We spend around a third of our lives sleeping. Considering how much time we spend doing it, you might think we’d know everything there is to know about it. After a great deal of scientific research and technological advancements, we still do not have any real definite answers on why we dream. But we do have some interesting theories which we will go through in detail below.
We dream to fulfil our deepest wishes – Our dreams are merely just a collection of images from our daily conscious lives and often have hidden symbolic meanings which relate to the fulfilment to our subconscious wishes. Things that you can remember when you wake from a dream are said to be a symbolic representation of our subconscious primitive thoughts, urges and desires. By analysing theses remembered images over time you can potentially unlock the unconscious content to our conscious mind
We dream to remember – This theory is based around the hypothesis that certain memory process can only occur whilst dreaming. To increase performance on some mental tasks, sleep is good but dreaming can be better. Researchers have found that when performing a complex tasks, those who had dreamt the task and performed it successfully in their dream could then go on and use the memory processes used while sleeping to better perform the task when awake.
We dream to forget – Every day we are learning something new and your brain can get overloaded with information. This is based upon a theory called reversed learning and states that when you dream your brain reviews the learnt information and dumps the information that it may deem unnecessary. Without this unlearning process your brain could get overrun with thoughts that could affect the necessary thinking you need to do while you are awake.
We dream to keep our brains working – This theory can be seen as similar to a continual screensaver on your computer so that it stays on and does not shut down. Your brain is required to continually be active so during sleep it uses this time to consolidate and filter through information that is stored in memory.
We dream to rehearse – Dreams involving dangerous or uncomfortable situations are very common and can allow you to live out these situations or practice your reactions to these situations in case you meet these in real; life.
We dream to heal – One possible purpose of dreaming is to take the edge off painful experiences to allow for psychological healing. By reviewing traumatic experiences in you dreams with less mental stress may give you a clearer outlook and an enhanced ability to process you thoughts. This will allow the mind to work through difficult, complicated, unsettling thoughts, emotions, and experiences, to achieve psychological and emotional balance.
We dream to solve problems – In your dreams your mind can create limitless scenarios to help you grasp problems and formulate solutions you may not consider while you are awake. Some times the best solutions to the problems is to sleep on it.