People live every day through the camera that they know as their eyes. People touch, smell, taste, and hear, but how are these senses used when the body falls asleep? A series of images and sensations occurring in a person’s mind during sleep, better known as dreams, are one of the most complex and puzzling human phenomenons (“Dreams”). Dreams are a significant concept that is necessary for bodily function. Many approaches attempt to explain what causes dreams and how the mind produces them, but there is no concrete explanation. The incomplete idea of dreams leaves people with the eager question: When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? (Billie Eilish, When).
The best-explained cause of dreams occurs during the lucid mind. The contemplations and activities that are taken part in while awake are often what the brain reflects on during sleep. For instance, during basketball season, one might have reoccurring dreams of playing in an upcoming game. Dreams also root from unconscious thoughts such as fears and desires. While dreaming about the basketball game, being cheered on by hundreds of fans could result from the desire for praise. A psychological approach suggests that dreaming is a time to process overwhelming thoughts that, while awake, could be very disturbing, in an attempt to balance the psyche (Nichols 1). Nevertheless, the overall cause of dreams is surrounded by the idea of thought processing.
Knowing what causes dreams, one might wonder what exactly dreams are. The cognitive state in which the mind is during a dreaming phase is one of the most misunderstood states (Nichols 2). With a neuroscientific approach, the most important part of understanding dreams is knowing the structure and organization. This means breaking down the dream of how it connects with the coding of memories and the passing of these memories to different brain regions (King 1). The waking and sleeping brains are very similar in their use of the same regions for similar involvements. In both wakefulness and sleep, the temporal lobe is responsible for facial recognition, the amygdala controls emotions, and the parietal lobe gives a sense of self. Using these regions, neuroscientists conclude that humans dream to encode concepts into short-term and long-term memories (Davis 1).
The psychological interest started with the discovery of REM sleep and focuses more on the interpretation of dreams and how they relate to the dreamer’s relationships. REM sleep, or Rapid Eye Movement, is defined as just that. During this stage, the eyes move rapidly and the brain waves are comparable to those when awake, making it the most likely sleep stage to dream in (Leavitt 1). A psychoanalytic approach evaluates dreams as symbols for repressed thoughts and emotions. In fact, psychoanalytic therapists use dream therapy to bring unconscious thoughts into the conscious mind as a way to explain behavior. With the connection between brain regions and the evaluation of lost thoughts, dreams play a key role in analyzing memories and influencing human conduct.
Dreaming is a natural body process that happens every night, whether one is able to remember their dreams or not. It’s a widely studied concept that continues to stump scientists in their efforts to analyze the brain’s development of these miniature movies. The partial understanding of dreams gives people the excitement to interpret dreams on their own. Dream conspiracies range from a passage into another world to a subconscious attempting to communicate. Nevertheless, whatever one’s take on them is, dreams are a fascinating process that everyone experiences but no one can fully explain.