Why dreams are so hard to remember and what you can do about it

Waking in the night
Image credit: Medium

In waking life, [quickly] forgetting recent experiences would surely land you in a doctor’s office. With dreams, however, forgetting is normal. Why?

Researchers have found one of the last regions to go to sleep is the hippocampus, a curved structure that sits inside each brain hemisphere and is critical for moving information from short-term memory into long-term memory.

If the hippocampus is the last to go to sleep, it could very well be the last to wake up, [said Thomas Andrillon, a neuroscientist at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.] “So, you could have this window where you wake up with a dream in your short-term memory, but since the hippocampus is not fully awake yet, your brain is not able to keep that memory.”

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If you are intent on improving your dream recall, there are a few tricks to try. Robert Stickgold, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, suggests drinking water before bed, because it will make you wake up at night to use the bathroom. These “middle-of-the-night awakenings are frequently accompanied by dream recall,” Stickgold told The New York Times.

Upon waking up, hang on to that fragile dream memory: Keep your eyes closed, stay still and replay the dream memory, until your hippocampus catches up and properly stores the memory.

Read full, original post: Why Can’t We Remember Our Dreams?

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