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Why Do We Dream?

Published Saturday, January 14, 2006

The term dream can have more than one meaning to us in our everyday life. It can mean ones aspiration, wishes or ambitions in life which every single one of us have whether we demonstrate this openly by sharing it or secretly within our hearts. This can be a ; business idea, career, job, a home, college, marriage, material possession or a change in ones lifestyle and so on. However, this article will be looking at dream in terms of that mysterious event that takes place while we are sleeping. In other words very simple things we think of while we sleep. This phenomena has puzzled humans since the earliest of times right up to this very day. We can control our daily thoughts and feelings while we are awake consciously but yet we are incapable of having any control of the events (dreams) that take place in our head while we are in an unconscious state of mind (sleeping) but conscious of these feelings and events that you cannot do anything about whether you like it or not. Thus, ever arousing our curiosity of interest that triggers a lot of philosophical reasoning right to the other end of supernatural agencies.

1. The Physiological and Psychological Theories

This question for centuries have been the subject of debate and heated controversy due to the many different theories laid down by two different schools of prominent scientists. These two different schools are the physiological school and the psychological school. However, both schools do agree that dreams occurs during the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) phase of our sleep. REM sleep is primarily characterized by movements of the eyes where several physiological changes takes place (heart rate and breathing quickens, the blood pressure rises). The REM was discovered in 1953 by Eugene Aserinsky, a graduate student researcher in physiology, at the University of Chicago and Nathaniel Kleitman, Ph.D., chair of physiology. During this phase of sleep, our closed eyes moves around rapidly while our brain activity peaks, and our muscles becomes temporarily paralyzed.

It is also important to know that there is also a third school camp on this matter that exist in between the other two schools: the physiological school and the psychological school. This third school believes that both schools extreme positions on the function and meaning of dreams to be partly right and partly wrong. This third school argues that dreams may have both physiological and psychological determinants, and therefore can be either meaningful or meaningless which, varies greatly with regards to its psychological significance.

i. Physiological Theory
This theory has to do with the function of our body and brain in relation to the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) phase of sleep. This theory is based on the fact that our Nervous System is always active whether we are sleeping or awake to keep our system in constant motion carrying out essential functions that our lives depends on. The human brain has about 100 billion neurons which connect to thousands of other brain cells. Each playing their job in different regions of the brain through a huge network system. Therefore while we are alive, the brain is constantly transmitting and receiving message from all over our body through the nervous system network which it all has to process and carry out while we are awake or a
sleep in order for us to be alive. Thus, this theory believes that dream takes over that active and conscious part of the brain that is “off-line” while we sleep. This therefore keeps our nervous system components such as the neurons, sensory cells, motor cells, synapses in our brain in constant function of its duty.

This theory is supported by the physiological fact that our brain waves when measured during the REM phase of sleep shows that the electrical activity of the brain is identical to that of when we are awake. The REM sleep phase is where dreaming occurs and is also where several physiological changes take place. At this phase, the muscles relax and the heart rate, breathing and blood pressure increases.

ii. Psychological Theory
This theory has to do with thoughts and our emotions in relation to our dreams. This theory is based around the speculation that our brain being busy all day processing information that during the night when we are a sleep our brain working "off-line" from our conscious state process all the useful stuff from the previous day and get rid of the other leftover stuff that are useless from our brain. This is named by Freud as "day residue" while the rest of the dream is a story that doesn’t deal with actual day events.

Dreams are believed to be a psychological portrait of an individual thus, revealing what is in his/her mind. Based on this, Freudians believe that information about ourself or some aspects of our life can be extracted by several methods of interpretation.

2. Spiritual Beings - according to the Holy Bible

Finally, according to the holy bible, dreams may be caused by spiritual beings such as God or indirectly through his angels. Dream had a religious connation to it by the early Christians. For those of you that believe in God and read the Holy Bible, will also see that dreams was also used by God to express a divine message to his believers. The meaning of the message sent by the Divine were plain and unmistakable. God holding communication with man through dreams is mentioned in Numbers 12:6, and explicitly in Job 33:14 -17 : "For God speaketh once, yea twice, [yet man] perceiveth it not.: In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed; : Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction, : That he may withdraw man [from his] purpose, and hide pride from man." Dreams are also mentioned in several other parts of the Holy Bible. Here are some of them: 1 Samuel 28:15, Genesis 28:12-19, Genesis 40, Jeremiah 23:32 , Zechariah 10:2, and Numbers 12:6 just to name a few. Thus, from the Holy Bible we see that God use dreams as a means of manifesting his will to man using natural psycho-physiological phenomenon so that man may obey his bidding.

Presently our knowledge on dream and its purpose is very limited. However, it is possible that this can change at anytime due to new generation of researchers. As, our knowledge increase with time so will be the advancement in science and technology.

Here are some articles on dream and some similar articles of interest:
Similar Articles of Interest:
Why do people snore? | Why Do We Yawn? | What causes hiccup?

The "Purpose" of Dreams - dreamresearch.net
Ideas about REM Sleep and Dreams - The American Psychoanalytic Association
Dreaming: Function And Meaning - The Lucidity Institute

Questions & Answers
How Dreams Work - howstuffworks.com | Dream Interpretation - guidetopsychology.com | Commonly Asked Questions About Dreams - dreamschool.org | Common Questions About Dreams - asdreams.org | Dream Questions and Answers - web-us.com

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At 11:56 AM, Blogger Furkids In Hong Kong said...
At 3:31 PM, Blogger Amstaffie said...
At 4:28 PM, Blogger Killired said...
At 11:17 AM, Blogger Kathleen said...
At 5:17 AM, Blogger David said...
At 5:22 AM, Blogger OldOldLady Of The Hills said...
At 7:35 AM, Blogger R. Edmondson said...
At 3:31 AM, Blogger w.y. said...
At 7:12 AM, Blogger R. Edmondson said...
At 6:00 PM, Blogger Amstaffie said...
At 6:30 AM, Blogger R. Edmondson said...

Cool reading!

I rarely dream anymore, but when I do they are fortunately of a pleasant kind (usually).

Wishing us all great dreams!

I have some really CRAZY dreams... I especially like the dreams where I'm flying! Love the sensation!

Sweet dreams!

furkids... you dream, you just haven't trained yourself to remember them... try keeping a notepad by your bed and writing down your dreams. i did this for 1 summer when i was 16 yrs old....
the first day i could olny remember what felt like a 5 second dream... by the end of the summer, i could recall novels of dreams... my dreaming activity increased so much it was hard to write it all down fast enough. and still to this day... i can remember that first day's dream... as well as some of the other one's i had...

r edmondson: i changed my mind from my last comment... i'm not bookmarking you, i'm blogrolling you! i love this site! you have a wealth of information... i am in school earning my license to teach pre-k thru 3rd grade... there is never too much knowledge in this world! love your site...and if you dont mind, i will be featuring your blog in one of my upcoming ones that i will be doing on other people's Blogs!

I'm particularly interested in this subject since I was under sedation after a stroke last October. It was more than a dream and I "went places". I'm still coming to terms with it.

Great Blog!

I recently posted about one of my dreams and got lots of comments.

here from michele

A Very Interesting article...there is so much to absorb here, I will have to come back...I can't take it all in...but I find it all fascinating.

I'm here from Michele this A.M.

Thank you Furkid :)

I dream now and again and fortunately also they are pleasant. I never had a bad dream (nightmare) before and hopefully will never experience it.

Take care.

Well it seems those “crazy” dreams you are having are very sensational in need. What is the secret? Let me know if there is one :) You are superwoman in your dream, wow!!

Hope I will now have some sweet sensational dreams!:)


Thank you very much for that wonderful compliment! I would be more than happy to have my blog featured on one of your blogs. It would be an honor! Thanks also for the blogroll. I wish you all the best earning your teaching license. I can see that we both share the love of imparting knowledge :)

Very interesting recommendation their to Furkid. You know, I always remember my dreams and even aware if I dreaming a dream that I had already dreamt sometime in the near past. Weird heh!?

I ‘m sorry to hear about your stroke but glad to know you are now okay :) That part about you "went places" sounds very interesting. Seems like you have an outer body experience in a sense.

Thanks for the visit and the compliment!

Thank for the visit. Dream is a fascinating topic to discuss just as how it is a mysterious phenomena.

OldOldLady Of The Hills:
This is a wise thing to do since you don’t want to have nightmare because you overload your brain with too much info. :)

Thanks for the visit and compliment.


very interesting topic you invested.

Thanks for the visit and comment.

Wow, you've never had a nightmare?!?!? I hope you don't, they're not fun. Usually my nightmares include a tornado coming toward my house, although I've not ever been around one. Or sometimes I have ghosts in my dreams. Weird, I know.

That's right, I never had a nightmare before (knock on wood) and do hope it stays that way. I can see that some of your dreams are sensational and others adventurous :) You are really creative in your dream - ghost and tornado, wow!!! I would love the sensational dream that sounds like fun. I'm still waiting to have some :)

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