Do Animals Dream?
Just like people, animals fall asleep and have different phases and levels of sleep. If you have a strong relationship with your cat or dog, then you probably don’t have any doubt that animals have the ability to dream.
The question is: Do all animals dream and what do they dream about? Are their
dreams the same as ours?
Eternal hunting between dogs and cats
All animals have periods of rest, but not all experience REM sleep (stage of deep sleep that allows us to dream). However, almost all animals, including dogs, cats, hamsters and horses – get to this stage of the cycle. Of course you can not know what they dream.
People dreams are inspired from past experiences, so it’s assumed that animals do the same, and their movements indicate hunting and tracking the prey. Indicators of sleep for dogs and cats are repetitive and common – barking, movements of the paws, waving ears – suggesting that animals’ dreams are quite monotonous.
Birds hear music
Birds experience REM sleep too, but people have assumed for a long time that birds’ brain is not able to generate dreams. Everything changed in 2000, when a study conducted by the University of Chicago revealed that birds sing in sleep; they don’t do it for real, but they imagine the sounds performed during the day.
The signals transmitted by their brain while they were awake and singing were the same as those recorded during sleep. Researchers think that birds learn new songs. In fact, this is the mechanism by which parrots learn to imitate sounds. The study also showed that, unlike humans, birds don’t visualize anything during the REM sleep. They hear music, but don’t associate the sound with images.
Reptiles have a boring sleep
Studies on reptiles seem to indicate that they don’t experience REM sleep, which distinguish them from mammals and birds. Reptiles sleep too (even the snakes sleep, although they don’t show it because they have no eyelids), but it’s believed that their brains are too primitive to be able to dream.