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Why do we dream?

What makes us dream? Does it have a purpose?

4817 day(s) ago

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The question of why we dream has been studied for thousands of years by both philosophers and scientists. In all that time, no definite answers have been discovered. The images, sounds, and emotions that come to us while we sleep may serve one or even several different purposes. Given the fact, that we are not even sure why we sleep, it is not surprising that we haven’t been able to figure out an exact reason for our dreams. Five major theories attempt to explain why we dream:

1. Evolutionary Theory – This theory states that dreams are a safe way to play out threatening situations and practice our response to them. During REM sleep, when dreams occur, our brains act similarly to when we are in a real-life fight-or-flight situation.

2. Completion of Thought Theory – We don’t have adequate time to process our thoughts during the day. At night, dreams help us sort out important thought and choices we made during our day. Important thoughts are expanded upon and go to our long-term memory while unimportant thoughts are discarded.

3. Brain as Computer Theory – In this theory, our brain acts much like a computer’s memory and hard-drive. Dreams are a way of clearing our memory of useless data and defragmenting a hard-drive so the information we have is more efficiently stored for fast retrieval.

4. Psychotherapy Theory – This theory states that dreams are a form of self-psychotherapy. Dreams help put images and sounds in context with our emotions to work out why we feel the way we do.

5. No Theory – Those who believe in no theory say that dreams occur for no reason whatsoever. They are just random nerves firing off in our brain that creates pictures, sounds, and feelings.

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