Is It Bad That I Don't Remember My Dreams? Here's Why Scientists Think It May Be A Red Flag

By
Share
Ad failed to load

It's common practice for people to categorize themselves into specific types of dreamers based off of their dream history. Some people claim they dream in black and white, while others claim their dreams are as vivid as real life, and still others insist that they don't dream at all. The state and significance of the unconscious mind is an area of science that's still largely undiscovered, and the science of dreams is perhaps the foggiest area of that uncharted ocean. We know less about dreams than we do about most aspects of the human body, but new research might have an answer for you when you ask this question to your friends at brunch: is it bad that I don't remember my dreams?

As it turns out, it might be. A new study by Rubin Naiman titled Dreamless: The Silent Epidemic of REM Dream Loss argues that we are experiencing both emotional and physical blows to our health by dreaming less during our sleep. Apparently, having and remembering your dreams isn't just important for dinner party fodder when there's a lull in the conversation. Dreams are also potentially massive indicators of your overall sleep health, and, more specifically, your REM sleep health.

"Many of the health concerns attributed to sleep loss result from a silent epidemic of REM sleep deprivation," Naiman wrote in the study.

Ad failed to load

"We are at least as dream deprived as we are sleep deprived," he explained.

Giphy

The largest challenge to dissecting dream health is that we don't have a universal consensus on what dreams are and how they impact us during our waking hours.

Ad failed to load

Here's what we do know for sure: Dreams happen during the state of sleep we call REM sleep, or rapid eye movement sleep, and it's during that phase that your heart rate and blood pressure levels are close to what they are during your waking hours.

Scientists start to disagree, though, when they try to pin down the actual role of dreams in your sleep.

Giphy
Ad failed to load

Some argue that dreams have no use whatsoever. Others say this is an easy excuse to stop poking around something that's difficult to understand. Ernest Hartmann, a professor of psychiatry at Tufts, argued in Scientific American that dreams are the key to the unconscious mind:

He's got a point. Dreams are like this massive bin of puzzle pieces that could prove to unlock endless information about the human psyche. At least, this is what Naiman thinks, and that's why he published a study arguing our dreamless sleep is something we should definitely be concerned about.

Ad failed to load

If you're not having and remembering dreams, Naiman explained, you're probably not experiencing the correct type and level of REM sleep. And if you're not experiencing proper REM sleep, you're opening yourself up to a whole host of emotional and physical health issues, including irritability, depression, weight gain, hallucinations, memory troubles, immune system breakdowns, and even a loss of spirituality, just to name a few.

Basically, if you're not remembering your dreams, it may indicate a problem way larger than not being able to contribute to your next brunch conversation.

Giphy
Ad failed to load

Typically, you experience REM sleep later into the night, as your body prioritizes the deep, non-REM sleep you need to survive. But with people sleeping less and less overall, and with increased distractions waking us up in the middle of our sleep cycles, like buzzing phones and screaming alarm clocks, there's a high chance we're severely interrupting our REM cycle. This cuts off dream creation, and can potentially lead to any of those health risks listed above.

So what's the solution?

Most of the things that interrupt our sleep cycles are self-induced. In other words, you're not losing REM sleep because a massive tiger just walked into your cave. You're losing sleep because you drank too much alcohol, smoked weed, or left your phone on a loud volume setting beneath your pillow, to name a few possibilities.

Ad failed to load

It's a relatively easy solution to give yourself not just more sleep, but better sleep — so why don't we do it?

Simply put, sleeping is not the health trend that people care about. We know that we should be getting seven to nine hours of sleep a night, and we know that this would vastly improve our lives, but we still partake in Netflix binges on weeknights simply because we want to.

But now that you know why you're missing out on those Channing Tatum dreams you used to have all of the time, you might just turn your phone on silent tonight.

Ad failed to load
Giphy

Ad failed to load

Must Reads

Your Weekly Horoscope Is Here & Luckily, It's All Good Things

Pat yourself on the back because you survived not only one but two major eclipses. The last few weeks have been one obstacle after another but you made it. You dealt with the pain, held it together, and prevailed. Now, your February 19, 2018 weekly h…
By Roya Backlund

6 Subtle Red Flags That Could Mean You’re Sleeping Way Too Much

Have you ever woken up after an unusually long night of sleep and felt, well, kind of awful? Whether you roll out of bed feeling super dehydrated, nursing a throbbing a headache, or you simply feel stiff as a board, there are reasons why your body mi…
By Annakeara Stinson

These 6 Workouts Can Be Done Right On Your Couch, & Yes, They Do Count As Exercise

Ever have that feeling when you're watching the Olympics like you should be working out, or at least stretching, but in reality you're just laying around eating chips? Yeah, me neither. But if you do ever feel that pull to work out when you're just l…
By Annakeara Stinson

10 Things You Should Say To Your Partner Every Day To Keep The Love Alive

When it coms to love, falling into it is a lot easier than maintaining it. There’s a reason, after all, that it's called "falling" in love, because it's mostly out of your control — the heart just takes over. Because those emotions come so easily and…
By Rachel Shatto

Science Says These 8 Foods Can Help You Live Longer, So Eat Up

If you're looking to live forever, or at least for an appropriately long amount of time, then the best way to get started on your journey toward immortality is to think about what you're putting into your body for fuel. Think of your diet as the batt…
By Caroline Burke

I Live In London & When Guys Find Out I'm American, They Only See Me As A Fling

I first entered the world of dating apps during a semester abroad in London, and I had zero idea what I was getting myself into. I was 21, had only ever dated boys I'd met through work, school, or mutual friends, and my appreciation for romantic come…
By Genevieve Wheeler

Here's Exactly How You'll Fall In Love, Based On Your Astrological Sign

One of my favorite things about learning about my zodiac sign and others' is learning patterns about my behavior that I can acknowledge and use to my advantage. As a Scorpio sun sign, I know I'm typically described as mysterious, drawn to loyal peopl…
By Elana Rubin

These 8 Red Flags Might Mean You're Pushing Yourself Too Hard In Your Workouts

If you live by the motto "no pain, no gain," or you frequently exclaim that your HIIT circuits "hurt so good," you're probably the type of person who challenges yourself to the max during your workouts. And while this isn't necessarily a bad thing, i…
By Georgina Berbari

I Tried Vegan "Spacepaste" & It Looks Like Straight-Up LED Lights On Your Face

As you might have noticed, 2018 is the year for glitter. So many brands have been releasing shining, shimmering formulations like they're going out of style. We're not even halfway through February, and Lemonhead LA has already launched the best glit…
By Kim Carpluk

These "Awkward" Proposal Stories Show There's No One Perfect Way To Get Engaged

There are a few adjectives people use to describe proposal stories that tend to be a bit more common than the rest. You know what I mean. How many times have you heard someone describe their marriage proposal as "magical" or "romantic" or — my person…
By Candice Jalili

This $20 Toy Simulates Pimple Popping, So You Can Save Your Face (But Still Lose Your Dignity)

As a self-proclaimed popaholic, I am not ashamed to admit that I love watching pimple popping and blackhead extraction videos. Call me gross, but I find it immensely therapeutic and satisfying. To all of my fellow weirdos, we’ve been blessed with a n…
By Ariana Marsh

Everyone Is So Thirsty Over This “Photo” Of Obama With Facial Hair

It's been a hot minute since President Barack Obama left the Oval office (though it feels like ages), and a lot of us miss him dearly. After leaving the White House, the 44th president remained out of the public eye for a little while, decompressing …
By Daniella Bondar

Meghan Markle Uses This $13 Natural Wonder To Grow Her Eyebrows Back & You Can Too

Meghan Markle is the world's new go-to celebrity for all things fashion and beauty — she's marrying a prince after all, so she must have some tricks up her sleeve. Meghan Markle's beauty routine is just as intricate as mine, because that's how real s…
By Alison Turka

7 Foolproof Things To Do Every Day If You're Tired Of Being Lazy AF

Being lazy can be oh-so-lovely. Until you start letting life pass you by, and not living to your full potential, then suddenly, it's not so good anymore. Don't get me wrong, I love my weekends when I can stay snuggled up in bed just a bit longer. Hit…
By Marisa Casciano

This Is How Long Most People Wait To Say "I Love You," Science Says

If I had to choose one word to describe saying "I love you" to your partner for the first time, I'd have to go with... hmm, exciting? Nope. Thrilling? Hardly. Terrifying? YES. Exactly. Saying "I love you" for the first time is terrifying. What makes …
By Candice Jalili

6 Reasons To Travel Abroad With Your Boyfriend Or Girlfriend In Your 20s

Traveling can be many things: hectic, expensive, and definitely stressful. But with the right people or person beside you, all those troubles kind of just melt away. That's why there are some solid reasons to travel abroad with your boyfriend or girl…
By Alani Vargas

7 Subtle Red Flags About The Way The Person You're Dating Treats Other People

You've done it. Against all odds, you've found the seemingly perfect person. All of your dates have been amazing, filled with endless hours of deep conversation and sweet affections. And how is it possible that you have, like, everything in common? T…
By Lily Rouff

Opal Hair Is The Latest Color Trend & It's So 'Zenon: Girl Of The 21st Century'

If you were a fan of the unicorn highlighters or mermaid hair hues that took over 2017, then you’re in for a treat. A new beauty trend has arisen and it's as fantastical as it gets. These photos of opal hair color prove that too much rainbow is never…
By Ariana Marsh