World literature is filled with dreams. In A Christmas Carol, Scrooge tells himself that Marley's ghost (surely an apparition in a dream) might simply be "an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard," and it's true that indigestion and other physical problems can cause strange dreams. Old Testament patriarchs were dreamers on a cosmic scale: Jacob dreamed of a ladder leading up to heaven; Joseph got a job interpreting dreams for Pharaoh.
Indeed, explaining dreams has, over the centuries, been a pretty good way to earn a living. In some societies shamans use dreams to diagnose illness, expose adultery, predict pregnancy and the weather, or locate animals to hunt. Under the influence of Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic theories, dreams passed into the domain of the psychiatrist and psychologist in the 20th century, and many people undergoing psychotherapy use up their 50-minute hour retelling dreams. Less attention is paid to dreams these days, with the advent of short-term therapy and antidepressants.
So far as is known, dreams have little or nothing to do with health. Yet many people have questions about their dreams, and continue to believe that dreams must be connected with health in some way. The trouble is that dreamsand sleep itselfremain largely a mystery. That said, we'll try to provides some answers.