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Twitter chat: Why do we dream?

Last Wednesday, PBS NewsHour explored the prospect of removing dreams or REM sleep through the use of emerging technologies like optogenetics. On Friday, we invited a panel of sleep experts to address the feasibility of this idea plus to answer a few reader-submitted questions about dreams:

From an evolutionary perspective, why do we dream and why do we have nightmares?

Do medications alter our dreams or erase them? If so, which ones?

Do dreams evolve as we age? Do children have more nightmares than adults? If so, why?

Do cats dream? What about giraffes?

Could people live without dreams? Would there be benefits/consequence to doing so?

Our panel featured pediatric neurologist Dr. Sujay Kansagra of Duke Medicine (@PedsSleepDoc), science writer Jessa Gamble (@JessaGamble) and Dr. Nate Watson, sleep physician at the University of Washington and president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (@SleepDocWatson).

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