We know the confused feeling too well when you wake up from an odd or scary dream. You sit up and think to yourself why on earth would I dream something like that. Everyone dreams, but what is the point of this hyperactive night activity your brain performs. Sleep experts and scientists cannot pinpoint an answer. However, a new study could have us closer to a final solution as to why we dream.
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This new study was published in the Journal of Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience which looked into this question. They gathered 20 volunteers who identified as natural dreamers, who could define their dreams clearly, and they were instructed to publish a journal for ten days. In their journals, they were told to record any significant activities that occurred in their dreams, including thoughts and emotions around them.
They were then taken to a sleep lab, where they were hooked up to monitors while the researchers studied their sleep patterns. When they woke, the scientists would make them recall their dream in as much detail as possible and see if they could find any reoccurring themes which they had written in their journals.
Primarily what was discovered was that the purpose of a dream is to help your brain process the experiences of your day, and particularly the emotions that were felt towards the day. While other studies have come close to this answer, this study is pioneering in the fact that scientists have proven a strong link between memory processing and dreams.