Dreams: Can you catch them

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A picture of a person sleeping (c) Mdf, CC BY-SA 3.0

Like most people, I barely remember my dreams. I remeber that last night I had a dream, but I don’t know what it was about. Sometimes I can remember a bit when I wakeup, but otherwise I forget them right away. Consequently, this makes me wonder: How do we create dreams? Why do we forget dreams?

What are dreams?

A scientific definition of dreams is hallucinations developed during the REM (rapid eye movement) stage of sleep. This stage takes up roughly 20% of a person’s overall sleeping time. Some theories suggest that dreams are results of outside stimulation during our sleep, while others suggest that dreams are natural stress-coping methods of humans.

From the few dreams that I do rememer, I know that they are a collection of people, events, and images that seem real. That is to say, they seem so real that I wasn’t able to recognize that they were a part of my dream.

Why do we forget dreams?

There have been different theories that explain how people forget dreams. For instance, a study in 2002 suggests that people forget dreams because of the lack of norepinephrine, a hormone that helps human memory, while sleeping. Other theories suggest that people are good at forgetting things that are non-essential. Since dreams are just mere imaginations, we often forget them.

How to remember dreams better?

Theoretically, there are some ways to remember dreams better. According to Lauri Loewenberg, the best time to recall a dream is within 90 seconds of waking up. Other than that, one can also write down their dreams. I’ve tried to write down my dreams as soon as I wake up. However, I was only able to remember the main events of my dreams while the vivid details were lost.

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