Wandering beyond reality: scientists reveal how and why our brain creates dreams

Anastasia Kryshchuk

Wandering beyond reality: scientists reveal how and why our brain creates dreams
Scientists tell us why we often dream. Source: Freepik

Perhaps each of us felt embarrassed waking up after a dream where we flew or found ourselves in an important place without clothes at least once. Dreams are one of the most mysterious and fascinating aspects of our existence, offering a wide range of scenarios, from the mundane to the wildly fantastical ones.

Although dreams are a universal experience, their purpose and meaning have remained the subject of speculation and research for centuries, IFLScience notes.

Dreaming is a phenomenon that can range from vague and involuntary images to complex scenarios unfolding in our imaginations during sleep. Sometimes these nocturnal adventures are so vivid that we may even be aware that we're asleep while in the dream state—known as lucid dreaming, according to David Billington, a psychotherapy expert and director of the Dream Research Institute. Our brains are almost as active during sleep as they are when we are awake, especially in aspects related to imagery, memory and movement, but fortunately our bodies usually remain still so that our dreams do not become reality.

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We experience the most vivid dreams during the rapid eye movement (REM) phase, when our brain is most active. On average, a person spends about two hours each night dreaming. Scientists still argue about the causes of dreams. Some scientists believe that dreams help us process emotions and solve problems, while others argue that they have no specific biological role.

The interpretation of dreams remains a mystery and depends on individual experience. Ancient civilizations interpreted dreams as signs or messages from the gods, and Sigmund Freud considered them a reflection of suppressed desires. Modern psychologists do not agree on the universal meaning of dreams, but many believe that they reflect our daily experiences, emotions and worries. Dreams can provide a window into our subconscious, revealing insights we may not be aware of while awake.

Dream analysis can be a powerful tool in psychotherapy, allowing people to better understand their inner experiences. Dreams can reflect our current issues, allowing therapists to tap into deeper psychological issues. There are theories suggesting that dreams have evolutionary significance, allowing us to practice responses to potential threats in a safe environment, which can be useful for survival.

Read also: How to turn dreams into reality

Recurring nightmares can be a sign of unresolved trauma or psychological disorders. They can also indicate repressed thoughts or emotions, so it's important to discuss them with a qualified professional.

By sharing our dreams, we can unconsciously reveal aspects of our personality to others because dreams are often filled with metaphors and symbols that reflect our deepest thoughts and feelings, Billington notes. Despite the benefits of paying attention to dreams, experts advise not to over-interpret each aspect. Ultimately, quality sleep is the most important thing.

Overall, although there are more questions than answers in dream research, it is clear that dreams play a key role in our emotional and psychological well-being. As a source of inspiration, a window into the subconscious, or simply a reflection of our daily anxieties, dreams continue to be one of the greatest mysteries of the human mind, offering endless intrigue to those willing to delve into their depths.

We will remind you that earlier we told you what dreams in which you cannot find your way mean.

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