What is Incorporation of Reality?
As you sleep during the night, there are many external stimuli coming and bombarding the senses, so the brain has to interpret the stimulus and make sense, which it does by incorporating it into the dream to allow the sleep to be ongoing. This is called “Dream Incorporation” and it is an occurrence whereby a real happening, such as a sound of a doorbell, phone ringing or alarm going gets incorporated into the dream. Other sensations could be dreaming of urination whilst wetting the bed.
However, the mind is also alert to real danger signals and can wake up, generally the cry of a baby does this to many sleeping mothers or some other event that can be interpreted as ‘danger’ or in need of attention.
The phrase dream incorporation has been used in studies to look at the effect of recent life events. Studies have shown that events the day prior, up to about a week before, a dream can have the most influence upon the dream. Gary Alan Fine and Laura Fischer Leighton argue that ‘“dreams are external to the individual mind” because “1) dreams are not willed by the individual self; 2) dreams reflect social reality; 3) dreams are public rhetoric; and 4) dreams are collectively interpretable. You may agree or disagree on that point, but they are characteristics of dreams. Whereas you could dispute point one when talking about lucid dreams, as they are dreams that you ‘practice’ and ‘train’ your mind to focus upon so that you can ‘will yourself’ in the dream.
*Source for the material has come from Wikipedia and other locations (where the research sources are quoted).