If you're not dreaming a lot when you sleep, you may not be getting enough REM sleep. Find out how to achieve more dreams at night.
Step 1: Know the role of REM Know that most dreaming takes place in a stage of sleep characterized by rapid eye movement, or REM. In this state, brain activity resembles that of waking life, but muscles remain slack.
TIP: REM dreams are considered more perceptual and emotional than non-rapid-eye-movement dreams. The latter are more realistic.
Step 2: Understand rebound Understand that if you are deprived of REM sleep one night, you make it up -- and dream more -- the next. This is known as REM rebound.
TIP: Losing 30 minutes of REM sleep one night can lead to a 35 percent increase in REM sleep the next night.
Step 3: Know about drugs and medications Know that alcohol and nicotine use decrease REM sleep. Stopping use of alcohol and nicotine leads to a REM rebound -- and more dreams.
Step 4: Be aware of risks Realize that dream intensity increases after a period of sleep deprivation. But be aware that sleep deprivation causes diminished productivity, tendency to make mistakes, irritability, and fatigue during the day. Pleasant dreams!
FACT: Platypuses experience more REM dream activity than any other animal.