Why Do People Dream?
One thing we get asked a lot at our sleep clinic is: “Why do people dream?” The honest answer is we don’t fully know. Sleep test experts are still trying to crack this age-long riddle.
What we do know is that dreams typically occur in the fifth and final stage of the sleep cycle, known as REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement). Over the first four stages, which encompass non-REM sleep, our bodies drift into a deep state of sleep where our brain wave function, breathing rate and blood pressure all slow down.
REM sleep, which occurs about 90 minutes after the sleep cycle starts, is when brain activity starts to pick up, breathing becomes shallower and the blood pressure and heart rate begin to rise. Your eyes also start to twitch in different directions, hence the name.
For people who suffer from sleep apnea, their condition can prevent them from reaching this dream state. Every time they are pulled out of sleep, the whole cycle has to start over again. Sufferers can experience increase tension, irritability, and difficulty with concentration during the daytime. This is one of the reasons we strive to provide effective sleep apnea solutions to clients.
Many sleep clinic specialists believe that dreams are connected with how our brains process information during REM sleep. In this state, which lasts for up to 20 minutes, the brain is more active and is able to take information acquired from real-life experiences and reorganize it. This affects our ability to learn and memorize things.
The things we dream about, and the reasons we dream about them, are even less understood. The subject can be completely random, with people you’ve never met, in places you’ve never visited. Yet, they can feel profoundly real. In other cases, the source of the dream can be attributed to a recent event.
If you suffer from sleep apnea, you might not get to pass through all of the stages of sleep. If you’re constantly waking up feeling fatigued from inadequate sleep, contact our sleep clinic.