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To increase the performance on some certain tasks, sleep is good, but dreaming while sleeping is better.
In 2010, researchers found that subjects where up to 10 times better in getting through a complex 3D maze if they napped and dreamed about the maze prior to their second attempt. Some memory processes can happen only while sleeping and the dreams are a signal that these processes take place.
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During REM sleeping, the neocortex reviews the neural connections and dumbs the unnecessary ones.
Each dream, including nightmares contains images from our day-to-day life. Sigmund Freud states that each thing we dream has a symbolic meaning which lead to the fulfilment of our subconscious wishes.
Dreams involving dangerous situations are very common and the Primitive Instinct Rehearsal Theory holds that the content of a dream is significant to its purpose.
The Continual Activation Theory proposes that the dreams result from your brain's need to constantly consolidate the long-term memories.
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