A new study has emerged that may shed light to the age old question: Why can’t I remember my dreams? Am I even still dreaming if I can’t remember them? And if I am still dreaming, what’s stopping me from recalling them?
While nobody can say for sure whether every person dreams every single night, the recent study, which has been published in the Journal of Sleep Research, does suggest that we probably dream more than we realize.
To secure an unbiased sign that people were indeed dreaming, the study used 389 subjects with REM sleep behavior disorder, which makes them engage in sleepwalking, sleep talking and other types of dream enactment. After observing the subjects while they were sleeping, the researchers gave out questionnaires asking the participants if they dreamt or not. Even when all the subjects said they didn’t dream, every single one of them showed signs that they actually were. One subject who declared he can’t recall if he was dreaming or not was even found “swearing profanities, arguing, boxing, kicking and throwing items towards an invisible individual.”
Although it’s possible that these actions by the participants were not accompanied by dreams, asking that question automatically means we’re questioning the participants’ subjective experiences, which is a realm that belongs more to philosophy than to science. Additionally, another study has concluded that the brain activity of individuals who remember their dreams is different from those individuals who don’t, and the difference were in the areas that are related to memory and not to dreaming itself. So it’s highly likely that we do dream even if we can’t recall it.
So just why is it that we’re not able to remember our dreams more often? Below are some possible factors that can make you forget your dreams. By becoming aware of these variables, you can come up with solutions that will make you more in touch of what’s going on in your subconscious.
5) You’re less responsive to your surroundings.
According to one study, the brains of individuals who can easily recall their dreams also respond more strongly to hearing their names when awake. Although they are not sure why, the researchers have speculated that it could have something to do with the fact that these people are more likely to wake up in response to noises.
4) You’re quite the heavy sleeper.
People who wake up more during the night are the ones who are also more likely to remember their dreams. Personally, I’d trade a nice dream recall for a good night’s sleep any day but that’s just me.
3) You’re taking sleeping pills.
Sleeping pills like Lunesta and Ambien affect how much time you spend in REM sleep, (that time during sleep when we do all of our dreaming) rather than your ability to recall, so in cases such as this one, the lack of memory corresponds to a lack of dreaming itself.
2) You’re not making a point to remember your dreams.
If you really want to become more aware of your subconscious, try keeping a dream journal and writing in it right after the moment you wake up. A dream journal might include a record of nightly dreams and your personal reflections. Experts say that keeping a dream journal will not only improve your awareness of the dream state, it also makes it easier to wake up in dreams.
1) You’re using an alarm clock.
One reason you may be forgetting your dreams is that your alarm clock is shocking you out of them, wiping out that half-asleep state where you wake up with your dream still in mind.