Whereas there is increasing recognition of the importance of sleep, there is less awareness that one of the reasons we need to sleep is that we need to dream.
Even though you may not remember them, you dream several times a night. In a typical lifetime, we spend about six years dreaming.
Throughout time and across cultures man has ascribed importance to dreams. Recognized for his seminal contribution of The Interpretation of Dreams, Freud considered dreams as the royal road to the unconscious. According to him, dreams represented instinctual aggressive and sexual drives pressing for discharge. Disguised by the primary process of symbols, displacements and condensations, the dream was believed to represent hidden instinctual wish fulfillment.
While dreamers still make important use of the metaphors and symbolic representations in their dreams, the royal road has been expanded and repaved.
Evolving psychological theory and research from Brain Science reveal that well beyond wish fulfillment, we need and use dreams in the organization of data, the consolidation of memory, the integration of skills and the regulation of psychological functioning.
Matt Wilson of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology tells us “ Dreaming is a process, and not only is it useful, it may be essential for making sense of the world.”
Important in understanding the function of dreams are the new findings on sleep cycles:
Earlier this week, I wrote a post entitled “Should You Tell Your Partner Your Dreams?” Today, I continue that discussion by offering insight into how you can understand your own dreams — an important step toward sharing them with your partner.
You don’t have to be a trained expert to understand your dreams — after all, you are the writer, director, actor, lighting expert and stage hand of your night theater.” Recognizing this and taking a look at the nature of dreams will give you a way making sense and utilizing your dreams. Once you can begin to understand your own dreams you can expand that understanding by sharing with your partner.