Why do we dream?

Since ancient times, people have been wondering about what dreams are and why we have them.

Countless scientists have tried to answer these questions, and although our knowledge on this subject has advanced, there are a lot of things that we still don’t know or still wonder about. One thing is for sure though: we dream because our brain is active, even when we sleep. One theory is that, while we are still conscious and lying in our bed, our subconscious mind mixes events, emotions and sounds from our short-term memory and our long-term memory together to form pictures. This is all not realized by our conscious mind and includes one’s philosophies, smells, images, interactions, sounds and more. These are pasted together, like in a collage, creating a dream. This also means that when you have a nightmare, something traumatic has probably happened in your life and those emotions are mixed into a different situation, often making you feel scared, sad and sometimes alone.

Once the sleeper falls into REM, also know as the rapid eye movement phase of sleep, the sleeper starts dreaming, as discovered by Eugene Aserinsky in 1952. She also said that the REM phase can last from 5 up to 30 minutes, and that children over the age of ten normally have 6 to 10 dreams a night. Some of these are absorbed into the part of our brain that stores our memories, and these are the ones that you will remember in the morning.

What our dreams mean is a totally different story. Sigmund Freud suggested that dreams have to do with wish fulfillment. Carl Jung thought that dreams are very personal and have to do a lot with your life and past. Calvin Hall and G. William Domhoff later on found out that dreams reflect a person’s thoughts and concerns. Nowadays, dream interpretation is mainly influenced by the British born psychologist Ann Faraday. Although there is a lot of debate about dream interpretation, Faraday outlines some techniques to help anyone interpret their dreams.

What you have to keep in mind when you try to decipher your dreams is that they are only connected to you. Getting help in doing this may often result in difficulty because no one knows you and your thoughts as well as you do. Dreams depend on many things, including age, gender, beliefs, religion and many more. However, you can often have dreams that do not make sense and have no real meaning or significance. They are just things that happened during your day mixed together in one dream.

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