Facts About Dreaming
Why Are Dreams Hard to Remember?
Researchers don't know for sure why dreams are easily forgotten. Maybe we are designed to forget our dreams because if we remembered all our dreams, we might not be able to distinguish dreams from real memories.
Also, it may be harder to remember dreams because during REM sleep our body may shut down systems in our brain responsible for creating memories. We may only remember dreams that occur just before we wake, when certain brain activities have been turned back on.
Some say our minds don't actually forget dreams, we just don't know how to access them. Dreams may be stored in our memory, waiting to be recalled. This notion may explain why you may suddenly remember a dream later in the day -- something may have happened to trigger the memory.
Tips for Dream Recall
If you are a sound sleeper and don't wake up until the morning, you are less likely to remember your dreams compared to people who wake up several times in the night. But here are some tips that may influence your ability to remember your dreams:
Wake up without an alarm. You are more likely to remember your dreams if you wake up naturally than with an alarm. Once the alarm goes off, your brain focuses on the annoying sound and turning it off and not your dream.
Remind yourself to remember. If you want to remember your dreams and make a conscious decision to do so, you are more likely to remember your dreams in the morning. Before you go to sleep, remind yourself that you want to remember your dream.
Dream playback. If you think about the dream right after waking, it may be easier to remember it later.
How to Make Sense of Your Dreams
If you are intrigued by your dreams or want to sort out the meaning behind them, consider keeping a dream diary or journal. Here are some tips:
Write it down. Keep a notebook or journal and pen next to your bed and record your dream first thing every morning, while the memory is still fresh. Write down anything you recall from the dream and how it made you feel, even if you can only remember random pieces of information.
Journal without judgment. Dreams are sometimes odd and may go against societal norms. Try not to judge yourself based on your dreams.
Give each dream a title. This may help if you want to refer back to a dream. Sometimes the title you create can provide insight on why you had the dream or the meaning behind it.
Dreams have fascinated humanity since the beginning of time and will likely continue to mystify us. And although science has allowed us to learn much about the human brain, we may never know for sure the meaning behind our dreams.