Before going into dreams, You need to understand a little about sleep.
Sleep is essential to survival
Sleep is made of REM and NREM stages
You must be asleep to Dream
What does sleep do? Restores – During Sleep is when the body rejuvenates itself. This involves physical regeneration as well as mental. Protection – Another theory is that sleep developed to protect us from hurting ourselves during this period. This theory also stated that this happens because we do not need a full day to meet the requirements of survival.(example = eating)
Cycles The two major sleep stages are REM and NREM. REM – is the rapid eye movement stage. This is when dreams happen. NREM – is the non rapid eye moving stage. This encompasses 75-80% of sleep and dreams tend to not form.
Dreaming Dreams can only occur while asleep and are composed of the images, thoughts and feelings experienced while sleeping. Daydreams, a type of “dream” that occurs while you are awake, are not really dreams. They are actually resemble a deep thinking process more than a dream, which tends to be more random.
Dreaming Why do we dream? There are many different theories about why we dream. But I prefer the theory that dreams are like a mental sandbox. You can think, feel and do anything you want without any of the restrictions of reality, society or even yourself.
Conclusion So how does this relate to “Lathe of Heaven”? The power that the protagonist has to change reality based on his dreaming is really quite a catastrophic power. When a person dreams there are no rules and everything is fair play Essentially, he was subconsciously playing God. This is a common theme in Scifi and fantasy do the ability to create new worlds within these dreams. There are many theories regarding the creation of a new universe within the dream world. As a matter of fact the concept of a “dreamworld” is also incredibly popular.