Mandy Kloppers

Why do we dream?



Dreams help our brain process experiences

A number of researchers believe that dreams serve as problem solvers. Access to our unconscious and a way for us to work through dilemmas or unresolved emotional issues that we repress from our conscious mind when we’re awake.
Dreams may also be a way to cope with trauma. A subtle representation of what we might be experiencing time and time again in life. When I feel overwhelmed I often dream about tsunamis. This is reflective of my inability to cope at times. A wave of water that I know I can’t escape from, no matter how hard I try.

When we sleep we apparently go through five sleep stages. The first is very light, then slightly deeper, stage 3 and 4 represent our deepest sleep phase. Brain activity slows down during this phase (delta brain waves).
During REM sleep brain activity increases, heart rate and breathing increases. The rest of the body is usually paralyzed during this time so that we don’t physically act out our dreams.

Are dreams our nightly psychotherapy or are they just random firings of a brain that isn’t fully conscious? Contemporary theories state that the process is not random and that it is guided by the emotions of the dreamer. When one clear-cut emotion present, dreams are often simple.

Despite ongoing research, there is a lot that is unknown about dreams and the function of sleep. We cannot survive without sleep yet there is still so much to uncover about sleep and how it affects the brain.

Mandy X