Why Dreaming Is Essential to Life
Learn about the Benefits of Lucid Dreaming
Do you remember what you dreamed of last night? Dreaming is a common occurrence when people sleep, yet the details of our dreams are often lost in the morning. Not everyone remembers their dreams. However, what most people do not know is that this aspect of sleep has an important role in life.
Some articles suggest that dreaming is essential for our physical and mental health and emotional well-being. Others also say that dreams regulate and explain recent events in a person’s life. Most of the time from these articles, there are no further explanations as to how dreams lead to these benefits. This can primarily be attributed to the fact that there is still limited scientific findings on it.
However, in the studies that do exist, perhaps one of the most interesting is the claimed benefits of lucid dreaming. Varied sources define lucid dreaming as the “awareness of an individual that he or she is dreaming.” Consequently, that individual can then take control of what happens in the dream.
An article from Michael Grothaus in Fast Company gives a clear picture of how this practice can impact people positively. People Grothaus encountered said that lucid dreaming “helped them heal physically and psychologically” and explained how “it can beat addictions.”
Among the studies that Grothaus cites is the 2011 research conducted by Daniel Erlacher, Tadas Stumbrys, and Michael Schredl on the lucid dream practice of German athletes. Out of the 840-respondent pool, 9 percent of the participant athletes used lucid dreaming as an outlet to practice their sports skills. The study later found that mental practice showed an improvement in the athletes’ subsequent performance.
However, not many people can experience it. Fortunately, there are also benefits to reap from regular dreams. Sleep researcher Rosalind D. Cartwright is a known name in studying the impact of dreams in a person’s life.
One aspect of her research looks at dreams to regulate negative emotions. Maria Popova of Brain Pickings quotes Cartwright’s saying,
One proposed purpose of dreaming, of what it accomplishes (known as the mood regulatory function of dreams theory) is that it modulates disturbances in emotion, regulating those that are troublesome. My research, as well as that of other investigators in this country and abroad, supports this theory. Studies show that negative mood is down-regulated overnight.
From this, it can be gathered that deep dreaming has the power to strip an individual of negativity in going about their daily life. This just shows how dreaming extends to a person’s overall well-being even long after the dream itself is over.
Did you ever have a dream that you consider most interesting? What was it about? Let me know by connecting with me on Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads. I would love to discuss these topics. Or, are you more the type to interpret dreams of other people? Start a conversation by leaving a comment below. My book, Quasar, would also be an interesting point for conversation. Grab a copy.
“Dreams – The Function of Dreams.” 2017. HowSleepWorks, June 28. https://www.howsleepworks.com/dreams_function.html.
Erlacher, Daniel, Tadas Sumbrys, and Michael Schredl. 2011. “Frequency of Lucid Dreams and Lucid Dream Practice in German Athletes.” Imagination, Cognition and Personality 31 (3): 237–246. Accessed November 22, 2017. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/230727513_Frequency_of_Lucid_Dreams_and_Lucid_Dream_Practice_in_German_Athletes.
Grothaus, Michael. 2015. “How Lucid Dreaming Can Improve Your Waking Life.” Fast Company, February 24. Accessed November 22, 2017. https://www.fastcompany.com/3042659/how-lucid-dreaming-can-improve-your-waking-life.
Jones, Daemon. 2015. “Dreaming Has Its Health Benefits.” EmpowHer, July 31. Accessed November 22, 2017. http://www.empowher.com/wellness/content/dreaming-has-its-health-benefits?page=0,0.
O’Brien, Sharon M. 2016. “The Importance of Dreams.” Clinical Advisor, December 15. Accessed November 22, 2017. http://www.clinicaladvisor.com/the-waiting-room/processing-emotions-in-dreams/article/579408/.
Popova, Maria. n.d. “The Science of Sleep: Dreaming, Depression, and How REM Sleep Regulates Negative Emotions.” Brain Pickings. Accessed November 22, 2017. https://www.brainpickings.org/2012/08/13/the-twenty-four-hour-mind-rosalind-cartwright/.