Sleep & Health

Do We Always Dream When We Sleep?

So you're running at one hundred miles per hour, with your family away from a horde of zombies. Yes zombies! Brain eating cohorts of decaying devastation. You can hear the screams! You can feel the desperation! You can most definitely see the vile creatures catching up to you trying to violently bite you with a foul warm breath against your face. With a weapon in hand you fend off decapitating the heads and limbs of every monster that gets close to you and your loved ones. Just as you are in a frenzy of adrenaline...



  • Sleeping divided into four stages
  • Why you might not remember your dreams?

*Beep Beep Beep!*

Your alarm goes off and you find yourself gripping your neck comfort pillow and using it to beat your partner that is sleeping with you. It turns out, the breath was actually your significant other breathing too closely to your face. Urk...morning breath.

You're on your mattress...

All of this was a dream! Scientists have been trying to figure out dreams and sleep for ages. From artists such as Da Vinci, neurologist Sigmund Freud and Martin Luther King, we know dreams are important, but what does it all mean? What is the definitive answer? It continues to puzzle experts even today. One things for sure. A dream is defined as a series of thoughts, images and sensations occuring in a person's mind during sleep, but how does it occur?

Sleeping divided into four stages

Before we look at how dreams occurs, we need to understand the four different stages of sleep. The first three stages are known as 'Non-Rapid Eye Momvement Stages (NREM).' When we initially close our eyes we enter a state of 'light sleep' (Stage 1), which transitions from a state of being awake to sleep. You find your eyes getting heavier and your consciousness of what is happening around you rapidly decreasing. As time passes we go deeper into Stage 2 and 3, where everything, noises, thoughts, breathe and more plunges into a void of nothingness.

Here is where it gets interesting.

Sleeping is not a simple “on” and “off” switch, it can be divided into four stages.

Yes, just when you think you're done with all the stages, BAM! You hit the special REM stage. This is where dreams happen, people. But contrary to popular belief, your body doesn't turn into a mindless puppet capable of being hijacked into doing things against your will. Nope, your brain actually paralyzes your muscles so you don't act out your dreams and hurt yourself.

Most people will switch between REM and NON-REM sleep five to six times throughout the course of the night. Your REM sleep lengthens and your NON-REM sleep shortens as the night wears on. Therefore, if you find yourself dreaming a lot in the morning, you are probably experiencing REM sleep.

Technically...everyone should be dreaming while they are sleeping if they have entered in REM stage of sleep. Studies have shown that it's just not possible to not dream at all. But why don't we always remember what we dream?

Why you might not remember your dreams?

In the dead of night, in a state of deep sleep

The first reason - You never even reached rem stage. If you aren't in the REM state then of course dreams don't happen and there would be nothing to remember.

The second reason - You woke up outside the REM state. Ah, the classic "I woke up and can't remember my dream” situation. This occurs when you awaken from a NON-REM sleep period, meaning your brain has not yet had a chance to organize and retain your dream memories. Sometimes after a dream you may wake up feeling disorientated and dreamless. In this instance give it some time and the things you saw in the dream may come flooding back.

At the end of the night, sleep should be restorative. Yes, we usually dream when we sleep. If we happen to good dreams then its an added bonus. So, the next time you hit the hay, don't focus on whether you will dream ot nor. Just close your eyes and let your mind wander. Who knows what kind of adventures you'll go on and what inspiration it could give you the next day.

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