Professor Nathaniel Kleitman (1895–1999), a University of Chicago physiologist and co-conductor of the Kleitman-Dement dream research findings, is known as the father of modern sleep research. Kleitman said that dreams are hard to remember because the higher centers of the brain are deactivated during sleep—or are operating at a much slower pace than during hours of consciousness.
The cerebral cortex is that portion of the brain that selects, abstracts, sorts, and memorizes when it is fully activated; but when the rest of the body sleeps, it, too, takes a nap, and that makes the memory of dreams a bit difficult at best.
The memory of dreaming, then, must in some way awaken the cerebral cortex, on cue, so that individuals can better remember what they dream. The habit of writing a dream down immediately upon awakening will, to a degree, help set the cortex on the alert so it can go into action on a moment's notice.
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