Ask SleepBetter: Why Do I Dream So Much?

Have you wondered about something related to sleep, but just can’t find the answer?  Lots of people do, and that’s why we created Ask SleepBetter.  You can ask your own question on the SleepBetter Facebook Page, or by using our Ask SleepBetter contact form.  We will try to answer as many questions as possible, but we are not able to answer queries about physical issues or medicinal issues.  Those should be addressed face-to-face with a physician.

Today’s question is about dreams, and how many dreams we have each night:

“Why do I dream so much? Every night what seems to be all night. Bad dreams mostly.”

-Staci S. (via Facebook)

Most people dream pretty much the same amount.  Your sleep is broken into five stages.  The first four, called NREM (non-Rapid Eye Movement) stages, are generally dreamless.  The fifth is the REM stage, where the majority of dreaming occurs.  Most people who say they don’t dream simply don’t remember their dreams.  In laboratory studies when subjects were awakened immediately after REM sleep, they nearly always remembered their dreams very vividly.  On the flipside, if you feel like you dream all night, you may be waking during or immediately after the REM stage.  

What this all may mean, Staci, is that you’re not sleeping as soundly as you could.  It may be due to your sleep environment or a sleep partner who is waking you.  Examine your bedding to ensure that it’s comfortable and appropriate for your sleep type (take our Zzzz Score for some clues).  Also, replace any bedding that is old or worn out.  Pillows, for instance, should be replaced every 18 months.  If your mattress is old and uncomfortable, you might consider a topper to firm it up.  For some suggestions on bedding that is designed to help you sleep better, check out our Recommended Products page.  If noise in your bedroom is the problem (for instance, if your sleep partner’s snoring is waking you) or it’s noisy outside your bedroom, try ear plugs or a white noise machine.