In most simple words, Dreams are the images, sounds or stories which our mind visualizes while we sleep. We mostly dream in the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) stage of sleep when the brain is most active and almost works as when person is awake.
Now the question is why we see these dreams. It’s been more than a decade since scientists are trying to decode this mystery of human brain but still there isn’t any concrete answer. Though various scientists and experts have different theories about the reasons behind human dreaming based on their researches and findings. We are yet to find a theory that has been universally accepted.
Let’s look at some of the theories:
To start with, some experts claim that dreams are just imaginary and fictitious with no relation to our daily life, emotions or thoughts. They further say that dreams can be considered just as a byproduct of brain which is designed in such a way that when human body rests at night, some parts of brain still functions and produces this by product called dreams.
No. of other experts refused to accept this theory as they said that dreams do have a deep relation and connection to our feelings and emotions. As per them dreams reflect our thoughts, fears and desires.
- Dreams reflect human emotions
This theory believed that dreams have a strong connection with our mental state. What we mostly think while we are awake, we are more likely to see the same when we sleep. For instance if someone is preparing for an exam and spends most of the time concentrating on studies then he is more likely to see something specific in the dreams. Or if someone is worried about losing a job then he might see a person roaming around aimlessly. So this theory claimed at deep relation between our emotions and our dreams.
There wasn’t any criticism of this theory but still this cannot be held correct 100% as lot of times we do see dreams which are in no way related to what we are going through in life.
- Dream helps to put together different inputs which human brain receives throughout the day.
This theory is based on the fact that while we work during the day our brain comes across various information and details. Some are minute details to which our brain is exposed for mere few seconds like a new car model on the road which you see while travelling and there some information to which you spend most of your day like your office work related documents. So, while we sleep our brain processes these details and decide which one to retain and which one to flush.
Critics of this theory rejected this by saying that one cannot assume human brain to work as computer and process details.
- Dreams might help in solving problems/ motivating people
During the day we are busy in our hectic schedules and might miss out on noticing some minute details. Our dreams might help us show those details and help provide solution to those mental and emotional problem. A dream might help in analyzing the matter better. In fact there are many who say that they get lot of creative ideas during dreams.
There are occasions where a dreams shows us we achieving something substantial in life. These dream might motivate us and push us to perform better in life.
Unfortunately many denied to buy this point as they said that 95% dreams are not remembered after we wake up, so motivating / problem solving doesn’t seem practical.
Why is it hard to remember the dream?
Research says we forget around 95% of the dreams as soon as we wake up. This is because of the fact that we dream during the REM stage of the sleep when the human brain is most active but the system in the brain which creates memories is shut down due to which we are not able to retain the dreams.
We are more likely to retain the dream which we see just before we wake up as some of the brain systems become active before we wake up. A person who gets a disturbed sleep and wakes up frequently can remember dreams more as compared to someone who gets a sound sleep.