How Long Does it Take to Start Dreaming?

For some, sweet dreams are the best part of our nighttime experience. Soaring through the air like a bird, becoming an Olympic gold medalist, meeting historical figures. Our dreams open doors to fun adventures as our bodies recharge. Of course, on a more serious note, these bedtime movies can be a great way to work through our daily experiences and can help to cement things to memory.

All of these benefits likely leave you wondering, “How long should it take to before I begin dreaming, anyway?” Let’s take a look at what the experts have to say.

Some people might believe that they start to dream immediately after falling asleep, but this is a bit of a misconception. As Psych Central notes, as we are preparing to catch some winks, human beings begin to enter Alpha sleep. This period could be longer or shorter depending on whether or not the sleeper practices mindfulness or meditation.

woman is floating above the ground

The Alpha stage is a period in which the body and mind prepare to relax and might be accompanied by daydreams and a hazy feeling that may make these visions feel like actual dreams. Some could also experience realistic physical, visual, or auditory events during this time. It is estimated that people take an average of 7 minutes to fall asleep, but we should not actually begin dreaming until much later during the sleep cycle.

About an hour and a half into our slumber experience, we enter REM, or the Rapid Eye Movement portion of rest. This is when the actual dreaming starts. It is at this level that the muscles in the body are at their peak rest, while brain activity peaks.

The REM stage may only be a few minutes long when a person first experiences it. Sleepers go through the various cycles several times in one night and REM should grow longer each time it comes up in the cycle. This should also dictate the length at which your dreams last, as they happen in real time.

Conclusion

So, there you have it. On average, it should take approximately 90 minutes to start your nightly adventures. But how long it lasts depends on the amount of time you are able to sustain deep REM sleep so be sure to practice mindfulness and meditation techniques that promote deeper sleep! Feel free to check out this handy guide for tips on how to ensure your your bedtime is free of stressful nightmares. Or learn how to take control through lucid dreaming.

Author: Sleep Advisor

Our team covers as many areas of expertise as we do time zones, but none of us started here as a so-called expert on sleep. What we do share is a willingness to ask questions (lots of them), seek experts, and dig deep into conventional wisdom to see if maybe there might be a better path towards healthy living. We apply what we learn not only to our company culture, but also how we deliver information to our over 12.7M readers.

Sleep research is changing all the time, and we are 100% dedicated to keeping up with breakthroughs and innovations. You live better if you sleep better. Whatever has brought you here, we wish you luck on your journey towards better rest.

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