There are six known types of dreams including normal dreams, lucid dreams, recurring dreams, false awakening dreams, daydreams, and nightmares. Having a normal dream differs from person to person but most dreams are said to be visual, strange, in variations of color, pleasant when stress levels are down, and influenced by your reality. Nightmares, on the other hand, are a bit more disturbing with common themes being centered around death, violence, or being chased and even hunted.
So, why do we experience this? While there is no mutual agreements or definitive proof on the purpose of dreaming, here are a few theories to give us some ideas:
UNCONSCIOUS EXPRESSION- Sigmund Freud believes that our dreams may represent our repressed longings and unconscious desires, thoughts, and motivations. This mean our dreams bring repressed wishes and desires to the surface so that we can become aware and reconcile these feelings.
PROCESSING MEMORIES- The information-processing theory is that while we sleep, our brains are processing information and memories we've collected from the previous day. During our waking hours, we consume overwhelming amounts of information. This theory states that while we sleep, our brains arrange, compress, and collect the information consumed.
PLAY OF YOUR LIFE IN IMAGES- This theory suggests that our dreams function as a mirror of our real lives but only in fragments of our memories. This means that dreams replay our real-life experiences but only in pieces to perhaps insert a new learning experience into our life-long memory.
PREPARATION AND PROTECTION- According to the primitive instinct rehearsal and adaptive strategy theories, we dream to better equip ourselves for dangers in reality. This means that in our dreams we direct awareness to our fight or flight instincts to prep ourselves for life-threatening scenarios and increase our chances and mental capabilities of handling and surviving them.
Source(s): Very Well Mind & Healthline