What’s going on when you dream and what does it all mean? Sleep medicine expert Michelle Drerup, PsyD, answers questions about dreams for the Cleveland Clinic’s Health Essentials blog.
Most dreaming occurs during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which we cycle through periodically during the night. Sleep studies show our brainwaves are almost as active during REM cycles as they are when we’re awake.
Experts believe the brainstem generates REM sleep and the forebrain generates dreams. Why? Because if the brainstem is injured, patients dream but don’t go into REM sleep. And if the forebrain is injured, patients go into REM sleep but don’t dream.