Everyone dreams, but we often don’t recall them the next day. The specific reasoning behind our dreams is still unknown to experts. Let’s look at some popular explanations for why people dream.

Processes emotions
Dreaming might help the brain process emotions. Strong, unpleasant emotions like stress and worry are known to cause nightmares.

The “continuity hypothesis”
This theory holds that most of our dreams reflect the same concepts and problems as our waking lives. We might be able to identify our main worries by analyzing the themes or visuals in our dreams.

Consolidation of memory
Some researchers believe that dreams help people form memories. Evidence suggests that the brain organizes and stores information while we sleep, then turns it into memories.

Over time, we react less to new experiences. According to this theory, the strangeness of dreams disrupts this cycle and keeps us alert.

No purpose
A few experts believe that dreams have no specific purpose. They explain that humans themselves developed the meanings of dreams, using them to predict the future or tell stories.

Why people dream is one of behavioral science’s greatest unsolved puzzles. How about you? Do you know why you dream?