You might be surprised to discover the exact number of dreams you have while you sleep.
Dreams can be a secret window into our emotions, acting as inspiration for creative projects, and may help you solve problems. Whether you remember your dreams or not, read on to find out how many actual dreams you experience in one night.
How many dreams do you have each night?
Just because you don’t remember dreaming doesn’t mean you didn’t! On average, people dream four to six times a night, usually during the most active REM stage of sleep if you’re over 10 years old. (Children under 10 years old only dream 20 percent of the time during REM sleep). Dreams tend to be longer as the night progresses because the REM stage of sleep can last from as short as five minutes in the early hours of the night to as long as 34 minutes towards the end of your sleep duration. So, if you sleep for a total of eight hours each night, two of those hours could be spent dreaming.
Why do you forget your dreams?
You might think you don’t often dream because most of us forget 95 to 99 percent of our dreams. Why most of your dreams aren’t remembered remains a mystery, but one theory is that you don’t concentrate on them while you sleep. (People who believe dreams are important and are interested in them tend to remember their dreams – because they’re motivated to pay attention to their dreams). Another theory is that our lack of memory is also due to the memory-associated hormone (norepinephrine) being turned off while we sleep, so our brains don’t encode dreams into memory.
How to remember your dreams better
The trick to keeping your dreams from slipping away from your mind upon waking is simply telling yourself that you want to remember your dreams while you sleep. Place a dream journal by your bedside to jot down everything you remember about your dreams as soon as you wake up – before the day’s thoughts clutter your mind. Write down everything (even if you only remember blurry images or events from your dream) to train your mind to remember them better in the future.