Why do we dream is a question that people have been dealing with since the dawn of time.
Sociologists, scientists, and philosophers all have been perplexed and confounded by what happens to our brains when we sleep. So why do we dream? What does it mean? How does it relate to sleep? First off, it’s important to understand when the dream cycle happens — that’s during the REM stage of sleep.
This is the last and deepest part of the sleep cycle, and one that happens around two or three times a night. While there is evidence to suggest that brain functions also happen during the other stages of sleep, the REM stage is when the biggest, most complex dreams happen.
There is evidence to suggest that dreams are tied to how we form new memories. When we learn or experience things during our conscious hours, they often show up that night while we dream. There are many experiments that have happened recently to indicate that dreams are a way we sift and sort through recent short term memories before converting them into long term memories. That’s perhaps the simplest explanation to the question of why do we dream.
Another idea is that dreams reflect our emotions. Since we aren’t required to focus our attention as much at night (or at all), it gives our brain the ability to analyze the emotions that experienced throughout the day. This could be why a stressful day at work could give you nightmares, or why you dream about missing a test the day before you’re actually going to take it. In the end, it’s helpful to remember that dreams are impermanent.
Good or bad, they’ll be gone in the morning. So wake up refreshed, recharged, and don’t worry too much. Your dreams are there for you.