I tend to dream, or probably more accurately remember my dreams more often than most people. It's not unheard of for me to remember 3-4 dreams from one night. I can also force myself to dream about something that I want to dream about, by thinking about it as I'm falling asleep. At one time I did keep a dream journal, and perhaps because of all of this I've become really good at interpreting dreams. I've interpreted dreams for family, friends, and even a white pony tailed warrior tank from time to time.
I have also had occasional experiences with lucid dreams, where I am fully aware that I'm dreaming. Why all this dream talk? Well, I came across this very interesting article looking at gamers and dreaming. The study that found that playing video games before bedtime may give people an unusual level of awareness and control in their dreams. The researcher, Jayne Gackenbach said:
"Gamers are used to controlling their game environments, so that can translate into dreams."
Gackenbach found parallels between lucid dreamers and gamers in that both groups had better spatial skills and were able to achieve higher levels of concentration and focus. She made a very interesting point in saying that both lucid dreams and video games are forms of alternate realities, though one is the result of a biological process and the other technological.
Gackenbach found that frequent gamers were more likely to have lucid dreams than non-gamers. Furthermore, the gamers showed dream control, or the power to actively influence their dream worlds. A second study showed that while gamers did have some level of control over their dream worlds, the control was limited to their dream selves, as if controlling a video game character.
Now in terms of nightmares, this researcher found that gamers wielded this control to fighting nightmares as well:
"What happens with gamers is that something inexplicable happens. They don't run away, they turn and fight back. They're more aggressive than the norms."
What she found was that a scary nightmare scenario was more likely to be turned into something "fun" for a gamer. Gackenbach is looking to use this sort of information to see if she can apply it to victims of post-traumatic stress disorder, a symptom of which is often terrifying dreams. Perhaps video games can help control PTSD?
I think that I tend to not remember my dreams as much if I am playing WoW right up until I go to sleep. If I give myself a bit more time to decompress, I remember more dreams. And I can't remember the last time I had a real, genuine nightmare, but very interesting to think that my experience with gaming may help me control them more.
I wonder if my dreams are any different after a night of 5v5 arena action vs raiding vs generally just putzing around?