Reasons why you might not be able to remember your dreams anymore and what to do about it.
Do you normally remember your dreams, but now you are going through a period of not remembering them?
Are you wondering why?
This article explores some reasons – both spiritual and natural – why it might be happening to you, and what to do about it.
I approach dream interpretation from a biblical perspective. My belief is that our dreams can come from God, and understanding them is best understood within the context of an ongoing relationship with Him.
Why have I stopped remembering my dreams?
Recently someone posted this question on a dreams group on Facebook. This person usually remembered their dreams and wrote them down, but suddenly found they couldn’t remember them anymore. The question prompted a variety of answers, and not all of them were helpful!
But it is a good question, and the remainder of this article is devoted to answering it! You almost certainly are still dreaming; it is just that you are not remembering them anymore.
You almost certainly are still dreaming; it is just that you are not remembering them anymore.
If that is your situation, your dreams might have stopped for a God-ordained reason. Or it could be an issue relating to something else in your life. We will explore both of those scenarios.
I also go through times when I don’t remember my dreams
I have been recording and praying through my dreams for many years, and yet I also go through times when I don’t remember them. I have grappled through reasons why this might be the case. Some of them are good reasons, and some not so good!
What follows is a summary of what I have learned through those times. Here are three steps to consider:
- Make sure you have good foundations and sleep habits in place.
- Rule out any obvious changes in your life that might account for a change in sleep pattern or dreaming.
- If nothing has obviously changed in your life, maybe God has initiated this season. I have identified some reasons why He might do this.
1. Make sure your foundations are in place
Firstly, it is a good opportunity to do a quick personal check-up, to make sure your spiritual life and sleep routines are healthy.
Here are some of the basic foundations that can help you receive dreams from God. I have expanded on these subjects in other articles, so follow the links if you are interested to know more:
- Make sure your spiritual foundations are in place. These are the basic biblical principles for living a healthy spiritual life – ready to hear God in your dreams: 5 spiritual foundations for receiving dreams from God
- Prepare yourself physically, for example by getting enough sleep and giving yourself time to record and process your dreams. I have proved that it’s possible to do this even if you are busy: How I learned to interpret dreams while working, raising 3 boys, and running a church
- Use bedtime prayers and affirmations to prepare your mind and heart for receiving dreams from God: How to spiritually prepare for dreaming – with bible verses and bedtime affirmations
- Make a plan to remember and record your dreams: 10 practical tips for recording and remembering your night dreams
Here is a summary of some bedtime affirmations and prayers you could use (see the original article – link above – for more detailed explanations):
Establish good habits
If you establish some of these things as regular habits – and record your dreams as much as you can – it sends a message to your subconscious mind that dreams are important.
Be expectant – and ask God to wake you up after a dream!
If you continue to do these things, you may find you start waking up at the right moment automatically – and remembering your dreams will become a lifestyle.
Most importantly, be expectant – and ask God to wake you up after a dream!
2. Consider obvious changes in your life
If you have suddenly stopped remembering your dreams, it is worth considering whether anything changed in your life around the time it first happened.
You could start with the above foundations, and see whether any of those factors have changed in hyour life. In the rest of this section we will specifically consider:
- Spiritual life
As you go through each one, ask God to bring to your attention anything that has changed in your life that may be the root cause.
Lifestyle reasons for not remembering dreams
If your lifestyle has changed significantly, it could be why you’re not remembering your dreams. For example, if your sleep is disrupted and you are waking up at a different part of the sleep cycle or you’re not getting enough sleep; these things all have an impact.
During lockdown, some of my friends and I found we were remembering more dreams – probably because we were getting more sleep and waking up naturally. We also had more time to write them down. Suddenly having to wake to an alarm again disrupted that pattern!
You could consider whether any of the following factors have changed since you stopped dreaming:
- How is your general health and wellbeing?
- Are you under more stress?
- Are you getting enough sleep?
- Has your morning routine changed?
- Do you wake up to an alarm and rush off immediately?
- Has your life changed significantly?
Laura Harris Smith has written a couple of good books where she explores diet, health, and spiritual factors that can influence our sleep and our ability to remember dreams – far more comprehensively than I have included in this article. You could check them out if you are looking for more in-depth answers.
Give yourself an attitude check-up
It might be that your physical lifestyle is the same, but your attitude towards dreams has changed.
- Maybe you have become weary of writing them down?
- Maybe it doesn’t seem worth the effort any more?
- Maybe you’re struggling to understand them or feeling overwhelmed?
- Or maybe you’re feeling offended with God for some reason?
In my early days of dreaming I went through a long period of time where I didn’t understand my dreams, and I just gave up. I got out of the habit of waking up and writing them down, and I just stopped dreaming! It lasted for more than a year.
Earlier this year I had a similar experience which I wrote about in: On recording and interpreting dreams – when it’s a struggle! That was due to not reviewing my dreams for ages and then getting overwhelmed with the task.
- Ask yourself whether you are still expectant to receive dreams from God and making plans to support that desire.
- You could also use the bedtime affirmations I shared in the previous section to carry out an attitude check.
Spiritual reasons for not remembering dreams
There might be a spiritual reason you have stopped dreaming. How is your relationship with God? Has it changed recently? Could that be a factor?
How is your relationship with God? Has it changed?
There are many spiritual factors that could come into play. I have just included a few ideas here:
- Have you shut down to dreams because of struggling with nightmares?
- Have you made any false agreements with lies about dreams?
- What are you filling your mind with during the day?
For example, if you have been having lots of nightmares, you might have asked God not to give you any dreams because they are distressing, or subconsciously shut them down. You may need someone to help you deal with the root spiritual cause and help you get to a place where you are free to dream again.
You might have made agreements with statements such as ‘I never remember my dreams’ or ‘I don’t dream’, and those can become strongholds in your life – giving the enemy permission to shut your dreaming down. If that is you, you will need to acknowledge the lie, repent and break off those wrong agreements. Use the bedtime affirmations to receive the truth.
We can make false agreements with lies that allow our dreaming to be shut down.
Another possibility is that you have been focusing on unhelpful influences and images during the day – and these have influenced your night-time receptivity. In those instances, you will need Jesus to cleanse them. I wrote more about that in the article on bedtime prayers.
Those are just a few possibilities to get you thinking. If you feel as though there is a spiritual reason behind your lack of dreaming, you can ask God to reveal the root cause. You can also ask a mature friend to pray with you about it.
3. Is God behind your lack of dreaming?
Having considered lifestyle changes and attitudes that might be affecting your dreaming, it is time to consider another possibility: Is God behind your lack of dreaming?
I have found that during certain times of my life I just couldn’t remember my dreams. And, if I could remember them, they were confusing – and there was no way I could describe them intelligently. My lifestyle and my attitude hadn’t changed in any way at those times.
My life hadn’t changed, yet I couldn’t remember my dreams.
Dreams are part of an ongoing conversation I have with God; based on my experience, I have identified some positive reasons why God might stop giving us dreams we can remember – for a period of time.
When God is giving you a break
A lack of dreams might simply be God giving us a well-deserved rest!
I spend a considerable amount of time and effort recording and praying through my dreams, and sometimes it starts to get overwhelming.
I’m the kind of person who doesn’t want to miss anything! I love hearing from God, and I love the way He gives me understanding about my life and the things that are happening. I can’t bear the thought of missing some important information, or a vital communication from heaven!
I have discovered that God sometimes gives me an enforced rest, where there is nothing for me to think about. I must admit, it is quite a relief when He does that! It gives me time to catch up with the dreams I already have written down, or just to enjoy God’s presence in other ways
When there is nothing you urgently need to know
It is possible that your life is currently on track and no course corrections are needed!
In the bible, the prophets often brought words from God to people at important moments, such as to anoint kings and give guidance. The prophets didn’t need to be there constantly; but there were times when their message was important.
In the same way, there are certain times when we need to listen to God more closely than others.
God brought to my mind the example of a bowling alley. Most experienced people can successfully bowl and hit some pins. Unfortunately, I am not that skilful! I need the sidebars in place to have any hope of my ball reaching the end of the alley. God uses dreams like sidebars – to nudge us back on course when we are going astray.
So, if you are not dreaming, it might just be that you are successfully navigating life and don’t need any correction! If you ready and open to receive, you can rest in peace that God will communicate with you – to get you back on track – when you need it.
- Psalm 32:3, The Passion Translation (TPT) I hear the Lord saying, “I will stay close to you, instructing and guiding you along the pathway for your life…”
When your understanding is not necessary
Another reason could be that you don’t need to understand the message! In other words, the outcome of the associated situation doesn’t require your cooperation; it will happen through God’s grace.
There are times when our cooperation is not necessary. God acts on our behalf by His grace.
There have been times in my life when I have dreamed all night yet not been able to explain any of it in the morning! Sometimes I know I have had great revelations and felt as though I was touching heaven – yet I can’t remember a single thing that makes sense when I wake up!
I used to get frustrated about those times; but now I am actually quite relieved! I take courage from the fact that God is working to bring about the good plans for my life. I assume that my spirit has picked up the necessary information, and it will eventually filter through to my conscious mind if I need to know!
So, if you know you are dreaming but can’t remember, it could be that God is assuring you that He is at work in your situation – but you don’t need to do anything.
The example of Abraham
The primary example of this in the covenant God made with Abraham in Genesis 15.
Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, terror and great darkness fell upon him…Now it came about, when the sun had set, that it was very dark, and behold, a smoking oven and a flaming torch appeared which passed between these pieces. On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying,“To your descendants I have given this land…”Genesis 15:12-19, NASB
Did you notice how God put Abram to sleep while he made the covenant? Essentially, God took Abram out of the scene and made the covenant with Himself. It was an unconditional covenant; there was nothing relying on Abram’s cooperation; God would personally ensure that it all happened.
There are times when we, like Abram, don’t need to know or understand. We just need to know that God is at work and will personally work on our behalf.
Real dream example
This is a dream I had recently which illustrates how God uses dreams to speak to us more frequently at some times than others, and how sometimes we need more input from Him.
It also shows quite nicely how God can use dreams to let us know what season we are in and how to respond!
The dream: Using Google maps at the river
I dreamed I was cycling along a path with hedges either side. Every now and then I passed a potential side area that I checked out, but it was always nothing so I kept going.
The path suddenly came to and end. There was a T junction at a river ahead. The river was essentially in front of me blocking my path.
I was meant to be meeting a friend at park and I had the grid reference. I knew it would mean coming off the single track and going though some busy streets. I would need Google maps to navigate that as it was complicated. The dream finished as I was getting my phone out of my bag to use the map.
The path represented by current journey; I had been gloing along quite happily for some time without much need for intervention. The path was clear and I couldn’t really go wrong.
The river represented the Holy Spirit. Essentially the Holy Spirit was about to intevene and block my path – and send me on a different way.
Google maps represented my connection to God for guidance. For me, this meant that I would have to pay close attention to my dreams (i.e. get my ‘phone’ out of my bag) for the upcoming period. I was going to require detailed guidance from God during this time.
We have discovered that everyone dreams, but we don’t always remember them!
If you have been dreaming regularly but it has suddenly stopped, it could be for a number of reasons:
- There are some basic foundations and habits for receiving and remembering dreams from God. It is worth checking whether those in are in place your life.
- Something may have changed in your life which is influencing your sleep and dreaming. Those could be lifestyle, attitude or spiritual changes.
- Sometimes God gives you a break from dreaming, or gives you dreams that you don’t need to remember or understand at the time.
And finally… remember to pray and ask God for his perspective. Ask whether there is anything you need to do to start remembering your dreams again, or if you can just relax and enjoy the break! Who knows, He may give you a dream to explain why it is happening!!
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The purpose of this blog is to provide solid biblical foundations for interpreting dreams, change mindsets in the church, and encourage others to make their own dream journey. I am primarily a writer and bible teacher – who loves dreams, and I hope you will be inspired to learn to interpret your own dreams.
It is not currently my aim to routinely engage in dream interpretations or provide training, except through writing blog posts. You can read my most up to date position on interpreting dreams here: Requests for dream interpretations.
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Taking inspiration from the bible to understand the symbolic language of dreams, plus real dream examples.
Bible verses, prayers, actions and affirmations for preparing you to receive dreams from God.
Practical tips for busy people – to help you remember your dreams, including different ways to record them.
- Where do I start when I have lots of dreams to interpret?
- Dream interpretation and the bible: Greek and Hebrew thinking
- Dream symbols: Rivers, seas, lakes and water – and what they mean
- Meeting Jesus in your dreams
- Engaging heaven in your dreams