Why do we dream?

Why do we dream? - Sci-Fi Logic


Why do we dream?

Dreams can be funny, scary, or just creepy. We all dream, even though we don't recall it the next day. Then why are we dreaming of it? And what do they say, anyway?

What Are Dreams?


When you're alive, the thoughts have a logic behind them. Your subconscious is still active when you sleep, and often your emotions or fantasies make little or no sense. This may be because, rather than logical regions, the brain's emotional centres produce dreams.


Dreams are usually autobiographical reflections that are focused on your current activities, conversations, or other issues in your life, even though there is no definitive evidence. There are, however, some popular hypotheses about the role of dreams.



The most detailed dreams happen during fast eye movement (REM) sleep, and these are the dreams we're most likely to recall. We also dream of sleeping during a non-rapid eye movement (non-REM), but those dreams are found less common to be remembered and more mundane.


Why is it hard to remember Dreams?



Researchers don't know for sure why fantasies can be lost easily. We may have been conditioned to forget our dreams, but if we had remembered them together, we might not have been able to tell the dreams of real memories.


Sometimes, it can be more difficult to remember dreams, so our body can shut down memory-generating processes in our brain during REM sleep. We can only remember the hallucinations that happen just before we wake up before every brain activity is turned back on.



Some people believe it's not that our minds miss their dreams, just that we don't know how to get to them. Dreams are going to be preserved in our memory, hoping to be recalled. This might explain why you suddenly recall a dream later in the day: something might have happened to make you remember.



Some theory about dreams


In another recent study conducted by the same research team, the authors used new MRI methods to explore the relationship between dreaming and the role of deep brain structures. In their study, researchers showed that vivid, bizarre, and emotionally intense dreams (dreams that people usually remember) are connected to parts of the amygdala and hippocampus. While amygdala plays a primary role in the processing and memory of emotional reactions, the hippocampus has been involved in key memory functions, such as the consolidation of information from short-term to long-term memory.


The proposed connection between our dreams and emotions is also shown in another recent research identified by Matthew Walker and colleagues at UC Berkeley's Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab who found that decreasing REM sleep (or less 'dreaming') decreases our ability to perceive complicated emotions in daily life – a key feature of human social functioning. Scientists have also recently determined that dreaming is likely to happen in the brain. A very rare medical condition known as "Charcot-Wilbrand Syndrome" has been known to trigger (among other neurological symptoms) a loss of sleeping capacity.


However, it wasn't until a few years ago that a woman started to lose her ability to dream after having virtually all other permanent neurological symptoms. The patient had a lesion in a region of his brain known as the lower right lingual gyrus (located in the visual cortex). Thus, we know that dreams are generated or transmitted by this particular area of the brain, which is associated with vision processing, sensation, and visual memory.


Taken together, these recent discoveries tell an intriguing storey about the underlying nature and future intent of the dream.


Dreams aim to help us control emotions by storing and generating representations of emotions. What we see and feel in our dreams might not be true, but the emotions involved with these experiences are real.


Sujeet Kumar

I like writing about Science, games and free software.

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