Dreaming is such a natural and ever-present event that happens to most people. We dream of fighting lions, chasing kidnappers, seeking revenge on those who hurt us or even simply of family, friends and work. Dreams can seem so real and at other times downright bizarre.
When sleeping there are five stages of sleep. Stages one and two are lighter sleep, and stages three and four are deeper. Stage five is where the magic happens. This stage is referred to as rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and it involves high psychological stimulation and naturally, periods of rapid eye movement.
According to WebMD, “Dreams can be explained as stories and images that our mind creates while we sleep.” Dreams can make us feel all sorts of emotions, they can be vivid, sometimes strange or pretty normal at other times.
Another form of dreaming that we can experience are nightmares, which are simply bad dreams. They can happen because of stress, conflict, anxiety, trauma, emotional or physical problems, medication or drug use and illness.
So why do we dream?
There are many theories as to why we dream but the truth is no one knows why we dream. Some researchers say that some of the dreams you have are dreams that may help to confront emotional traumas in your life that you most probably wouldn’t do when you’re awake and thinking.
Another theory suggests that because the amygdala, the part of the brain associated with survival instinct, is more active during sleep than when you’re awake, it may be the brain’s way of getting you ready to deal with potential danger.
Ever wake up and have a brilliant idea for your class assignment or a book? One theory for why we dream is to help with our creative tendencies. When dreaming you have no limitations for logical thinking so creativity just flows in certain instances.
Another theory for why we dream is that dreams helps you store important memories and things you’ve learnt. So while dreaming you let go of memories that serve no purpose and sort through the remaining complicated thoughts and feelings.
Can dreams predict the future?
Have you ever had such a powerful dream that in some way predicts the future? Experts say that it may simply be a coincidence, bad memory or unconscious events linking to one another. However, sometimes dreams do have the power to alter the way we think and thus making decisions that affect the future.
Although dreams usually happens in the REM cycle while sleeping, dreams aren’t restricted to the sleep realm. Daydreams are an important part of waking consciousness, providing stimulation during periods of boredom and letting us experience a series of emotions.
According to Nigel Holt and co-authors of Psychology: The Science of Mind and Behaviour, “Daydreams typically involve greater visual imagery than other forms of waking mental activity but tend to be less vivid, emotional and bizarre than night-time dreams.”
How to recall your dreams
An article by James Roland for Healthline, explains that, “One of the reasons dreams can be difficult to remember is that the brain chemical associated with memory — norepinephrine — and the brain’s electrical activity that helps with recall are at their lowest levels when you’re dreaming.” The article even states that if you don’t wake up during a dream you won’t remember it. The only dreams you remember are the ongoing dreams when woken up.
There aren’t many ideas or tools to help recall your dreams but the simplest way is telling yourself you want to remember your dream, before you fall asleep. Another way to remember your dream, is to write whatever you can possibly remember from that dream as soon as you wake up.
Dreams are a mystery and have been for as long as we can remember. There have been many major leaps because of science, however, we may never know the true meaning behind dreams. Whatever the reason for our dreams may be, just bear in mind that our dreams may somehow shape who we are and the decisions we make.
Ever wondered what influences who you are? To find out more read here.
Tell us: Do you have a theory on why we dream or how to recall them?