Why do we see dreams
Why do we dream? Sigmund Freud said dreams are the hallucinatory fulfillment of an oppressed infantile wish. Well, that was 100 years ago — how do we think about dreams now?We can describe dreams as vivid, Risorgimento hallucinatory experiences. Now, think back through your own dreams. They share common features. They have a narrative. They generally involve other people. And those people are often hostile. Dreams are always shaped by our own individual experiences and memories. But how can we actually learn about them?
First, you need to find someone who is dreaming. But, you can’t just ask a sleeping person to tell you whether they’re dreaming or not, without stopping them from dreaming. But you can do something almost as good. There is a stage in the sleep cycle called rapid eye movement sleep, or REM sleep. During REM sleep, nine out of 10 people report dreaming. So, researchers often use REM sleep as a signal that someone is dreaming. Those flickering eye movements have even been suggested to correspond to scene changes during dreams.
Now, this might seem a little counter intuitive, but during REM dreaming, we’re conscious, but in a wonderfully strange way. It’s because of the neurotransmitters being released into our brain. When we’re fully awake, we have a acetyl line, serotonin and noradrenalin sloshing around up there. But, during REM dreaming there’s only oxyacetylene. Acetylcholine can trigger the activity between our thalamus and our cortex that makes us conscious. But without serotonin and no adrenaline, we’re not actually awake — we’re caught in dream consciousness.
In this state we see vivid, hallucinatory dreams capes that are generated by activity in high level parts of the visual cortex. Vast areas of the emotion processing regions, the limb system, are also alive; in fact, emotional processes are more active during REM sleep than when we’re awake. And on top of that, the area that focuses attention and imposes top down logical thinking is strongly deactivated. So, our dreams can become hyper emotional. It’s even suggested that dreaming helps us process emotional events in our lives. There is study that found that people going through a divorce had worse dreams but were actually in a better emotional state a year later.
Maybe the most popular theory for why we dream is that it helps us lay down memories. There are experiments that support this view and the brain’s memory encoding system is active during sleep. But, if this theory is true, then we need to deprive people of REM sleep — then they should have worse memories, right? Wrong. Antidepressants decrease REM sleep and dreaming, but in some cases they actually improve memory. So, memory formation is unlikely to be the whole purpose of dreaming.
One thing that is clear from all of this, is that sleeping and dreaming are very active processes. And much more akin to wakefulness than we might think. In fact, when this video is finished, just let your mind wander for a spell. Although you’re awake, you’ll end up activating the same specific brain network that’s activated when you dream.
Dreams are hallucinations that occur during certain stages of sleep. They’re strongest during REM sleep, or the rapid eye movement stage, when you may be less likely to recall your dream. Much is known about the role of sleep in regulating our metabolism, blood pressure, brain function, and other aspects of health. But it’s been harder for researchers to explain the role of dreams.
When you’re awake, your thoughts have a certain logic to them. When you sleep, your brain is still active, but your thoughts or dreams often make little or no sense. This may be because the emotional centers of the brain trigger dreams, rather than the logical regions.
Though there’s no definitive proof, dreams are usually autobiographical thoughts based on your recent activities, conversations, or other issues in your life. However, there are some popular theories on the role of dreams.
Some people remember vivid dreams; some swear they cannot remember dreaming at all. Some dream in black and white; most people dream in color. However, one thing is for sure, everyone dreams. From the time we are babies until the day we die, our minds constantly produce dreams while our bodies and brains are at rest. But, what exactly are dreams, and why do we have them?
Dreaming is a symbolic language designed to communicate your inner wisdom to you while you are asleep. The part of your subconscious that processes dreams — your dream self — sends messages as symbols and images, which in turn conveys ideas or situations in a visual language.
Science has made great progress in deepening our understanding of dreaming. Still, there is no answer to the question: Why do we dream?
There are, however, a great number of theories being explored. While some scientists posit that dreaming has no direct function—but instead is a consequence of other biological processes that occur during sleep—many studying sleep and dreams believe dreaming serves a primary purpose. Theories of dreaming span scientific disciplines, from psychiatry and psychology to neuron biology
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