"One of the most adventurous things left [for] us is to go to bed. For no one can lay a hand on our dreams," wrote British writer E.V. Lucas.
Dreaming, what causes it and what it means, is still something of a mystery. While there is a growing body of research about the effects of sleep on our bodies and minds, there's still a lot we don't know about dreams.
Here are five strange facts about what really happens when you close your eyes at night:
1. You can only dream about people you've met in real life
It turns out the old adage about "meeting the man or woman of your dreams" is a myth, because it would be somebody you've already met in real life.
Research says you don't invent the characters you encounter in your sleep. You can only dream about people you've seen during waking hours.
So the next time you have a dream that seems to be filled with mysterious faces, do a double take. Those 'strangers' might actually be the man you bumped into at the supermarket last week, or a kid you barely remember from high school.
2. You dream even if you don't remember it
A lot of people claim they 'don't dream,' but this is false. We all dream. They probably just don't remember their dreams after they wake up.
The vast majority of people forget their dreams - at least some of the time - as soon as they stop sleeping. Getting in the practice of using a dream journal to record what you remember from your dreams can help you recall more of them.
3. Some people dream in black and white
It's rare, but about 12 percent of people don't dream in color. They only see images in black and white when they sleep.
Why? The Telegraph covered a study by Dundee University college student Eva Murzyn, who discovered that our dreams are heavily influenced by what we see in the media during our formative years. Research participants who grew up watching black and white TV dreamed in monochrome at least some of the time, while less than 5 percent of people who grew up watching TV and movies in color reported the same phenomenon.
4. It's more common to have negative dreams than positive ones
Although we all hope for pleasant dreams, studies show that people tend to have more bad dreams than good ones.
Researcher and psychologist Calvin S. Hall found that people around the world have dreams that contain more negative than positive emotions, with the most common feeling reported being anxiety.
5. Dreaming can help your brain
There's some science to back up the idea that sleeping with your textbook under your pillow will help you perform better on a test. Dreaming can improve your brain's ability to retain and recall information, according to researchers at Harvard Medical School.
So whether you've got an important exam or a big presentation coming up, a good night's sleep could be the key to hitting it out of the ballpark.
If you're interested in learning more about how dreams and sleep affect your overall health, check out this blog. Or you can contact us directly to find a sleep system that will help you get your best night's rest.
Image: Huffington Post, 2016 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dreamscloud/sleep-and-dreaming_b_4569753.html