Dreams as memory aids - Deepstash

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Why Do We Dream? The Role of Dreams and Nightmares

Dreams as memory aids

Research shows that sleep helps store memories. If you learn new information and sleep on it, you’ll be able to recall it better than if asked to remember that information without the benefit of sleep.

Dreams may help the brain more efficiently store important information while blocking out stimuli that could interfere with memory and learning.

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Nightmares

Nightmares are broadly defined as frightening dreams that result in some degree of awakening from sleep. 

Nightmares themselves contribute to disrupted sleep not only by waking th...

Night terrors

Night terrors are very intense episodes of fright during dreams. These frightening episodes are often accompanied by screaming or yelling, as well as by physical movement such as leaping out of bed or flailing in panic. 

Research suggests that sleep terrors occur during non-REM sleep dreaming, while nightmares tend to happen during REM sleep. 

Recurring dreams
Recurring dreams are dreams that re-appear with some pattern of regularity. 

Studies suggest that recurring dreams may contain more threatening content than regular dreams. Research suggests links between recurring dreams and psychological distress in both adults and children.

Trauma and nightmares

Nightmares appear to be more common in those who have intense reactions to stress. When our time awake is frightening or remains unpressed, the sleeping brain may produce horrible images to awaken ...

The effects of trauma on sleep

If an action against the threat is irrelevant or impossible - as it would be if the trauma happened long ago - then emotion-coping efforts like dreaming may be useful to get on with our lives.

If the threat will be encountered repeatedly, such as abuse, then waking problem-solving action is necessary.

Nightmares

Nightmares happen later in sleep when dreams are longest, and the content is bizarre and emotional. Nightmares wake the sleeper into full consciousness and clear memory of the dream. It temporarily relieves the negative emotion.

As we develop the skills for managing negative emotions while we are awake, nightmares will reduce in frequency.

Slow-wave sleep (deep sleep) – SWS

About 80% of our sleeping is of the SWS variety, identified by slow brain waves, relaxed muscles and deep breathing.

Deep sleep is important for the consolidation of memories. New experience...

Rapid eye movement (dreaming) - REM

Dreaming accounts for 20% of our sleeping time.

The length of dreams can vary from a few seconds to almost an hour. During REM sleep, the brain is highly active. The muscles are paralyzed, and the heart rate increases. Breathing can become erratic. 

Sleep quantity

Although eight hours is the common mention, optimum sleep can vary from person to person and from age to age.

One review that worked through 320 research articles concluded 7 - 9 hours of sleep are enough for adults. According to experts, too little or too much sleep can both have a negative impact on your health.