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Why do we dream?

22 Sep 2022

It is completely natural in the human being to try to fing a reason of being to everything. A phenomenon that has caught our attention since the beginning of our history are dreams. And, above all, one of the biggest unknowns in science today: why do we dream?

How are dreams produced

To better understand them, we must start from the following question: where and when are they produced?

Sleep is made up of several cycles that are divided into different phases (if you are interested in learning more about sleep cycles, we delve into them in this article). These phases or stages are four: sleep or wakefulness; light sleep; deep sleep; and the REM phase. Dreams can be produced in all of them, but it is much more frequent that they occur during the last phase. 

The cycles are repeated several times throughout the night, and not all of them have the same duration (the first one usually lasts between 70 and 100 minutes and the rest between 90 and 120 minutes), in addition to the fact that they can vary between different days and depending of the person.

It is said that when you remember what you dream very vividly it is because you have woken up in the middle of a cycle, when you are most actively dreaming.

What is it and what do we dream for

After innumerable studies on this subject, it has been concluded that dreams are information that the brain stores in its memory and "brings to light" or rebuilds when we sleep. It is no secret that the external stimuli of everyday life affect the emotions we have when sleeping. Dreams are not something that help erasing unpleasant memories, in fact, they often put them back on the table in the form of nightmares or maybe they are reflections of what we want to see happening.

Sleeping is a task that helps to regenerate and rest the body from all the day-to-day activity. Everything indicates that dreaming helps memorizing and ordering the information that has been stored in our brain during the day. Some studies have even shown that if important information is learned before sleeping, it will be better retained and it will be easier to remember it, since its storage and ordering is more correct.

So... why?

The truth is that it still is an inexact and uncertain science, with more questions than answers. Of course, its effects on our cognitive abilities are undeniable, becoming a fundamental element for the correct development of our mind. Some say that it is only intended to free the brain of "extra" information that has been stored, but there are also currents of thought that affirm that dreams are premonitions about what is going to happen, with hidden meanings that decipher the future for us.

We still have much to discover about this fascinating component of our lives.

 

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