Why Do we struggle to remember our Dreams? What is the Science Behind Why we Forget our Dreams?

Do you forget your dreams and struggle to remember dreams? Here is the psychology behind


Have you had your moment of frustration when you get up in the morning, and happen to have known just a few pieces of your dream in your memory. Or eventually, ending up with no memory of what you dreamt. You might even sit down in despair, trying to create a story from the broken pieces of information, you have of your dream. Well, for a fact, one-third of our lives is what we spend just sleeping, and it is most likely that we dream something every day, but of course, we don’t end up remembering much of our dreams. So, why do we struggle to remember our Dreams?

While there aren’t any firm researches that show the exact reason why we forget our dreams, there are quite a few explanations as to why this happens. Here are a few of them –

A simple, possible explanation

We don’t really get one, single dream every night, but in fact, we are in at least four to six dreams in one sleep cycle. The ones we remember are the ones we saw just before waking up. Dreams mostly occur out of Rapid Eye Movement (REM) phase, and when we get up in the morning, we get up from this phase and hence, remember the dream we had just before waking up. Before the REM sleep stage, there are three other layers of sleep too, and if a person enters from REM sleep to any other stage, then also, they are likely to forget the dream. Also, the deeper the sleep, the more likely are we do not to remember the dream.


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Image source – Canva

You are Up but your hippocampus is not

When we fall asleep, not all brain parts go down at the same time.  Researchers also discovered that one of the last parts to go to sleep is the hippocampus, which is important for transferring information from short-term memory to long-term memory. It is a curved network that is there within each hemisphere of the brain responsible for the transfer of information.

This part of the brain is the one that perhaps goes last to sleep, and for that fact matters, it is the one that is the last to wake up. So, even if you get up, with your dream in your short-term memory, you won’t be able to get that registered in your long-term memory because the hippocampus is sleeping.

The Neurotransmitters don’t want to remember your dream

Well, not literally, but as we the two important neurotransmitters, acetylcholine and noradrenaline that are responsible for retaining memory drop down drastically and dramatically during sleep. During the REM stage, there is something strange that happens between these two transmitters, when while the acetylcholine returns to wakefulness, noradrenaline stays low. The not-so-good control and coordination between these hormones reduce our remember our dreams.

Experts also believe that we only remember dreams that are beautiful, weird, or bizarre. Also, the fact matters that the brain also needs time to process the dream after waking up and if we leap out immediately after getting up, we are likely to lose the memory of the dream.

Well, this was the science behind why do we struggle to remember our dreams. Agree or not, while it is irritating to forget our dreams, it is fun to know the science behind it.

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Ishika Aggarwal

Can write, shoot, listen, talk and procrastinate. A feminist at heart, Ishika is an avid writer and multimedia person who loves talking about women, realism, and society. When not working she is either seen watching films or making one.

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