Why do we remember some dreams and not others? © Getty Images

Why do we remember some dreams and not others?

The sheer power of our imagination means we can't remember all of our dreams & our recall can depend on when we wake up and what we were dreaming of.

Asked by: Anonymous


Partly because we have so many dreams. A typical night’s sleep includes about two hours dreaming in four or five bursts that get longer towards morning, all full of complex scenes, characters and events that would overwhelm us if we remembered them all. Most people remember only the last dream before waking, but skilled dream-recallers can work back to retrieve earlier dreams. If you want to remember more dreams, keep a pen and paper by your bed and write down everything you remember as soon as you wake up. You’ll soon remember more and more. Also the day’s events can trigger dream recall; seeing someone trip and fall might remind you of a falling dream; meeting a ferocious dog might remind you of dreamed dogs. This effect may be responsible for the common feeling of having precognitive dreams. In reality, the dream did not predict the dog: this dream item, among countless others, was remembered only because the real dog triggered the memory.


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