Dreams are a product of the human psyche and neural networks. Research conducted in both these areas have revealed that the real reason is still a mystery. While scientists sit and ponder over the jibber-jabber, they have provided some interesting hypotheses. Read through a couple of them below and be amazed.
The Father of Psychology, Sigmond Freud during his study of dreams proposed that dreams are a way of fulfilling your wishes. Whether they are nightmares or wonderful dreams, Freud figured that these take root in some hidden emotions that people have not dealt with while conscious.
A result of misfired neural impulses
Psychiatrist J Allan Hobson proposed the activation-synthesis theory suggesting dreams are like brain farts. An accidental misfiring of the neural impulses in the brain circuits results in the stimulation of the memories, emotions and sensations. The brain overwhelmed by this sudden impulse just interprets these impulses resulting in a dream.
A result of the memory retention process
Another popular hypothesis proposed by psychiatrist Jie Zhang is the continual-activation theory that suggests that dreams are a temporary storage area (sort of like cloud storage) for the brain while converting short term memories into long term memories.
A part of recycling process
There are many thoughts and memories stored in our consciousness. This is a reverse-learning theory that suggests dreams are a way of purging the memories of unwanted memories and thoughts.
A method of learning
Contrary to the reverse-learning theory, this hypothesis suggests that dreams are a way of remembering thoughts to remember them better.
A way of playing dead
Playing dead is a natural defense mechanism in animals. Although the brain activity is unchanged, the body moment and abilities are shutdown to fool predators. This theory suggests that dreams are similar to the act of playing dead, where animals experience temporary paralysis to protect themselves against their enemies.
A way of solving problems
While awake, our brain works quite hard with the added sensory overload. Researcher Deirdre Barrett proposed that dreams are a way of solving problems and processing information more effectively when we are asleep.
Some or all of these could be true. For now, why we dream remains to be a mystery. If you have any theories, write to us in the comments below.