On the surface, dreams might appear to be frivolous and not very useful, but the more study that is done on this strange and quixotic state, the more we are coming to realise that dreaming plays a vital role in our mental well being. A group of academics in Italy have recently shown that people who are awakened at the beginning of each dream but are still allowed their eight hours of sleep will experience difficulty in concentrating and will show signs of irritability, hallucinations and even psychosis after only three days. When allowed to return to normal sleeping patterns, their brains would attempt to make up for the lost dreaming time by increasing the percentage of REM sleep (the period in which we dream) and the subjects would quickly return to normal.
It would seem then that dreaming is a vital aspect of what helps to keep us sane. Dreams are a period when the brain is able to sort through the day’s new memories, allowing it to process and file, to sort and categorise our memories, but from the findings of this study, it would appear that it is also a time when the brain is able to balance out our psyche.
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