• Question: Why do we dream ???

    Asked by duke1saw on 13 Mar 2024.
    • Photo: Emma Weir

      Emma Weir answered on 13 Mar 2024:

      No one knows for sure! When you go to sleep your brain cells don’t switch off, they keep firing just in different ways. So dreams are just bits of brain activity that are happening when you’re not awake to control them.

      Dreaming might help our brains take in all of the new things that happen every day, especially tricky tasks that involve moving and thinking lots. They might also give us time to forget the things we don’t need to remember!

      But some scientists think they might just be an accident, and that there’s no real reason for them

    • Photo: Liv Gaskill

      Liv Gaskill answered on 18 Apr 2024:

      This is a great question, but as Emma said, we actually don’t know!

      I will add that it’s interesting to look at cases of chronic sleep deprivation to understand what happens when don’t sleep (and therefore don’t dream).

      In 1959, radio DJ Peter Tripp took part in a ”Wakeathon” and stayed awake for 201 hours (8 days, 9 hours). After around 3 days he started to hallucinate, and throughout the Wakeathon he also experienced distorted thoughts and impaired attention. Afterwards, he slept for 13 hours, but apparently his personality completely changed.

      Randy Gardner then broke Tripp’s record in 1963/1964 and stayed awake for 11 days.

      Some psychologists believe the hallucinations were “waking dreams,” but the jury is still out on that and there continues to be no consensus on why we dream.