First of all, what is a dream?
A few ideas are surrounding why we dream, but the generally accepted opinion is that dreams play an essential role in consolidating our memories. According to research, the sleeping brain “replays” any new information about our daily experiences and reorganizes it into our long-term memory. So, what does this entail for people who can’t remember their dreams? Well, first, we need to identify why people do not remember them.
Four reasons you don’t remember your dreams.
Stress: Considered to be one of sleep’s worst enemies, stress has been found in research to not only disturb and reduce REM sleep but also increase the number of awakenings during the night. Your diet: That’s right; your eating habits aren’t only affecting your body while you’re awake. Research shows a diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, fiber, and limited vegetable oils is conducive to a good night’s sleep. Sleep disorders: Everything from narcolepsy to insomnia to sleep apnea can have a negative effect on a person’s REM cycles. You wake up too fast: According to psychologist and dream expert Rubin Naiman, Ph.D., your painfully early alarm clock might be making you forget your dreams. That tiny window of time, when you’re just waking up, seems vital for dream recall.
Three steps to remember your dreams.
Prepare for a good night’s sleep.
Before you think about anything else, set yourself up for a good night’s sleep. Get exercise during the day to tire your body and mind, and eat a healthy diet that won’t disrupt your sleep. Set your alarm clock around the time you usually wake up, as one is likely to wake after a REM cycle, to ensure you wake up right after a dream.
Wake up slow.
When it comes to dreaming recall, how we wake up might be the most critical factor in remembering our dreams. Take your time in morning grogginess and be intentional when staying in that half-awake, half-asleep state for longer. Some people like to jump into their day when they wake up, immediately pushing their dreamy mind away.
Write it down.
Once you’ve woken up and pieces of your dream still remain, write down what you can remember; this will build a good habit in our morning routine. Our ability to recall dreams can be improved by simply drawing more attention to dreams.