Dreams occur in episodes from the moment we shut our eyes and right up until waking up. We dream in 5 to 20-minute episodes and at 60 to 90-minute intervals. In total, we dream about a quarter of the time we’re asleep. So, why is it that it doesn’t feel like that? We all wake up thinking we dreamed for only a few minutes, when in fact we could have been dreaming throughout the night. People wrongly refer to this as ‘time dilation,’ a concept borrowed from space physics. Whereas time can indeed dilate in space, it doesn’t in our dreams. The feeling that time stands still or moves quicker or slower in our sleep is simply an illusion.
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