Dreem 2, Sleep Tech
Defy your drowsiness and enjoy science-backed, life-changing sleep benefits with Dreem.
It's a question which has plagued scholars and scientists for hundreds of years: why do we dream?
Is it our brain's way of making sense of the events of the day? Is it part of a built-in creative process? Or something else entirely?
Here we get at least some of the answers to questions about what, when, how and why people dream...
A dream is a state of consciousness in which a person has mental, sensory and emotional experiences during the hours when they are asleep.
These experiences may be extraordinarily vivid, yet the person who is dreaming tends to have very little control over what is being dreamed.
They may contain common themes, be linked to real-life concerns or seem very real and believable despite having no logic when viewed from the outside.
Dreams are ubiquitous – all humans experience them, even if they don't remember them.
Dreams only occur during Stage 5 sleep, otherwise known as REM (Rapid Eye Movement).
Around 20-25% of a person's sleep time consists of REM sleep. Some of the most commonly noticed effects of REM include:
It is thought that everyone experiences between three and six dreams every single night.
Although a person who is dreaming may perceive that their dream has lasted for almost any given timeframe, each dream is thought to last somewhere between five and twenty minutes.
Some people argue that this could be as long as 45 minutes.
Unfortunately, how long a dream lasts is very hard to objectively measure!
A great deal is known about why we need to sleep. It regulates our brain functions, blood pressure, metabolism and much more besides.
Much less is known about why people dream...
Here are some of the most common schools of thought and beliefs:
1) Mental balancing and processing
Many people suggest that dreams provide a sort of internal therapy for the brain.
By working through any strange, unsettling or difficult thoughts or experiences you might have had during the day while you are unconscious, your brain is attempting to “clean house”, so to speak.
Dreams may also assist in organizing memory storage, retaining things you consider important and discarding some of the rest.
The old adage to “sleep on it”, may be advice which actually has some basis in reality! Several studies have shown that people who sleep after being taught some new information will retain it better.
This is thought to at least partially happen through dreaming.
2) Internal stress training
Another theory says that when you dream, your brain is essentially training itself to be ready for forthcoming challenges.
The link here is that the amygdala (the part of your brain which helps you control emotions as well as in producing the stress response, a.k.a. the “fight or flight” response) is very active when you dream.
The theory goes – and there is some proof for this – that our brain is imagining possible future scenarios and preparing itself to deal with them as a kind of built-in biological defence mechanism.
This is called the Threat Simulation Theory of dreaming (TST).
Although this may not sound like a reason why we dream, the fact that many creative people – and indeed scientists, inventors and mathematicians trying to solve problems – say that inspiration has struck them in their dreams cannot be denied.
From an evolutionary standpoint, perhaps this has been part of humankind's development of the ability to use tools.
4) Simple science
Another theory which attempts to explain why people dream is based on straightforward science:
During sleep, you go through biochemical changes and generate electrical impulses. Dreams may simply be your brain's reaction to these.
5) A reflection of reality
Another theory is that dreams are simply a reflection of reality, a sort of poorly-tuned reception for the experiences of the day, serving no other purpose than to happen because the relevant parts of your brain – the same used in daydreaming – are active at this time.
Based on current scientific research, the answer could be all of the above, none of the above – or some combination of them.
Dreaming appears to have links to the physical body, as well as a person's cognition and psychology.
The number of dreams a person has, as well as their content and intensity, certainly seem to be affected by physical, mental and psychological changes to the body.
Some of the many things which may affect when, how and why we dream include:
The question of why some people do not dream and others do tends to be moot:
There are many conditions which may affect your dreams. But there are many more reasons why you may simply not be able to remember them...
Because every human – and even some animals – dream. In fact – as mentioned above – it is commonly held that every human has between three and six dreams every night.
Yet most people can recall very little of what happens in their dreaming state. As much as 95% of all dreams are forgotten as little as ten minutes after waking. Sometimes they aren't retained when in a state of full consciousness at all.
This means that even if you think that you don't dream, you may not need to figure out how to dream more. You may simply need to work out how to remember the dreams you, in reality, already have.
If you want to try to remember more of your dreams, you might want to try:
Making all of these a part of your routine may strengthen your memory and encourage your mind to start remembering your dreams.
Because, although nightmares do exist and questions like “why do we dream” and “what are dreams for” may never be answered, for many people dreams are an interesting and intriguing part of the human condition which they wouldn't want to be without.
Henry Warren I am a professional writer and health & wellness enthusiast.