Why do we dream? – Amy Adkins

Why do we dream? – Amy Adkins

In the third millenium BCE, Mesopotamian kings recorded and
interpreted their dreams on wax tablets. A thousand years later, Ancient Egyptians wrote a dream book listing over a hundred common dreams
and their meanings. And in the years since, we haven’t paused in our quest
to understand why we dream. So, after a great deal
of scientific research, technological advancement, and persistence, we still don’t have any definite answers,
but we have some interesting theories. We dream to fulfill our wishes. In the early 1900s, Sigmund Freud proposed that while all
of our dreams, including our nightmares, are a collection of images
from our daily conscious lives, they also have symbolic meanings, which relate to the fulfillment
of our subconscious wishes. Freud theorized that everything
we remember when we wake up from a dream is a symbolic representation of our unconscious primitive thoughts,
urges, and desires. Freud believed that by analyzing
those remembered elements, the unconscious content would be revealed
to our conscious mind, and psychological issues stemming
from its repression could be addressed and resolved. We dream to remember. To increase performance
on certain mental tasks, sleep is good, but dreaming while sleeping is better. In 2010, researchers found that subjects were much better
at getting through a complex 3-D maze if they had napped and dreamed
of the maze prior to their second attempt. In fact, they were up to
ten times better at it than those who only thought of the maze
while awake between attempts, and those who napped but did not dream
about the maze. Researchers theorize that certain
memory processes can happen only when we are asleep, and our dreams are a signal
that these processes are taking place. We dream to forget. There are about 10,000 trillion
neural connections within the architecture of your brain. They are created by everything you think
and everything you do. A 1983 neurobiological theory of dreaming,
called reverse learning, holds that while sleeping,
and mainly during REM sleep cycles, your neocortex reviews
these neural connections and dumps the unnecessary ones. Without this unlearning process, which results in your dreams, your brain could be overrun
by useless connections and parasitic thoughts could disrupt
the necessary thinking you need to do while you’re awake. We dream to keep our brains working. The continual activation theory proposes
that your dreams result from your brain’s need to constantly
consolidate and create long-term memories in order to function properly. So when external input falls
below a certain level, like when you’re asleep, your brain automatically triggers the generation of data
from its memory storages, which appear to you in the form of
the thoughts and feelings you experience in your dreams. In other words, your dreams might be
a random screen saver your brain turns on so it doesn’t completely shut down. We dream to rehearse. Dreams involving dangerous and threatening
situations are very common, and the primitive instinct
rehearsal theory holds that the content of a dream
is significant to its purpose. Whether it’s an anxiety-filled night of
being chased through the woods by a bear or fighting off a ninja in a dark alley, these dreams allow you to practice
your fight or flight instincts and keep them sharp and dependable
in case you’ll need them in real life. But it doesn’t always have
to be unpleasant. For instance, dreams
about your attractive neighbor could actually give your reproductive
instinct some practice, too. We dream to heal. Stress neurotransmitters in the brain
are much less active during the REM stage of sleep, even during dreams
of traumatic experiences, leading some researchers to theorize that one purpose of dreaming is to take
the edge off painful experiences to allow for psychological healing. Reviewing traumatic events
in your dreams with less mental stress may grant you a clearer perspective and enhanced ability to process them
in psychologically healthy ways. People with certain mood disorders
and PTSD often have difficulty sleeping, leading some scientists to believe
that lack of dreaming may be a contributing factor
to their illnesses. We dream to solve problems. Unconstrained by reality
and the rules of conventional logic, in your dreams, your mind can create
limitless scenarios to help you grasp problems and formulate solutions
that you may not consider while awake. John Steinbeck called it
the committee of sleep, and research has demonstrated the effectiveness of dreaming
on problem solving. It’s also how renowned chemist
August Kekule discovered the structure
of the benzene molecule, and it’s the reason that sometimes
the best solution for a problem is to sleep on it. And those are just a few of the more
prominent theories. As technology increases our capability
for understanding the brain, it’s possible that one day we will discover
the definitive reason for them. But until that time arrives,
we’ll just have to keep on dreaming.


  • David Henry says:

    Im i dreaming right now

  • David Henry says:

    I've had a dream were im looking at a grandfather clock but i cant wake up its happened 3 times

  • Lola Gubler says:

    what if someone finds out the answer to why we dream, in their dreams? that would be pretty rad.

  • Fiolioco Mataafa says:

    Another weird thing is in some dreams, you are either experiencing it through your own perspective or just looking on from different angles like a movie…

  • Lima - Skyline and Cities says:


  • Michael Hanna says:

    'your mom'

  • ☠ ⓜⓐⓓⓝⓔⓢⓢ ☠ says:

    Could be prophesy, trial or hints from God.
    or a lesson from your other self in a different timeline.

  • Hdchch Chcjc says:

    My brain makes new memories while I’m dreaming sometimes

  • Monique Jhoienyl Laxina says:

    A common nightmare of mine is apocalypse (zombies,bird box like apocalypse)
    I think it means that I don't want to lose loved ones…

  • Sky Moore says:

    Watching this at 5 in the morning so I'd rather know why I'm not sleeping. But i guess i have my answerrrrr

  • Elizabeth Morelus says:

    I actually don't 🚫 dream 😪 which is really weird. I just go to sleep then one second later I wakeup to see that it's the next morning.

  • Jumbomuffin13 says:

    You dont really remember your dream…you can say you dreamed about this and that but that was just you not awake nor asleep…

  • Robert Matheus says:

    Pretty sure Thom Yorke watched this video

  • Blame the Social Media says:

    I dream of a genie. She's a light brown hair.

  • Carolina Silva says:

    I often dream of my crush best friend playing, competing, since we cannot see each other, I dream the only way to be with him😊

    It's false memories, but I'm happy to be able to see him

  • Angel Espinoza says:

    Im the only one who sleeps and doesn't dream like i close my eyes and it's already the next day already

  • •Muzi• says:

    I once, at 7 dreamed about a big square shaped mall whose was full and colorful.
    Last month I dreamed about it again.
    That time, abandoned, gray and boring.
    Nothing else but looking around then I woke up.

  • k krishna says:

    Great content as usual…

    But I was hoping he would mention 'Inception'.

  • Professor Shameik says:

    Lol I was singing some weird baby rhyme when I woke up

  • That Girl says:

    Every time I dream about someone that I wouldn’t expect to, I feel so awkward around them..

  • That Girl says:

    When I have a nightmare it will be because of the animations in this video, creepy vibe

  • Evlin v says:

    once i tied my hair to sleep and it really bothered me,i finally fell asleep but had many dreams about waking up and taking my hair tie off as it was uncomfortable.Then i had a few dreams about day to day things i forgot to do the day before. so i think the fulfilling wishes one is accurate

  • Fenna Fenana says:

    Going to take a nap now

  • Melyssa Rose Lubay says:

    The best way to solve problem is to sleep on it – August Kekule

  • SHI says:

    i'm so late to this video but has anybody ever have a dream like so long ago and then last night you kinda felt like you have a continuity of said dream? what does it mean?

  • Smic says:

    One time I had a dream about hugging this girl but it turned out that she was dead and I was hugging her dead body. I went into my school and saw two people and the dead girl. The two people told me that I was at odds with something. Then I woke up <:

  • Piggy gaming says:

    I can control my dreams

  • Manzel Tirona Cabarroguis says:

    Do you ever dream about someone whou you hasn’t met yet?

  • peach says:


  • Brownskikuca says:

    My dog sometimes can be heard like having a nightmare while asleep

  • Tepes Obrejac says:

    Did anyone dream the future ?

  • Michael Obendo says:

    Mom joke.

  • GouriandBhadra AmmuandChinnu says:

    I had a dream that I was chased by James from monsters inc. I'm still traumatised

  • lothean says:

    So we dream to rehearse. I had a dream where a demon attacked a bunch of us in a house, I survived, woke up and found that the movie demon night was on. Yup, turn off the tv when you sleep.

  • Kyle Castillo says:

    What if we dream just to get by when sleeping? Like how we play games and do fun activities to past the time so it doesn't feel as long?

  • Phoenix Uprising says:

    That creepy animation will definitely give me bad dreams later.

  • SandboxArrow says:

    Fun fact : Blind people can dream

  • Thatbeef Man says:

    The real question have you gotten a sequel to your dream?

  • Jeonghanie_I.N _Beomgyu-shi says:

    Is it weird that i list all my dreams and what happened in there? Cuz whenever i dream it'll happen in leyk the next day week or month and its freakin creepy for me like you'll know what will happen next or you can predict what will happen :< i hate dreaming for me it's all nightmares :<<

  • Ana Inês Rodrigues says:

    Why was there an apple being eaten sound in the middle?

  • Abhirath Narasimhan says:

    Why is the animation so creepy

  • Johnson Lee says:

    Has anyone had a dream and it predicted the future

  • Tân Hưng says:

    "We dream to solve problems"

    Numbers of problems solved by dreams: 0

  • Daragh Doherty says:

    I had a dream two weeks ago and another one of the same topic 5 days ago. I thought to myself when i woke up. I want sequels

  • TYLER ourada says:

    I can't be the only one who is reminded of Rugrats title cards in this video

  • b slim says:

    I had a dream I was wide awake and when I woke up I was fast asleep

  • TIffany Yan says:

    Dream dream dream!

  • Hikarinaaa says:

    I always forget what I dream

  • Gabriel Roque says:

    Man, I've never really trained any fighting skills, but I was always playing that I'm fighting since I was a kid, and watching movies of it. Then, in many of my dreams, I actually needs to fight and that doesn't only make me remember some movements but also learn new ones. And then come one day that I really had to fight in real life after a argue, and it was against one man that was training for years but, for my surprise, I beat him without even getting hurt, and you know how? By using my skills that I got from training at my dreams 🙂

  • Galaxy_Kitty Cat says:

    I just had the most weirdest dream in my whole life today it was a bunch of dreams put together randomly…

  • Haroon Hayat says:

    Who of us forget our dreams

  • Julia Lowman says:

    Dude: takes big bite of food Me: dude wait until after the vid!

  • Bacon Hair says:

    Dreaming:thinking while sleeping

  • Gerardo Piedras says:

    Other animals such as dogs dream too, how do they fit into those theories?

  • 100 subscribes without any videos cats says:

    i mean just the intro music is super

  • Sophia E says:

    Well actually. The night before my sister died I had a dream about her dying.

  • Leonardo De Vivo says:

    2:46 Continual Activation Theory or C.A.T. for short :3

  • Just another dead meme says:

    Everytime i'm about to die in my dream i wake up…well guess i have died many times!

  • Peppa pig says:

    I believe it’s the brain 🧠 needs to be working all the time.

  • Peppa pig says:

    Ever tried controlling your dreams

  • CheetahBoy14 says:

    When you say that your dreaming out loud nobody beleives you. This happends to everyone if they say they are dreaming in a dream correct?

  • Manju Devi says:

    Do the business

  • sanam banaulikar says:

    Sound effects🎃

  • Faith W says:

    what if your actually dreaming when you are awake and when you fall asleep you're waking up

  • Interesting to know for me and you !!!!! says:

    I do math in dreams, anyone else?

  • John says:

    Has anyone had a super deep dream that they just lived for so long then wakes up and forgets every single detail

  • aries esparaguera says:

    Sometimes I remember my dreams, and if it's a good one, I'll continue it the next time I sleep. Anyone else who also do that?

  • daniel says:

    Am I the only one that dreams exactly the same dream multiple times but over the course of a few years/months

  • Vanna Gomez says:

    I will honestly say that most of my dreams have came true IN SOME SHAPE OR FORM. Then I find myself saying "omg I have de ja vu " ….its because I've dreamt it before.

  • c w says:

    ngl I dreamt of myself doing really bad for one exam and I'd seen all the crosses and errors, and during that exam in real life I altered what I wrote (that I dreamt of that were all wrong). Is that odd…?

  • Lia says:

    The animation is on a another level great job!!!!

  • Unicorn Slime says:

    Muslims have specific interpretations for their dreams which indicates future and it’s 100% true . I always interpreted it and turned out always correct

  • 獣TIGLE says:

    I learned some stuff from dreaming, that I never knew in my life. In my theory our brains observed anything that we see, hear and feel. Our brain just don’t process every information when we are wake. Because In that moment our brain is under our control. When we sleep we can’t control (I meant think or do what ever we want). But when we are sleep our brain get rest. And that moment our brain starts making images, sound and feeling. From what our brain learned from our environment. Simply in my Theory, Our brain has also had will of its own. The will we keep in our control when we are awake. If you follow my theory, You will realize our brain is a living creature that’s inside us. And we are able to control it. We are not exactly our brain. Our brain is different from us. The mutual relationship between our body and brain keeps us as a one living being. I know it sounds crazy. But that’s my theory.

  • Darin P says:

    I had a dream last night that I was attacked by an indian beak/ripped mouthed demon that spoke with a calming german accent and proceeded to paralyze me and make me watch him eat me alive

  • Eve Has a weave says:

    I had a dream of me eating microwave fried chicken 🍗

  • Billie’s Avocados says:

    The real question here is when we all fall asleep where do gO?

  • Father Louis William Suga Adams Junior The Third says:

    Has anybody got this kind of dream that will happening in real life?

    In my case, i've dream about a little girl getting hit by a car. And it actually happend. It became scarier and more often once i got older. When i was a kid, i've dream about my mom teaching me to play a violin. And 2 days after that, my mom start giving me a violin lesson. I always had this dream in the weekend or so.

    Does anyone have that kind of dream?

  • James Hawkins says:

    If we dream to rehearse, ie fighting off a bear and stuff..why can’t I run fast enough in the dream!? Or punch hard enough?..also, that “attractive” neighbor was nightmarerishly fugly.

  • yangba koko says:

    This is horror video

  • kiarie Ericky says:

    At 2:00 he paused and there was sound like;kkkrrrt i thunk he paused to bite an apple 🍎

  • sasha shannon says:

    I think that some of us have weird or wonderful dream, right
    Maybe each one of them have special meanings😘🧚🏼‍♀️
    And we should be happy about it actually coz you are unique 🙂

  • Egg :V says:

    I like to imagine my brain cells running around panicking like crazy trying to come up with a storyline for a dream in 5 minutes whenever I lay down and close my eyes, which is why most of my dreams don't make any sense

  • Shimul Nath says:

    How you create these videos??

  • ModernDH says:

    Some are subconscious, some are prophecy

  • Mr.Coronel17 says:

    So lately I’ve been having like natural disaster dreams the 1st dream was a tsunami right in my backyard then the 2nd dream/ next night I had a dream where I looked up in the sky and there was lightning out of nowhere then I saw a huge helicopter in the sky and it shot rockets everywhere and my dream ended. Everytime I step outside in my backyard in real life I picture of what I saw in my dream

  • Ritendra Bhattacharya says:

    Freud was a fraud, for truth read Hindu Vedantas by Swami Vivekananda.

  • Sexy Unicorn says:

    Has everyone ever had a dream in which they realize that they already got this dream before and able to be aware of upcoming situation (while in the current dream), then they try to act differently, in attempt to fix what they had done wrong in the previous same dream?

  • CiCiNova says:

    Sigmund "Fear, Your Mom, Insecurity, Status, Strength, Lust" Freud

  • Brayan Chavez says:

    Aristotle: "Dreams are revocations of series of events that happened during the sleepers awakening life".

  • Yadav Anushka says:

    1:04 bottom right

  • Ahmed M Ibrahim says:

    Wa as Muslims know why we dream and does it mean something or not from Qur'an that wrote since a very long time
    And science come after and believe it

  • Ahmed M Ibrahim says:

    Wa as Muslims know why we dream and does it mean something or not from Qur'an that wrote since a very long time
    And science come after and believe it

  • Rise of Jerusalem says:

    Dreaming is Thw Most I Hated. Whenever I Sleep

  • Taisto Tammilehto says:

    I don't like it when they put lust, status and "your mom" right next to each other…

  • fox pack says:

    I dreamt about my favourite game characters

  • fox pack says:

    I believe all this

  • long island says:

    3:51 I think that’s the least attractive Neighbour I’ve ever seen

  • Harsh Tyagi says:

    imagine the dreams of deaf peoples!

  • Mudra Bhedi says:

    Except the first two theories and the last one all other seems true to me

  • Moa Chuba says:

    So death will be like sleeping without dreaming?

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