What Influences Our Dreams?

Rori Hornung
2 min readJan 23, 2021


Welcome back! This week I will be touching on the factors that influence how often we have dreams and what they are about. Sometimes our dreams are relevant to an aspect of our lives, but other times they can be completely random! There are multiple details that take part in why we have the dreams we do.

Health Conditions

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Having vivid dreams can be caused by a variety of reasons. The biggest one is being sleep deprived for a few nights which can make sections of your brain more active during REM, thus causing you to dream more vividly and making it easier to recall those dreams as well. Being pregnant and having a mental health disorder such as anxiety or depression can also cause more vivid and intense dreams driven by emotion.


While food has not been specifically linked to better or stronger dreams, it is believed that they can help you remember them more often. For example, carbs can give you energy but then leave you drained at the end of the day. Anything that affects your waking mood most likely also has an effect on your unconscious mind. So, food that leaves you feeling crummy during the day can carry over to your sleep. As for remembering dreams, if you consume food that causes you to wake in the middle of the night during REM, you’ll probably have a better memory of them.

Environment and Daily Activities

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Did you know that exercise can even play a role in your dreams? Or lack thereof, I should say. Studies show that someone who gets in a little cardio workout before noon each day tends to sleep heavier, therefore not having as many dreams. Sounds and smells can also creep into your nights as well. Has your alarm clock going off ever made its way into your dream? Real life noises can make an appearance in the storylines. Although smell can influence whether you have a good or bad dream. And you guessed it, a bad smell such as a rotten egg can cause an unpleasant one, and a good smell such as rose can cause a happy one.

Gross, Jessica. “6 Things That Influence Your Dreams.” HuffPost, HuffPost, 30 Sept. 2013, www.huffpost.com/entry/dream-facts_n_4003477.

Roland, James. “Why Do We Dream? The Role of Dreams and Nightmares.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 22 Aug. 2017, www.healthline.com/health/why-do-we-dream#how-to-remember-your-dreams.



Rori Hornung