Class is called to order. The teacher at her desk, students facing forward, on the chalkboard, underlined, “Presentations”. You hear your name called, grab your index cards, and make your way to the front of the class. Without pause, you launch into your speech, staring at your notes. Laughter explodes in the classroom and you look up to see that they’re laughing at you. You look down and…
Panting, cold sweat, it was just a dream. But, what the hell does it mean? And does it matter? We’ve all woken from a deep sleep with the faint memories of some wild dream. Sometimes, we find instant meaning and great satisfaction, like solving a puzzle where deeper self-understanding is the prize. But, like The Bachelor or poetry, science can’t quite explain what dreams do or why they’re there.
So why do we dream?
Healthy sleep allows for the body and brain to recuperate, grow, and improve mental function.
There’s little agreement, but lots of theories, about why dreams exist. Some camps believe that dreaming is sleepy-time therapy, an opportunity to lie down on the proverbial couch and hash out the crazy sh#$ you dealt with that day. Others, including Mr. Freud, would argue that dreams act as a sort of wish-fulfillment. In a safe, fantastical space, anybody can leap 100 stories high or get the girl/boy. When we dream, our unconscious mind comes to life, casting us in crazy stories that defy logic, physics, or continuity.
There might not be consensus on why we dream, or even what those dreams mean, but there’s plenty of evidence that dreaming, or being in the state where dreams exist, is certainly a good thing.