Even with pretty amazing technology at our disposal, dreams—their function, their purpose—remain relatively little understood. The study of dreams through brain accidents, abnormalities, and disease will likely continue to be a source of new details that enrich our knowledge of this most mysterious aspect of life.
It’s fascinating to learn about dreaming, to discover patterns and themes that appear in dreams across cultures and ages, and to speculate about the purpose of dreams in our lives.
Not all dreaming is the same. Dreaming runs the gamut of human experience (and sometimes beyond), incorporating a dizzying range of emotions and events, often with elements of the bizarre. Dreams can be funny, frightening, sad and strange. Flying dreams can be euphoric, chasing dreams can be terrifying, forgot-to-study-for-my-exam dreams can be stressful.
In this 3-part series, we’ll explore the world of dreams, looking at the latest science has to say about why we might dream, and the mechanics of dreaming in the brain. We’ll examine the content of dreams, and how dreams may both reflect and influence waking life. We’ll look at disorders related to dreaming, and how health conditions and some medication can disrupt dreams.