Some of you may well remember you dreams, but most likely you are forgetting them completely after waking up. Even though scientists aren’t completely certain why or how we dream, improvements in brain imaging and recent physiological studies have brought us one step closer to answering the question of why some people remember their dreams more than others.
1. SEX (Male/Female)
It appears that women are better at remembering their dreams. Every girlfriend surely dreamed about her boyfriend or husband doing some bad things and woke up angry at him. Researchers aren’t exactly sure why, but the reason could be the biological or hormonal difference. Women may also be more interested in dreams in general.
The older we get the harder it is to recall our dreams. According to the researchers, the ability to remember dreams is better in late childhood and adolescence, and best in your twenties. There is a general decline in dream recall after that, although there are some exceptions.
Scientists say that there is a correlation between certain personality traits and high dream recall. In other words, more psychologically-minded people have higher dream recall, while people who are more practical and externally focused tend to have lower recall. People with better memory while they are awake, also have a higher chance of remembering a dream.
4. AMOUNT OF SLEEP
One of the most important factors about dream recall is the amount of sleep we get. Most of the dreaming is done toward the morning and right before you wake up. However, because of the sleeping cycles and the so-called REM (rapid eye movement) phases which occur every 90 minutes, the more we sleep the more we dream. Because of that more people say that they are remembering more of their dreams on the weekend, when they can sleep longer than usual.
5. BRAIN ACTIVITY
With the advancing possibilities for brain imaging, scientists have a better understanding which parts of the brain are associated with dreaming. It turns out that the part that processes information and emotions is more active in people who remember their dreams more often. This part which is located at the back of the brain is called the temporo-parietal junction (TPJ) also helps people pay more attention to external stimuli.In turn, this may enhance something called intrasleep wakefulness. This can improve the dream recall, as the brain needs to be awaken to be able to memorize new information. Scientists also noted that activity in the pre-frontal cortex, the part of the brain that deals with abstract thinking, is linked with high dream recall and lucid dreaming (being aware that one is dreaming).
6. RESPONSE TO EXTERNAL STIMULI
People with greater dream recall tend to experience activity in more regions of their brain in response to sounds. For example, they have higher brain activity when they hear their names compared to people to do not remember their dreams very well. Scientists say that there might be some evolutionary trait about this. Our ancestors had to wake up to danger faster so they were probably a little more aware during their sleep. It can be similar with modern day people who can wake up more easily.
What can you do about it?
In order to remember your dreams better it may help just to think about it and say “I’m going to remember my dreams tonight.” Scientists say that even reading a book about dreams can “force” a better short-term dream recall. You can also write down everything you remember after you wake up because dreams are still in your short-term memory and they can be easily forgotten. Even if you don’t remember anything you can still asses how do you feel immediately after waking up. Sometimes the emotions like happiness, sadness or anxiety can bring back the memory of the dream.