|Family watching television, c. 1958 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
The arrival of television has undoubtedly played a role in affecting dreamers. From a personal standpoint, television has certainly influenced my dreams as an external stimulus to dreaming as well as a motif that inherently recurs in my subconscious stories of sleep. Since dreams reflect our waking life it only seems to make sense that television would often appear in dreams or be a part of them in some way. Likewise, television being an environmental factor that could stimulate our minds, its very presence might affect what we are dreaming.
Dreams that are like television shows
Dreams often have some semblance of a story line if not an intricacy of plot, characters, and setting. We might observe some dream action in the same way that we would watch a movie, stage production, or television show. Some of us might even understand our dream to be a television show for which in our dream life we have a comprehension of a history of watching or awareness of the show.
In other cases dreamers might be a part of the dream television show action. These dreamers might accept that they are actors in a dream television series or event, thinking in some cases of a life outside of the dream television role and perhaps knowing their fellow "actors" in real dream life roles such as their friends, family members, or people with whom they might have some familiarity. The latter group will sometimes include real waking life television actors or celebrities. In dream television shows the dreamer might take breaks from the show or even have a quitting time when they go home or engage in other activities either with members of the dream show cast or with other figures not associated with the dream television show.
What is the purpose of seeing or participating in a dream television show? There are most likely varying explanations that depend upon who is doing the dreaming and what the dream is trying to tell them. The scenario of a dream television show is likely a matter of familiarity and importance in the same way that dreams about work or school might be. If we watch a lot of television or the medium is playing an important role in our current life then it stands to reason that we could dream about television. The meaning is something that each dreamer must determine for themselves.
Dreams that have characters or other features that we have seen in TV shows
|List of science fiction television programs by genre (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
When Television Acts As An External Stimulus to Affect Dreaming
We've all probably fallen asleep with the television on or slept while someone is watching TV in another room where we can still hear it. Just as other external stimuli can affect our dreams we might have dreams that are influenced while the television is on while we are sleeping. This might happen with people who leave the TV on while sleeping or fall asleep with the TV on. Or in the morning when others turn on the TV as we sleep and we are awakened by it, we might have been having television influenced dreams prior to waking.
I can recall when I was in high school and college, sometimes during the summer vacation when I would attempt to sleep in late my younger brother would turn on the television with the volume a bit high so that the sound of the television would wake me up. The awakening would usually be gradual as my mind tried to stay in dream stage and yet the dreams incorporated what my mind was hearing from the television. This would result in some interesting dream experiences.
I haven't read any detailed studies concerning television and dreaming, but I know that this field has been researched and there are a number of articles available regarding the outcome and interpretation of these studies. Comparisons between pre-television era dreams and dreams that came after the advent of prevalent TV watching may or may not be out there, though truly conclusive evidence might be difficult to ascertain if no specific attention had been given to this field prior to the time when television became an accepted part of everyday life.
If you know of any research about the effect of television on dreaming, please let us know in the comment section.
How has television affected your dreams? Have you experienced any of the things I've described in this post? Do you think that frequent television watching makes the mind think and perceive differently than without the influence of television?