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Dreams Sort Out Problems

They act as a sort of therapy, research suggests

MONDAY, Jan. 3, 2005 (HealthDayNews) -- Your dreams may offer you solutions for solving personal problems, according to a Canadian study in the December issue of the Journal of Sleep Research.

University of Alberta and University of Montreal researchers studied 470 students and found that memorable emotional events can influence dreams for up to six or seven days.

The study found that compared to dreams on the night immediately after the event, the dreams on subsequent nights were more likely to reflect interpersonal interactions, problem-solving, and positive emotions. The researchers believe that these "delayed incorporations" may help people work through personal problems.

"This suggests an ongoing effort to resolve problems in dreams during the week following the emergence of that problem. The dreams themselves are a kind of treatment," Dr. Don Kuiken, a psychology professor at the University of Alberta, said in a prepared statement.

"Something is going on there that at least touches on and alters the resolutions that people come up with," he said.

More information

The National Sleep Foundation has more about dreams.

SOURCE: University of Alberta, news release, December 2004
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