Although scientists still have many unanswered questions about sleep, at the very least, we know that it’s necessary for life.
Like a battery, our bodies only have so much energy to spend before we get tired. Sleep allows our brains and our bodies to recharge, so we can carry on with our day-to-day lives. This process of “recharging” is absolutely essential for our overall health.
But during this essential process, almost everyone experiences something completely intangible and seemingly useless—dreaming.
These senseless hallucinations don’t seem to have any purpose in our survival; So, why do we dream at all? Why are our brains hardwired to do this?
Scientists have been asking this question for decades, and while nothing has been proven, researchers have come up with a few theories that show the purpose behind dreaming.
Dreaming as a Form of Therapy
Going to a therapist to deal with your emotional dramas is one of the best ways to process and heal from trauma. This is partly because they offer a safe place where you can encounter your emotions and find reason behind certain behaviours or anxieties.
Seeing that this type of therapy is highly effective in emotional and psychological healing, scientists have wondered if dreams can offer us the same type of benefits.
In these studies, scientists have theorized that dreams are our body’s way of encountering our emotions in a psychologically safe space. Like therapy, dreams allow us to analyze our emotions in a creative and critical fashion.
Dreaming as a Workout
Another reason for why we dream is that the act strengthens our parasympathetic nervous system.
While we sleep, the most active area of the brain is the amygdala. The amygdala is the part of our brain responsible for our fight or flight response. Knowing this, researchers have studied the relationship between our sympathetic nervous system and the act of dreaming.
Theories suggest that dreaming could be our body’s way of strengthening our fight or flight response. Which means our dreams could quite literally be keeping us alive.
Dreaming as a Fountain of Creativity
If asked some of the most successful creatives in this world where they got their best ideas from, you’d find that a lot of them are inspired by their dreams.
When we dream, the area in our brain that controls logical thinking is at rest, which allows our minds to come up with unlikely images and stories.
These unlikely images and stories form compelling work and art that may not have come to fruition if our minds were not able to dream.
Do our Dreams Mean Anything?
While scientists and psychologists have theorized why dreaming is so important, it might be impossible to measure whether the content of our dreams have any validity to them.
It’s certainly interesting dream about random objects and stories, but can we pull any valuable meaning from them? Can we analyze them like we do poetry?
Sigmund Freud believed we could.
Freud theorized that dreams point to our buried desires. The strange objects and symbols we come up with in our dreams are indicative of our unconscious thoughts and desires.
Although Freudian theories aren’t exactly widely accepted, he wasn’t the only one to believe in the power of dreams.
Carl Jung theorized dream archetypes that act as symbols for real-life emotions and desires.
Many other psychologists and theorists have suggested that dreams offer insight into our self-understanding, or work as metaphors for our real-world issues.
Whether you believe your dreams mean anything or not, the act of dreaming is one of the most amazing aspects of the human experience that can have a strong impact in our lives.
If you want to have better sleep for better dreams, contact Majestic Mattress in Kelowna and West Kelowna. We will work with you to find the right mattress for your sleep style, so you can have restful sleeps.