Differences between Sleep and Dream

It can be said that sleeping and dreaming are two actions that have as a common point an altered state of consciousness. When sleeping and dreaming, the electrical activity of the brain changes, which is why it is considered a state of altered consciousness. In this sense, there are notable differences between sleeping and dreaming, which we will present in this article based on their definitions.

To sleep

Firstly, according to the dictionary of the Real Academia de la Lengua Española (RAE), sleeping is being in a state of rest that consists of the inaction or suspension of the senses and of all voluntary movement. According to this concept, it can be said that sleeping is being in a state of rest, with the eyes closed, unconsciously and in which sensory functions and voluntary movements are suspended.

Thus, it is estimated that the human being spends approximately one third of his life sleeping, since it implies a basic or physiological need because this state allows the body to be restored and recover the energy spent throughout the day. In this sense, sleeping properly can be essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle. When the person does not sleep enough, the normal functioning of the body is altered because blood circulation is altered and stress is generated that brings among other consequences.

Sleeping is a merely physical process, which involves the rest of the body and has different stages:

  • Stage 1 : This is the point where the person has just fallen asleep and can easily wake up.
  • Stage 2 : You are beginning to go from a level of mild loss of consciousness to one of greater unconsciousness.
  • Stage 3: the person is fast asleep
  • Stage 4 : The person is difficult to wake up and if woken up, the person reacts in a daze and may appear frightened.

Finally, people spend a certain period of time in each stage and before waking up the sequence is reversed, going from stage 4 to 3, then to 2 until reaching stage 1 and waking up.


According to the dictionary of the Real Academia de la Lengua Española (RAE), we can say that to dream is to represent images or events in fantasy while sleeping. This means that dreaming is a state in which visual and auditory perceptions and emotions are represented at the expense of reasoning and logic in a state of unconsciousness typical of sleep.

Dreams are involuntary and while having a dream, the person does not have the ability to judge, reflect and/or think as they do when fully conscious. Likewise, these occur in some of the stages when the person sleeps, but more frequently they occur in the second and third stages, since, in stage 4, the state of unconsciousness is so deep that one does not have the ability to dream.

According to the above, the differences between sleeping and dreaming can be summarized as:

  • Sleeping is merely a physical state that implies the state of rest and unconsciousness of the body while dreaming is a mental state that occurs when the person is asleep.
  • Dreaming is a state of representation of perceptions and emotions that occurs in some stages of sleep, generally in stages 2 and 3.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Back to top button