We spend an impressive part of our lives sleeping and dreaming, but scientists still can’t quite fathom why we do it. And it’s not always that we get to see dreams, but when we do, they are usually about some random things and parts from our daily lives. While some scientists believe that dreams don’t mean anything in particular and don’t have any impact on us whatsoever, others tend to disagree with them and study not only the causes of dreams, but also the meanings behind them for each person. So why do we dream? Here are 10 theories that might shed some light on the matter.
Numerous studies reveal that during sleep our brains work with memories quite a lot. Some of them get transferred into long-term memory storage, while others get processed and are taken to different parts of the brain. New information goes from the hippocampus to the cerebral cortex that is responsible for processing everything new and turning it into actual knowledge.
Dreaming can be quite a therapeutic experience if you have some unresolved issues or feelings you need to sort out. Whether it’s something that happened recently or a childhood trauma from decades ago, dreams can help you get to the bottom of things because while sleeping your brain works in a different way and can give you a new perspective on things. Some researchers believe that dreams are a safe haven where one can face his deepest fears and solve various problems.
A 2009 research studied two groups of people – healthy ones and those with anxiety and depression. It turned out that people who had anxiety were dreaming about self-victimization and aggression more often than the healthy people. This means that REM sleep may actually help patients to deal with their emotions of sadness, low self-esteem, and anger.
It’s a well-known fact that sleep deprivation can literally kill your health for good. No wonder it was used as a torture technique by so many people! Researchers found out that people who weren’t allowed to dream (they were woken up right at the beginning of REM sleep) experienced lack of coordination, increased tension, and even weight gain!