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Why We Dream: Do Dreams Really Come True?

Updated on May 6, 2013

"We are such stuff as dreams are made on." -- Shakespeare, The Tempest

Study for the sleep of Endymion Anne-Louis Girodet de Roucy-Triosson
Study for the sleep of Endymion Anne-Louis Girodet de Roucy-Triosson | Source

Why do we dream?

The reason behind the dreams that we all confront almost every night is still a mystery in the psychological world. Is it connected to memory? Emotions? Is it a coping mechanism or a link to parts of us we never recognize when conscious? No one really knows. According to Psychology Today, "dreaming has been seen as critical for learning, or at least important for solving problems—or as nice but unnecessary. It's an emblem of mental illness—or a safety shield deflecting it."

One theory is that dreams act as a way of keeping our brains active, something that it desires to do even when the body needs its rest. During the night, while it has full reign and the body retires, the brain may even function at higher levels of activity than it does during the day. Without the distraction of dreams, the brain might keep us up and going even though the body needs its recovery time. Basically, the brain works out at night more than during the day, while the body works opposite, like taking shifts where one rests and the other gets moving.

Human Brain
Human Brain | Source

The Role of Dopamine in Dreams

Dopamine has a lot to do with that drive to go out and do something once a dream is over and the person is awake. This neurochemical, according to scientists, helps bring our thoughts out and get us ready for action in goal-directed behavior. This is why it isn't surprising to wake up thinking that maybe the dreams you just had are a sign for what you need to do in life, whether it's to spend more time with the kids or take on that new promotion. However, for the most part, people wake up without any set goal in their minds, but still a drive to get things done as if they had a specific goal in mind.

Another interesting aspect about dopamine is that it is also tied to hallucinations. This makes a link of sorts between dreaming and hallucinating, which is perhaps why some dreams seem so real that it feels like they actually happened. According to French neuroscientist Claude Gottesmann, "dreaming and schizophrenia have the same neurochemical background."

At the same time, dopamine makes the brain give importance to its own thoughts, so that everything experienced when this chemical is released seems to have a significance it may not actually have at all.

What do you think?

Do you think dreams are significant?

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Dreaming Your Memories

Another theory about dreams is that they are a fragmented replay of daily experiences. Since the brain is functioning at a higher level, it is able to take these random pieces and put them together to form a story. The only problem with this theory is that it doesn't cover a lot of bases like why dreams sometimes seem to come true and why we have terrible nightmares with monsters or why some dreams seem to carry some kind of significance for life choices and circumstances.

Some scientists like Carl Jung believe that dreams not only bring up memories but also bring to light those concerns and issues in our lives that are buried deeps within our psyche. The goal of the brain in its heightened state is to bring the consciousness into harmony by addressing this issues and giving your conscious self a purpose. Jung says that “what we consciously fail to see is frequently perceived by our unconscious, which can pass the information on through dreams. Dreams may often warn us in this way; but just as often, it seems, they do not."

With Jung's theory, the fact that people feel that things that occur in their dreams seem to come true makes sense. The subconscious is warning the conscious mind about what may occur and sometimes it is correct, which is why it's warnings come true. It can also be the reason behind people waking and feeling like their dreams are helping to influence their decisions.

Are Dreams Significant to our Lives?

There are many theories out there but no one is certain yet about why we dream. There is no denying the power of a dream that leaves us wondering about what to do next or that gives us the drive to make that big decisions. Yes, there is significance behind dreams, even if they seem completely random and out there. It is important to look into what your subconscious might be trying to tell you, if you listen and pay attention, you may be surprised at what you find.

© 2012 Lisa


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    • profile image

      mouse kitty 4 years ago

      we can dream no one can stop as from dreaming and maybe our dreams will come true

    • jeugenejohn profile image

      jeugenejohn 5 years ago from Kerala

      The dreams being true can sometimes be referred to de ja vu. Really interesting hub.

    • profile image

      hash 5 years ago

      there are many types of dream and some dream nice and some dream . bad it;s totally connect with our brain . we can distribut in two part of brain frist brain work when we get up and scond . brain work before . wake up . and aiso wake up . so couse of scond brain dream come in our life

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 5 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      Quite honestly, I never know what to make of my dreams. There doesn't seem to be any kind of consistency. I seem to dream about bits and pieces of my past - not childhood but during adulthood. I often dream in color. Most interesting subject. If you write more about this...I'll be back :)

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 5 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      I believe there are different kinds of dreams, but my most commonly encountered ones seem to have to do with resolving daly activities or thoughts which could not be completed at the time they occurred and were in effect "left hanging"...something not satisfying to the brain. I have had others you have mentioned including what some would call "visions" so clear that I could write down every detail of them the following day and still remember them to this day. The subconscious is being explored and some day even our brains will be amazed to find out what they could actually do, if we only "knew" how.

    • STEVEW13 profile image

      Steve Wright 5 years ago from Norwich, England

      A really interesting hub on a fascinating subject, you write really well and I'll be checking out your other hubs. Is it true that tryptophan in cheese makes your dreams more vivid? I have heard this before?

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      I have read Freud's Interpretation of Dreams. His analysis of why we dream is very interesting.

      However, your analysis is about biological aspects of dreaming. There is so much to learn form this hub.

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 5 years ago from Taos, NM

      Really interesting article. I have had dreams literally come true many times. I usually am in a state of mind of wondering what the future will hold. Then, I usually have a "premonition dream". Sometimes I remember it in the morning but usually I do not. Then, I "live out" the dream at some time in the future. It is so surreal!

      I've often wondered about this and your article is interesting and sort of answers for me why this happens. I enjoyed reading this!

      Oh, and I love the Shakespeare quote and photo. So appropriate!

    • Green Lotus profile image

      Hillary 5 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      I've always admired Jung and his theory that dreams bring to light concerns in our lives that are buried deeps within our psyche. My recurring dreams are bringing those concerns to the surface. Rated interesting!

    • rambansal profile image

      Ram Bansal 5 years ago from India

      Dreams appear when the body is resting, but the brain has taken its full quota of rest.

    • iamageniuster profile image

      iamageniuster 5 years ago

      Interesting read. I think they can come true.