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Can you help me remember my dreams?

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Can you recommend a download that will help me remember my dreams? I thought it might be 'Sleep and Dream', but the description doesn't talk about the dreaming part.

This question was submitted by 'Karen'

mark tyrrell

Mark says...

Hi Karen,

This is an interesting question and one I get asked from time to time.

We don't have a session for recalling dreams. Why? Because dreams are meant to be forgotten.

I subscribe to the most convincing theory about what dreams are for and why nature has all mammals and even birds dream. According to the brilliant work of psychologist Joe Griffin, it seems that one function of dreams is to keep instinctive responses tuned up. We often see cats or dogs, for example, twitching and flickering when dreaming - doing minimal versions of hunting and other instinctive drives. None of us want to lose the instinctive capacity to become happy or sexy or even angry, and dreams may have a role in keeping instincts intact so they don't drop away from lack of expression in waking life.

Another highly likely purpose of dreaming is to metaphorically express, play out, and 'switch off' unfulfilled emotional expectations from the day before. This leaves the neocortex of the brain free to deal with the next day's emotional demands. This understanding of dreaming also explains why people who have many emotional arousals that remain unfulfilled (through worrying without problem solving, for example) dream much more (whether they recall their dreams or not). And it has indeed been found that depressed people dream much more than non-depressed people.

Now, these scientific explanations of why we evolved to dream don't necessarily preclude other possible functions of dreams. I've certainly had creative insights and even what seemed like precognition in dreams, as have many others. But on a basic level, dreams seem to be there for emotional 'housekeeping'.

Unless we're depressed, we each dream around two hours a night, so the average person will experience at least 60,000 hours of sleep time dreaming in a lifetime. None of us recall the vast majority of these dreams. Those you do recall will tend to be ones you wake up in the middle of or ones that are so intense, perhaps scary, that they break through to waking consciousness. So, dreams are meant to be in the background, do their work, and leave us alone.

But it can certainly be interesting to analyze dreams, especially if we have the understanding to intepret them and figure out what may be troubling or preoccupying us. I suggest you make a mental note to remember as many dreams as possible. Then, as soon as you wake in the morning, before you do anything else, take a few moments to write down the details of the dream(s). It will be interesting for you to do this, but, as I say, it is not advantageous for most people, which is why we don't currently have a download to encourage this kind of self-analysis.

All my best,

Mark

watch icon Published by Mark Tyrrell - January 26th, 2014 in

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