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JSPES, Vol. 35, No. 3 (Fall 2010)
pp. 366-380

Dreams and their Relation to Physical and Mental Well-being

Michael J. Lowis

University of the Highlands and Islands

Following a brief review of the interest in dreams throughout history, this article outlines the physiological changes that occur when we dream. The main dream theories are then reviewed, and the effect on dream content of the relaxation of cognitive censoring is discussed. Claims that dreams can foretell future events are considered, but with the conclusion that rational explanations for such are usually forthcoming. Methodological considerations when attempting dream interpretation are reviewed, and some images that are claimed to relate to mental and physical health and well-being are listed. The use of dream analysis in psychological diagnosis and intervention is discussed, both with regard to professional therapists and to individuals at home. The article ends with the conclusion that dreams do have the potential to inform mental and physical well-being, along with some advice on improving dream recall and control.