Dreams are something that have fascinated people for thousands of years, but only recently has it really been put through scientific study. According to Psychology Today a dream is defined as: "A dream can include any of the images, thoughts and emotions that are experienced during sleep. Dreams can be extraordinarily vivid or very vague; filled with joyful emotions or frightening imagery; focused and understandable or unclear and confusing." While the exact known cause of dreaming is still yet to be explained, many scientists and psychologists have debated and released many different theories on why. Ernest Hoffman, director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Newton Wellesley Hospital in Boston, Mass., stated that "...a possible (though certainly not proven) function of a dream to be weaving new material into the memory system in a way that both reduces emotional arousal and is adaptive in helping us cope with further trauma or stressful events."
One person who has researched dreams is Sigmund Freud, the famous psychologist. According to Freud dreams are our own unconscious desires, motivations and thoughts. These unconscious thoughts and desires are real, but are expressed in our dreams. I'm not sure how much I agree with this, since some of my dreams I can't imagine ever coming true or wanting to come true. I guess it depends on the person really. This is also the case for dreaming in color, as much research as I did into whether people dream in color or not, everyone's answer was different! There was no conclusive evidence either way whether we do or not. Personally, I think we dream in grays and blacks and whites, and our brain just knows what the colors are so we think we dream in color.
limbic system involved in emotions, sensations and memories, including the amygdala and hippocampus, to become active. The brain synthesizes and interprets this internal activity and attempts to find meaning in these signals, which results in dreaming. This model suggests that dreams are a subjective interpretation of signals generated by the brain during sleep."
It seems there are many different theories of how and why we dream, and something that still needs to be researched. Now, do certain medications affect how and why we dream? This is one subject I am interested in because, it seems the night I take my Methotrexate, I have some weird dreams. Nothing too messed up, just something I could never imagine happening, usually I laugh at what they were, but rarely I'll have a really bad dream. The answer to the question is Yes! Certain medicines can affect our dreams, because it they can affect the stage of sleep known as REM (rapid eye movement). During REM sleep, is normal sleep mode where our eyes rapidly move and when we dream. Cough syrup can makes dream weird, because they contain alcohol, which alcohol itself can make ones dreams different than normal. I also found out that Vitamin B supplements are often deemed to cause intense dreaming, especially in people who were not dreaming at all before they started the supplement. Beta-blockers, tranquillizers and anti-depressants may become a reason for bad dreams, especially if you've recently come off of these.
Research into dreaming is still new and under case studies constantly. I'm not sure if we'll see any answers anytime soon, but in the meantime we can just hope. If you're having trouble with dreams, it's good to start a dream journal, write down the medications you take the day before and the next day write down your dreams. Especially if they're becoming a problem, you may be able to figure out what medication is causing you your bad dreams. You'll never know until you try. For now, sweet dreams to all!