We all sleep and, believe it or not, we all dream too. What we don’t always do, however, is remember those dreams.
To explore the importance of our nocturnal imagination, psychologist Dr Caroline Horton is heading up research at the new DrEAMSLab which will be launched tomorrow at Bishop Grosseteste University in Lincoln.
“Research shows that although we dream several times a night, arguably even continually through the night, we remember very little of our dreams,” said Dr Horton, who has set up DrEAMSLab (Dreaming, Emotions, Associations & Memories in Sleep Laboratory) at BGU.
“Although dreams are difficult to access, there are systematic ways of studying them. Indeed, scrutinising the individual elements of dreams, and the ways in which these different elements combine, can tell us a lot about how the brain processes memories during sleep – a process known as memory consolidation. Sleep enhances memory as part of that consolidation journey.”
Dr Horton added that the Continuity Hypothesis broadly states that there is overlap between our dreams and in our waking lives, a theory which challenges those who have argued that dreams are the product of random firing of brain cells during certain stages of sleep, or that dreams might provide an insight into our futures.
The British Psychological Society, which accredits the suite of Psychology joint degree courses offered at BGU, has recently funded Caroline and her team of researchers from the Universities of Manchester, Swansea and Bedfordshire to co-ordinate a series of seminars that aim to push the boundaries of our understanding of how dreaming might contribute to memory consolidation in sleep.
The first event in the seminar series will be held at BGU on Wednesday 10th February and will include a series of talks, discussions and celebrations.
If you are interested in coming along to learn about what dreams can tell us about brain and mind, as well as the role of dreaming in memory formation, you can register your interest by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Tomorrow’s event begins at 10am in the Hardy Building at BGU and will conclude at 4pm with the launch of DrEAMSLab.
To find out more, visit www.dreamslab.co.uk or follow DrEAMSLab on Twitter @sleepandmemory.