Why Are Dreams Forgotten After Waking?

Did the alarm spoil your dream?
Did the alarm spoil your dream? | Source

Why Dreams Are Forgotten After Waking

According to Why Dreams Are Forgotten After Waking by Sigmund Freud, the majority of dreams are forgotten shortly after waking because the body is bombarded with sensations and perceptions upon waking up.

NREM and REM dreams

As a result, our weaker dream-images are forgotten while our stronger ones are remembered. Weaker dream-images are the products of a NREM dream and stronger dream-images are produced from a REM dream.

Another point Freud made, although I believe he was quoting someone else, was “the fact that the dream which is believed to be forgotten in the morning may be recalled in the course of the day on the occasion of some perception which accidentally touches the forgotten content of the dream” (Freud, paragraph 8).

For the present incomprehensible...

This happens to me quite often throughout the week. I may be halfway through my day and suddenly I will vaguely remember something from one of my dreams. Like, having a conversation with a friend that did not occur in reality but was actually a part of my dream. I certainly do agree with Freud's study on dreams in regard to the fact that "All this is very remarkable, and for the present incomprehensible" (Freud, paragraph 1).

Remembering a dream...
Remembering a dream... | Source

Sense of morality

I believe that we carry a sense of morality in our dreams. In my own case, I had a dream, or more like a nightmare, where I was in an argument at home. I was yelling at a family member and I got so mad I started breaking whatever I could find in the house. Then after I smashed up the place all of a sudden I felt bad.

I knew my actions were wrong and that I was going to be in some kind of trouble. The nightmare ended there and when I woke up I did not understand what the reason was for my aggression or why I was so angry in the first place.

I felt guilty and to try to make up for my imaginary wrongdoing of that day, I tried to be extra nice to that family member. So, I do believe we acknowledge morality in our dreams. I also believe I remembered this dream after waking because I experienced stronger dream images which are produced in a REM dream.

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