Why We Don T Remember Dreams – Humans have been obsessed with their dreams since the dawn of time. However, it is not yet known exactly why we dream, or whether our dreams have any meaning. One of the questions I get asked a lot is why do some people remember their dreams and others don’t? This post is an attempt to summarize the current scientific thinking on this topic.
Why do some people remember more of their dreams? There are actually two separate questions here. First, why do I remember my dreams some mornings but not others? This is what I refer to as the daily variation of the person in this post. In other words, why did I remember a dream on Tuesday morning, but nothing on Wednesday morning?
Why We Don T Remember Dreams
The second question is about interpersonal differences: Why don’t I remember my dreams when my better half or friend always remembers theirs? This is what I would refer to as personality differences. As you will see later, these two questions have separate answers.
How To Remember Your Dreams
There are several explanations for why dream memory fluctuates from day to day. Perhaps one of the most important factors is the sleeping position you were in before you woke up. Studies show that the chances of remembering a dream after awakening from what is called rapid eye movement (REM) sleep are about 80-90%, compared to less than 50% in other sleep stages (and almost 0% in deep slow-wave sleep, or NREM stage 3). is called). This has led some to call REM sleep dream sleep. While this may be a bit of an exaggeration (as I explain in the image caption below), the simple fact of staying awake during REM sleep greatly increases your chances of remembering your dream.
Four stages of sleep. Staying awake during REM sleep greatly increases your chances of remembering your dreams. However, we still don’t know why we remember more dreams when we wake up from REM sleep compared to other sleep states. Contrary to popular belief, REM sleep is not the only sleep state in which we dream, and current theories suggest that we dream in all sleep states, but it is easier to recall upon waking from REM sleep because the physiological change from REM sleep occurs. Waking is less sudden than other transitions, so there is less risk of erasing the dream memory. Illustrated by JR Bee, Verywell.
How to increase REM sleep? To begin with, we know that alcohol and THC severely reduce the total amount of REM sleep. That’s why many people who stop smoking weed suddenly report more vivid and intense dreams. Another important thing to consider is that REM sleep often occurs in the second half of the night, early in the morning. If you go to bed at midnight and drag yourself out of bed at 6 AM, you cut off most of the REM sleep that would otherwise normally occur between 6 and 7/8 AM (don’t forget that adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night!).
REM sleep is important, but it doesn’t explain everything. Another very important factor is to think about your dreams when you wake up. It was developed in the 70s by David Cohen as the salience-interference hypothesis. The idea is very simple: the memory of a dream is very fragile and often forgotten within seconds, and besides, focus on your dreams for a few seconds immediately after waking up. Cohen proposed that as long as there is no distraction or interference, a fragile dream memory remains. Otherwise, dreams of increasing memory capacity for the coming day are forgotten (eg formatting a USB key to increase storage). More practically, the central idea of this theory is that the dreamer must pay voluntary attention to the dream immediately after awakening.
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The second part of Cohen’s theory is that the more vivid, or vivid, a dream is, the more likely you will remember it. Researchers have found that dreams that are more bizarre and more emotional are more likely to be remembered. Related to the paragraph above, this also means that if the dream is really weird or with very strong emotions, you’re more likely to focus on a dream when you wake up (rather than what to eat for breakfast).
How do you remind yourself of your dream(s) every morning when your better half/friend/child never remembers them? Researchers have been studying this question for decades. By comparing frequent “dreamers” (people who recall dreams daily) and “non-dreamers” (people who don’t recall their dreams) on personality dimensions, brain activity, and sleep, they found many differences between the two. groups, which are summarized below.
(Note that I use the terms “dreamers” and “non-dreamers”, but, in fact, we don’t know if people who don’t recall their dreams dream less than people who always recall their dreams. The difference is only in recall, not productivity).
Our team’s research shows that dreamers have baseline activity in the default mode network (highlighted), which is a brain network typically activated during mind wandering or daydreaming. We review free products and participate in affiliate programs. See our disclosure page for more information.
Why You Can’t Remember Dreams: 8 Reasons + What To Do About Them
Many people do not remember their dreams. But could it really be a sign of poor health? One sleep expert says so, while other researchers are skeptical.
Below, we explain what causes dreams and why they’re important, why you might not remember your dreams, and how to start remembering your dreams if you haven’t already.
There are a few different psychiatric theories about what causes dreaming. Some scientists say this is how our brain trains our fight-or-flight reflex. Others say that dreams help form memories. But everyone agrees that dreaming is caused by brain activity during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Dream research indicates that dreams are side effects of our brain working during deep sleep. If you’re curious about sleep patterns and the REM cycle, check out The Complete Guide to Your Sleep Cycle.
Dr. David Najarian, MD, a diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine, said dreams serve a variety of purposes.
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“Dreams can affect mental and spiritual health by helping to reduce stress and anxiety, improve mood and provide a sense of emotional well-being,” said Dr. Najarian. “They can also be a source of inspiration and creativity for some.”
Licensed mental health counselor Jessica Miller says dreams can also help people work through difficult situations. “Dreams can heal your wounds and help you solve your problems,” Miller said.
If you don’t remember your dreams, but sleep well, you don’t have to worry. If you remember dreaming and feel tired during the day, or if your sleep quality seems worse than usual, you may be getting less REM sleep than you normally do, which means you’re not dreaming.
On the other hand, some studies show that if you wake up in the middle of REM sleep (rather than during a natural sleep cycle) you may remember your dreams better. So those who recall less dreams may sleep better than those who remember their dreams better!
Sleepy Facts About Dreams
Sometimes we deliberately ignore our dreams. For example, many people think they don’t remember their dreams, but after starting a dream journal in the morning they find they remember more than they thought. Our dreams are not important in our daily lives, so if you don’t write them down or talk about them shortly after waking up, you may forget them.
If you remember your dreams and don’t anymore, you may experience changes in your sleep. If you are rested and healthy, this is nothing to worry about. You should consult your doctor if you experience insomnia or are dealing with an underlying health issue. If you’re a good sleeper but still want some tips to help you remember your dreams, check out the solutions below.
So, how do you remember your dreams? There are a few different solutions. For an easy fix, take vitamin B6! Studies show how vitamin B6 can help remember dreams. If you’re looking for a more solid solution, consider the options below.
A consistent sleep schedule will ensure that you cycle through all the different stages of sleep, including REM sleep. This will help you remember more dreams. If you’re struggling to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, check out our 5 ways to adjust your sleep schedule.
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Waking up in the middle of the night (ie during REM sleep) can help you remember your dreams if you don’t naturally remember them in the morning. Drink at least three glasses of water before bed to wake up at night. This should wake you up to go to the bathroom