Our dreams combine verbal, visual and emotional stimuli into a sometimes broken, nonsensical but often entertaining story line. We can sometimes even solve problems in our sleep. Or can we? Many experts disagree on exactly what the purpose of our dreams might be. Are they strictly random brain impulses, or are our brains actually working through issues from our daily life while we sleep -- as a sort of coping mechanism? Should we even bother to interpret our dreams? Many say yes, that we have a great deal to learn from our dreams.
In this article, we'll talk about the major dream theories, from Freud's view to the hypotheses that claim we can control our dreams. We'll find out what scientists say is happening in our brains when we dream and why we have trouble remembering these night-time story lines. We'll talk about how you can try to control your dreams -- both what you're dreaming about and what you do once you're having the dream. We'll also find out what dream experts say particular scenarios signify. Finding yourself at work naked may not mean at all what you think it does!
For centuries, we've tried to figure out just why our brains play these nightly shows for us. Early civilizations thought dream worlds were real, physical worlds that they could enter only from their dream state. Researchers continue to toss around many theories about dreaming. Those theories essentially fall into two categories:
- The idea that dreams are only physiological stimulations
- The idea that dreams are psychologically necessary
Let's take a closer look at these theories.