Why do we Dream?

We all want to know the answer to the question "why do we dream?" What is going through our heads while we sleep at night to produce such incoherent images that form our dreams?
Although there is not much agreement on why we dream there are some interesting theories around.

One possibility is that our minds are running us through the worst-case scenario during sleep. Disaster preparation you could say.
For example if a new mother was to dream of losing her baby she is rehearsing what it would feel like for that to actually happen. So our dreams are just fire drills?

Not sure about that one…

Another possibility like we mentioned in What are Dreams, is that dreaming is actually aiding learning. Some researchers have found that performance on physical tasks is actually enhanced by dreaming about it.

Dreams are also thought to help people find solutions to problems. It is a know fact that artists like Salvador Dali and inventors, even musicians like Paul McCartney have gained inspiration through their dreams.

Deirdre Barrett from Harvard Medical School has found at a more basic level that everyday people can benefit through their dreams. She has found people can problem solve by simply focusing on the dilemma at hand before falling asleep.

So why do we dream then?

Whatever the reason for why we dream it has been proven through therapy that dreams can reveal certain aspects of ourselves that we were not aware were there.

Freud and many therapists since have found that dreams can give clues to more severe mental illnesses. For example Schizophrenics have bad quality dreams and usually will dream of objects rather than people.

Researcher Rosalind Cartwright has been researching depression in divorcing couples and has made an association between vivid dreamers and less susceptibility to depression. Thus, leading her to believe that dreams aid in diffusing strong emotions and is therefore essential for mental health.

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