The Common Activity Only 1% Of People Can Do In Their Dreams

Photo: LeandroDeCarvalho / Pixabay via Canva
person sleeping in a book

We often have magical dreams that cannot be accomplished in real life. In our dream states, we can soar above the clouds or slay a dragon, things that would never happen in your waking life.

One thing people are on the fence about is whether or not it's possible to read in a dream. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could identify a book and set an intention to read it in our dreams, so we get enough rest and digest the information?

But can it be done?

Can you read in dreams?

Dreams mostly occur during the rapid eye movement (R.E.M.) state that we fall into just after drifting off to sleep or immediately before waking. Our brain activity increases and our bodies completely relax so we don’t act out our dreams.

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During dreams, our brains consolidate memories that we pick up on a daily basis. Though we are in a clear state of unconsciousness, our minds have entered their own alternate state.

When we sleep, different parts of the brain slow down, giving them time to recuperate from energy we have exhausted during the day.

One particular area of the brain that is relevant to whether or not we can read in our dreams is the Broca’s area, one of the language processing parts that controls language and logic, allowing you to speak and articulate properly.

Wernicke’s area is a part of your brain that is responsible for interpreting language (comprehension), grammar and syntax, and sentence structure.

Though those two mysterious areas are still being studied, it is known that they work in coordination to ensure speech and language are coherent. So, the answer as to whether we can read in our sleep is no.

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Why can’t you read in dreams?

When we sleep, a condition called aphasia temporarily develops, slowing both areas to a crawl and making reading, writing, and communication next to impossible. Reading is also reliant on the optic nerve, which helps process the words we see.

So, generally speaking, the vast majority of people cannot read in their dreams.

What can happen is your subconscious can project things that you may have seen in your day-to-day life, so they are not based on coherent thoughts.

What we see in our sleep, no matter what types of dreams we have, is information that was absorbed while awake. One theory is that even the strangers we see in our dreams are people we have come across in passing while awake.

What does reading in a dream mean?

If you do happen to read in your dreams, there are a few possibilities as to why.

You could be lucid dreaming. People are still on the fence as to whether lucid dreams where you control what happens make it possible for us to read in our dreams.

However, there is 1% of the population who scientists say can "read" in their dreams. They are primarily writers, who tend to have more words appear in their dreams because they spend so much time thinking about them in real life.

This especially applies to poets, possibly because poetry doesn’t come from logic, but is created from the heart.

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NyRee Ausler is a writer from Seattle, Washington, and author of seven books. She covers lifestyle and entertainment and news, as well as navigating the workplace and social issues.