I'm Obsessed With This Theory Behind Why We Dream

<span class="copyright">MTStock Studio via Getty Images</span>
MTStock Studio via Getty Images

Dreaming is something all of us do, to different extents. Some of us have vivid dreams that we can recall perfectly the next morning and the rest of us find ourselves trying to remember more than vague details of what happened during our slumber.

Why we do this is still not something that scientists can agree wholeheartedly on, and, while there isn’t a conclusive answer at this point, a new theory that was published this year might just be the answer we’ve been looking for.

Dreams could be serving as a function

Writing for the British Psychological Society, Mark Blagrove said that while there are theories as to what happens when we dream, the purpose of them could actually be far more related to our waking life.

This is especially true when it comes to telling others about our dreams.

Blagrove said: “Dream-sharing may increase empathy because the dream acts as a piece of fiction, which is explored by the dreamer and others as part of the sharing process.

“Dreams would thus be like literary fiction, which has itself been shown to elicit empathy towards the characters that the fiction describes.”

Blagrove and his team have found that sharing what happens in our dreams opens the door for being more vulnerable and open with people. He said: “We suggest that the function of dreams thus resides in their waking use, and that dreams are like blushing, a way for self-disclosure to be supported, for the benefit of the group, even if such self-disclosure can sometimes be uncomfortable for the individual.”

This makes sense to me. There have been times that I’ve described particularly overwhelming dreams to loved ones just to later disclose that I was likely dreaming about such disturbing things because I was struggling with the pressures and stresses of my waking life.

This is just a theory for now but hopefully we’ll learn more from Blagrove and his team soon.