Friday, May 2, 2008

Why do some people dream?

Why do some people dream more than others? Unless you’re a character in A Nightmare on Elm Street, you probably dream the same amount as everyone else: upward of two hours a night, according to the National Institutes of Health. The brain’s sleep cycle, however, makes it extremely difficult to remember dreams. “During sleep, our memory systems are completely shut down, and we’re basically living on a self-erasing tape,” explains neurologist Mark Mahowald, director of the Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorders Center. It’s like the “record” button in your brain has been switched off.

So why is it that some people regularly recall the intricate plots of their bizarre dreams? “The primary determinant of whether you’re going to remember a dream is if you awaken during it,” Mahowald says. Waking up snaps your memory into action, and it absorbs the bits of a dream that might otherwise fade into your subconscious. Frequent wakers are more likely to remember their dreams than deep sleepers, he adds. The content of your dreams might also play a role in retrieving your somnolent synapses. Bad dreams typically jolt you awake, so people who suffer from frequent nightmares may also be more likely to remember what they dream.

Research on dreaming has shown that it’s possible to train yourself to better recall whatever you were dreaming about just prior to waking up, says Alan Manevitz, a psychiatrist at Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York.

*.* Source of Information : May 2008 Popular Science

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