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In modern Western culture, people often disregard dreams as mere fluff that our brains discard as we slumber. But throughout history and cultures, humans have valued dreaming in different ways. Dreams are seen as a door or bridge to the spirit world or the unconscious. They are often full of symbology from our lives, become outlets for our deepest concerns and fears, or offer us tools for self-reflection and a map to our current state of mind and heart. Although we can dream at any stage of sleep, our most vivid dreams occur during our REM (rapid eye movement) sleep cycle, so depending on how well we sleep, we may spend more than two hours each night in some form of dream state. Sleep researchers tell us that deep non-REM sleep rests our bodies and refills our tanks to start another day and REM sleep is crucial for dreaming, memory consolidation, emotional processing, and healthy brain development.

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