What Happens in Your Brain When You Dream?
I am sitting in a car in the middle of an ocean and my childhood friend is sitting with me right there and just as I start thinking that I haven’t seen that friend since 1st grade, the dream ends. Do you have such weird dreams?
Do you wake up sometimes, only to remember that you were having fun with a person you haven’t even seen in your life? The lingering thought that most of you might have is “Who are these people? Why are we seeing them?” Let’s dive deeper into these questions.
Why do dreams make you illogical?
Your sleep has different stages, as you fall deeper in the sleep cycle, you lose more of your consciousness and logical skills. The stage of sleep where you have dreams is called REM sleep. Babies have a longer duration of REM Sleep. It’s possible the phrase, “sleep as a baby” comes from this fact.
Your brain is like a family, different parts of the brain have different functions. The part of the brain that gives you common sense is called the Prefrontal Cortex in the frontal lobe. We will think about this part as the adult, mature uncle of the family.
The other parts include the motor-sense controlling part, the vision part and the emotion controlling part of the brain. They are the children of the family. The brainstem is the part that controls all the functions of the body. Sounds like something your mother would do, right?
When you sleep, The mother (the brain stem) cuts off all the connections between the uncle and the children. Now there is no one asserting the logic in what you think. The motor-sensor, vision and the emotional part of the brain start talking i.e sharing different information from different scenarios.
Motor-sensor is thinking about sitting while the emotional part is reminiscing the feeling of calmness. In between of this, the vision part of your brain is showing you in a car in the middle of the ocean sitting beside your friend. Hence, the bizarre dream is created.
Who is Your Protector While You Dream?
Are you thinking that if one of the parts working to create a dream is responsible for your movement then why don’t we follow those movements while we are sleeping? Why don’t we move according to the signals transmitted by the motion-controller?
The simple answer is that the brainstem i.e the mother of the parts paralyzes rest of your body so that you don’t move when you are dreaming. It also controls the release of attention hormone which behaves like a security guard. So if something happens in your surroundings the security guard will be sure to alert you.
When you listen to your alarm, the brainstem releases this attention hormone and you start to gain movement in your body and the PFC is again connected to the brain giving you your common sense back.
Do you remember that I said that the brainstem is responsible for most functions of our body? Now you have some idea why it is so.
You have read how all parts of your brain except the PFC works together to show you some very bright and cinematic dreams. Now, the next time you have some weird dream, you will know exactly what happened. You might even enjoy your dreams like a movie.
Did you find this fascinating? If yes, then this might be your calling to the neuroscience field. For more such interesting and informative blogs, subscribe to our newsletter on the HomePage. Also, tell us in comments on what topic you would like a blog.