Where Do Dreams Come From? - Dream Health

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Sunday 3 July 2022

Where Do Dreams Come From?

Where Do Dreams Come From?

Dreams inspire and fascinate people worldwide, and it has been doing so for many years. Each person has some recollection of having dreams. But we can't hold all details. Some are scary, some are happy, and even some are funny. These are the imagination of many artists and projects like Christopher Nolan's blockbuster 'Inception,' Salvador Dali's 'Persistence of Memory,' and Stephen King's 'Dreamcatcher.'

Why do we have these? Where do dreams come from? Is it possible to control it? So many questions are there, and only a few of these you can answer. Although why we dream is one of the unanswered questions, it is better to know about the controversial topic of what science says.

Sometimes, we can soar across the sky as superheroes. But do you know how our brain makes this irrational imagery? However, researchers have found where dreams come from. According to them, our brain cells receive sensory stimuli while we are awaking. During sleep, these can be activated by memories.

You can find yourself playing the leading role every night in lifelike movies, which appears natural before you wake up. For example, while sleeping, you may find yourself flirting with Hollywood superstars, jumping from skyscrapers, etc.

Dream creates imagery without new sensory stimuli:

According to Johan Frederik Storm, people do not receive any new sensory stimuli with closed eyes. He is a doctor and professor at the Institute of Basic Medical Sciences at the University of Oslo.

In addition, he researches Brian signals from Germany, Scotland, and Switzerland with his colleagues. They have given a new theory about how these appear in brain cells, and the theory says it happens in the same cells in the cerebral cortex. These occur when the cortex receives the sensory stimuli through our view while awaking.

How do these happen?

While sleeping, brain cells get activated by internal information. However, Storm says these cells remain in a different state while we dream. It indicates that information from internal stores drove these, and new sensory input does not activate. Their theory was recently published in Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews. It focuses on what happens inside the cells of our brain.

The cerebral cortex is the key:

It is the outer layer of the cerebrum. Researchers said that these appear in the cerebral cortex. Pyramidal cells are the biggest ones, called pyramidal neurons. These look like trees with roots, trunks, and branches called dendrites.

While awake, these gather sensory stimuli through the eyes, ears, and other sensory organs. According to Storm, it happens when the same cells take in details from outer sensory stimuli and memory. After that, these send the memory to the "tree crown" at the very top of the cell.

Where do dreams come from is experienced as real:

According to the new theory, the tree crown, which is the top of the pyramidal neurons, helps to drive these.

Storm says that pyramidal neurons send out internally driven signals, and that's why we experience these. These signals are confusing and similar to waking signals driven by real external sensory stimuli. Experience and knowledge stored in our memory are all about internal information.

Firstly, while awaking, pyramidal neurons receive information from the sensory organs about the world. After that, these interpret it in light of internal communication from memory.

Secondly, while dreaming, those cells receive less input from the sensory organs. Finally, big amounts of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine can change cell conditions. Thus, internal information from inside the brain helps to drive them.

A little acetylcholine presents in the cerebral cortex in dreamless sleep. If no connection exists with pyramidal neurons, these will not receive any internal information. As a result, we will not experience any of these. Although you take information from real sensory stimuli directly into the cell roots in an awake state, you cannot interpret the information.

He added that pyramidal neurons could detect patterns in the signals. In this case, the neurons compare these with patterns stored in memory. Thus, the brain can guess what we perceive, such as detecting a cup, a house, or a human being.

This process helps to assemble and interpret the sensory signals to make a vision of the outer world. Thus, our brain uses earlier experience to interpret our views, smell, and taste. If you are awake, the cerebral cortex receives most details through the roots of the pyramidal cells.

Why can't you always complete yawns?

If you are willing to know about these, you must first understand how humans live their lives. Our life is like shopping. You can select multiple options, and all options will go into your shopping cart. We can call it 'experience' or 'memory bank.' Almost all life events remain in our minds.

Both minds work together to make personality and imagination. The conscious mind is a collection of things like time, what you are thinking about, etc. It processes all the information throughout your life experiences. Then, it helps to store it in your memory. This one is the CPU core of your brain.

But the unconscious mind is a bit hard and big. This type of mind always works by imagining things, twisting reality, and playing tricks. Besides, it is called the culprit also for causing "Déjà vu." It means that you have seen something before.

Collaborative Function of the Conscious and Unconscious Mind:

Suppose your conscious mind says that you are thinking about rice. It is a white grain that is edible. Then, your unconscious mind starts thinking about all the tasty dishes made from rice. Again, assume that the conscious mind looks at a palm tree. Then, the unconscious mind begins imagining all trips. For instance, you will think about trips to beaches, movies, beaches you have visited, etc. It is the factory for your imagination, working & imagining always.

The conscious mind always leads the thinking process. Therefore, we remain safe. However, if you are asleep at night quickly, your unconscious mind plays a major role. When the unconscious mind is at work, we call it "dreaming." But it faces one issue, which is the lack of memory. This type of mind shares the memory with the brain's CPU, the conscious mind. Thus, you can know why you see things that you have already seen in your life. In simple words, it is a play you can put on by the unconscious mind

Why don't we always dream?

As we have already told you how it happens, we can't dream every time we sleep. The inactivity of the conscious mind is a requirement for dreaming. While sleeping, our conscious mind is not necessarily asleep.

Generally, five stages of sleeping are there, from light sleep to profound sleep and culminating in REM sleep. Rapid eye movements characterize REM sleep. It is in the sleep cycle where most of these happen. While snoring, the conscious mind will kick in. During this time, our conscious mind is wide awake and busy, making people snore. Therefore, the unconscious mind does not get a chance to take over and give us these. In simple terms, it is impossible to dream while snoring. According to research, People dream in non-REM stages too. But scientists have something to explain non-REM ones.

Why don't we act out our dreams?

During REM sleep, you can see physiological changes. As an illustration, we can see an increase in our heart rates and breathing. Besides, blood pressure increases, and we cannot regulate our body temperature effectively. Brain activity boosts to the same level while we remain awake.

The rest of the body remains paralyzed. It happens for the release of glycine, an amino acid, and from the brain stem onto the motoneurons. It ensures you will not hurt the person sleeping next to you if you dream about playing football.

Alternative Theories:

Romans and ancient Greeks taught for centuries that it is a connection between the world and the heavens. According to them, these had prophetic powers. At the end of the 19th century, Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung gave us modern theories of dreaming. Freud's theory says that it can sort through & unresolved wishes.

Due to technological advancements, we got to know more about the topic. The latest research on measuring brain activity lets us learn even more insights into dreaming. The right inferior lingual gyrus in the visual cortex is behind dreaming. The research suggests that these are made from the specific area of our Brian, and it is linked with visual processing, emotion, and visual memories. According to the latest theories, these are only random impulses in our brain. If we wake up, our brain can connect these random thoughts.

Exciting research:

According to the researcher Roar Fosse, the theory is inspiring. He says that Johan Storm and his colleagues significantly contributed to cellular processes, which may be a vital factor.

He thinks the new theory fits well with the earlier knowledge about the neurological basis of dreaming in REM sleep. It can draw on significant parts of the sensory networks in our brain. He is a psychologist.


Fosse says that if you expect something to happen, but sensory stimuli aren't reaching the brain, the expectations can create sensory experiences. In this case, he refers to British brain researcher Karl J. Friston's theories.

He also mentioned the central function of pyramidal neurons like Storm. He says that Storm and his colleagues have a simple idea of how sleep can work in these cell components. However, he wishes their further research could reveal why neurotransmitters in the brain are vital. Dopamine, serotonin, and GABA are some examples of them.

Neurotransmitter level changes during REM sleep:

During REM sleep, people dream the most. It is because, at that time, the eyes move very fast underneath our eyelids. The new theory says that the concentration of a special neurotransmitter remains higher than others during REM sleep, and that's why we dream the most during this sleep.

Storm says it triggers a strong reinforcement mechanism at the top end of the pyramidal neurons. During this time, the sensory information of the roots weakens. In simple words, internally generated information is behind driving the cells, and we know it as an apical drive.

However, we not only dream during REM sleep. It can happen while sleeping deeply. Some people can dream more or remember these better than others. On the other hand, multiple people forget what they dream. As a result, they face a more challenging time remembering these while waking up. French researchers have recognized some unique things in people who remember more of these than others.

While under anesthesia:

If a patient under normal anesthesia often dreams, they forget these more quickly after waking up from the anesthesia. Finally, we got the news from the current studies of Storm's research group.

People use Psychedelic drugs and other hallucinogenic drugs, causing hallucinations while awaking. Besides, Ketamine is a hallucinogenic drug, and you can use it before anesthesia. People use it for depression also.


What functions do these have? Researchers are still unknown on this controversial topic. However, experts in the Forum discussed it for Consciousness Research in Oslo in 2019. Storm and the other researchers have also discussed the topic, and it has covered artificial intelligence and machine learning.

While dreaming, our brains can experiment with new combinations of sensory input, and we experience it rarely while awake. It is why we didn't have many of these different from our actual experiences. Researchers think it is essential for imagination, fantasy, and planning. These characteristics are available in human beings.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q. Where do random ones come from?

Sometimes, you can have weird ones because of stress, anxiety, or sleep deprivation. If you want to stop these dreams, you have to manage stress levels. In addition, you need to maintain a sleep routine also. For example, use deep breathing whether you wake up from a weird dream. Then, you can use a relaxing activity to fall back.

Q. Where do these come from, and what do they mean?

These come from real life. As unconscious desires cause the connections, it is a fulfillment of a wish.

Q. Do these have a message?

It can offer a crucial message regarding your life and can guide you at vital turning points.

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