A dream includes the images, thoughts, and emotions that are experienced during sleep. Dreams can range from extraordinarily intense or emotional to very vague, fleeting, confusing, or even boring. Some dreams are joyful, while others are frightening or sad. Sometimes dreams seem to have a clear narrative, while many others appear to make no sense at all.
Many suggest that we dream due to a combination of these and other reasons rather than adhering to a singular theory. Additionally, while many researchers believe that dreaming is essential to mental, emotional, and physical well-being, some scientists suggest that dreams serve no real purpose at all. Despite scientific inquiry into the function of dreams, we still don’t have a solid answer for why we do it. But, while much remains uncertain about dreaming, many experts have developed theories on the purpose of dreams and new empirical research is providing greater clarity.
Some of the more prominent dream theories contend that the function of dreaming is to consolidate memories, process emotions, express our deepest desires, and gain practice confronting potential dangers.