Why do we dream?


Natalie Rodriguez, Staff Writer

Whether you wake up frantically from a nightmare or full of joy from the best dream, dreaming is a normal part of the human experience. The question remains: Why do we dream?

Dreams are a series of thoughts, images, and sensations occurring in a person’s mind during sleep that act as a stress reliever.

According to about.com, a site regarding psychology studies and theories other psychologists have,  “dreaming is essential to mental, emotional and physical well-being.”

Dreams may also be the brain’s way of making sense of daily events.   “ In a sleep-study participants are wakened during the first non-REM period, those who recall their dreams tend to report thinking about a piece of emotional unfinished business.”

There is still no proof for why we dream but there are theories such as National Institutes of Health (NIH), “… variations in cortisol determine the functional status of hippocampal neocortical circuits, thereby influencing the memory consolidation processes that transpire during sleep.” So in plain language this relates to the cycle of our sleep as we enter the REM period, the stage in which we dream, which takes 90 minutes and then we switch to the next stage called NREM which is deep sleep.

Why we dream is still inconclusive but many scientists and professionals believe dreams are based upon long term memory consolidation.

Sleeping and dreaming are both beneficial to your health and can help an individual’s emotional state. The healing and repair of heart and blood vessels is associated with sleep and without it, one may experience heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke according to NIH.

We sleep to improve our physical help and we dream to stabilize our emotional self. Although we do not know specifically why we dream, we are certain of the benefits and of sleep.