It must have happened to you that you wake up in the morning and don’t remember the dream you had. This happens to all of us. Some people may remember short and vague fragments of their dream, while others may not remember any part of it. so why? Why do we forget our dreams? In this article, we talk about the stages of sleep, the normal pattern of dreaming, the factors influencing forgetting a dream, and how to try to remember a dream. Stay with us.
What does a dream mean?
A dream or a dream is a collection of thoughts, images or feelings that form in a person’s mind while sleeping. This is related to brain function. Dreaming may occur when certain areas of the brain are activated by chemical activity. The frequency of sleep reminders may be different at each stage of a person’s life.
stages of sleep
We have 2 types of sleep: rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-REM sleep, which is divided into 3 stages.
- Stage 1: It is the lightest stage of sleep. In this stage, we gradually move from the state of wakefulness to sleep.
- Stage 2: This stage begins about 25 minutes after sleep begins. In this stage, heart rate, blood pressure and breathing decrease and eye movement stops.
- Stage 3: It is the deepest stage of sleep. At this stage, the brain produces slow waves, the muscles are completely relaxed, and the heart rate and breathing are at their lowest.
- REM sleep: this stage occurs about 90 minutes after the onset of sleep. Signs of REM sleep are rapid eye movements, increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, and shallow and irregular breathing. At this stage, the brain emits mixed frequencies that are very similar to brain activity during wakefulness.
We usually have our lucid dreams during REM sleep. William Dement discovered this state of sleep. The amount of energy and glucose consumed by the brain during REM sleep is similar to waking hours. In this state, the muscles controlling the eyes and also the diaphragm, which is responsible for breathing, are active.
During non-REM sleep, i.e. stage 1, stage 2, and slow wave sleep (stage 3), you may see irregular and incomplete dreams. If we liken REM sleep to a movie, we can say that non-REM sleep is like a picture.
Normal pattern of dreaming
REM sleep occurs at different intervals during the night, the first period of which may occur 90 to 120 minutes after the onset of sleep. REM sleep periods lengthen into the morning, so the last third of the night may consist more of this type of sleep. We usually wake up in the morning from the last REM period.
Typical symptoms of REM sleep include:
- active brain;
- rapid eye movements;
- Loss of muscle tone.
It is normal to have dreams but not remember them. The state of dreaming can be diagnosed with the measurements made in the sleep test or polysomnogram. Some of these measurement methods are:
Why do we forget our dreams?
1. Less REM sleep
Sometimes REM sleep may not occur, or at least not as much as normal. Some medications can suppress this type of sleep. For example, antidepressants can delay the onset of REM sleep or reduce its amount. Alcohol consumption is another factor that suppresses REM sleep.
If REM sleep occurs and we have a lucid dream, but we go to another state of sleep before waking up from REM sleep, we may forget the dream we had.
2. Disappearance of dreams upon waking up
It is a general rule that as soon as we wake up, we forget all the dreams we had. The electrical signals and chemical activity that make up the dream experience may disappear upon awakening, like a message written on a steamed mirror that suddenly disappears. Of course, we may remember some parts of the dream very vaguely during the day.
Dreams or nightmares that are accompanied by strong emotions, such as fear, may linger longer in the mind. The amygdala is an area of the brain that may help trigger these emotionally charged dreams. If your REM sleep state is fragmented, you are more likely to remember dreams after you wake up.
3. sleep disorders
Sleep disorders can also interfere with remembering a dream you’ve had. Untreated sleep apnea may cause disruption of REM sleep. People with narcolepsy also experience sudden changes in sleep, which can be associated with forgetting a dream they’ve had.
How to remember our dreams better?
If you want to remember your dreams when you wake up, do this simple thing: keep a dream journal. Put the notebook with a pen on the table next to your bed and immediately after waking up, write down your dream. This way, you’re recording dreams before they have a chance to fade.
Writing down the dream you had will prevent it from being forgotten. If you can later read and interpret your morning’s scribbled notes, you may also be able to understand the meaning or more details of the dreams you had.
Do you also forget most of the dreams you see? What do you think is the reason? What is your strategy for remembering your dreams? Please share your valuable comments and experiences with us and our dear users.