In the 3rd millennium BCE, Mesopotamian kings recorded and interpreted their dreams on wax tablets. In the years since, we haven’t paused in our quest to understand why we dream. And while we still don’t have any definitive answers, we have some theories. Amy Adkins reveals the top seven reasons why we might dream.








  • quest – a search or pursuit made in order to find something
  • urge – a strong desire or need
  • to reveal – to make (something secret) generally known
  • to stem from – to be caused by something
  • to nap – to sleep for a short time, especially during the day
  • maze – a network of paths and hedges designed as a puzzle through which one has to find a way
  • to dump – to get rid of something unwanted
  • to overrun – to fill a place quickly and in large numbers; to  continue past an intended limit
  • parasitic – living as a parasite (= an animal or plant living on or in another animal or plant of a different type and feeding from it)
  • to trigger – to cause something to begin to happen or exist
  • to heal – to make healthy
  • to take the edge off – to make something unpleasant have less of an effect on someone
  • renowned – famous

Answer the following questions:

  • Do  we know the definite reason why we dream?
  • What are some of the theories?
  • What did Sigmund Freud propose?
  • Is sleep recommended when we want to increase performance on certain mental tasks? Why (not)?
  • Why are dreams compared to a screen saver?
  • What`s the primitive instinct rehearsal theory about?
  • How does reviewing traumatic events in your dreams help?
  • Have you ever slept on a problem? Did it help you solve it?




Practice Makes Perfect

How much do you remember? Fill in the gaps in the text below with the words that were used in the video. If you can`t remember, watch the (beginning of the) video again: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2W85Dwxx218


In the third millennium BCE, Mesopotamian kings recorded and interpreted their dreams on (1) ……. tablets. A thousand years later, Ancient Egyptians wrote a (2) ………….. book listing over a hundred common dreams and their (3) ………….. .

(…) After a great deal of scientific research, technological  (4) ………… and persistence, we still don`t have any definite answers  but we have some interesting (5) …………. . We dream to (6) …………… our wishes. In the early 1900s, Sigmund Freud proposed that while all of our dreams, including our (7) ……………… , are a collection of images from our daily conscious lives, they also have (8) …………… meanings which relate to the fulfillment of our subconscious (9) …………….. . Freud theorized that everything we remember when we wake up from a dream  is a symbolic representation of our unconscious primitive thoughts, urges and (10) ………… .



  ANSWERS: 1. wax; 2. dream; 3. meanings; 4. advancement; 5. theories; 6. fulfill; 7. nightmares; 8. symbolic; 9. wishes; 10 desires


  1. Do you often dream?
  2. Do you always remember your dreams?
  3. Do you think dreams can have a special meaning?
  4. Has something you’ve dreamt about ever come true?
  5. Have you ever been awoken by a nightmare?
  6. Have you ever woken up and thought you’re still in your dream?



Explore it more to create your own teaching-learning experience!


How Lucid Dreaming Works

You may have heard of lucid dreaming, the type of dream where the dreamer is aware of dreaming. Is lucid dreaming a real phenomenon? Sleep expert Matthew Walker explains how much we know about lucid dreams so far.