Why We Dream At Night And Does Everyone Dream ?
Dreaming ! probably one of the most weird thing that happen with our brain. We don’t really physically move anywhere while dreaming yet we feel like we are moving, doing things. We think that things are happening in real world.
So question is why we dream at night ? and does everyone dream ?
You must have heard from at least one of your friend that he/she don’t dream but that’s not true. Lab experiments conducted as part of Oneirology (scientific study of dreams) have shown that we experience our most vivid dreams during Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. In short, everyone does dream but problem is not everyone remembers so if you remember dreams be thankful to your memory. Studies suggest that we forgot our most of the dreams as soon as we get up. In fact 90% dreams are forgotten in just 10 minutes after you wake up.
Problems with Oneirology are there is no way to study dreams thoroughly and accurately. We can not see other people’s dreams neither could we measure the dream. We could ask people what they dreamt but it’s a terrible idea as most of the dreams are forgotten soon after we wake up and dream details found to be conflicting or vanishing if we try to remember them repeatedly.
In 1952, researchers at University of Chicago found an unique type of electrical activity that occurs at certain stage of person’s sleep. When researchers woke people during this stage, everyone almost reported that they had been dreaming. As people’s eyeballs were also moving during this stage, it’s called REM sleep or Rapid Eyeball Moment Sleep. Researchers also found that the electrical activity recorded during REM sleep be matching with electrical activity when brain works when we are awake. It implies that previous assumptions that brain rests when we sleep was wrong and hence REM sleep is also called as paradoxical sleep . Biggest difference was during brain activities in REM sleep there were almost complete blockage of chemicals responsible for moving our body. This causes us to feel that we are doing something but in reality we are just lying on bed and dreaming ! There are of course exceptions to this. Few people’s brain can not completely block these chemical formation and that’s the reason why they move, talk or even walk while sleeping and dreaming. Now it’s going to get weirder on why do we dream..
Freaky Sleep Paralysis : It’s possible to wake up and not be able to move. You are conscious, awake and you know it but your body is not ready to move. You would be in worst nightmare of your life. This strange things found to be happening to about half of the population at least once in their lifetime.
Lucid Dreaming : Smart people who suffered from sleep paralysis found a way to control their dreams. How ? they knew they are conscious but they could not control their body implied that they were conscious while dreaming ! Superb thing about lucid dreaming is you can make conscious decisions in dreams. Say if you happened to be a super rich in dreams you could decide weather you want to party around or buy new sports car or go to charity event.
REM sleep is very important to us. A study performed on mouse who was not allowed to sleep properly during REM sleep found that he was not able to make proper decisions and facing problems in remembering things. Same thing could happen to humans. If you tell someone to remember a name pair and not allowed to let him sleep chances are he will forget this name pair very soon than usual. One could measure electrical activities of brain while performing a task, these same activities are then could be recorded the same night when person is asleep. Why is that ?
There are many popular theories on why we dream like activation synthesis theory, Continual-activation theory,Reverse learning etc. These all theories are a variation on idea that while we are asleep our unconscious part of brain is busy in organizing memories and strengthening connections if we need that memory in future while depressing junk memories those are not so relevant. While performing all these tasks, brain produces electrical impulses. Since we are asleep, conscious brain does not have much else to pay attention on so conscious brain detects these impulses. The problem is it doesn’t know what it means and it tries to create best of the cohesive story that end up in creation of dreams.
If you think on it, you could guess why dreams are so random and sometimes they are so weird and sometimes they don’t even make sense at all.
Watch the following video to know more on dreams
Courtesy : Vsauce