7 Things It Could Mean For Your Health If You Don’t Remember Your Dreams
Though you've likely had some fairly memorable dreams in your life, you probably don't remember each and every minute detail of every dream when you wake up in the morning. And though it's normal and natural for most of your dreams to fade away relatively quickly after you wake up, if you can't seem to ever remember your dreams, that could mean that there's something else going on. There are a number of things it could mean for your health if you don't remember your dreams in the morning.
From having certain conditions to sleeping with an alarm clock, there are a ton of factors that can make it even more difficult for people to recall dreams long after waking. Just because you can't retell a very specific dream to coworkers at lunchtime or your partner after you get home from work doesn't mean that something's wrong, but there are some health implications associated with rarely or seemingly never remembering dreams even fairly soon after you awaken. Sleep is so important for your health and though there's still a lot that experts don't know for certain about dreams, some researchers believe that dreaming is an essential part of sleep that's an important factor in your overall health. While scientists will likely continue to evaluate the sort of function that dreaming might serve, if you can't ever seem to remember your dreams in the morning, there are a few things that that might mean for your health.
1. You're Taking Certain Medications
You dream during rapid eye movement (or REM) sleep. VeryWell Mind reported that it's possible that the medications that you're taking are limiting the amount of REM sleep you're experiencing each night, which makes dreaming more difficult. Taking antidepressants, for example, might mean you're getting less REM sleep.
2. You Might Not Be Dealing With Anxiety Or Depression
Waking up while you're dreaming might make it more likely that you'll remember those dreams. In an interview with Everyday Health, Dr. Shelby Harris, PsyD, a licensed clinical psychologist, said that those dealing with anxiety or depression can remember dreams better and suggested that this might be because they're waking up more at night.
3. You Might Have A Greater Risk Of Developing PTSD After A Stressful Situation
A 2017 study published in the Journal of Neuroscience found that if you're not getting enough REM sleep before something stressful or traumatic happens, you could potentially have a higher risk of developing PTSD afterwards. More research might be needed on this subject, but this could mean that if you're getting enough REM sleep regularly, different parts of your brain work together to help make you more resilient when dealing with trauma.
4. You're Dealing With Sleep Apnea
If you have sleep apnea, you might also have a difficult time remembering your dreams after you wake up in the morning. The aforementioned article from VeryWell Mind noted that sleep apnea can cause disruptions in REM sleep, making it more or less difficult for you to remember your dreams. If you're waking up due to untreated obstructive sleep apnea, you might remember more, whereas if you're not experiencing as much REM sleep, you might not remember as much. Sleep apnea can be a very serious condition, so making sure you're getting it addressed by a doctor can help keep you safe and help you get a better night's sleep.
5. You Sleep Through The Night Without Waking Up
If you generally sleep through the night without waking up — getting plenty of sleep — that could also be the reason as to why you don't remember a ton of your dreams in the morning. Live Science reported that a study published in Frontiers in Psychology found that those who wake up a number of times during the night are more likely to remember dreams, which makes sense, as that's why those with anxiety or depression and some with sleep apnea might remember more. Still, more research is needed to understand why some people might remember more than others.
6. You Might End Up With Memory Issues
If you're not getting enough REM sleep and are waking up not remembering having any dreams, that could also potentially affect your memory. A 2015 study published in Nature Neuroscience found that not getting adequate REM sleep can increase your risk of memory loss like that associated with Alzheimer's disease. Getting enough sleep every night really is vital for your long-term health.
7. Your Immune System Might Be Weaker
If you're sleep deprived, you're likely dream-deprived as well, as Rubin Naiman, a researcher from the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, argued in a study published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. Though you might not notice a large difference in your health after you miss out on some sleep, not getting enough quality sleep can make it hard for your body to fight off illness, as Healthline noted, which means you might get sick more easily. Getting plenty of REM sleep isn't just important for dreaming in general, many scientists believe that it's also extremely important for your health.