Why are dreams so often forgotten?

01 October 2013

Question

I was just wondering Jason, when I dream, I obviously have experiences and we heard from Mic earlier saying that sleep is all about consolidating memories. So, why are dreams so often forgotten? Why are they so hard to remember and how do I know that they were dreams, they weren’t reality?

Answer

Jason Rihel - So, one thing to keep in mind is that even though sleep seems to be important for consolidation of memories, it's not necessarily tied to the dreaming stage of sleep. In fact, many of the studies that link memory to sleep actually point it to being particularly important during the non-REM sleep phase. So, it's not necessarily true that the dreams are the part that are the memory replay and consolidation. Now, why you often forget your dream, I think that's probably an adaptation for exactly what you said, how do we know that a dream isn't reality? If we remembered our dreams too thoroughly, perhaps we would begin to become confused about what is reality and what was a waking experience.

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