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Why Do We Dream?

Samantha Pierotti, Journalist

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Dreams are something that all humans share, and something that has puzzled mankind for many years. Why do we dream? Researchers have been working to answer this question for a long time. Since the earliest recorded time people have theorized about the origin of dreams. The answer used to be that it was a message from the spirit world until Aristotle and Plato developed a hypothesis that was later expanded on by early European psychoanalysts.They believed that dreams were a place to act out our unknown desires in a safe environment free of judgement.

REM sleep is a type of slumber that occurs in intervals throughout the night. It can be characterized by rapid eye movements and a quicker pulse. When dreamers wake up from REM sleep they remember vivid and often ludicrous dreams, but when waken from non REM sleep they barely recall their dreams at all. Michel Jouvet, MD, furthered research on REM sleep and dreams at Claude Bernard University. He recognized that the the movement of the eyes and the higher pulse resemble wakefulness. He called REM sleep paradoxical sleep because it is often paired with muscular paralysis.

There are many websites and books written on dream analysis, something that is not proven by science but that is widely believed. Certain symbols or events in a dream supposedly have meanings that might be unknown to the dreamer. If a dreamer sees or eats an abalone in their dream, they are going through a transitional period in their life. And the classic “I’m being chased!” dream usually stems from anxiety in the dreamers everyday life, and may show that the dreamer is unsettled. One theory about the common “My teeth are falling out!” dream is that it is related to vanity. According to Dream Moods, the dreamer is too worried about their appearance, and their dream preys on it.

Huffpost talked to the authors of “A Field Guide to Lucid Dreaming” in hopes of learning how to control their dreams. The first step in the process is to start a dream journal, which will help you keep track of your dreams. Once you have a couple dreams down, look through and highlight a couple common themes: a park, a mansion, your sister Emily, a heron. Keep track of recurring themes. By asking yourself the question “Am I dreaming?” in your everyday life, you will start asking it in your dreams. Your hesitation to believe reality will transfer into your dreams as well and then -whoa!- you’ll find yourself in your very own psyche! When you notice yourself dozing off, don’t think about it too much. But when your start dreaming, ask yourself “Is this really a dream?”. If it is, then you’ll realized that it worked!

Dreaming is very beneficial, it has been shown to relieve stress and let us express ourselves in unknown ways. Although we still don’t know exactly why we dream, we know that dreams are here to stay.

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The student news site of Corona del Mar High School
Why Do We Dream?