Why Do We Remember Some Dreams – The dream has fascinated philosophers, psychologists, and sleep medicine experts for decades. Why do we dream? What do our dreams mean? And can you teach yourself to remember your dreams? Here is what we know.

Do you remember the dream you had last night? First thing in the morning, some of us can remember scenes well enough to share over breakfast, but later in the afternoon may be fuzzy at best. The rest of us usually don’t remember our dreams. You may be wondering: whether or not you can remember the fantasy stories of the night, says something about the quality of your sleep?

Why Do We Remember Some Dreams

Why Do We Remember Some Dreams

“Everyone sleeps, but not everyone remembers it,” says licensed psychologist and sleep-behavioral medicine specialist Shelby Harris, PsyD, associate professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York. And as it turns out, there are several reasons why you may or may not remember, and none of them are likely to predict how well you sleep.

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When it comes to the question of why we dream, sleep medicine research has actually revealed perhaps surprisingly little.

Sleep expert Wendy Troxel, PhD, senior behavioral scientist at the RAND Corporation and author, says: “While there is no consensus on the functions of certain stages of sleep, the reality is that there is a strong consensus on why we sleep at all. does not exist”.

The prevailing theory, based on research, suggests that the main purpose of dreams is to support emotional processing, he says. “What happens in our dreams can help us deal with difficult things that happen during the day that we can’t process during our waking lives.”

Dr. Troxel says most dreams occur during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, the stage of sleep when the brain forms new connections and remembers the day’s experiences. “It’s an unlimited opportunity for the brain to understand the world, solve problems, think creatively and support memory.”

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Research also shows that we do sleep in non-REM stages, but these dreams tend to be harder, shorter, less intense, and more thought-provoking than REM sleep. In contrast, REM sleep dreams can be more story-like.

And it’s possible that REM sleep plays an important role in emotional processing and supporting mental health, Troxel says.

One study asked 76 healthy young women to view negative and neutral images before different types of REM sleep. Interestingly, a greater amount of REM sleep was associated with a higher emotional reactivity to viewing negative images (while they were awake) in the short term compared to those without REM sleep. However, after two days, those who had at least one full period of REM sleep had lower emotional reactivity, as well as the number and duration of memories of these negative images, compared to those who had no or short periods of REM sleep.

Why Do We Remember Some Dreams

“This suggests that REM’s function is to smooth the edges of our emotional lives and help us selectively forget about some of the negative things that happen so we don’t feel overwhelmed by it,” he said.

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Although it should be noted that because there is limited research on these questions and because most of the studies that have been done are relatively small – sleep researchers are still considering these theories rather than established evidence, says Troxel.

While your dream recall indicates that you reached REM sleep at some point during the night, this does not necessarily mean that you experienced this important stage of sleep less or less than you remember dreaming. don’t have

If you remember your dream, it may be because you woke up during it, so it’s fresh in your mind, says Deborah Givan, MD, a sleep specialist and professor emeritus at Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis.

Or recollection may mean that you remember the last dream, rather than that you remember the dream in its entirety. He explains that people tend to have their most “sleepy sleep” in the middle of the night.

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If your REM sleep is 25 percent of a seven-hour sleep, that’s a little less than two hours total—you can only remember the last 10 minutes clearly.

Remembering your dreams doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with how restful your sleep is, says Dr. Harris. Instead, remembering these dreams is more likely to depend on a number of factors, from your current stress level to the medications you’re taking.

If you want to remember more than the night before, you’re completely out of luck. You can improve your dream awareness, says Laurie Lowenberg, author of Dream It: Unlock Your Dreams, Change Your Life. “The most important thing is to give your dreams time and attention.”

Why Do We Remember Some Dreams

The best time to remember dreams is in the first 90 seconds after waking up, before the memory fades. Lowenberg recommends trying to keep your body in the same position you were in when you woke up, as this will help enhance your memory of your sleep.

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After two minutes to review and collect the thoughts, feelings and images from your last dream, write them down immediately. “If you don’t write down your dreams or tell them to your partner, they’ll probably disappear after breakfast,” Lowenberg says.

However, re-reading the words on the notebook page has the potential to trigger a dream memory later. Start by keeping a notebook and pen on your nightstand. Not only is it a conscious reminder to focus on remembering your dreams, but it also helps you get into the habit of journaling every morning—a practice that, according to one reviewer, is even better than telling another person.

Lowenberg also says that nutrition can play a role in sleep recall — especially the amount of vitamin B6 you get. A small, randomized, prospective study involving 100 participants found that those who took a vitamin B6 supplement before bed remembered their dreams better than those who did not take the supplement. However, it should be noted that the lack of supporting evidence makes this research still preliminary – and those in the study who supplemented with B6 before bed reported poorer sleep quality and felt more tired upon waking.

You can get more B6 in your diet by cooking and eating foods that contain foods like poultry, fish, milk, bananas, and spinach. And pay attention to the amount if you get B6 through supplements. According to the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements, the safe daily limit for adults is 100 milligrams per day. Overdose can cause nerve damage or neurological problems, including loss of control over arm movements and balance problems. It’s always a good idea to check with your doctor before starting any supplements.

Why Don’t I Remember My Dreams? (2023)

Taking an extra 10-minute nap in the morning can help with lucid dreams. Although the connection isn’t entirely clear, one small study found a link between hitting the snooze button for a few more minutes of sleep and remembering dreams more clearly. It is possible that the brief wakefulness allows the brain to be conscious enough to record and remember dreams during the final REM period.

However, if you want to stick to a healthy sleep routine, be a little careful about hitting that snooze button. Sleep medicine experts don’t recommend doing this because the sleep you get in the last few minutes of sleep is likely to be lighter and less restorative sleep. Additionally, waking up at the same time every day helps your body settle into a consistent sleep pattern, making it easier to fall asleep at night and wake up in the morning.

Getting a healthy amount of sleep is important for health and well-being, but you can overdo it. This is when too much sleep can be a problem.

Why Do We Remember Some Dreams

If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, these strategies can calm your mind and help you get the rest you need.

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Why Do We Remember Some Dreams

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