Can You Learn By Dreaming?


A recent article in the Harvard Gazette suggests we do. In a sleep study, people were awaken repeatedly during their dream cycles. What researchers found was that these people had a hard time retaining what they had learned the previous day. Whereas, those who had uninterrupted sleep, produced significant differences in remembering the previous day’s activities and information. Dreams are a way for the brain to categorize thoughts, activities and acquired knowledge from the previous day. That sleeping and the process of dreaming are what helps us learn and retain knowledge.

Dreams are the brains way of synchronizing thoughts, repeating the process over and over to help build and strengthen neural pathways. In essence the more we dream the better we are able to retain information that we learn. For athletes, the suggestion from their coaches of getting a good night’s rest maybe be more important than previously thought. Our dreams of running, throwing and catching are another way of practicing. Just like when practicing physically, dreams help us improve and strengthen the new connections we create in our brains when we learn new information.

Nightmares may even help you learn. It has been theorized that some nightmares maybe Mother Nature’s way of practicing for dangerous events. Back in our history, cavemen where constantly aware of possible dangers and many times had to react to dangerous situations. Our life styles now do not present the same dangers, our brains thinks differently in the subconscious. It must be prepared and remain ready. In an attempt to preserve itself, the brain runs scenarios of dangerous situations teaching us to either run or fight, the fight or flight response. How we behave in our dreams is how we most likely will behave in an extreme situation. Our brain runs these games to re-enforce our neural pathways to danger in an effort to protect itself or us.

Not all dreams and nightmares may not fall within these categorizations, but many scientist believe good sleep with dreams help the body to stay in good physical and mental health.

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