Technicolour Dreams

By Clinton Marquardt - Sleep & Fatigue Specialist

November 18, 2007

dreams, REM sleep

“Do you dream in colour?” For most people, this is a hard question to answer. It’s surprising though because colour is everywhere in our waking lives and you would expect it to be everywhere in our dreams. But this omnipresence is probably the exact reason why people don’t mention colour all that often when recalling a dream. It’s there, but we just don’t notice it. In our dreams and in our awake experiences, colour is not noticed unless it is out of the ordinary like finding a blue tangerine. It would also be noticed if it was removed from our sensory experiences. You would notice right away if you were suddenly colour blind.

Researchers have found that people mention colour in about 1 in 3 dreams (29%). This does not mean that two thirds of your dreams are black and white. It only means that you will notice or remember colour in 1 out of every 3 dreams.

Other researchers found that green is the most commonly reported colour in dreams that occur during REM sleep. Red was the second most frequent colour. Yellow and blue appeared only 50% as often as green.

Want more colourful dreams? One technique is to change your daily waking habits by taking time to notice the colours around you. There is no better time of year than the spring to soak up all the colours. Stop a few times a day and enjoy the colours of the tulips, daffodils and buds sprouting on every tree and bush. You will find that the more attention you pay to colour while awake, the more you will notice colour in your dreams.

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