Why do we dream? What does it mean? Considering the amount of time we actually spend dreaming it is surprising that although there are many theories to this question, there are no answers with solid evidence. The fact that researches do not yet understand the purpose of dreaming may be strange but even stranger is the fact that scientists are still trying to unravel the exact purpose and function of sleep itself. Some researchers suggest that dreams serve no real purpose while others believe that dreaming is essential to mental and physical well-being. My theory is that dreaming is our brains way of keeping active while our bodies are in a resting state.
When dreaming there are changes to our bodies such as sleep paralysis. Two characteristics of sleep paralysis are the inability to move and the sense of an evil presence in the room with you, studies show that during an attack sleep paralysis sufferers show an overwhelming amygdala activity (amygdala is responsible for the ‘fight or flight’ instinct and the emotion of fear, terror and anxiety). Another change to our bodies while dreaming is rapid eye movement or REM. While in this stage our bodies are usually paralysed although in rare cases this as not been so and some people have in fact acted out their dreams which resulted in broken arms, legs and in one case a burnt down house. Both scary and bizarre at the same time!
There are many types of dreams that don’t actually affect our bodies like lucid dreaming, which is people who apparently practice various techniques to learn how to control their dreams and do extraordinary things like flying, passing through walls and even travelling back in time.
Another type of dreaming is premonition dreams which is rare but in some outstanding cases people have actually dreamt about thing that later happened! Some of the most premonition dreams include, Abraham Lincoln who dreamt about his own assassination, many 9/11 victims had dreams warning them about the catastrophe, Mark Twain dreamt his brother’s demise and there was 19 verified precognitive dreams about the Titanic disaster.
Humans are not the only ones to dream, animals dream too. I am sure all you pet owner’s have seen your dogs tossing and turning making noises whilst in a deep sleep, or even your cats kicking their feet like they are running. Who knows what thoughts race around their minds as they enter sleep mode. All I know is when I go to bed tonight I will definitely question my dreams a little bit more.