Do Animals Dream?


It's still unclear whether animals dream or not, but studies conducted by experimental psychologist Hugo Spiers have shown that animal sleep patterns go through a similar cycle as that shown in humans. Animals, like humans, go through a cycle of REM sleep (also known as Rapid Eye Movement) and through this cycle pictures filter through their brains. During REM sleep, studies conducted on lab rats have shown them mapping out how to get food when they were shown food before going to sleep. Maybe rats are smarter than we first thought, as they seem to be thinking and figuring out how to get what they want during sleep. A similar study was done on cats during REM sleep, where the cats raised their heads, suggesting they were watching unseen objects; arched their backs; and appeared to stalk prey and get into fights. After these studies, it appears that animals dream about similar things humans do: about things they worry about and things centered around their life experience. The way they dream, however, is more limited than that of humans, since animals don't have the rational capacity that humans possess. This may be why animals' dreams center more on survival rather than the deeper levels of existence. For more information on the science of animal brains and how they sleep check out https://earthsky.org/earth/animal-dreams

Have you caught an animal mid-dream? Share your thoughts and ideas on this topic in the comments below!

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