Why do we dream

It has been revealed that we dream whilst we are in the REM stages of sleep (which stands for Rapid Eye Movement). This phase involves our eyes being closed but also moving rapidly about as our brain activity peaks. At the same time our muscles undergo a temporary paralysis during this phase of sleep.

There are two main theories involving why we dream when we sleep. These are known as the physiological school and the psychological school. In the former, it is believed that we dream in order to exercise our brain synapses and pathways. This is so that our brain remains active even when our awakened brain state is not. Whilst awake we are constantly receiving and transmitting messages from our brain when we dream during the REM phase of sleep, this action is adequately replaced and therefore can continue.
This theory is supported by the research carried out on REM sleep in babies. It is accepted now that babies undergo the largest amount of REM sleep which is essential therefore during the formative years of their life. In addition to this, studies of individual’s brain waves during REM sleep have shown them to remarkably similar to those produced when the subject is awake.

The latter theory known as the Psychological School is based around our thoughts and emotions. In this area, it is believed that dreams are a way for our sub conscious mind to communicate with our conscious dealing with various different events throughout the day, concerns and worries we may have and generally teaching us more about ourselves. Connections between dreams and our inner self have been made by various officials throughout the years including Freud and Jung who specialised in this research.

Sigmund Freud, the more famous researcher on this topic was a strong believer in the Psychological School of thought on dreams. He is still considered an authority on the matter today although not all of his actual dream interpretations are widely accepted. Most people will suggest that if you follow this train of thought you use these interpretations only as guidance alongside the Jungian theories but it is important to interpret these dreams yourself as only you can truly know yourself.
Both the Physiological and the Psychological aspects of dream study is taught in Psychology as a fundamental part of the syllabus in western cultures.

Unfortunately none of these theories and suppositions has been proven absolutely and remains merely suggestions as to why we dream. New theories, ideas and research is constantly being carried out in order to ascertain the truth behind dreams but as it stands nothing further can be said about this subject. Many people tend to accept either one of these two main theories about why we dream if not both together and it is an accepted school of thought for either of these theories.

If you are wondering more about your dreams a good idea is to create your own “Dream Diary”. This can contain not a full rendition of your dreams every night but the key elements, events or focal points and your interpretation of them.