Why do we dream? I was just curious, because some people say we dream things we've seen before, but I've dreamt of places and people I've never even seen in my life, nor do I have any chance of seeing.. And also, sometimes I almost instantly forget what i've been dreaming and it never returns.. Any thoughts?

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Previous posters have touched on most of the current ideas about why we dream; I just wanted to address your statement that you forget dreams as soon as you wake. Many people find that if they keep a notebook next to the bed and immediately write down their dreams as soon as they awaken, over time they begin to remember their dreams better.

There is also a lot of literature indicating that you can solve problems in your sleep or steer your dreams by meditating on what you wish to dream about while you are falling asleep.

Here is a link to an article about it; there are many links at the bottom of the article if you would like to learn more.

Thanks a million for giving me a solution to my problm of forgetting dreams.. And also thanks for the link!

You are very welcome!  :)

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Dreaming is a way of releasing tension from the day. It is a way of further processing something you saw, experienced or learned. Dreams can be frightening or pleasant. If you wish to remember your dreams, try documenting them. You can even set an alarm clock for during the night and abruptly write down whatever is in your thoughts, before you lose them. You can read your journal in the morning.

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Previous posters have touched on most of the current ideas about why we dream; I just wanted to address your statement that you forget dreams as soon as you wake. Many people find that if they keep a notebook next to the bed and immediately write down their dreams as soon as they awaken, over time they begin to remember their dreams better.

There is also a lot of literature indicating that you can solve problems in your sleep or steer your dreams by meditating on what you wish to dream about while you are falling asleep.

Here is a link to an article about it; there are many links at the bottom of the article if you would like to learn more.

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We are really still learning why we dream.  While I agree with the scientific theories discussed above, my personal thought is that it is the mind's attempt to impose a narrative on what has happened to us.  We have a deep human need to make sense of our experiences and to give them meaning, and I believe that dreams often do that for us. 

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There are two separate divisions of your mind, the conscious and the unconscious.  This is similar to your nervous system, where there is a thinking part and a nonthinking part.  The conscious part is the part we are in control of, where we process incoming stimuli and make appropriate responses.  At night, when we go to sleep, the conscious mind relaxes, while the unconscious mind is still active.  The unconscious mind has access to all  the incoming stimuli the conscious mind has, so maybe that is where dreams come from.

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There are many different ideas behind why a person dreams. Researchers have come up with a few different accepted ideas. One idea is that dreams are the dumping grounds for the bits and pieces of "things" which are in our mind at the end of the day. Other researchers believe that people dream nonsensical things which their conscious buries. Another reason for dreaming is the mind simply running through our day as a way to repair and replenish the body.

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No one knows this for sure.  I watched a TV documentary once that claimed that we dream scary dreams, at least, as a way of rehearsing for how we would evade danger if it were to occur.  That scientist claimed that it was a survival mechanism.  But I don't know how we could possibly know for sure.

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