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Why Do We Dream?
Our dreams may be tools to help us deal with our mental or emotional problems, or to sort through memories and thoughts. Most of the dreaming we experience occurs during the REM period of our sleep, which is about 20 percent of the sleep. If you remember a dream, it could be because you woke up during it, and it’s fresh to remember. Or, it could mean it was your last dream, so you have it in your mind to the fullest. Moreover, anxiety, medication, and so on, all might have an effect on which dreams you recall. But why do we forget dreams but remember nightmares?
Why Do We Remember Nightmares More than Dreams?
Everyone dreams at least a few times during their sleep, but we hardly remember what we dream about. This is probably because while we are sleeping, our brain does not try to memorize like it does while we are awake. If we are in light sleep or half-awake, we might recall dreams a little better. Even though there is not a certain common ground as to why we remember nightmares more than we remember dreams, many people believe that it is because nightmares alarm our brain. The reason why we call them nightmares is that we want to stay away from them and prevent them from happening. So, when we see a nightmare, our mind is being alarmed to stay away from what we dream of. That way, it becomes more permanent in our consciousness because our brain is trying to protect us. Moreover, since nightmares are more intense dreams that trigger our fears or traumas, they leave strong emotions on us and become memorable.
Can You Get Better at Remembering Your Dreams?
Usually, the best time to recall your dreams correctly is the first 90 seconds after you wake up. After that, it probably will be erased little by little. You could try to stay in the exact position when you wake up and close your eyes to focus on your dream. That way you could remember it after you wake up. You might also write them down after you remember them completely. Some argue that even if you remember them right away the dreams will probably be gone in a few hours, therefore, writing them down is more reliable (1).
You could also turn this into a habit of dream journaling and be much more aware of your dreams and nightmares. Being aware of what you dream will also help you practice lucid dreaming or even will help you with your traumas, anxiety, and fears!
If you want to remember your dreams, try Dreambook! Dreambook App is a digital dream journaling app that lets you categorize your dreams by theme, and look up hidden meanings in them. It also syncs across all your devices, so you can take your journal everywhere.