Has it ever triggered your mind why do you forget almost all dreams as soon as you wake up from sleep?
Ernest Hartmann, professor of psychiatry at Tufts University School of Medicine and director of the Sleep Disorders Centre at Newton-Wellesley Hospital, puts it very clear that this forgetfulness is owing to neurochemical conditions in the brain that happens during REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep.
REM sleep is a stage of sleep where you have your most intense dreams. This is when your brain is most active. During this phase, it is the absence of the hormone norepinephrine in the cerebral cortex, which is a region in the brain that plays a very important role in the memory, language, thought, and consciousness of a person.
Five things we need to know about dreams
- People dream because they think a lot. Dreaming is a process that is connected to the thoughts of human beings. Lauri Loewenberg, author of Dream On It: Unlock Your Dreams explains that “We dream because we think… That stream of consciousness, that inner chatter that runs through our heads all day long, doesn’t stop once we’ve fallen asleep”. In other words, while we are sleeping, part of our brain is still functioning for linear thinking. It is only the logic that is inactive.
- People are packed with emotions such as love, guilt, confusion and guilt. Nightmares are very much associated with these feelings, hence underlining why many times people wake up in shock. A 2014 study asserts that nightmares are believed to have a stronger emotional impact than mere bad dreams.
- Did you know that men and women dream differently? This is because dreams of men are mostly linked to wars or disasters while women dream about interpersonal conflicts. Gender stereotype also has much impact on people’s dreams. This results in men and women having different kinds of dreams.
- It has been observed that light sleepers remember their dreams better. This is because during this moment of wakefulness their brain responds to stimuli. Perrine Ruby, a researcher in cognitive neuroscience at Lyon Neuroscience Research Centre in France highlights that “This could explain why they awaken more, and then get the chance to encode dreams in memory”.
- Nightmares can be problematic but they can be treated. Antonio Zadra, PhD, co-author of the University of Montreal study explains that “Many view them as a problem secondary to some other issue, and most are unaware of effective cognitive behavioural treatments that work with most types of nightmares, including trauma-related.”