by Taylor Clayton

Everybody has dreams-that’s a scientific fact-but remembering those dreams is a completely different story. Some people only remember a few dreams every couple months, while others remember dreams every night. They’re known as “high recallers” and “low recallers.” Scientists still can’t completely explain the phenomenon of dreaming, but they know it’s connected to REM sleeping cycles. Dreaming only occurs during a certain stage in the cycle. As an infant about fifty percent of sleep is categorized as REM sleep and as a person matures the number tends to go down to about twenty to twenty-five percent. This results in children remembering more dreams than adults.

REM stands for rapid eye movement, and it refers to the quick motion of the eye during the fifth stage of the sleep cycle. The movement is accompanied by an increased pulse and a brain activity spike. When you first fall asleep you go through a cycle of NREM, which is non-REM sleep, before going into and out short REM sequences. The pattern is repeated and each time the REM cycle gets longer until the whole thing lasts about 60-90 minutes. Dreams take place inside the last portion of that cycle.

Some people may be born with an ability to remember their dreams more frequently but there are a lot of things you can do to try and increase your dream recall. One of the first things is to get plenty of sleep. It’s easier to concentrate on remembering dreams when you’ve had plenty of rest. If you want to recall more dreams keeping a dream journal is a good idea. Even if you wake up in the middle of the night and only remember faint impressions try to write them down and read them back to yourself frequently. You have to be consistent and committed to writing down every fragment of dream or it might not work. Most likely if you do not write it down you will quickly forget it. For some people they only have to tell themselves right before they go to sleep that they want to awaken completely from their dreams and remember them. When you wake up make sure the first thing you think about is “What was I dreaming?” Try to not think about the coming day until you’re sure you can’t remember anything about your dreams as that could cause you to forget something. Also move as little as possible because that could also result in overlooking fragments of a dream. If you still can’t remember your dreams then the internet is full of theories and possible tips to help. A little research can dig up all kinds of ideas on how to increase your memory.