy to make the connection between this dream image and my waking life. This was meaningful to me as it helped me to realize that the stress of my job was impacting my ability to sleep, however I have not yet established a better way to address this at this time. I believe that through this course, I will be able to gain more meaning from my dream images, and perhaps can come up with plans to make changes in my waking life situations where possible.

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  38. For most of my life, I have had extremely vivid dreams that I can remember every morning. I have always found dreams fascinating and often attempt to interpret them. The majority of my dreams I believe to be connected to my waking day life. If I have spend a lot of my day thinking about a particular topic, it tends to manifest in my dreams. Upon reflection of my dreams,I often feel that they reveal a feeling about the situation that I would not have felt or noticed in my waking life. It is almost as if it my dreams are showing me a different perspective on the topic that has manifested in my dream. I truly enjoy looking at different parts of my dream and trying to figure out why it was there and what it means.

    Sometimes in my waking life I ask myself if a particular person or topic will appear in my dream that night. Usually that is not the case and something else in my day that I did not pay any attention to at the moment I saw it will be a part of my dream.

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  39. Katherine MortonMay 14, 2013 at 6:56 PM

    Similarly to many of you, I often have a hard time remembering my dreams. I have just began keeping a dream journal, so that I can write down as many details from my dream when I first wake up, which should help with recall.

    I find it very interesting how dreams can so accurately represent the past, present and future. In my dreams, I make decisions like I would in real life, and associate with other individuals with the personality of those that I would often find myself spending time with. Dreams can be very helpful in problem solving. If something is bothering you, dreams can often play at how a decision might go which can be very useful! Dreams have many uses.

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  40. I have found from time to time I will have dreams which reflect aspects of my waking life. Similarly to other students, I have dreams which involve school, specifically during final exams. I have had dreams which repetitively occur during the exam period which involve myself not awaking up to my alarm clock, resulting in me waking up hours after the exam was taken place. Though this has not happened to myself in the past, with these dreams repetitively occurring, I feel like I have experiences it multiple times.
    I feel these dreams have contributed, in part, to an increase fear of missing an exam. After experiencing these dreams, I found I am more anxious upon falling asleep the night before an early exam. It has also lead myself to being more paranoid that my alarm will not wake me up, which results in myself setting multiple alarms, along with different devices such as my clock, phone and ipod, in the hopes that at least one will hopefully wake me up.
    Though, I don't think the dreams have created the fear of sleeping in, I think the dreams have just made myself more consciously aware of the possibility and given me a preview of what the reality could be.

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  41. For most of my life, I have had instances of vivid dreams and other times my dreams have been difficult to remember when I wake up. When I was dealing with a severe anxiety disorder I found that I was having vivid dreams every night, all of which I could remember and reflect on. Most of these vivid dreams were situations that resulted in anxiety during waking-day experiences. However, my approach to these anxiety triggered situation was often different in my dreams compared to my approach during the waking life. For example when I am in social situations such as at a pub or a bar, I tend to become really shy and socially reserved. When people come up to talk to me, I used to get very anxious and avoid social interaction. However, in my dreams I would continue the social interaction (with the anxiety still present).

    Eventually I began to realize the significance of my dreams to my waking life and my anxiety disorder as stated in the continuity hypothesis. Ever since my realization, I have been able to overcome my mental illness and no longer require any medication. Therefore, I truly believe that dreams have a critical importance in understanding the waking life in terms of your psychological, physical, and vocational well-being.

    I believe the use of a dream journal is useful for interpretation of dreams as stated by Katherine Morton. The representation of the past, present and future in dreams is also a well-stated point by Katherine Morton. However, I am curious to know if there is any recall bias when detailing events from your dream. For example, as individuals are we more likely to remember the "good" parts of dreams? Are we going to remember the parts of the dream that grabbed most of our attention? I am very interested in the interpretative process of analyzing our dreams to get the most information out of our dreams.

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  42. Similar to most of you, I have a great deal of trouble remembering my dreams. I don’t know how to explain it, I wake up and know that I had been dreaming, but can’t remember any details of the dream at all. I remember at one point I tried keeping a notepad beside my bed so that when I woke up I could try and write down anything I remembered from my dreams, but after a few weeks and having written nothing down in my notepad, I stopped trying to remember them. As a child I remember having incredibly vivid dreams that in a way, knowing what I know now possibly did have a connection to my waking life. Most of them were usually terrifying and I did my best to forget as many of them as I could, but now I find myself wishing I could remember as many details of my dreams, or even nightmares, as I can.
    There are a few dreams I remember having in high school and college that were both quite similar, and they most definitely reflected what was going on in my life. When I started working as a dishwasher in a restaurant during high school, I would have the same wildly vivid dream that almost seemed real, and when I woke up I had to stop and remind myself I was in my bed. In the dream I would be asleep in my bed, and would wake up to find thousands and thousands of dirty dishes all over my room. No matter how many I washed, the piles never got smaller, and I would wake up in the morning feeling exhausted almost like I was actually up all night washing dishes. Years later in college when I started bartending, I would have a similar dream, only my room was filled with people ordering drinks. No matter how many drinks I would make in the dream, the people in my room just kept asking for more. When I woke up, it felt so real that I sometimes felt like I should check to see if there was actually anyone in my apartment, and like the other dream, I would feel exhausted even after getting a full night’s sleep.
    Based off the experiences I can recall from my childhood and teens, I think the continuity hypothesis is accurate. However, because I cannot actually remember my dreams and haven’t been able to for quite some time, I don’t know if I could say it is accurate today. One thing I think for sure is that I feel like going to sleep would at least be easier and slightly more entertaining if I could actually remember my dreams.

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  43. I definitely have dreams that reflect my own waking life to some extent. Sometimes I will have very vivid dreams that I am able to recall and remember fairly accurate but other times I will have dreams that are very vague and hard to remember. I find that when I am under a lot of stress I will have very vivid dreams and I am able to remember them more accurately. I always seem to dream about missing an exam, missing the bus, or having car trouble during exam periods and they will usually take place at trent university or my apartment. I find this interesting because I am dreaming about places that are familiar to me and I am also dreaming about something stressful which goes hand in hand with my waking life. I think that having a dream about something stressful helps work through the stressful emotions that I was feeling during the day or even the week. I also think that dreams reflect our waking life because I will usually dream about something that is familiar to me or about someone I know. I also find that if I watch some sort of scary movie my dreams will reflect it to some extent, or if I have been playing a sport or discussing a certain topic in great detail my dreams will also reflect it to some extent. I think that dreams do in fact reflect our waking life, and I think that they help us work through any negative/positive emotions we may be dealing with.

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  44. Shadiya GouldbourneMay 15, 2013 at 10:09 AM

    There are some dreams I have had that were so vivid that I have remembered them years later. There are even some dreams that I questioned (to this very day) as being events that actually happened. Lately, more often than not I forget the events of my dreams but still remember the emotions i felt while dreaming. I often try and get back to a dream after I wake to remember but that never works. Most of my dreams tend to reflect my everyday life except my actions are less controlled. In my dreams I behave more naturally, than I do in the 'real world.' Reality is constricting in the sense that you have to always self monitor yourself, and I feel as if dreams are how we would truly behave with those social constraints. In our dreams we face our own personal representation of past, present, and possible events, and how we interpret and act in these 'dream trials' is true to our character.
    On the other hand, dreams can have nothing to do with real life, and appear to make no sense whatsoever. I have had dreams with made up creatures in a make believe world. Or dreams where a cartoon character somehow invades a very normal situation. Some dreams are crazy, but I feel that they all reflect an event that happened during waking day- whether it be an interaction with a friend, or a book you just finished reading. They can also reflect a repressed emotion, either way they tend to be related to relevant or important occurrence in waking life.

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  45. Danielle LachanceMay 15, 2013 at 1:53 PM

    Like the others who have posted, I have also found that a majority of my dreams are continuous with my waking life and reflect issues that are important to me at the time. They can vary from small day-to-day worries, such as dreaming I have unexpected guests visiting my messy house (which is continuous with being worried about not being able to finish the household chores before going to bed), or dreams with themes that reflect more long-standing stresses, worries, and doubts that I have been facing in waking life. For instance, early in my relationship I continuously had dreams that my boyfriend cheated on me or left me for someone else. However, as we have grown closer over time and I no longer question his feelings for me, those dreams have ceased.
    As was also mentioned above, my dreams will shed light on to issues that were troubling me at a more subconscious level. I sometimes have dreams with content that seems random, but then realize it is a genuine issue that I haven't been giving the attention it needs. For instance, a few months ago I was having a series of dreams where I was being attacked or threatened in various situations and a cousin I hadn't spoken to in quite some time came to my rescue. In waking life, after calling her, I found that the fears I was facing in my daily life were put to ease with our conversation.
    However, not all my dreams appear to be continuous with waking life, and some of the recurring dreams I have are difficult to understand, particularly the recurring dreams I have of houses I've never seen before but dream about over and over again in such detail that I can sketch their layout with ease. I'm hoping this course will help me understand some of my more seemingly unusual dreams.

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    1. I also have had two types of dreams: dreams that appear to reflect my waking life, and dreams that I cannot link to events in my waking life. I too have had dreams that take place in recurring houses/places I cannot recall visiting in my waking life. At this point these 'dreams lands' are quite vivid to me as I have visited them so often in my dreams. I am hoping that through this course I will learn techniques allowing me to shed some light on how such dreams are linked to events in my waking life.

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  46. I have had many dreams that have affected my waking life, especially my relationships. I constantly dream about the relationship I am currently in with my boyfriend, as well as the relationships I hold with my friends and my family. Sometimes they are positive and sometimes they are negative, but this is always very obvious and I can usually tell what they are trying to tell me. They have played a large emotional role in my waking life by stirring up emotions I did not know I felt about certain others, and waking me up to some of the ways that the people in my life are treating me that I had suppressed. Dreams have, on more than one occasion, helped me to fix a relationship or to give me a wake up call to a relationship that is unhealthy and should be removed from my life. This has helped me to lead a more fulfilling and happy life.

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    1. Samantha EllertonMay 15, 2013 at 6:53 PM

      I have similarly had dreams that have reflected the relationships I have in my life. Especially with whatever current guy I am dating. For me it they often too help to discover any worries or concerns I have about the relationship and help me to address them and become more comfortable in that relationship. It very much helps to lead a more peaceful and happy life.

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  47. I find that for me, the continuity hypothesis is definitely relevant to my waking and dreaming life as I often have dreams that reflect my waking life emotions. The continuity hypothesis is most prevalent in my dreams when in my waking life there is an emotion I am subconsciously dealing with. If it weren’t for the dreams I would have, I wouldn’t have known that I felt that way about a particular situation. For instance, I would have frequent dreams about a past best friend of mine where the relationship did not end positively. In my waking life, I would express my dislike for her and try to work towards caring less about her; however my dreams would often tell me something different. I had many dreams she was in where I felt the need to be close to her and have her in my life again. These dreams enabled me to realize that my dislike towards her was more of a façade because I missed her. This then lead me to begin talking to her again, and while we are not best friends again I feel at peace with where our relationship now stands.
    Overall I feel that, for me, my dreams are most strongly connected to my waking life when my subconscious is trying to reveal something to me. I also believe that this stems from the fact that I am often stubborn, and will refuse to believe something that deep down I know I am feeling. In dreaming life however, my mind is powerless to my subconscious, allowing me to realize my true emotions.

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  48. There have been times when I have dreamed of events similar to those going on in my waking life, but none have been so profound as to stir me emotionally in my waking life. They typically pertain to events that are going to happen like going on a camping trip, or just going over to my friend's house. When my dreams have involved conflict, or other emotional context, it has never led to a profound realisation; I am seldom unaware of the things in my waking life that hold emotional merit. Though I haven't been able to find new things about my waking life through my dreams, it may be so that with practising meditation I will be able to uncover more curious matters and be able to interpret them to my advantage.

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  49. Nathylova NesmonMay 15, 2013 at 7:24 PM

    I agree with the continuity hypothesis because as of lately, since I have been focusing on my dreams more, I have noticed that my dreams are usually directly related to my waking life. I am an extremely fearful person, thus I have recurring dreams of some of my fears. For example, I have a fear of heights. Similarly to others I often dream of falling off a very tall building.

    I am currently in a happy relationship with my partner for over 3 years. We are getting closer to a critical period of our relationship which is to move in together. I have dreams of what it would be like to live with him, based on what I have noticed about him in my waking life. For me, I find that my dreams are often a result of my waking thoughts rather than it being an informational source because I know myself very well. I am one of those people, who are always aware of their conscious and unconscious thoughts. Therefore I consider my dreams to be a visual and a more dramatic representation of my waking thoughts.

    On the other hand, I am very interested in my dreams, and I consider myself lucky to be able to find meanings in all of dreams so easily. However, I dislike it when I remember my dreams, because I usually feel like I did not get enough sleep when I wake in the morning. Which often results in me having a headache. So, for a long period of time I would rather not remember my dream because those are the nights when I feel like I have slept peacefully.

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  50. Though I have been successful in attempts at improving my dream recall by recording what I could remember immediately upon waking, failure to keep up with it has resulted in an unfortunate lack of recently remembered dreams.

    Still, I am aware of the particular kinds of dreams I am apt to experience. Typically, the environment and people in it do indeed reflect the present situation in my waking life—-often set in my current dwelling, for instance, and including my closest friends and family. Notes and voice memos from my earliest attempts at dream recall likewise indicate a tendency to dream about present and ongoing events in my life. I had certain dreams leading up to an important school presentation, for example, often of the presentation itself, and each time accompanied by a sense of timidity and unease.

    Unfortunately, I cannot say whether or not these types of dreams have been beneficial or particularly significant in my waking life. Despite a strong enough grade, I remember at first feeling every bit as nervous during the actual presentation as I had in the dreams leading up to it.

    The method and rationale for improving my dream recall, however, came from a book on lucid dreaming by a pioneer of the subject, Stephen LaBerge. He claims that an awareness of dreaming and the ability to manipulate our dreams can help overcome fears and anxieties from our waking lives. Had I practiced enough to identify recurring dream elements and eventually become lucid, I could manipulate the aforementioned school dream into delivering a skilled, rousing presentation that might hopefully extend to my waking life during the actual task.

    Clearly, there is something to the continuity hypothesis and stated significance of dreams on our waking lives. For this reason, I intend to improve my dream recall to the point of achieving lucidity, to at least explore its potential implications on memory and performance in my waking life.

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  51. Similar to many people, I do not recall many of my dreams. However, on that note, I find that I remember more of my dreams when I am stressed out in my waking life. For example, recently my boyfriend and I had a fight and I had a dream that night that he cheated on me and we broke up. When I am stressed about something in my waking life, I find that my dream is much more extreme than it needs to be. This contributes to the continuity hypothesis because it shows a connection between my waking life and my dreams. In the past, I have had dreams that are related to my waking life. During exam time at school I have troubles sleeping, but when I do sleep, I have dreams about failing my exam and also failing my course. Again, these dreams are extreme and unlikely to happen but the stress in my waking life contributes to the dreams that I experience.

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    1. (Maggie) Stephanie SobleMay 16, 2013 at 2:48 PM

      I can relate to your comment that you find you remember more of your dreams when you are stressed out in your waking life. I too have that experience, or when my usual routine in life is disturbed (such as going from an intensive school semester to summer break where there seems to be no routine at all!). I find that in both stressful times in my life, or times when my normal routine is off, I am able to remember more of my dreams, and they are more intense with fears, anxieties and/or strange story lines. My dreams during these times also seem extreme, bizarre and not plausible!

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  52. My dreams and my waking life are often connected. The most stressful job I have ever had was at a garden center. The lines at the till were always extremely long. The product was never marked correctly and the air was very humid so customers were always grumpy. The management frequently yelled at their employees and called them names.
    I began to have dreams that I was working as a cashier at the till. No matter how fast or hard I tried the line never seemed to end. The customers would be lined up to the back of the store and looping through the aisles. My dreams would always end when a mistake was made at the till. I would wake up hyperventilating.
    I would say that the Continuity Hypothesis is correct as I have experienced it first hand. My dreams reflected my experiences in the workplace, and the stress I was under due to the environment I was experiencing. The emotions I was feeling during my waking life were reflected in my dreams.

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  53. I would like to add that those dreams were important to me in my waking life. They helped me to realize just how negatively that particular job was affecting me. After I became more aware of the negative consequences of my job I began to notice how stress was affecting my choices, relationships, etc. From that point on my actions were more intentional, and I had an increased conscious awareness that directed my behavior.

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    1. I agree, and have found in my own life, that dreams can be very helpful in the sense that they may shed light on a waking day issue from a new perspective. In turn, this can assist with problem solving in our daily lives, as our dreams often present us with a deeper understanding of our actions as well as the events that occur in our waking life.

      ~ Ellen Coombs

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  54. For the last few years, I have had a really hard time remembering my dreams. I would like to change this and that is one of the main reasons why I took this course. When I was younger I was able to remember my dreams very well and some of them were so vivid that I will probably never forget them. The reason some of these dreams were so vivid and unforgettable was because they happened at times when I had a lot going on in my waking life. For example, I can remember a recurring dream I had when I was about fourteen that filled me with so much dread and anxiety that I would wake up almost panicked. How that relates to your question is the fact that this recurring dream was happening during the first month of my first legitimate part-time job. I was very stressed out and overwhelmed by it at first and the dread and anxiety I felt towards the job was showing up as clear as day in my dreams.

    It really is an interesting topic and I look forward to working on remembering my dreams again to see how they reflect my life as it is now.

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    1. I can relate to much of what you describe here in regards to dreams brought on by job anxiety. During the period while I was looking for my first part time job, I remember suffering from dreams most nights that involved elements of stress, anxiety, and feeling nervous, lost, and confused. When I finally found a job, I felt as if a huge weight had been lifted, and these themes disappeared from both my waking life as well as my dreams.

      ~ Ellen Coombs

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    2. That's funny you would mention your vivid dreams as a child. I had that experience as well and remember some of them clearly to this day! Like you, I gradually lost the ability to remember them so well. However, the only other time I experienced this was after reading Harry Potter and while I have been pregnant.

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  55. I feel that dreams do hold importance in waking life in my experience, especially when it comes to unconscious feelings and awareness of body state. For instance, I am very proud and do not like to acknowledge my fears, such as getting physically sick. In the past and even now, when i would feel slightly sick I would deny it or say that I refuse to get sick. A while ago, I started feeling physically off as if something wasn't right, I was more exhausted than usual, however I just pushed the feeling away. A few nights following, I had a vivid dream of myself as being very sick. Shortly after that I started to experience the symptoms and the sick feelings that I had experienced in the dream and I learned that i had some form of flu. It is of great interest to me how unconscious awareness is reflected in dreams and become present in our waking lives. I am very excited to take this course.

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  56. I have found that my dreams often relate to my daily life, either directly, in that they are my realistic situations and when I wake up I actually believe that it happened, or indirectly, when I dream about something that is a representation of something going on in my life.

    I was diagnosed with arthritis years ago for which I couldn't get around for a couple of years. I would have dreams nightly of playing soccer or running down a hill when you're legs are going so fast you can't stop them. I think dreams are often your inner fears or desires realized. I would love those dreams during that time! It might also be your mind working on an overall body healing process, helping you come to terms with something or overcome something.

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  57. As others have previously mentioned, I also have difficulty remembering my dreams. While I may not remember the content of a dream, I do tend to remember the emotions I felt during that dream. For example, I have often woken up from a dream feeling tense and anxious. This usually coincides with times in my life when I am actually feeling stressed out, such as during exams.

    A specific aspect of my dreams that I often remember are the people who appear in them. Most of the time I have encountered these people during the day or spoken to them before going to sleep. There are other times though, when I remember dreaming of someone whom I have not seen or spoken to in some time. This will usually lead me to reconnect with them in some way.

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    1. It's interesting that you remember the people because I have the opposite experience. Sometimes I'll continue conversations with waking life people, but more often than not the people in my dreams are ones that I have never met before. I have a feeling they're symbolic representations of ideas or something.

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  58. As the question states, we all dream but in many cases we may not remember them or know exactly how to interpret there meaning to us. In my case, I feel that if I can even just remember parts of what I dreamt about then I feel like I have accomplished something, let alone having the ability to interpret potential meaning from them. I do however agree with the continuity hypothesis. As one definition of the continuity hypothesis states “the presumption that effective discrimination learning or problem resolution stems from an advanced, step-by-step, ongoing process of experimentation. Reactions which turn out to be unsuccessful are ceased.” I feel like this definition holds a lot of truth in that after waking up from a dream in which case you remember you start to question why you had such thoughts. In my particular case I am usually quite confused about how such old faces and places familiar to me appear in my current dreaming mindset. After I break things down into a “step by step, ongoing process” my interpretation of how those thoughts came about become much more relevant and really make a lot of sense. I feel that dreams are very important to your waking life. I feel that they give you the ability to get out the emotions left over from unaccomplished goals or feeling you may have held onto. I also feel that dreams allow you to go back to certain situations and play out the scenario differently than you may have during your waking life.


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  59. Almost every dream i have i can relate back to my waking life. If i had a busy day doing something then my dreams for the most part reflect that activity. For example if i learn a song on guitar, then that night i will dream of it and then when i wake up i feel i can play the riff better then before i slept.

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  60. I go through cycles of remembering my dreams. Sometimes I remember my dreams in very great detail, and other times just bits and peices of my dreams. I feel like my waking life has a great influence on what I dream that night, to what I eat that day, to my actions with others and any other events that occur. I have re occurring dreams like many other students in this post. A few that I have on a regular basis mostly consisting of past childhood experiences. all pleasant.

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  61. Maureen PartridgeMay 18, 2013 at 9:37 AM

    As I continue to read through the books, I'm finding it interesting to see how strong the connection is between dreams and waking life. I've never really thought that much about it before, certainly I have seen a correlation after I watch a scary movie or crime show and I have disturbing dream, but the amount of waking life I can now see through a dream (after only a week of reading) is quite remarkable!
    -Maureen

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  62. Normally I dont remember my dreams, but I was able to recently recall one and use the storytelling method to interpret it. I was surprised as to the level of connection between my waking life and my dreams.

    I look forward to using these techniques to provide insight into my daily waking life.

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  63. My dreams have rarely presented thoughts or ideas that I couldn't directly connect to my waking life. The difference is in whether or not they present symbolically or literally. I have found that when I'm stressed and feel that life events are out of control, my dreams have tornadoes. Likewise, when I had a difficult scientific theory that I need to wrap my brain around before attempting a solution, I often dream about working through the process of solving it. This is much more effective for me than working through the process on paper.

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