What Happens to Your Brain When You Dream?

What Happens to Your Brain When You Dream?

Whether we remember doing it or not, each and every one of us dreams each night when we sleep. Despite the fact that we all do it, a surprisingly small amount of what actually happens to our brains when we do it has been known up to fairly recently. While there is still much to be discovered, we are starting to understand why we dream and what happens to our brains when we do. If you’ve ever been curious to find out, we’ll tell you right here.

The Limbic System

The limbic system is located in the centre of the brain, and is responsible for managing emotions both in the waking and dreaming worlds. It is, most typically, associated with fear thanks to the functions of the amygdala, and it is particularly active during sleep cycles and REM sleep. This might explain why we experience nightmares before, or how a particularly impactful dream can even effect our emotions the day after.

The Visual Cortex

Human beings are incredibly visual creatures, we rely on our sight quite a bit for most of our tasks. This is helped by our visual cortex, situated at the rear of the brain, which is one of the most active parts of our brain when we dream; explaining the complex and visual nature of our experiences during REM sleep.

The Frontal Lobes

The frontal lobes of the human brain are responsible for logic, reasoning and criticism, which makes it no surprise that this is one of the least active parts of the brain during dreams. That is why a sleeper simply accepts what is going on in their dreams and generally doesn’t tend to look too deeply into the logical flaws and senseless material we sometimes dream up.

Why do we Dream: Episodic Memory Encoding

Its fine and well to know what happens to the brain when we dream, but a question that has taken up the head-space of psychologists for years is why we do it in the first place. One theory, which accounts for much of our biology, suggests that dreams serve the purpose of indexing our memories, sorting those that are important from those that are not, and storing the former. The theory holds quite a bit of weight, so much so that sleep deprivation  experiments have shown that a person’s memory becomes fallible when their sleep-patterns are irregular, and that in severe cases, completely fake memories can actually be invented.

This has been figured by the fact that the brain-stem, which transfers fluid to and from the brain, is particularly active during REM sleep, and it has, on a number of occasions, been associated with the storing and sorting of long-term memories.

Contact Sealy Posturepedic to Get a Great Night’s Sleep

Beyond being a fantastic escape from the waking world, it seems that dreams fulfil a vital biological function. Getting a good night’s sleep and maintaining strong circadian patterns is essential for our health, so make sure that you and your family are getting the best night’s sleep possible. Contact Sealy Posturepedic today or visit our website for details on our offers for posturepedic mattresses in South Africa.