Dreams take us to a surreal world where notlogic and reason rule. But does everyone make this night trip to the land of dreams? Most people remember about one or two dreams a week, and some say that they don’t even dream at all. As a study conducted in 2015 showed, a small part of the population - about one out of 250 people, reports that they have not remembered a single dream in their entire lives. But what distinguishes people who do not remember their dreams from those who remember? Can the brain stop creating dreams and how does the brain work for those who never have dreams? Let's get it right.
Why do we have dreams?
The author of the 2015 study, Rafael Wallat,A neuroscientist who specializes in sleep and dream research at the University of California, believes that dreams are "one of the last frontiers in our understanding of the human mind." And the study of memories of dreams - which parts of the brain are involved in this - can help scientists unravel some of the secrets of the mind. The work of Wallat and other specialists in this field revealed a number of interesting details that seem to separate those who dream from those who do not. But first, we should probably clarify: almost everyone dreams. In fact, dreams can help solve problems, strengthen memory and control emotions.
At the same time, experts note that forgetting dreams isabsolutely normal in terms of brain health and functioning. As a rule, memories of dreams quickly disappear. When we wake up, our memory is especially fragile. The harsh sound of the alarm is sometimes enough to distract us, not allowing fleeting memories of dreams to be recorded in long-term memory. However, for unknown reasons, some people remember their dreams better than others. Although science still has a long way to go in understanding memories of dreams, it seems that differences in the brain, individual characteristics, and aspects related to the dream itself play a role in these processes.
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Personality type affects the ability to remember dreams
In 2017, in the journal of the American Associationpsychologists (ARA), a study was published according to the results of which there are some personality differences between those who dream and do not dream. The basis of the work was methods of personality testing, such as the concept of the Big Five. Testing is necessary to understand what personality traits affect the memory of a dream.
According to the hierarchical personality model, the Big Five includes five main features: extraversion, neuroticism, coping, conscientiousness, and openness to new experience.
The idea is that some aspectslives can affect some aspects of dreams. And the type of personality probably affects the person’s attitude to the dream as a whole. Those who are prone to logical and analytical thinking are less likely to pay attention to dreams. Thus, according to researchers, individual differences between those who dream and do not dream can also be associated with differences in the functioning of the brain. And, therefore, how the brain works can affect a person’s ability to remember dreams.
The area of the brain responsible for dreams is alsoinvolved when we think about ourselves or others in the past or future. According to Rafael Wallat, in a dream this area is also active as at the time of wakefulness for those who dream regularly. Perhaps it is for this reason that some people remember their dreams better than others. However, it can also make such people more prone to fantasy flights in general. Also, according to the results of another study in 2017, the brain of those who dream more is more responsive to sounds during sleep, which indicates differences in the activity of the so-called temporal-parietal lobe - the center of information processing in the brain. Thus, it is not surprising that such people are more likely to wake up at night and have longer periods of wakefulness, which was confirmed by another study by Wallat.
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And yet, for most people, mostmemories of dreams comes down to individual characteristics - some are under our control, and some are not. Scientists also know that women, on average, more often remember their dreams than men. By the way, with the participants of our Telegram chat you can discuss whether you remember your dreams and why.
Quality of sleep is the main reason why we remember our dreams.
A good night's sleep is not only good for yourhealth, but also to preserve memories of dreams. People who are "dreamless" tend to sleep poorly. Scientists believe that a full sleep helps us better remember dreams.
According to Wallat, people who drink alcohol andmarijuana are also prone to forget their dreams, since alcohol and THC negatively affect the REM phase. Still, Michael Schroedl, a researcher at the Central Institute for Mental Health in Germany, who has studied a wide range of factors that can affect dream memory, believes that the best way to remember your dreams is to keep a dream diary immediately after waking up. However, if you are not sure whether you have dreams, there is one effective way to check this. You must set an alarm for every hour during the night. Every time you wake up, ask yourself if you were asleep, then write it down. Most likely, you will catch yourself on the fact that at least half the night you dreamed something.