Why do we dream when we sleep?
Have you ever wondered why we dream? Or had a dream that got your heart racing? You are not alone if you answered yes to either of these questions. Dreams are an intriguing phenomenon that many experts have set out...
Have you ever wondered why we dream? Or had a dream that got your heart racing? You are not alone if you answered yes to either of these questions. Dreams are an intriguing phenomenon that many experts have set out to explore. Understanding what dreams are, some factors that influence them, and why we dream, can offer many helpful insights.
What are dreams and why do we have them?
Dreams are vivid stories, images, and thoughts experienced during sleep that cause an emotional reaction. Dreams happen at various stages of sleep; however, experts have noted that vivid dreams usually occur during the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage of sleep.
There are various types of dreams that you may experience. Lucid dreams are the dreams you are aware you’re dreaming while asleep, this means your brain is perfectly aware that the events being played are a dream. These dreams usually occur between the REM sleep stage and waking up from sleep. On the other hand, nightmares are dreams that ignite negative feelings of fear, panic, and anger.
Researchers don’t have a definite answer for why we dream. However, there are several theories as to the role of dreams:
1. To overcome emotional challenges:
Your dreams act as a means to confront the emotional challenges you may be facing. This is because your brain makes emotional connections while you sleep that your conscious self would not.
2.To improve memory:
Experts also believe that dreams serve as memory aids, this is because sleep is known to help the brain store and process memories. Although this is still being researched, dreams are believed to help the brain block out unnecessary interferences that could impact memory and learning.
3.To improve problem-solving skills:
Another theory researchers have advanced concerning the role of dreams is that it increases creativity and problem-solving skills. According to experts, the brain is free to explore its limitless potential when dreaming. This, in turn, encourages creativity, which helps in resolving problems.
What affects your dreams?
Interestingly, your bed and mattress can affect your dreams. Low-quality mattresses make it challenging to get good sleep, these distractions can affect your ability to reach the REM stage of sleep, thus affecting your dreams. For instance, it is believed that constant tossing and turning can negatively impact your dreams. Besides your mattress, other factors influence your dreams, such as the following:
1. Your diet
It is believed that some foods can influence your dreams. For example, a large meal before bed can make it challenging to fall asleep. As a result, you may have vivid dreams. Additionally, some food causes you to wake up several times during the REM sleep stage, which usually causes you to remember your dream.
2. Health conditions
The health conditions you experience can also affect your sleep. For instance, scientists state that people suffering from mental health issues tend to have more vivid nightmares. Additionally, certain medications can impact your dreams, this may be due to preventing the ability to reach the REM stage of sleep.
3. Daily activities
Your dreams will be a positive experience if you live an active lifestyle. This is because such a lifestyle releases ‘happy’ hormones, helping you to relieve stress, and improves sleep quality.