Dreams have a magical quality and while some of them are unpleasant, many are pleasant, pleasurable and full of adventure. According to Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud, dreams represent unconscious desires, thoughts, wish fulfillment, and motivations. Dreaming has an important role in our mental well-being as they are linked to memory consolidation, problem-solving, and emotional regulation. Sleep is divided into different stages which contain both REM and NREM stages.
Dreaming occurs during the rapid eye movement phase of the sleep cycle. The reason why we forget most of our dreams has been explained in a study. According to a 2019 study, our ability to form memories is impaired during REM sleep. In total, we may dream 4-5 times a night, although we only remember our most recent dreams. (Also read: 5 reasons why you have too many dreams, experts tell)
“As much as we love to dream, it is quite annoying when after waking up we cannot remember what we dreamed. It seems as if the memory of it instantly evaporates, leaving us dazed and dissatisfied. “From the influence of our sleep rhythms to the activities we engage in before bed, there are diverse dynamics that influence our faculty for maintaining our dreams,” says Dr. Chandni Tugnait MD (Alternative Medicine ), Psychotherapist, Life Coach, Business Coach, NLP Expert, Healer, Founder and Director – Gateway of Healing.
Dr. Chandni gives five reasons why we often forget our dreams:
1. Not paying attention immediately
Our brains are incredibly active during the dream state, but the transition from sleep to waking state can be sudden. Often, we fail to pay immediate attention to our dreams because we become focused on the demands of the day. It’s like trying to catch a fleeting butterfly; If we don’t understand it in a moment, it may fade from our conscious memory.
2. Rapid fading of dream memories
Dreams are stored primarily in our short-term memory, which is highly volatile. Unlike long-term memories, which are more stable, dream memories decay rapidly. This is due to the brain’s need to wipe the slate clean for new information.
3. Mechanism of forgetting dreams
Some researchers believe that forgetting dreams may serve a protective purpose. Dreams often involve intense emotions and scenarios that may be disturbing or unsettling. The brain may use a mechanism to protect us from remembering these vivid experiences in order to maintain emotional balance.
4. Lack of narrative structure
Dreams don’t always follow a linear narrative like our waking experiences. They can be a kaleidoscope of images, emotions and sensations. Memorizing and recounting them can be challenging due to the lack of coherent structure.
5. Mismatch between dreams and waking reality
Dreams often violate the laws of physics and logic. When we wake up, our rational mind asserts itself, and these dream elements often appear nonsensical or bizarre. This apparent contradiction between the dream world and reality can make maintaining dream memories challenging.
“Although the short-term nature of dreams may be mysterious, discovery of the underlying causes may reveal insights. The rapid destruction of dream memories is largely attributable to their storage in indefinite short-term memory, in contrast to our underlying long-term memories. is responsible. Dreams also often follow illogical narratives that our rational waking brains struggle to analyze. But dream logging in a journal and mindfulness before sleep can help strengthen the memory over time, like a muscle. It is,” Dr Chandni concluded.