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Do you ever dream?

I hardly ever dream, or at least I can't remember having dreamt. Some people have very lucid dreams often involving themselves and their interactions with people they're familiar with or even with strangers. Some people can even remember what was said in the dream. My dreams when I do remember them are always pointless and they never involve any talking, usually only observation and I don't know where they're supposed to be set, and the background seems blurred and colourless. If I do remember the dream it'll take less than a minute to forget all about it.

I've been taking SSRI anti-depressants (sertraline) for 9 years, I've read that they can reduce the amount of REM sleep you have each night. I'm only 26 years old and I think I should still be dreaming lucidly. However, I'm not sure if the brain injury affected my ability to dream because I was 14 and recall dreaming throughout my teens.

16 Replies

Hi, My brain injury almost 2 years ago in june..

I was 19 at the time, I had not dreamed since my brain injury at all, But on occasions I have dreamed and their dreams I listen to know as most of my dreams are giving me an indication to whats in the future. Sounds crazy but i woke up, said to my sister shes having a baby girl and did so 13 month later. So I also have no dreams at all i never dream these days exept on rare occasions


Since my my injury , i dont dream and if i do i or remember them well enough ! if i wake in the night ive forgot it by morning


I have taken SSRIs for over twenty years and throughout that time dreamed, in colour, at least once per night....vivid, memorable dreams, as I had since childhood. Since a SAH last December I have stopped dreaming completely....It was one of the first things I noticed as I began to recover. Regards


its the sah i had lets ay lot dreams not nice a lot 2 before sah ive had about 3 in past month ok dreams short but that could be memory but up till i had bad flu few weeks ago not 1 dream so 3 half yearsno dream at all my sleep s bad tho, last BIG dream i had was few weeks before sah i can even this day tell you about it id like me back id like nice sleep and a dream but ive been awake nealy all night went of sofa before 2 try no suchluck this nurse sas its cause i not going 2 bed 2 sleep i carnt my shoulder is subluxed i prop myself on sofa i do try i must have slepted with flu why i had dreams, people dont get it im scaredalone 2 upstairs i no yu want to dream and you will at some point proves it flu making me, its there just our brains need the key v jones


P.S. What I also meant to say is that, since my haemorrhage, my short term memory doesn't work so It's possible I do still dream but can't remember it when I wake. I really miss it.


sleep is a stranger to me resulting from all the medication I'm on, but when I do sleep my dreams are complete with smell touch taste talking colour, sometimes a bit too much


not often but when do they are vivid and sometimes nasty

our lass says i giggle in sleep these times i dont remember

but sleep well on these times


I rarely dream since my op in 2010 but when I do they are the usual nonsense.

If you want to start remembering your dreams keep a dream diary beside your bed and write them up as soon as you wake. This should also help you have lucid dreams and actually control your dreams. Just google "lucid dreaming" for helpful techniques.

And YES they do work!


Hi AnthonyM,

Thank you for posting this question, which I think highlights another unexpected and unpredictable effect of a brain injury.

Looking at some of the research into this, it seems like there are some theories that because a brain injury could affect the visual memory, and as such the ability of the brain to generate and recall images, this could lead to a reduced number of dreams and/or reduce the ability to recall dreams.

As other members have discussed, a brain injury can certainly have a real effect on sleep, and it would be quite feasible that this would affect REM sleep. Sleep disorders can be really under-diagnosed after a brain injury, do you find yourself feeling very tired / fatigued in the day?

With the SSRIs I think you're right, they do sometimes have an effect on dreaming too. One study also suggests that they actually increase the intensity of dreams, but could reduce the ability to recall those dreams. Medication side effects should always be discussed with a doctor, as they have access to the most up-to-date information and it can help to monitor your condition.

Added to the effects of your brain injury, it wouldn't be unreasonable to think this could be a possible factor in what you are experiencing.

It sounds like if it is affecting you, it might be worth asking if your GP could refer you to a sleep clinic for some further assessment?

Hope this helps, and I look forward to seeing more comments from our members about this important issue.

Best wishes,


PS: A few of the studies I found can be accessed below if you're interested:

- jnnp.bmj.com/content/14/4/3...

- sciencesleep.org/ziliao/SSR...

- fibromyalgia.idd01.com/slee...

- ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/162...


It's interesting to know that even after brain injury/being on SSRIs some people can still have vivid dreams. So I don't think I can only blame the SSRIs for the lack of dreams. My injury was to the right frontal lobe only and they're heavily involved in thought, emotion and expression, those aspects that my dreams seem to lack. I also have a poor working memory (the ability to hold information) and attention span but am otherwise fairly intelligent, so there may be the issue of me forgetting the details of my dreams and them being so superficial and disjointed in nature.

Also apart from dreaming, I tend to wake up after a 4 hour period of sleep on most nights and feel wide awake, as though I was never asleep. I'll then have to wait another few hours until I feel sleepy again and go back to sleep for another 4 hours. Sometimes when you wake up suddenly you remember your dreams, but at least in the middle of the night I don't think remember any dreams and it's always in the morning that I remember a dream, if at all.

What's weird is that I never used to wake up during the night even after my injury, it's only within the past year or so that it's happening.

Just to describe how stupid my dreams are, I took up your advice and wrote down my dream, maybe that way I can begin to remember them and it might be helping my memory.This was last night's dream: Located on a mountainside in a pine forrest similar to a ski resort, remember sliding down the mountain and felt like escaping from something. There was a library in this village and another farther up the mountainside. At one point I entered into a changing room and remember tieing my shoes, other people were there and my childhood friend was putting on his boots, it felt like I wasn't supposed to be there and I had sneeked in and found a corner. Later I was carrying someone's baby for a short while and walked with it, later gave it back after losing the mother amongst a crowd of people heading in one direction.


hi i was wondering the question why i dont dream or remember my dreams the other day i thought it was a personal problem. im lucky in a way that i dont have to take much medication and im not on any anti depressants so think it is because of damage to the brain and not side effects of medication.

my accident was in 2007 and before my head injury i also recall having quite vivid dreams.

thank you for asking this question i find it all quite intresting.


i also wake up some nights to go to the toilet or something and find it very hard to get back to sleep as i feel very awake almost like i shouldn't be getting any moor sleep but when i do manage to get back to my slumber i then wake up in the morning because of my alarm and then feel very tiered so may be this and dreams are all conected to each other some way i just find it all interesting.


Hi AnthonyM i used to have great dreams and in bright colours too before my accident in 2006 now nothing.... i am on medication for pain (have shoulder,neck, back injuries and TBI)

I really mis my dreams as i used them in mt art, and writing,

I also wake up throughout the night on and off all night dont know why, but nearly always go straight back to sleep. sometimes when going off to sleep i get what i call "flashes of lightening" in my head, i have been told this is where the neurons are trying to connect, i have a diffused axonal injury, i dont know if these aer waking me up?

Best wishes and peaceful nites


Hi artangel thanks for sharing your dreaming experiences. I have a feeling that females tend to have brighter more colourful dreams based on what people have said here, interesting. I miss my dreams too, they make you feel alive, that what you did in one day has meaning to your entire existence. In a way, if one doesn't dream its a sign that one isn't living though they may be alive. Does that mean that children live more than adults since they tend to dream more? And are people who are brain injured in an intermediate state between consciousness and unconsciousness by virtue of our lack of dreaming? Noone remembers anything when they're unconsious and definately doesn't dream.


Hi Anthony, what a good question - raise some very interesting points. Until I saw the title on my email tonight, I had totally forgotten that I used to dream almost every night before my aneurysm and haemorrhage last March. They stopped immediately after because I know I have not dreamt since then!

I can relate to almost everything you wrote in your 1st paragraph. I have always dreamt ever since I was a young child and had one very repetitive vivid dream for many years when younger and now again tonight I can remember every detail of it and can see in my mind's eye, the place involved in the dream down to the last detail. It wasn't a nasty dream, more to do with insecuirty relevant to my life at the time but it involved me being about 5 or 6 years of age.

My dreams were always vivid, though within a couple of minutes of waking some would often be forgotten. Other dreams involved family or friends or were relative to what was going on in my life and even occasionally provided an answer to a situation so I was also dreaming about what was should happen in the future, but I don't now remember if they were in colour not. Other dreams revolved around complete strangers, events and places I didn't know what would happen as it was nothing to do with my own life, although I would be in the dream as well. Its like I was 2 different people and had two separate lives.

So who am I now, because I know I'm not the person I was?

I'm not on strong medication, only Kardegic and very recently, month ago,new doctor has put me on something called Betahistine Mylan, for balance problems and it has helped in stopping my ears and head feeling blocked and pressurised, like in an aeroplane. I'm also now not so wobbly when I get up from bed or a chair if sat for a longish time for TV or something. I still have vision problems now which got worse after car accident 2 months ago.I My sleep pattern is similiar to yours also a few hours and a few hours off - last sleep will sometimes leave me waking up at 11.30 am, 10-12 hours after going to sleep at first. The last sleep is the longest and most restful for me. I sleep like a log! Yet this morning I was up about 7-7.15 am when it was still dark (France) looking at a very bright star but because my vision is more blurry now wiythout glasses the star had taken on shapes between the points with straight lines along them. With distance glasses on, the star was split in half, like 2 amoeba! I even tried to draw 2 pictures of what I was seeing. Yes, good question, perhaps now I've been reminded about dreaming and its in my conciousness tonight, I might have a dream!


I wondered if I would dream again last night after reading this topic - but I don't know if I did, is the answer.

In my mind, as I woke up all I remember is that I thought I had been hearing an alarm clock before I woke, nobody or nothing else in mind/brain. So was that me dreaming, or was it really the alarm clock, which was ringing! I don't know because I don't remember now. Very weird!


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