Sleep & Dreams – Why are they necessary?

June 27, 2017

What would life be like if we didn’t sleep? We might be able to use the extra hours in the day to get some extra projects done, but would it be worth it?

Our bodies actually have a very good reason to sleep, and dream, for that matter!

CHI Health neurologist Dr. Sanjay Singh has been involved with many sleep and dream studies. He says the scientific knowledge of these two subjects has come a long way in the last five to 10 years.

“Sleep and dreams are regulated by our brains,” says Singh. More so, “because our brains have over 100 billion cells, we make an astronomical amount of connections each day in terms of our senses. While we sleep, our brain gets to work.” It cleans out various harmful toxins that can cause dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological conditions. Definitely a reason to keep up on the Zzzs!

While we sleep and dream, the most important connections are committed to our memory. That’s why you’ll most likely remember your child’s graduation or how well your big meeting at work went, but you probably won’t remember which car was parked next to you in the parking lot yesterday.

But what about the fact that our dreams often seem to take the form of a disjointed, convoluted story? Singh also says that as we dream our brains are firing random neurological signals that our minds perceive as dreams. When we wake up our mind quickly tries to make sense of those random signals, and thus strings them together in the best way it knows how. Many famous historians, musicians, scientists and other inspiring figures are thankful for this scientific phenomenon, because often dreams become the inspiration for new and exciting ideas. Their dreams allowed them to look at the world in a new way and find innovative solutions to their problems.

As sleep and dream science continues to develop, we can continue to learn how essential this unconscious brain work truly is to both our individual and community growth. And, we’ll be sure to add a little extra sleep to our daily routine!