There are 6 levels of dreamstate.
The first of which is the one where we either do not remember much, or are convinced that we didn't dream at all. Awareness is obviously not present in this first state. Usually going to bed exhausted or medicated might catalyze this stage.
The second of which is characterized by loose images, perhaps more foggy but certainly there. We awaken with an inkling of the dream, but not many details, just the "gist". Self awareness is present, but not controllable.
The third of which is the juicy stuff that tends to inspire activity on dream boards--- the vivid dreams, vivid colors, plots, themes are all memorable upon waking. Self-awareness is controllable, present, and an important factor.
Stage 2 and 3 can be accomplished with a "lighter" sleep. Perhaps this is why you are not feeling as rested.
The last 3 stages involve the ethereal and astral planes, and work in these dream states.