What Is The Biological Basis Of Sleep And Dreams?


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Robert Schatten answered
This is something that just can’t be answered properly. The reason why we dream fascinated both scientists and philosophers, and has been an interest to humans for thousands of years. It seems only recently, however, that dreams have become subject to some real research. Empirical research and concentrated scientific studies are being performed to try and find out precisely what causes us to dream, and what our dreams may really mean.

The chances are that you’ve already been puzzled or amazed by the contents of one of your dreams; you have simply wondered why you ever dream at all. The research that is currently being performed can perhaps answer your question properly in the future.

A dream is defined by a series of images, a series of thoughts, a series of emotions or even just experiences that have been had during the time of sleep. Dreams can either be incredibly vivid, and sometimes even lucid, or vague and ambiguous. The dreams may be packed full of good emotions, or even scary and unpleasant thoughts. They vary massively, and many people believe that dreams are a reflection of the day you have just had. Dreams can be focused and easy to understand or interpret, or sometimes completely random, unclear or just plain confusing.

Some researchers of dreams and sleep have suggested that dreams, in actual fact, do not serve any real purpose. Other people believe, however, that dreaming is an essential aspect to remaining mentally, emotionally and physically well within yourself. The director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Newton Wellesley Hospital in Boston, Ernest Hoffman, has suggested that a possible function of dreams is that they are weaving new material into the memory system, in such a way that both is able to reduce emotional arousal and is also able to help us cope with trauma in the future. This is just a suggestion, however, and has not been proven.

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