|Art by Ada Zdanowicz|
Though it is not uncommon to not remember dreams, studies show that everyone dreams during sleep and dreams frequently throughout the sleep cycles. Sleep research studies have indicated that sleep deprivation can lead to serious physical and mental consequences including confusion and hallucinations. In essence, if we are not permitted to dream during sleep our minds will begin to "dream" in wakefulness through what is termed lucid dreaming.
Some of us prefer not to remember our dreams and possibly create a subconscious mental block that makes us believe we have not dreamed. Yet research indicates that even those who consider themselves to be non-dreamers will show changes in brain activity during certain sleep cycles that suggest dream activity is occurring.
Remembering dreams can be achieved through self-training which requires time in the morning that most of us are not willing to set aside. We are too busy trying to get ready for the day ahead, eat breakfast, or whatever it is we do in the morning. However, if dreams are not remembered immediately they will typically be forgotten very quickly.
Keeping a pen and notebook close at hand can help dream memory training. One should write down their morning thoughts that may be related to something they were dreaming. If there are any dream memories write those down as well. Focusing on these memories for a few minutes might begin to evoke the memories of what had been dreamed prior to awakening
These actions may allow one to begin to develop a greater consciousness about what they might have dreamed. However we typically don't have the patience or put aside the time to develop dream memory. A drive to develop dream memory must be present. It is a discipline that must be practiced on an ongoing basis in order for remembering ones dreams to become easier.
You do dream whether you remember or not. People who don't remember dreams may have had a traumatic childhood memory that has created a fear of remembering dreams; may be trying to repress troubling thoughts that recur in their dreams; may have merely conditioned their minds not to remember; or any number of other reasons.
If you want to remember your dreams but can't, it might require extensive self-examination or even analysis by a professional such as one trained in psychology or sleep study. Remembering your dreams is not crucial to getting by in life, but it can be enlightening to study them to try to understand what they are telling you. If you are not experiencing dream recall, you might be missing some important messages that your mind or body are trying to tell you.
Have you ever kept or do you now keep a dream journal? If you are one who believes you don't dream, can you recall a time when you did or do you remember a traumatic dream event that frightened you a great deal? Have you ever experienced hallucinations due to sleep deprivation?