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Why Do We Dream?


Until now, experts cannot completely tell why humans dream and what the purpose of this thing really is. According to Charles Darwin, dreams “fulfil biological requirements and provide benefit for natural selection to take place”. The question is, how? On the other hand, some experts also proposed a concept called “threat simulation theory” suggesting that dream works as a sort of exercise that simulates perilous events to help us prepare for dangerous situations. However, there has been no strong evidence to suggest that this is the case. Although there are new studies that suggest that dreams and our emotions are connected. The study proposed that our brain help processes our emotions through this brain activity. 


Dreaming is one of the many mysterious things we have in our existence as humans. Many cultures throughout time have come up with various interpretations, theories, and assumptions about it. Not so long ago it was found out that dreams are caused by a brain chemical called dimethyltryptamine (DMT). It is a neurochemical that is responsible for producing images during our REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. In addition, DMT can be produced synthetically and when ingested, can cause hallucinogenic experiences to a person. It produces psychedelic effects that are, of course, similar to dreams.    

Prefrontal cortex is not active during dreaming activity. This is why when a person is dreaming he is mostly not aware of it and is much immersed on it no matter how strange, weird, or impossible that dream is. This is because prefrontal cortex is responsible for things such as logic; one of the things that make sense of information on the brain. However, there is a thing called “lucid dreaming”. This is when a person is conscious that he or she is dreaming in a sleep. In this kind of dream, a person can possibly control the scenarios in his or her dream while being totally inside of it. It is like playing a video game or being alive in a fantasy movie.  

Dreams involve the use of our sight, the sense of visual perception. This is the reason why blind people do not dream of images but of things produced by other senses, especially sound. However, based on a study, it was discovered that blind people has more experience of nightmare. And up to now this has never been found out why. Other animals dream as well such as cats, dogs, dolphins, etc. So dreaming is not unique to humans. In addition, many ideas for invention came to people while they are dreaming such as sawing machine, periodic table, theory of relativity by Einstein, X-ray vision, etc. So in this sense, it is also reasonable to think that somehow dream has a purpose. The thing is, not all people have this kind of capacity in the brain.