Why people don't remember dreams and how you can preserve your dreams

Why do people have dreams: reasons

Why do people have dreams?

Dreams are the stories and images our minds create while we sleep. They can be interesting, funny, romantic, disturbing, scary, and sometimes strange. Dreams are a constant source of mysteries for scientists and psychologists. What secrets of dreams do we not yet know and why do we dream?

There are several theories that talk about the causes of dreams. Are they simply part of the sleep cycle, or do they serve some other purpose? Let's try to figure it out.

So why do people have dreams? Possible explanations include:

  • Representation of unconscious desires and wishes. Sigmund Freud was convinced that dreams represent certain unfulfilled desires. Later researchers saw in them a more pragmatic quality, as a reflection of waking life.
  • Systematization and processing of information collected during the day. According to Francis Crick, information is sorted during sleep. Some data is retained in memory, others are deleted.
  • Dreams work as a form of psychotherapy. Dreams help us cope with strong emotions such as fear, sadness and love.
  • Dreams help prepare for possible threats or dangers. Scientists from Finland have found that reproducing a threat or danger during sleep makes it possible to better prepare for it.

Psychoanalysts believe that dreams provide an outlet for our emotions and mental stress, thereby allowing us to reboot the brain. Dreams help balance our emotions and provide an opportunity to get rid of unnecessary information.

As a rule, a person dreams every 90 minutes , and they last up to 45 minutes.
It is known that people have the most intense dreams in the morning. Every person has dreams, but not everyone remembers them. You will learn how to remember a dream in one of the following paragraphs.

Why do we forget dreams? Why don't we remember dreams

Do you often dream?
How often do you remember them? According to statistics, the average person remembers only 20 percent out of 100. However, dreams need to be remembered, and this ability can be developed. Memory of dreams.

Why do we forget dreams? Why don't we remember dreams
Scientists say that every person dreams every night. By saying that “we dreamed” n — a number of dreams, a person actually means how many dreams he managed to remember. The correctness of the expression “Dreaming” is also questionable, because dreams can be experienced by people who are blind even from birth. In addition to visual images, dreams contain everything else, so in a dream you can listen to music, smell a flower, taste food or feel someone's touch. Therefore, the problem of people who do not have dreams at night is not that for some reason they do not come to them, but that they cannot remember them in the morning. Why does this problem arise?

One theory explains the loss of dream memory as follows. Scientists from the USA conducted an experiment on mice, during which they recorded the state of their neurons and observed which pairs of neurons were paired. When awake, this process looked like this: first, a nerve cell in the hippocampus was activated, and milliseconds later, a neuron in the neocortex synchronized with it.

Thus, it can be assumed that memories are formed in the hippocampus and then transferred to a storage facility - the neocortex, the outer layer of the brain's cortex. Obviously, the speed of interaction between these two zones affects the reliability of information storage. Next, the researchers studied the interaction of the two zones during sleep. During the so-called REM period, or rapid eye movement period, during which a person is thought to dream most, the two layers synchronized much less frequently. Memories would be formed, but would immediately disappear or appear hazy.

It may follow from this that a person does not remember almost everything that he dreams due to a peculiar natural mechanism that does not allow dreams to be stored in the memory of the outer cerebral cortex. Perhaps this resistance to storing memories of dreams has a protective function, and a person seems to get rid of unnecessary information that dreams represent. But, unfortunately, scientists do not yet have enough information to test this theory.

Biology of dreams. From a biological point of view, a person can forget his dreams due to the way the brain works.

Some researchers believe that in some people the region at the border of the temporal and parietal cortex works much more strongly than in others. They came to this conclusion by conducting an experiment involving two types of people - those who often remember their dreams and those who hardly remember them at all.

In the brains of the latter, insufficient activity of that very zone was discovered, while in the former, the area is so developed that it is easy for them to remember large amounts of information in their sleep. However, those who easily remember what happened to them in a dream are at risk of a side effect - usually disturbing and sensitive sleep. A calmer and more measured deep sleep is typical precisely for those who forget their dreams.

As evidence of this fact, scientists cite the example of patients in whom this junction of the cerebral lobes was injured, and this damage led to a complete loss of the ability to remember dreams.

Those who are sensitive sleepers often wake up during the night and react quickly to environmental stimuli during sleep. All this happens precisely because of the hyperactivity of the parietal-temporal region, the features of which lead to spontaneous brain activity not only during sleep, but also during wakefulness.

In a study of sleeping subjects, scientists measured their brain activity using electroencephalography. Participants in the experiment listened to soothing music while sleeping, but sometimes the researchers quietly pronounced the name of the sleeper. Everyone's response to their name was approximately the same, but among those who were awake, a similar experiment showed that the response to their name was higher among those people who could remember the content of their dreams.

Rapid eye movement period. It is traditionally believed that the REM period is the most productive period in terms of remembering dreams. Only during this period, as scientists believe, can a person have dreams. REM periods increase in duration and frequency throughout the night: the shortest first period of sleep occurs first, no longer than ten minutes, and the last sleep can last up to an hour. As for the dreams themselves, during the REM period there can be several of them, and they are most often separated by short-term awakenings - it is at this moment, if you muster all the willpower, you can remember - and it is better to immediately write down - the dream in all its details. In this case, the memory of the dream can be preserved only if the time of awakening was sufficient for the “Recording” of the dream in the neocortex area. Otherwise, you will only remember one of your last dreams.

Why do you need to remember dreams? Our body is designed in such a way that sometimes it cannot remember dreams. But why, in essence, remember them? After all, the times have long passed when prophetic dreams were considered harbingers of the future; fortune telling from dreams is also not held in high esteem today. The Freudian concept suggests that those fragments of dreams that a person managed to remember are the most important, and others, “Suppressed” ones, are almost pointless to study. However, there are still reasons to remember dreams.

Russian dream researcher. Gromov believes that dreams can greatly influence our emotional state after waking up: “After Bad Dreams, we Feel that we “got off on the wrong foot,” but pleasant dreams cause emotional uplift, vigor and self-confidence.” The problem is that if a person does not remember the bad dream he had, he will be perplexed as to why he is in a bad mood all day.

So, by remembering even unpleasant dreams, you can benefit your body - by analyzing the cause of anxiety, it is much easier to dispel the trail of a bad dream. In addition, without remembering dreams, you can miss one of the infrequent amazing and extremely vivid dreams or even a lucid dream, which can become one of the brightest impressions of your entire life.

How to remember a dream? Despite natural obstacles, a person can concentrate and make an effort to be able to remember dreams. Initially, it must be said that remembering dreams requires a certain amount of tension, which should not be accompanied by unnecessary worries. First, adjust your alarm clock so that you don't wake up too abruptly. At the same time, you need to get enough sleep - a sleepy person is unlikely to remember dreams. When you wake up, the first question that should flash through your head is “what did I dream about?” “, Not a to-do list for the evening.

It won't hurt to lie down for a while with your eyes closed, slowly trying to remember some individual fragments. Then you can start writing them down, and this way you will remember the small details. Sometimes seemingly forgotten fragments of dreams can come closer to night.

If you can’t remember your dreams naturally, it makes sense to keep a dream diary. In it, the dreamer must record not only the plots of his dreams, but also their characteristic features, in order to subsequently classify dreams, which will help them to be better remembered. When keeping a diary, you quickly develop the habit of remembering at least one dream per night. However, this is not the limit. With good training, you can “Spend” more time in your sleep than in reality, remembering seven to eight dreams per night. This way the notorious eight hours become more meaningful. However, such excessive memorization can cause the brain to become oversaturated with information.

However, keeping a dream journal will constantly motivate you to dream the most interesting and memorable dreams, so you should approach the process of memorization with great enthusiasm.

What are lucid dreams

Why do people have dreams?

Let's move away from the topic a little and talk about what lucid dreams are. Sometimes a sleeping person may be aware that he is in a dream. This can happen either spontaneously or after various training sessions. This state is called lucid dreaming.

Modern methods of entering lucid dreams have appeared, for example, keeping a dream diary, using special devices (devices that record rapid eye movements and send light signals to the sleeper’s eyelids), etc.

People's ability to be lucid in dreams varies; some people are naturally able to control dreams, while others need to develop this ability. There are attempts to use lucid dreams in psychotherapy.

Keeping a dream journal

So, you have acquired a special notebook, on the pages of which you will check all the details of your night dreams. This is a very important point! Do not rely on your memory, even if you have a dream so vivid that it seems impossible to forget it. After just a few hours, you may find that your memory has failed you again. So it is imperative to take notes, and this must be done immediately after waking up.

why don't people remember dreams

Functions of dreams or why we dream

Functions of dreams or why we dream

Based on evidence and new methodologies, researchers have proposed that dreams serve the following functions:

  • memory processing, to reduce emotional arousal and help with further stressful events;
  • preparing for possible future threats;
  • simulation of real life events;
  • assistance in the development of cognitive abilities;
  • activating a unique state of consciousness that includes experiencing the present, processing the past, and preparing for the future;
  • Dreams help us learn and develop long-term memories.

During sleep, our brain analyzes the information received during the day, sorts it, choosing what is important to remember and what can be temporarily removed.

also search for solutions to pressing issues for humans .
That is why very often the correct decision on an issue of interest comes in the morning, because at night the brain processed all the information received and found a solution to the problem.

Is it normal to have dreams every day?

Is it normal to have dreams every day?

Should you always have dreams? During sleep, our body relaxes and gains strength. But the brain continues to work, since it controls the functioning of all organs. It analyzes the information accumulated by a person during the day, so a healthy person should dream every day. But he may simply not remember them.

Blind people also dream. It’s just that in their dreams, instead of some images, there will be smells or sensations.

So, everyday dreams at night are normal. And also, to make your dreams pleasant, try to relax before going to bed, turning off your phone, computer and TV, and think only about pleasant things.

Why don't people dream?

Why don't people dream?

  1. Fatigue . The reason for the lack of dreams is often cited as sound sleep when a person is very tired. Your brain is trying to get rid of mental or physical stress, so it can't generate dreams on top of that.
  2. Uncomfortable sleeping conditions. Dreams stop happening if a person is in an uncomfortable position, lying on a bed that is too hard or too soft. Such conditions make it difficult to process information and emotions that a person received during the day and turn them into colorful images.
  3. Hypnotic. Sleeping pills work by partially shutting down the brain and allowing it to relax. Nerve impulses are blocked and the person does not fall into the rapid cycle.
  4. Stress. Dreams will not arise if the day before you were very nervous and received a range of negative emotions. This happens because with nervous tension a person does not fall into the rapid phase of sleep.
  5. Diseases . A person may not have dreams or he may simply not remember them if he has certain health problems. Diseases of the heart and nervous system, problems with the respiratory system, or general malaise due to any pathologies are directly related to the lack of dreams.

How to sleep correctly?

Typically, you experience REM sleep closer to the morning because at night the body prioritizes deep, non-REM sleep, which is needed for survival. But as people sleeping less and less, using gadgets at night, waking up frequently, there is a high likelihood that we are seriously interrupting our REM cycle. This could potentially lead to any of the health risks listed above.

The solution to the problem can be improving the quality of rest. Moreover, it is this that is important, not the quantity.

Clinically speaking, a “restful night's sleep” is considered to be one that consists of seven to nine hours of quality, uninterrupted rest time. It should not be interrupted by simple activities that wake us up during the night, such as using the toilet, drinking a glass of water, or even turning from side to side.

To get a good night's rest, it is important to keep the room dark. Use blackout curtains or wear a sleep mask at night. Only in this case will the hormonal system work correctly. Telephone, flashlights, night lights, flashing signals of household appliances - all this disrupts our rest, even if we don’t notice it.

How to remember a dream

How to remember a dream

One reason it's hard to remember the contents of a dream is that the brain chemical associated with memory—norepinephrine—and the electrical activity in the brain that helps you remember are at their lowest levels when you're asleep.

A person quickly forgets what he dreamed if he wakes up abruptly in the morning and starts hastily getting ready for work. In a hurry, when you need to solve many things in a short time, the dream is simply erased from memory. We may not remember our dreams, but it is estimated that people have them 3 to 6 times a night.

About 95 percent of dreams are forgotten when a person gets out of bed.

To remember a dream, you need to write down in a notebook or on your phone everything that happened in the dream in the morning, without being distracted by other things (without getting out of bed and without thinking about anything else). You can keep a special diary in which you write down your dreams every day.

Imaginative thinking also works well. If you don’t have time to write down information, then you can try to remember the key moments of the dream, linking them with some events from real life, coming up with memorable associations. It’s even easier to record a story about your dream on a voice recorder in the morning.

I don't remember my dreams why. Scientists have discovered why not all people remember dreams

A group of scientists from the Center for Neurobiology in Lyon () led by Perrine Ruby () found out why not all people remember their dreams in the morning. As it turned out, remembering dreams depends on the activity of the prefrontal cortex, and more specifically, on the temporo-parietal junction, which is responsible for processing information from external sources. People who sleep lightly and anxiously remember dreams better than those who sleep soundly and deeply, and the former dream more of them.

In an article published in the journal, scientists explain that people with sensitive sleep often wake up at night, in their sleep they quickly respond to sounds, and in general their area of ​​the temporo-parietal junction is always actively working.

It is because they often wake up that they remember their dreams. People in deep sleep, on the other hand, don’t remember anything the next morning because the brain needs to wake up to remember the information. Previously, scientists have noticed that damage to the prefrontal cortex and the temporo-parietal junction leads to a lack of the ability to dream.

In the study, French scientists assessed the levels of spontaneous brain activity in 41 volunteers, who were divided into two groups: those who remember dreams well (on average 5 days a week) and those who remember them poorly (about twice a month). The first group was characterized by active spontaneous brain activity both in sleep and wakefulness, while the second group had low activity.

Thus, remembering dreams directly depends on the functional organization of the brain and its characteristics, that is, light or deep sleep will influence whether a person remembers his dream or not.

How to get rid of nightmares and why do you have them?

How to get rid of nightmares

Frightening dreams, if they occur infrequently, may even be beneficial because they help the body deal with stress. If such dreams become constant, then this is a certain signal from the body.

Nightmares sometimes result from real life problems, especially if the unpleasant situation lasts for a long time. This is a reflection of a person’s internal experiences, conflicts and pain.

If you start having nightmares after the death of a loved one, an accident or other stressful events, then it may be difficult to get rid of them alone and you will need the help of psychologists.

also accompany a person during periods of depression, overwork, or illness. You can get rid of them by visualizing dream scenes that cause the most acute negative reaction. These scenes need to be changed by replaying the plot in a positive way.

Exercise during the day, a hot bath before bed, and avoiding overeating right before bed can help improve your sleep quality.

Why do people often have nightmares at high temperatures?

There are two versions explaining this phenomenon.

  1. A sharp rise in temperature against the background of an acute infection can make changes to the functioning of the brain , provoking the appearance of nightmares, and in rare cases, hallucinations. It is believed that nerve cells are more likely to be affected by intoxication of the body than by fever itself.
  2. Temperature makes sleep more interrupted , causing the patient to wake up more often, including REM sleep, when vivid and sometimes frightening dreams appear. Healthy people, as you know, also regularly see nightmares in their dreams, but do not remember them, since they safely continue to sleep.

By the way, there is a hypothesis that frequent awakenings at high temperatures are an adaptation mechanism that prevents excessive heat loss.

Do our pets dream?

Do our pets dream?

Dreams appear in the REM sleep phase, which occurs not only in humans, but also in mammals and birds.

When a cat or dog twitches its paws, meows, barks, or growls in a dream, this means that a typical animal scenario is being played out at the moment (chasing prey, fighting an enemy, etc.).

The only thing that has not yet been established is how exactly the dream manifests itself. That is, do animals see dreams the way people see them, or at this moment the usual reactions simply turn on.

Interestingly, the stage of REM sleep (it is at this stage that dreams are best remembered) lasts longer in predators than in prey. For example, in cats it takes up 20% of the total sleep time, and in rabbits only 3%.

Classification of dreams

Types of dreams reveal the reasons for their occurrence and meaning.

  • Substitution. Helps to establish peace of mind when an emotional breakdown occurs and a feeling of dissatisfaction appears.
  • Actual. Conveys the heard reality: raindrops, the noise of passing cars, the sound of clock hands. This reality turns into certain images.
  • Physiological. Reveals sensations: hunger, thirst, pain.
  • Creative. Contains continuation of real events.
  • Expressive. Present in a person with a rich imagination. The plot is usually not repeated in real life, but such vivid dreams are fateful.
  • Repetitive. This is a reminder that a deadlock situation has arisen. This dream is an excellent reason for change.
  • Continued. Signals marking time, coloring and arranging events, as in the series.
  • Warning. A symbol of an impending threat or difficult experiences. Such dreams occur every night until an event occurs.
  • Prophetic. A completely mysterious and inexplicable phenomenon. A picture of a future that is impossible to recognize.
  • A waking dream can be confused with reality, realizing only after waking up that it is just a dream.
  • Deliberate. He has some training. A person specifically thinks about a topic and wants to get answers to life’s questions.

USEFUL INFORMATION: Why do you have nightmares: reasons

What factors can affect sleep content?

Factors that may affect sleep content


Certain sounds can affect your dreams in different ways. There are even specially designed applications. They include certain sounds depending on what kind of dreams you are looking for.

Some psychologists say that if you want to see your dreams come true in your dreams, turn on your favorite music album. It is advisable that you choose a calm composition. It is unlikely that you will be able to fall asleep to energetic music. If you want to be transported to the beach while you sleep, turn on the sound of the ocean.

For a restful sleep, it is recommended to turn on white noise. It muffles other sounds around you and should improve your sleep.


Several years ago, studies were conducted that proved the importance of smells for dreams. After waking up, subjects were asked what they dreamed about. Those who had the smell of roses in the room had a positive dream, while those in the room with the smell of rotten eggs had a negative dream.

Psychologists explain this by saying that if the smell of flowers, chocolate or perfume during wakefulness causes positive emotions, then when a person sleeps these smells will also contribute to positive dreams.

Sleeping position

Studies have shown that if, for example, a person sleeps on their stomach, this can cause erotic dreams.

It is also known that the best way to remember the content of a dream is to remain in the same position in which you were when you woke up. And if you wake up to go to the bathroom and want to get into the same dream again, try to return to the position you were sleeping in before getting up.

State of mind

It's not surprising that your state of mind—what's happening to you and around you—has a huge impact on your dreams.

  • For example, depression can affect the color palettes of dreams. If you had a dream in black and white or with muted colors or shades of gray, this could be a sign of depression.
  • The weather conditions you dream about are also related to your mood. The tornado brings concern. A clear, calm mind dreams of sunny days. Depression and sadness can create rain in your dream.

Many secrets of dreams have not yet been revealed. Dreams are difficult to study in the laboratory, but technology and new research methods can help us understand them better.

If suddenly you didn’t like something in this article or you found an error, be sure to write about it in the comments. Not a single comment will be left unattended!

Article updated 06/30/2020

Dreams to order

There is even a whole technology of “lucid dreaming”, when you can order a “movie” for yourself at night. It's quite difficult, but there are some steps you can try. For example, every morning, write down as carefully as possible what you dreamed, with as much detail as possible. This is necessary in order to train the brain to remember and identify dreams. In the evening, try to vividly imagine what you want to see. Don't be discouraged if you don't succeed right away, it takes months or even years of training. In a dream, if possible, try to become aware of yourself - go to the mirror, look at your hands, try to do something unrealistic, for example, take off. Dream management is not just a hobby. Many experts believe that this is a kind of fitness for the subconscious, allowing you to use your brain more productively while you are awake.

lucid dreaming

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