Did you know that the study of dreaming is called oneirology and that it covers the vast topic areas of neuroscience and psychology?

Not many people realise that the scientific world has made very little insight or headway into not only why we need to sleep, but why we dream or why these dreams sometimes turn into night terrors or nightmares.

Dreaming is very much a personal experience that will differ from person to person; imagine the 63.7 million people in the UK all dreaming in their sleep tonight? No two dreams will be alike!

Why We Dream...And Why, Sometimes, Are They Not Nice

There are some fascinating ideas as to why we dream…

Wish fulfilment

Some people believe that our dreams are the brains way of showing us that we need to take action on some matter or other. This could be a positive thing or it may a negative action that simply needs dealing with. Conflict is one, dealing with arguments another. Dreams show us the way, some say, in dealing with an issue to get what we want; in other word, wish fulfilment.

A side-effect of the brain’s electrical ‘system’

The brain is still very much a mystery. But we know that rattling around the grey matter is electricity; it is, after all the thing that drives the brain and the impulses we need, from picking things up to working out mental arithmetic. Some suggest that dreams are simply a by-product of these electrical impulses, or a series of disorganised impulses.

Putting memories away… and bringing some out?

There is also a hypothesis that suggests much like we use different format to save our physical work – like work on a laptop can be saved to a hard drive or USB pen drive – our brain has memories from every second our day that need to be processed and stored. Dreams are the by-product of this… and is also the brain’s way of bringing memories to the fore, to help us deal with something in everyday life.

Putting the rubbish out

And following on from this hypothesis is another, which relates to the weeding out of information or memories that we do not need. Inevitably, these are ‘bad’ or less savoury memories and thus, the dreams associated with this activity are not too nice. But the brain needs to only retain the important data; it doesn’t have room to store everything.


Some people also believe that dreams help us learn; they help us to consolidate what we need to know in order to move on. Rather than dealing in cold hard facts, or a specific subject matter, in this case, dreams are a way for our brain’s to focus on the emotions surrounding our learning or the occurrence we need to process. This is why, people argue, that we can remember our dreams and hence, the phrase “you’ve broken my dream” mean the brain has recalled the information it needed in an alert state.

Do you dream? Do you find answers in your dreams or do they seem completely random?

Pauline Beijen of Apillow.com has guest authored this article. Pauline developed her first range of bedding out of wool prodcued from her own flock of sheep.