Science Questions

Sat, 16th Oct 2004

Part of the show Dreams, Sleep, and The Body Clock

Question

Betty asked:

Why don't I ever dream?

Answer

Surveys have shown that about 6% of the population say that they absolutely never dream. There doesn't seem to that much difference between them and the rest of the population, but what has also been done is take some of these people and wake them up in sleep lab when they're in REM sleep. Every 90 minutes or so during your sleep the majority of people go into REM sleep, so you put these people in the lab, wire them up, and what happens is that you can wake people up during these periods of sleep when they ought to be dreaming. With most people you've got about an 80% chance of a dream being reported if you wake them up like this. Now if you're a non-reporter of dreams, that is one of the 6%, what's been found is that 0.6% of these absolutely never report a dream even if you wake them up during REM sleep, so in your case Betty, it is quite possible that you are having dreams and you just don't remember them.

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