What are Dreams and Why Do They Occur?

We all have dreams at night, even if we can't remember them. But why do they occur? We'll give an answer to this question that has always been a mystery here!
What are Dreams and Why Do They Occur?

Last update: 27 May, 2022

Dreams seem to be a mystery. Questions such as “Why do we dream?” or “why do I dream more than others people” seem to have no answer. That’s at least until this moment since we’re going to approach dreams starting with the most basic information. We’ll begin by defining what they really are and why they occur. Also, we’ll take a look at if there are other species that dream.

In order to provide truthful and research-based answers, we’ll take the Dream Institute as a reference. It’s an international center that has focused on dreams by researching and studying them in-depth. Given the topic at hand, we’ll find the answers we’re looking for at this institute. So, shall we get started?

What are dreams?

In a nutshell, the Sleep Institute explains that “sleep is an integral part of daily life and a biological necessity that allows us to restore the physical and psychological functions essential for full performance”. When we sleep too little, we tend to wake up tired, not in good spirits and we may even feel unwell.

We need sleep to recover, rest, and have the strength to face the next day. However, sometimes something surprising happens when we sleep, such as dreams. They’re like movies that are reproduced in our mind while we sleep and in which we can be protagonists, mere observers, or even recognize our daily situations in them.

Soñar con dinero no es muy común
In dreams, we can be protagonists or not, and even experience things from our everyday life.

There’s no confirmation by the scientific community as to what dreams are, but García Borreguero, a doctor at the Dream Institute, states that “a large portion of experts consider that dreams don’t have a function as such, but are mere epiphenomena of a process of brain activation that takes place periodically throughout the night.”

Why do dreams occur?

As Dr. Borreguero explains, it seems that during brain activation during sleep “memory reorganization processes take place and this is reflected in an increase in mental ideation that we perceive as dreams.” Therefore, this is a normal phenomenon, although there are still many questions that remain unanswered about this fascinating phenomenon.

For example, why do we sometimes remember our dreams and sometimes not? Well, this depends on several factors. The last dreams before waking up are better remembered. In the case of waking up due to a dream at night and going back to sleep, the chances of remembering it are reduced. For this reason, some people tend to write them down in a notebook.

What does seem to be clear is that many dreams have to do with movies or experiences that took place during the day, as this sometimes influences them. The physician Eduard Estivill, also at the National Sleep Institute, admits that “people who say they never remember dreams sleep well.” This means that we usually dream all the time, even if we don’t remember.

You may also find this article interesting: What Does it Mean to Dream of Being Robbed?

Dreams don’t have any particular meaning

Soñar con arañas como predictor de que algo malo pasará
Our imagination is released in dreams. However, according to many experts, they don’t mean anything.

Something that the National Sleep Institute insists on is playing down the importance of dreams. There are occasions in which we may see ourselves having sexual relations with other people or even committing criminal acts without this meaning that we’re going to do it in real life. Dreams are due only to a brain activation where the imagination is released.

Like this article? You may also like to read: 15 Interesting Facts About Dreams That You Should Know

It’s therefore advisable to be very critical with those searches on the Internet that may claim that if you dream that your teeth fall out, it means that a personal loss has occurred or is going to occur. This doesn’t have to be so, and in the case that it does happen, it would have to be labeled as a coincidence. Science does not verify that dreams mean anything.

Can animals dream?

Sometimes, people who have animals at home are surprised when they sleep and experience some spasm in their body or suddenly wake up startled. We often wonder if they can dream, and it actually seems that they can! According to the Veterinary Hospital in Asturias, there are some studies and research where dogs, for example, seem to dream.

We could apply this to cats, too. They’re also animals that live with us and it’s not strange to see them emitting little sounds or making movements while they sleep. They also experience brain activation during the night which makes the experiences during the day come to the surface during their sleep. This is a question that we finally know the answer to.

Pseudoscience has tried to explain dreams from an idealized perspective and give explanations to dreams that don’t offer definitive conclusions. However, science has discovered why dreams occur, something that, until now, we were probably unaware of. At least that’s one question that has an answer.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.