Here's What All Those Messed Up Dreams You Have Really Mean, According To Sleep Experts

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Whether it's a nightmare or something a little bit more pleasurable, all of those dreams that you have during the night actually have a meaning behind them—according to sleep experts.

In a conversation with ThisIsInsider, the former president of the International Association for the Study of Dreams, Robert Hoss, helps shed some light on what in the hell your mind's really doing while you're snoozing away the night.

When You're Dreaming, Your Brain Processes Emotions

  • Three parts of the brain activate during dreaming, in this stage of sleep.

  • First, there’s the Limbic region, associated with processing emotions. Then there are sub-Cortical regions associated with the Limbic region, which deal with resolving problems and learning. Finally, there are several parts of the Associative Cortices, which is where dreams originate.

When You Dream, Your Brain's Trying To Fix Emotional Problems For You

  • According to Hoss, dreams are all about dealing with your emotional problems.

  • “The best way to think about dreaming is that it's a natural process that deals with with problems that occur during the day,” Hoss told INSIDER. "The function is what's called adaptive learning . During our day, we run into a bunch of problems we're dealing with, issues, stressful things, anxieties, whatever, usually emotion-related problems."

To Solve Your Emotional Problems, It Picks Up On Past Associations

  • Your dream is your brain figuring out your problems for you. That’s why the problem-solving part of your brain is activated during dreaming. Your brain tries to resolve your emotional issues by searching for past associations to the problems you’re currently having... That’s why you might have dreams with a bunch of disparate scenes, Hoss said. Each segment is your brain making a different attempt to solve your issue.

The Visuals You See Are Emotionally Similar To The Problems You're Dealing With Now

  • When your brain is digging into your emotional problems, it taps into your visual memories where you had similar emotions... You might dream about not getting into the college you wanted to get into, or not being invited to a party, or other experiences where you feel miffed.

Your Dreams Aren't Trying To 'Tell' You Anything, But They're Still Worth Paying Attention To

  • Dreams don’t necessarily “tell” you anything. They’re visual representations of your brain running a process of solving your emotional problems. If you wake up happy, chances are, your brain already solved your problem for you.

Pretty interesting stuff, if you ask me. You can see the full interview with Robert Hoss over at ThisIsInsider to get more info about what your dreams really mean.

H/T ThisIsInsider