October 16th, 2010

Three Easy Steps for Remembering Your Dreams and Improving Dream Recall

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Remembering Your Dreams

Dreams are today’s answers to tomorrow’s questions.

-Edgar Cayce

Upon waking, people typically forget more than 50 percent of their dream content within five minutes. Within ten minutes, 90% is gone. But with practice, many people have learned how to remember their dreams every day. Most of these dreamers would say that remembering their dreams gives them insight that they did not have before. It helps them learn more about themselves, and adapt to changes in their waking life.

“Practice makes perfect” has definitely been the case for me. I used to rarely remember my dreams. Shortly after I started practicing the steps below, I was remembering one dream per night. Now I usually remember 3-4 dreams per night.

Why Remember Your Dreams?

Your brain takes in a lot of information during the day. Your conscious mind is not able to process all of this information while you are awake. When you go to sleep, your dreaming mind has access to this information that was not available to you while you were awake. Your dreams might reveal new insights, desires, or help you solve a problem creatively. If you remember your dreams, you will have access to more self knowledge and might learn more about your true thoughts and feelings.

Famous Dream Inspirations

These famous individuals used their dreams to help them with inspiration:

  • Albert Einstein: Einstein’s Theory of Relativity
  • Paul McCartney: The Beatles song “Yesterday”
  • Mary Shelly: The monster Frankenstein
  • Elias Howe: The Sewing Machine

Preparation for Improving Your Dream Recall

  • Go to your local bookstore and buy a nice journal which you will devote solely to capturing your dreams. Also purchase a book light which you can clip on to this journal, and a nice pen.
  • Place your dream journal, pen, and book light close to your bed or under your pillow
  • Tell yourself that when you wake up the next morning, you will remember your dreams

Step 1) Make a conscious effort to remember dreams before you go to sleep

As you’re falling asleep, suggest to yourself that you will wake up remembering your dreams. You can use a mantra (such as “I will remember my dreams”). Instead of putting intentional effort into the suggestion, try to genuinely expect to remember your dreams. Just be careful not to put too much intentional effort into the mantra. Instead, try to genuinely expect to remember your dreams.

Step 2) Upon awakening, stay in bed as long as possible and replay the dream in your mind

It is generally accepted by dream researchers that dreams are not remembered unless the dreamer awakens during a dream. Even after awaking during the dream, it is usually not remembered for long. Therefore, every time you wake up in the night, and the next morning, ask yourself, “What was I just dreaming?”

Stay in the same position and think your dreams over before jumping out of bed. After you have remembered your dream, move to a different position (with your eyes still closed) that you normally sleep in, and try and remember other dreams. The position that you are in may help your brain remember what dream you had while sleeping in that position.

Dream Journal

Step 3) Write about the dream in a dream journal

Capture as much detail as possible, including the estimated time of the dream. If you are too groggy when you awake, just jot down a summary, and try to fill in the gaps the next morning.

Your dream recall will improve with time. Before I started capturing my dreams in a dream journal, I rarely remembered them. After using a dream journal for several weeks, I was remembering at least one dream per night, often 3-4.

Other Tips for Dream Recall

  • You need at least 8 hours of sleep per night. Most of your dreams will occur during the end of your sleep cycle (REM phase), so you need to ensure you are getting enough sleep to begin this phase.
  • Keep your Dream Journal or a notepad with you at all times. It is likely your daily activities may remind you of something in your dream. As you remember these details, write them down immediately.
  • Try to go to sleep at the same time and wake up at the same time each day to increase the quality of your sleep

This post is part of the Dream Evolver Series

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