Do you want to learn more about what our dreams do for us while sleeping? Here’s what a few experts in the field have to say about dreaming and a fun little dream bonus.

‘m going to let you choose your own adventure on this one.  1)  If you’re interested in digging a little deeper into the significance of dreams then keep on reading.  It will give you a some examples and hopefully give some clarity.  2)  If you’re interested in dreams but really only YOUR dreams and/or want to have a little fun, head straight to the bottom for my favorite Dream Dictionary.  Either way, ENJOY!

Option 1:  Hello my eager learners. Here is a laymans course on dream theory.  Please note, there are different theories about what a dream actually is but according to Rosalind Cartwright, Ph.D, a psychologist and founder of the Sleep Disorder Service and Research Center at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, “dreams help us process new, emotionally important information and add it to our conceptual memory system.”

Here are a few 4 points she believes are the purpose of dreams:

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1. Help you understand a new experience.  For instance REM dreams help link new events to old ones.  For example, if you’re anxious about an upcoming speech, you may dream about another time that made you anxious, such as a final exam or meeting your future spouse’s parents.

2. Prepare you for change.  A dream can be sort of a dress rehearsal for possible future events.  If you’re pregnant, you may dream about your upcoming birth, which may help you better process it when you do experience it in real life.

3. Help you cope with trauma or loss.  Deirdre Barrett, Ph.D.,  a clinical assistant professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School and the editor in chief of the scientific journal Dreaming, looked at the dreams of people who had lost loved ones. She found that dreams in the earliest stages of mourning were often back-to-life dreams, in which the dreamer was confused or upset by the appearance of the loved one. Dreams that occurred months or years after the person had died were more pleasant, with the deceased person telling the dreamer that everything was OK or sometimes giving advice. “These later dreams were reassuring, even comforting, to the dreamers, helping them to deal with their loss,” says Barrett.

On a different kind of loss, Cartwright studied people going through a divorce and found that those who were faring the divorce well had highly expressive dreams, while those who were the most depressed in their waking lives had the least emotional dream.  For example, the individuals dealing well had furious dreams, complete with scenes of throwing objects at their soon-to-be exes. “It seemed like the people who were having a harder time adjusting were having the dullest dreams because they weren’t facing up to their emotions, while those who coped the best were working out their feelings in their dreams,” Cartwright says. “It was almost like their dreams helped them realize, ‘I’ve handled feelings like this before, so I can deal with them again.’”

4. Facilitate learning. Research conducted at a Harvard Sleep Lab asked subjects to play the video game Tetris.  Later, when woken during the first stage of sleep, of those who could recall their dreams, three-quarters were dreaming about Tetris. The researchers believe that by dreaming about the game, the subjects were working on perfecting their skills as they slept.

Option 2:

Click here to check out a dream dictionary to look up what it may have meant when you dreamt about spilling (dumping) a glass of wine on your dog while talking to your mother in law (not that I’ve ever had that dream).

Sleep Well,

Heather