I am having some vivid dreams in early pregnancyDuring pregnancy, having really wild and weird dreams is par for the course.  The reason is multifold:  part of it is caused by hormone fluctuation (weird dreams are also a common symptom of PMS), part of it is physical, and part of it is mental/emotional.

When we sleep, we cycle through four stages of sleep:

  • Alpha sleep (also called Non-REM Stage 1):  this is the first level.  Your child in the back seat of the car has fallen quiet, head is resting to the side against the seatbelt, a cushion, or even the window, and her eyes are half-closed and may even be rolling.  She will raise a hand to swat an annoying insect from her face and will jump slightly if you call her name or hit the brakes suddenly.
  • Theta sleep (also called Non-REM Stage 2):  Your child’s eyes are closed, hands are slack, but he can still maintain an upright position.  His mouth might be slightly slack.  If you say his name sharply or repeatedly, he will respond after a moment or two – he will be slightly groggy but will quickly wake up fully.  If you turn the radio up or off or blow the horn, he will likely physically react in his sleep but may or may not wake up fully.
  • Delta sleep (also called Non-REM Stage 3):  She is sound asleep – you can wake her only with difficulty and she will be confused and disoriented, possibly slapping out or kicking.  She cannot maintain an upright position while sleeping and, unless supported by seatbelt or the seat itself, will be slumped over in the most uncomfortable-looking position.  Her mouth may be slack and she might be drooling.  You can turn the radio up or off, even blow the horn, and she won’t react.
  • REM sleep: REM stands for “Rapid Eye Movement”.  The body is paralyzed (sleepwalking never happens during the REM cycle) but, weirdly enough, the brain acts quite as if the sleeper is fully awake!

The cycle goes A – T – D – REM – A – T – D – REM and each cycle lasts (ballpark figure) 90 minutes.

Now, if you’re getting up every hour to go pee, it’s very likely that you are disrupting your REM sleep.  If you wake up too soon after REM sleep, you will very easily remember your dreams.  The dreams you remember are not the dreams you had:  the average dream lasts about eight seconds and we have many of them per REM cycle.  When we wake up, we can remember two, three, four, or more dreams but we remember them all jumbled and tangled together into one massive über-dream.

Many people believe in dream interpretation, the deriving of meaning from the symbols seen in the dream as either omens or portents or as messages from the subconscious.  There is no scientific basis for dream interpretation, however every society has its given and accepted symbology – a baby or an egg, for example, is the almost universal symbol for new beginnings, innocence, or purity while a snake is, in judeo-christian societies, a symbol of evil, sexual depravity, and betrayal while in non-judeo-christian societies, it’s more commonly viewed as a symbol of wisdom and knowledge.

If you’re having bizarre dreams, you can find out possible meanings by visiting this page.