Psychology behind dreams uncovered; Exploring what they mean, how they occur

Jack O'Conner, Reporter

 Dreams are things that everyone has, many times seeming wacky or weird, but why do we dream?

     In truth, nobody knows the exact nature of dreams, but many experts believe that they can (for the most part) be explained, from what causes them, to why they’re important, and what they might mean.

     Michelle Drerup (PsyD) explains that dreams come from memories – and in most cases, recent memories such as those made the day before. “This could function as our brain’s way of solidifying memories,” says Drerup. 

     Dreams help give us a foundation to understand our  memories, allowing us to learn and develop in new ways. According to Drerup, despite their seemingly strange and meaningless nature, dreams may be an important way that we learn to perceive the world around us, leading to what some dreams might mean.

        But what causes these dreams? Dreams occur in the stage of sleep known as REM, or rapid eye movement. This is where a person’s eyes dart quickly back and forth and is a visible sign that lets a person know when someone is dreaming.  REM is the final stage in our sleep cycle and one of the deepest stages of sleep. This stage lasts anywhere from ten to 60 minutes, though only a small percentage of that time is actually spent dreaming, with each dream only lasting around 20-30 seconds, according to

    Falling, being chased, losing teeth, or flying can all have different and specific meanings in a person’s life.  Amy Morin (LCSW) claims that these “common dream narratives tend to mean the same things in different people.”

     For dreams where someone is falling, Morin says, “falling dreams are a sign that something in your life isn’t going well. It might suggest that you need to rethink a choice, for instance, or consider a new direction in some area of your life.”

    Morin also claims that being chased or losing teeth has to do with anxiety, especially social anxiety/self-image regarding fears about how a person’s peers view them. 

        Though most dreams a person will not remember, and the ones that they do had to have ended two to three seconds before they woke up. This leaves a very small window of time in which they have to accurately recall those memories, according to 

     Though, ultimately, dreams are not entirely understood, and likely never will be, leaving their interpretation up to anyone.