I think dreams can be used for many purposes.
quotes from archived texts:
Many scientists report that when they often get good ideas when not
thinking about the problem.
Balzac would write in the morning because he wanted to take advantage
of the work his mind did during the night. Bach once said that finding
ideas wasn't the problem but getting up in the morning and not stepping
on them was.
Also, I vaguely recall something about musicians benefiting by thinking
about their performance the night before and "sleeping on it".
This takes some practice but it can be worth the effort, particularly
if you like to stay up til exhausted or your eyes just won't work
anymore (hey, just read about the mathematician Euler who worked so
hard on one problem he lost sight in one eye!). While falling asleep
think about what you have reading, or in my case typically trying to
read because most of the stuff I read these days makes my head spin.
"Sleep on it" basically. In those days when I took study seriously, I
often would wake up, turn on the computer, make a cup of coffee, and
pound out 3 hours worth of work. It was like my brain was "primed" for
activity. No, I never dream about what I have been studying, but it is
worth remembering, according to the recently deceased master of dream
research, Hobson, that we dream not only in REM sleep but in other
stages as well; though there is a qualitative difference between REM
dreaming and other dreams. We may remember REM dreams but we rarely
remember those other dreams. Hence any account of dreaming must explain
this qualitative difference.
The problem with the above strategy is that it can cause insomnia.
Recently finished reading a book "Men of Mathematics" ET Bell (good
read!) wherein the author mentioned how the bods who preferred to stay
up late and work often had to switch to getting up early in the morning
because of the resultant insomnia.
Peter, I have a pdf file on Hobson's neurophysiology of dreaming. Big
file 250 pages, complex but fascinating stuff. It is freely available
on a BBS archive somewhere or if you email through this I can forward
you a copy, if I can find it, or I'll find that BBS archive again.
It is also worth remembering that during sleep neuroprotective genes
are activated, growth hormone production is at its highest during the
deepest stages, and numerous studies have reported that chronic sleep
deprivation is a shortcut to dementia and a host of other problems. Eg.
Even occasional sleep deprivation will induce interleukin 6, which
potentiates the stress response axis, hence not enough sleep making us
grumpy old bastards. It can also potentiate systemic inflammation.
Damn, I even read one study where chronic circadian disruption, even in
the absence of sleep deprivation, can induce cognitive deficits and
temporal lobe atrophy.
Single cause explanations are always problematic hence my ramble.
Entertained by my own EIMC (AEVASIVE such) wrote:
> A complementary EPT comment:
>> Just add, to that Finninsh (but not quite finished) theory, the fact (or
> obvious possibility) that it may also be a selective advantage if lifetime
> opportunities (and positive or "opportunity type" evolutionary pressures)
> are likewise "rehearsed" by dreaming.