Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Remembering Your Dreams

Every time I speak about dreams to a group, someone tells me that they don't remember their dreams or they announce: "I don't dream!" The truth is that nearly everyone dreams several times each night. We could hook you up in a sleep clinic and watch your brain activity and eye movement, wake you up when the activity indicates a dreaming mind and you would be able to tell us what you were dreaming about. However the sad fact is that most of us forget most of our dreams. I don't recommend it, but I have known dedicated dreamers who set their alarm to wake them every 90 minutes so that they could write down their dreams throughout the night. This is fun to do once when you don't need to be fully rested the next day.

Some medications block a sleeping person's ability to get to REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. People experiencing this say they feel as if they woke from a coma, not a restful sleep. Additionally, some people with certain types of brain damage do not actually dream. That leaves most of us dreaming every night.

There are four stages of sleep and we dream in the lightest one, that takes about 90 minutes for most adults. In my research I have found that the dreams we have shortly after going to sleep tend to be about the day we just lived. Concerns about our partner or children, work stress and other daily stressors can show up to be looked at from a new perspective. Often we wake with an idea for a new approach in a situation we care about. The dreams we have during the night tend to be stress management dreams such as flying, and the dreams we have just before waking tend to be the ones with information or perspective that we can use in our waking state.

The good news is that we can all remember more of our dreams. More on that soon!

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