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Is there any evidence suggesting that thoughts or experiences from late in the day are more likely to be dreamed about the following night compared with similar experiences earlier in the day?

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Interesting question. I'm no expert on dream research, but I remember hearing about some dream norms that might be relevant to your question: www2.ucsc.edu/dreams/Norms/index.html and there's a discussion of dream research methods here –  Jeromy Anglim May 2 '12 at 1:49
Couldn't find anything on the subject. There has been research done on the effects of thought suppression on dreams: mendeley.com/research/… and ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15043639. In that last link, the researcher did ask part of the control group to think about a person before bed. –  Bradford May 3 '12 at 1:58
@Bradford did ask part of the control group... well they're not really the control group anymore then... –  Ben Brocka Jun 17 '12 at 16:25

1 Answer 1

The probability of what you'll dream is really dependent on a ton of factors. Stress can harm your ability to remember, and process, your memories during sleep. If you are highly stressed due to hunger later in the day, you brain may be more likely to process the memories of events before hunger set in. However, the opposite may be true for others. schizophrenics for example, have problems with how they process memories. Our brains can accidentally be configured to process memories in an atypical/unhealthy way. Also, extreme time-dilation can affect us. Personally, while in basic training, we got a lot less sleep than I was used too. I started noticing that the days seemed to blend together, and time moved quicker. My dreams, during that period, never seemed to follow any pattern based on time that I can remember, and it's likely true for most people in similar situations.

This article talks about sleep deprivation and how it affects the dreaming process/length: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/strange-but-true-less-sleep-means-more-dreams/

This article details the effects of memory processing during sleep: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC534695/

This study looked into how alcohol affects memory storage: http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh27-2/186-196.htm

Obviously there are many things besides alcohol which can affect your ability to form and store memories, so taken together, all of these indicate that the order of the events of our day, processed in our dreams, is affected by how you formed those memories while actually experiencing them awake.

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Thanks for answering and glad you made it to the site (I use jonsca on A51 and many other places, in case this seems random). I think you bring up some great points, but it would be great if you had some references for these as well. –  Chuck Sherrington 17 hours ago
And thanks for inviting me...though I was already here... :P I will definitely make sure I start regularly providing outside references. –  JRFerrell 16 hours ago

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