It’s a new year and we’re looking back at an old question: What makes you more likely to remember a dream? While studies have records from people who described their dreams, it isn’t always clear why some people remember their dreams and others don’t. It also isn’t clear if being more creative makes for more inspired and vivid dreams.

There is one study, however, that claimed, “…creative, imaginative people are more likely to have vivid dreams during sleep and remember them when they wake up” (WebMD). The study collected data for 14 weeks and had 193 participants. Several factors were taken into account, including the time participants went to bed, the time they rose in the morning, when they had consumed alcohol or caffeine, and so on.

While all the participants could recall dreaming at some point, not everyone was able to provide a recall of the dream. What was interesting about the study was that, “When researchers looked at personality traits that contributed to dream recall, they found people who were prone to absorption, imaginativeness, daydreaming, and fantasizing were most likely to remember their dreams” (WebMD).

Before you go smack talking your roommate, friends, or anyone else you know of that has difficulty remembering their dreams, there is one more important thing to note, and that is the salience hypothesis. The salience hypothesis states that items, or in this case dreams, are more easily remembered due to their unusualness. In other words, the more unusual the dream, the easier it is to recall it. That means that others in the study may have had vivid dreams, but if nothing unusual happened, they would have had a difficult time recalling it. Until dreams can be viewed or recorded by outside observers, the world may never know who has the most creative dreams.

Sweet dreams, everyone, and happy new year!

Resources:

WebMD Archives. “Creative People Remember More Dreams.” WebMD. June 2003, https://www.webmd.com/balance/news/20030627/creative-people-remember-more-dreams. Accessed 18 December 2019.