Dreams, The Real Work Of The Brain.
It is my theory, that the brain possibly does one of its most important tasks, whilst we sleep.
I once read, that we could not die from lack of sleep. We would first, go mad, then die from lack of dreaming.
I therefore conclude that sleep is required for two reasons. First, to let the physical body get rest. Secondly, for the brain to "file" any new information obtained during the wakeful moments. In order for the brain to locate the correct place to store the new information, it needs to open existing filing cabinets. As it does this it is swamped with images and sounds in that cabinet. These are our dreams. As the cabinet is closed, so the dream ends. The next bit of information is looked to be filed, so starts our next dream.
If this were true, it would account for the reason that babies need a lot of sleep. They are continuously bombarded with information that is new to them, therefore requiring to open new files on a daily basis. Young children are also still learning, they too need more sleep.
As we get older, less information is new to us and so would take less time to file, meaning we do not need so much sleep. Obviously, as we continue to age, our need for more sleep increases. However, this extra sleep would be needed to revive the weakening physical body. We would sleep more but dream less.
If the brain was unable, or not allowed to dream because of lack of sleep, the information would be loosely floating around the brain, in no kind of order. A mixed jumble of thoughts in no logical sequence. In other words madness.
If no new information was acquired, would there be a need to dream?. Perhaps. The brain needs for continued input to remain functioning. If it receives no knew information, then the "dream" is the brain doing self diagnostics, looking through cabinets to see if it can locate a reason for the cease of input. If there were no input for a significant length of time, then the brain would close down.
If my theory were correct, then it would mean that one of the most important ways that we can help our childrens education, would be to ensure that they got a full and good nights sleep. Free of inturuptions, in order to allow the brain to "dream" un-interupted.