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DREAMS Theories attempting to explain the origin and functions of REM sleep include 1 that REM sleep provides stimulation for the development of the brain 2 that it performs a chemical restoration function since during REM dreaming neuro-protein synthesis occurs along with the restoration of other depleted brain chemicals 3 that it provides oculomotor eye movement coordination since during non-REM sleep the eyes move independently of each other 4 that it provides a vigilance function since REM sleep stage I is characterized by a level of consciousness close to the awakened state 5 in a more recent and controversial theory REM dreaming performs a neurological erasure function eliminating extraneous information build-up in the memory system and 6 that in a more cognitive psychological explanation REM dreaming enhances memory storage and reorganization Contrary to popular belief dreaming is not caused by eating certain foods before bedtime nor by environmental stimuli during sleeping Dreaming is caused by internal biological process Some researchers have proposed the activation-synthesis hypothesis Their neurological research indicates that large brain cells in the primitive brain stem spontaneously fire about every 90 minutes sending random stimuli to cortical areas of the BRAIN As a consequence memory sensory muscle-control and cognitive areas of the brain are randomly stimulated resulting in the higher cortical brain attempting to make some sense of it This according to the research gives rise to the experience of a dream Now as in the past the most significant controversy centers on the question of whether dreams have intentional or actual personal meaning Many psychotherapists maintain that while the neurological impulses from the brain stem may activate the dreaming process the content or meaningful representations in dreams are caused by nonconscious needs wishes desires and everyday concerns of the dreamer Thus such psychotherapists subscribe to the phenomenological-clinical
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