Some individuals claim that they never (or rarely) have dreams. Sleep researchers have studied this subpopulation and found that so-called nondreamers simply forget their dreams more quickly than other people. During sleep, the memory-storing part of the brain is apparently “offline,” which is why even those of us who remember our dreams frequently have difficulty doing so.
When “nondreamers” are awakened during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep under laboratory conditions, they will report having dreamed slightly less than fifty percent of the time. In one study, it was noted that nondreamers tended to report that they were awake and thinking when awakened during REM sleep. However, when the reports of what they were thinking were examined, it was found that their “thoughts” were rather bizarre and dreamlike, indicating that they were actually dreaming, but that they did not label their experiences as “dreams.”