What do animals dream of when they sleep?

When animals shrug their paws or make sounds when they sleep, they seem to be dreaming. So far, what has been left to the imagination of people. There is currently no scientific evidence. These two sweeties definitely dream of their great friendship - Shutterstock / Vasek Rak

Why people dream and what their dreams mean is still largely a mystery to scientists. What happens when animals are asleep is even more difficult to investigate - after all, dogs, cats and mice cannot tell if and what they have dreamed of when they are awake.

Evidence that animals dream when sleeping

Various experiments indicate that animals dream. It is based on the experiences that people have when they are asleep. With us bipeds it was found that we can remember dreams particularly well if we are awakened during the so-called REM phase. The abbreviation stands for "Rapid Eye Movement" and refers to a certain sleep phase in which we quickly move our eyes back and forth behind closed lids.

Such sleep phases have been observed in dogs and cats, for example, and birds also seem to experience a short REM phase when sleeping. This leads scientists to believe that some animals also dream.

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Dream content remains speculation

When it comes to the content that animals dream of, the researchers rely on external observations. Knowledge gained so far condenses to the assumption that animals process their day-to-day experiences again when they sleep. For example, an experiment was done with rats in a labyrinth, who had to look for goodies there. Her brain waves were measured. The measurement continued when the rats were sleeping. Afterwards, the data were compared and showed astonishing parallels. Apparently the rats looked back at the way through the labyrinth while they were sleeping.

Otherwise, it can often be observed that dogs, cats and the like whimper or meow softly, make running movements with their paws or show other gestures that also manifest regularly when awake. This also seems to indicate that they are dreaming and reliving their experiences in their sleep.