There’s a Bright Side to Bad Dreams

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So you had a terrifying nightmare, maybe one that featured frightening images from the news. What could possibly be the point of bad dreams, besides jolting you awake and leaving you sweaty and scared? Researchers who study dreams aren’t exactly sure why we have nightmares — for that matter, it’s still not entirely clear why we dream at all — but here’s one interesting theory: Bad dreams may work as a kind of emotional release, allowing us to process the anxieties we’re feeling about work or family or whatever else is stressing us out in our waking lives. Learn more by watching the latest episode of the brand-new Science of Us animated video series. In case you missed it, check out last week’s installment, about the science that can explain why you keep one foot out from under the covers as you sleep — and make sure to come back next Thursday for the next episode. Until then, sweet dreams.