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Why Do We Forget Dreams?


Do you ever wake up wishing that you could go back to sleep just to get back to your dreams? Well, you cannot. But then, you can always think about it and be happy, right? No. We forget our dreams when we wake up. What remains is the emotion we felt while dreaming. In a while, that leaves too.

While some dreams are scary, and we want to forget it as soon as we can, other dreams are perfect. They show us what we want but cannot get in real life. So, what is the origin of dreams? Sigmund Freud claimed that dreams are the manifestations of our repressed desired. Carl Jung said that they also offer a solution to our conflicts. Other researchers say that dreams are the manifestations of random traces of memory in our brain.


Why do we forget our dreams as soon as we wake up?  The Expectation Fulfillment Theory of Dreaming provides an answer. 

The cortex of warm-blooded mammals has evolved and hence have enabled them to act only after weighing the risks and benefits of an action and not just listen to their instinct. Sometimes, we cannot act on what we desire to do because our cortex tells us that it is not our priority or it may be dangerous. What happens to these behavioural impulses? They do not go away. They stay, taking up space in our brain. So, what do we do to get rid of them? We dream. Our brain conjures up this scenario where we fulfil this expectation. Now, this desire of ours has been converted into memory. But we cannot let that happen. So, hippo campus, the one in charge of storing memories is asked to deconstruct these memories. Hence, the expectation is fulfilled, and no trace of it is left. 

Some also claim that people forget what they dream of because dreams are weird. We cannot express what we have seen- it’s not yet speech ready. Stress and substance abuse too may result in one forgetting their dreams. Some claim that our dreams ‘wake us up’. They tell us things that we do not want to accept. So, we cannot seem to remember them because deep inside, we do not want to know or accept it. 



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