Everyone would agree that a good night's sleep is essential to health and productivity. But did you know a good night's dreaming is also pivotal to physical, emotional, and even spiritual well-being?
Studies reported by Scientific American have shown that dreams play an important part in memory and one's ability to process complex emotions. Additional research has found dreams to be an essential component of creativity and problem solving.
No one knows for sure why we dream, but theories abound: sorting out the day's activities, letting repressed emotions and desires surface, integrating new information into our existing data banks, cleaning out mental and emotional "clutter" from our lives.
"We tend to look at dreaming as a subservient type of consciousness, yet what we know about dreaming scientifically, and spiritually, is that it is much more than that. When people don't dream well, they have memory problems, and even increased depression. People who don't dream well, don't grow," says Dr. Rubin Naiman, internationally recognized sleep and dream expert and clinical assistant professor of medicine at the University of Arizona's Center for Integrative Medicine. He is also the author Healing Night: The Science and Spirit of Sleeping, Dreaming and Awakening," and the director of Circadian Health Associates.
In scientific research, psychologists found that subjects who were deprived of their dreams during deep rapid eye movement (REM) sleep experienced patterns that looked exactly like dream patterns seen in patients with clinical depression.1