Dreaming Has Its Health Benefits
When you sleep can you remember your dreams? Do you even know if you are having dreams?
Have you ever wondered if dreams are beneficial and support your health? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary dreaming is defined as "a series of thoughts, visions, or feelings that happen during sleep; an idea or vision that is created in your imagination and that is not real; something that you have wanted very much to do, be, or have for a long time."
When we think about dreaming, we usually associate it with sleep. According to Rosalind Cartwright, PhD, professor emeritus of psychology at Rush University in Chicago, dreams are “likely a means of coping with a major life stress.”
Dreams often use symbols or previous life experiences to help you work out emotional issues that you are currently dealing with. During your sleep time you are working out your feeling so that you can feel more settled in the morning. Cartwright believes that dreams could be a way to help you regulate mood or help resolve conflicts.
It is possible to have dreams during all phases of sleep. The National Sleep Foundation reports that we tend to dream about two hours each night. Our most vivid dreams tend to occur during the REM periods of sleep.
In her research, Cartwright has found that the brain is never truly at rest and it is still processing 24 hours a day. She believes that the mind uses dream time to work on several levels of the unconscious.
In the short term, overnight sleep can help with mood. Longer term benefits can help with deeply stressful situations like divorce or challenges that may have been building up over a lifetime. It is clear that Cartwright has found a positive emotional benefit of dreams during the night.
What about daydreams. Can they present health benefits too?
Daydreams can signal that we have a good working memory. According to LiveScience.com, “working memory is the mental work space that allows the brain to juggle multiple thoughts simultaneously.” When you have working memory you can daydream without losing the ability to remember other tasks.
We can daydream almost anywhere — in the car or in the shower, doing tasks that don't require us to think much about them. Researches believe that the daydreaming can be a time of tremendous creativity. So daydreaming can be a great resource for us, too.
When we are out of working memory, then we can’t remember completing the tasks we were doing while we were daydreaming. So if we daydream, we can’t remember walking out to the car. So while it tells us that we are out of working memory, it can also set a register about how busy or productive we can handle being as well.
Overall, it seems clear that dreaming during the day or at night can be beneficial to our health in a few different ways. So dream away!