UCSB Science Line
Sponge Spicules Nerve Cells Galaxy Abalone Shell Nickel Succinate X-ray Lens Lupine
UCSB Science Line
How it Works
Ask a Question
Search Topics
Our Scientists
Science Links
Contact Information
Is there anyway to make yourself dream more frequently?
Question Date: 2009-01-30
Answer 1:

I'm glad you're having good dreams and want to have more of them. Your question leads to a lot of interesting ideas. One is that you may be dreaming more often than you know. Sometimes people don't remember dreaming because we usually have periods of dream sleep separated by non-dreaming sleep. Often we forget dreams when we don't wake up right after they happen. You might try keeping a notebook right by your bed and writing your dreams down as soon as you wake up. You may remember more of them.

Does this mean you should try to wake up in the middle of the night?That won't help. Most dreams happen during "Rapid Eye Movement (REMsleep). It's called this because the sleeper's eyes are closed, but their eyes move quickly. We usually have a few of these a night, but it takes about 70 minutes of non-dreaming sleep before your first REM sleep. The REM times that happen earlier are shorter than the ones that happen later. So if you stay up too late, or wake up often, you will not spend as much time dreaming because you don't have a chance to have the long dream periods.

If you don't get much REM sleep, you will wind up with lots of vivid dreams, but you will also have trouble concentrating, remembering things, and staying awake. It can also be bad for your health. There's an interesting article about dreams and sleep deprivation in Scientific American:


Research shows that teenagers do better in school if they can sleep later. Why do you think this is true?

Thanks for asking,

Answer 2:

I've found if you're under a lot of stress or having trouble sleeping,you'll remember more dreams. I don't think you dream more frequently, you just wake up more often during the night, so you catch the ending of more dreams.

Answer 3:

I don't think so. Actually, we dream a *lot* - the question is more of how do you remember your dreams. There are some tricks to this, such as writing your dreams down. However, some people just dream more often than others, and some dream more vividly than others, and I'm not sure that can be changed.

Answer 4:

There are cultural adages that certain foods, such as rich meals with lots of fat and carbohydrates, might make people dream more. Maybe you have some in your culture.In terms of the science, dream researchers focus on lucid dreams. These are the type when people know they are dreaming and can be in control of the narration of their dream. Sounds pretty fun, doesn't it!There are various suggested ways to induce lucid dreams, ranging from wearing special masks that some unsuccessful companies sell to eating supplements that increase the level of certain neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin. However, these methods have not been widely verified. Happy dreaming!

Click Here to return to the search form.

University of California, Santa Barbara Materials Research Laboratory National Science Foundation
This program is co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and UCSB School-University Partnerships
Copyright © 2020 The Regents of the University of California,
All Rights Reserved.
UCSB Terms of Use