• Question: why & how do we dream

    Asked by Dill3rz to James, Francesca, Ahmed on 20 Nov 2014.
    • Photo: Ahmed Osman

      Ahmed Osman answered on 20 Nov 2014:

      Hi Dill3rz
      thanks for this genius question ๐Ÿ™‚
      There are several theories as to why we dream. One is that dreams work hand in hand with sleep to help the brain sort through everything it collects during the waking hours. Your brain is met with hundreds of thousands, if not millions of inputs each day. Some are minor sensory details like the colour of a passing car, while others are far more complex, like the big presentation you’re putting together for your job. During sleep, the brain works to plow through all of this information to decide what to hang on to and what to forget. Some researchers feel like dreams play a role in this process.

      About how?
      Sleep actually occurs in five different stages. The first stage is a light sleep that is easy to wake up from (the kind of sleep you experience when you start dozing off in a boring class or meeting). The second stage goes slightly deeper, usually the kind of sleep that you get when you lie down for a quick 20-minute nap. The third and fourth stages represent deeper sleep.

      As we go through these four stages, our brain waves gradually become longer and slower. The waves start with alpha waves in stage 1, then beta, theta, and finally, delta waves in stage 4. After the fourth stage, we reach one final stage known as REM sleep. REM is an acronym for โ€œrapid eye movementโ€ and is, oddly enough, one of the most active physiological parts of our entire day.

      During REM sleep, breathing quickens, heart rate increases, blood pressure rises, and brain activity goes back to the same level as when weโ€™re awake (or even higher!) with alpha waves. Most of our dreams happen during REM sleep.
      hope it clear now ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Photo: James Sullivan

      James Sullivan answered on 20 Nov 2014:

      I think it’s because at night our brain takes the opportunity to reset its connections.

      Breaking and making connections between neurons triggers electrical responses each time – and those connections are the things that store our memories and our feelings. When they’re broken and remade we get those memories again – partially garbled and when our consciousness tries to make sense of them we get a dream.

    • Photo: Francesca Paradisi

      Francesca Paradisi answered on 20 Nov 2014:

      Hi Dill!
      I’ll try a quicker answer ๐Ÿ˜‰
      We dream because the body needs a longer resting time than the brain, so the brain distract itself while the body rests. In fact we don’t dream continuously, at time the brains also needs deep sleep and “quiet time”.

      How we dream is more difficult to answer, but we do have memories and thoughts that the brain recalls when it needs something to do, and those memories can be scrambled into a “movie” that can make very little sense at times.