In ancient Egypt it is believed that you would overcome your troubles if you dreamed of sitting under a tree. In ancient China people believed that if your teeth fell out in your dreams, your parents were in danger. There are so many different ways that dreams are perceived, but where do dreams really come from?
There are two main types of sleep: NREM which stands for non-rapid eye movement and REM which stands for rapid eye movement. Dreaming happens during REM which is the fourth stage of the sleep cycle. During this stage, your body relaxes, your eyes begin to move rapidly, and the brain, which is where all the dreaming happens, becomes more active.
“Dreams come from our brain. Specifically neural activity originating from the visual and audio regions of our Cerebral Cortex as well as from our pons (the part of your brain that regulates consciousness) during REM sleep,” says Psychology teacher Daniel Healy.
Believe it or not, you’re always dreaming. Every single night. But once you wake up, you might not remember what you dreamt about. In fact, you may have had up to six dreams in just one night. Most people forget 90-95 percent of their dreams although it’s not exactly clear why.
“It’s likely because our brain releases chemicals to help stimulate dreaming and suppress movement (so we don’t hurt ourselves while we dream),” says Biology teacher Lauren Kinne. “Those same chemicals may prevent the brain from storing our dreams as long term memories.”
Despite this, there are a few methods that can help you remember them. The best time to recall your dreams is within the first few minutes after you’ve woken up. Make sure not to move around too much once you’re awake. You can keep a pencil and notepad next to your bed so that as soon as you wake up, you can write down what you dreamt about. Make sure to do this quickly before you forget what you dreamt about. This method isn’t guaranteed to work, and might take a couple of tries but it’s something fun you can do in your free time!
One of the most commonly asked questions is: why do we dream? It’s such a common question because scientifically, there’s really no answer to it although there are many theories.
Some scientists believe we dream so that we can process intense emotions. Others believe that dreams are just there for our brain to process external sounds or motions. Many people have claimed that dreams reveal a person’s thoughts, motivations, and/or desires, and some even believe that dreams have no function and mean nothing at all.