When most of us rise up after our morning stretch we often reflect on our dreams. No not the dreams filled with goals, hopes, and aspirations, although that is another positive alternative to starting your day. It’s the dreams that tend to inspire, amuse, and sometimes terrify us which cause us to reflect and wonder why we dream.
We dream to create memories. Dreaming and memory making occurs when we are experiencing REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. If you ever noticed a pet’s or a person’s eyes moving back and forth rapidly, it was likely that the sleeper was dreaming. REM sleep is essential for the creation of long term memories, learning, and creativity (you may have noticed that a lot of creative people are in fact called dreamers). During REM sleep is when our brain decides which information is useful and to be stored for the long term and which information is not as important. Thus, dreaming allows us to commit useful information to memory. People will not forget new skills from a lack of sleep but often they become less adept if they do not get the opportunity to commit the learning experience to memory. This is why infants tend to sleep and dream much more compared to adults. The hours of REM sleep a person experiences is indirectly proportional to their age.
Dreams are when we can be the most insightful. We get to see everything we keep missing, and to finally come with answers that always seem to be beyond our reach. This is due to our relaxed state of mind which allows our brains to simply think and relate the skills learned in the day to the problems one is currently facing. This fact has been proven with a number of studies. One study in particular found that individuals were more successful at solving intellectual problems and puzzles by taking a nap and returning to the challenging task. It is believed that dreaming allows us to open our minds to new possibilities which we have never considered when being awake.
Now that you know the reason of dreaming, it is time to acknowledge the importance of sleeping. Studies have found that people who sleep five hours or less are more prone to weight gain, early aging, hypertension, and heart disease. Depression is also suspected to be linked to poor sleeping habits. It is important that you sleep for eight hours a day so your body can fully recharge for the next day.