By Rowan Hooper. Changes in sleep patterns may mean that many of us are dreaming more or remembering more of the dreams that we have, while the looming threat of the virus may have affected the nature of the dreams themselves. Similar patterns are likely in other countries, and it is reasonable to assume that for some of those staying at home, the time saved from getting ready for work and commuting is being used to get more sleep. This means dream time and dream recall is probably increasing during the crisis, says Mark Blagrove, a psychologist at Swansea University, UK.
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People who tend to remember their dreams also respond more strongly than others to hearing their name when they're awake, new research suggests. Everyone dreams during sleep, but not everyone recalls the mental escapade the next day, and scientists aren't sure why some people remember more than others. To find out, researchers used electroencephalography to record the electrical activity in the brains of 36 people while the participants listened to background tunes, and occasionally heard their own first name. The brain measurements were taken during wakefulness and sleep. Half of the participants were called high recallers, because they reported remembering their dreams almost every day, whereas the other half, low recallers, said they only remembered their dreams once or twice a month.
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So if you snooze for, say, eight total hours a night, two of them may be spent dreaming. People who think dreams are important and are more interested in them are likelier to recall them—probably because they are motivated to pay attention to their dreams. Keep a dream journal by your bed so you can jot down everything that you can remember about your dreams the second you wake up—before thoughts about the day ahead clutter your mind.
A direct comparison between dream experience in infancy and adulthood cannot be addressed, due to the lack of studies focused on this topic. Actually, PSG recordings with provoked awakenings are the most commonly used method to investigate dream recall in adulthood. For this reason, we will mostly discuss the electrophysiology of dreaming while reviewing studies in this age range.