Middle-aged people who experience at least one nightmare a week are four times more likely to experience cognitive decline during the following decade. Older adults who experience weekly nightmares are twice as likely to develop dementia. The association is much stronger for men than women.
53% of dreams can be traced to memories, and of those, 50% are linked to memory sources of multiple previous life events. Additionally, 26% of dreams are associated with impending events. Future-orientated dreams become more prevalent during deeper stages of sleep.
Inspired by techniques to train deep neural networks, researchers have proposed a new hypothesis of dreaming. The hypothesis suggests the strangeness of our dreams may help our brains better generalize our day-to-day experiences.
More than 80% of patients nearing the end of life reported experiencing dreams that were vivid, meaningful, and transformative. Patients reported the dreams made them feel supported, reassured and helped them to accept their impending death.