According to About Education, a dream consists of any images, thoughts and emotions experienced during sleep. Sometimes they are vague, while other times they are extremely vivid. Dreams may also be joyful or frightening; and clear or confusing. The combination of experiences that can happen in a dream makes for wonderful studies.
As scientists are still figuring out the exact purpose and function of sleep itself, it is no surprise that the purpose of dreaming also remains a mystery. Some researchers suggest that sleep is important to a person’s mental and physical health, while others believe it has no purpose. Among the theories, there are a few stand outs:
Psychoanalytic Theory of Dreams: Sigmund Freud’s theory suggests that dreams are a representation of unconscious thoughts, desires and motivations, divided into manifest and latent content. The actual images, thoughts, and dream content make up manifest content, while the latent content represents the hidden psychological meaning of the dream.
Activation-Synthesis Model of Dreaming: J. Allan Hobson and Robert McClarey in shared their theory 1977, which states that circuits in the brain become activated during REM sleep, causing areas of the limbic system involved in emotions, sensations and memories, to become active as we snooze. Dreaming results from the brain synthesizing and interpreting this internal activity and attempting to find a meaning.
- Dreams clean up clutter from the mind to prepare it for the next day.
- Dreams are our way of interpreting external stimulias we sleep to keep us aware of our surroundings. For example, the sound of the TV may become a part of your dream content.
- According to a different theory, dreams are a formof psychotherapy. It is the place where you can make connections between thoughts and emotions in a safe environment.
The debate about the reasons we dream may at times be more fascinating than our dreams themselves! According to Henry David Thoreau, “Dreams are the touchstones of our characters.” What do you make of your dreams?