Wednesday, December 6, 2023

The Science Behind Dreams

Written By Kalpitaa Rajesh (Grade 10)

How and why do we dream – a question that mankind has been asking for eternity. While dreaming, we are away from the true world and get detached from the vicinity. They can range from truly peculiar to rather monotonous or snaps from the latest event.

It is hard to define what a dream is, we can say that dreams are our perceptions during sleep that we think of when we wake up. Dreams are chiefly visuals. The ancient Egyptians thought of dreams as a different style of comprehension. The primaeval Greeks and Romans believed that dreams were predictions of future acts and appearance by the dead. It is one of the most impractical things a scientist could choose to study.

One can try to remember their dreams when they wake up from REM sleep. Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep usually begins about 90 minutes after we fall asleep. It is a kind of sleep in which the eyes move expeditiously and there is no muscle activity. It can be measured during this stage of sleep.

What we dream and what they are about, is contrasting for everyone, and there are many reasons why this may be accurate. We tend to remember dreams if we are woken up by an alarm or by someone. The possible reason is we can recall that dream while it is brand new but, if we wake up on our own, we will shift through a few sleep stages and possibly lose that dream memory. Dream recollection changes with age, too. Older people are less likely to dream. This could also be related to memory: since older people have infirm memories, it could be that they dream but cannot reminisce their dreams by the time they wake up. A brain area called the medial prefrontal cortex specific area that is in the front of the brain that is co-related with dream recall. It has a role in memory and decision-making too. If this brain area is damaged, the person recollects few dreams, which may mean the person may barely dream. Also, how tightly packed the brain cells are in the medial prefrontal cortex can differ from person to person. A few genes influence how much REM sleep people get. People with less REM sleep may not have the peculiar dreams that tend to come in REM. So, the duration of sleep, genetics, and age can all elucidate why we dream more or less than someone else.

So, time and a half, various theories have been put forth in an endeavour to throw light on the conundrum behind human dreams. But, up to the present time, powerful palpable proof has remained largely evasive.

Featured Image Courtesy – Psychology Today

Kalpitaa Rajesh
Kalpitaa Rajesh
I'm an amateur artist and a writer too. I'm an avid reader. Getting to know about the peoples' stories inspires me a lot and that's something I'm fond of writing articles on. Meeting new people is one of my greatest joys. I am intrigued by biology. Learning new things brings me a lot of happiness.


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