Why do we dream?

In dreams, anything is possible: from winning Euromillions to hooking up with a handsome prince. So dreams are a lot of fun (except scary nightmares, of course)! But why do we have them? We found out for you! Especially for this World Dream Day.

In our research on dreams, one name comes up frequently: Freud. He garnered a lot of attention through his theories on dream analysis. Freud argued that dreams were the key to understanding the psyche and mental disorders. But did you know that his propositions were never scientifically proven? Moreover, you notice that if you get Freudian psychoanalysts to analyse the same dream, you come up with completely different interpretations. Meanwhile, most of the analysis have been overturned by neuroscience. So time to look at the concept of dreams from a more scientific angle!

Why do we dream?

Dreams help you process daytime events and stimuli. Dreams occur only during the fourth stage of our sleep cycle: REM sleep. During this phase, the muscles are relaxed but the brain is at least as active as when we are awake. During dream sleep, your brain will ponder large parts of acquired knowledge and then extract overarching rules and similarities – “the essence”. We wake up with a revised “Mind Wide Web” capable of finding solutions to previously unfathomable problems.In your dreams, your brain may revisit what is or is not important and forget the rest.

Sometimes dreams help you think in a different way. Therefore, dreaming stimulates creativity! Did you know that the Rolling Stone’s world hit ‘Satisfaction’ was written at night for Keith Richards in his sleep? He always slept with a guitar and a recorder by his bedside. That way, when he woke up in the morning, he heard the familiar chords of this song (as well as 45 minutes of snoring).

Some facts

  • Within 5 minutes of waking up, you have forgotten half your dreams. Within 10 minutes, 90% are gone.
  • In our dreams, we only see faces we already know. Our brain cannot invent faces.
  • 12% of sighted people dream only in black and white.
  • The most commonly experienced emotion during dreams is fear. Negative emotions are more common than positive emotions.
  • You can have 4 to 7 dreams in one night.


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