How To Remember Your Dreams
So you know that dream recall is important, but how exactly do you remember your dreams?
Typically, to lucid dream you'll want to improve dream recall so that you are remembering at least one or more dreams per night. (The average person has multiple dreams per night.)
There are three basic things that need to be worked on to improve dream recall:
1. Sleep Quality
3. Dream Journaling
If you have poor sleep quality, you will have poor dream quality.
You'll have to go to bed on time. This means no all-night Reddit or Netflix binges. When you wake up, chances are you won’t remember anything and you also miss out on the opportunity to become lucid. It's important to allow yourself enough sleep to wake up naturally in the morning.
By naturally we mean without an alarm clock, lights, a person, cat, etc. If you don't have an infant or small child to take care of, you should be able to accomplish this pretty easily. If you need 9 hours of sleep and need to be up at 6 every morning, go to bed at 8:30 pm. Give yourself 30 extra minutes to sleep and wake.
If you tell yourself you need to wake up at 6 you will usually wake up around 15 minutes earlier. No alarm clock needed. IF you go to bed early enough to get your recommended hours of sleep.
Getting enough sleep drastically improves the chance of remembering your dreams. Take the extra time you have when you wake up to remember and write your dreams down. If you have time, try to lay in bed and see if you can drift back into a lucid dream.
When an alarm or something similar wakes you up in the morning, you miss out on all the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep at the end of your sleep cycle before you wake up. REM is the stage of sleep when lucid dreams occur. Because morning is when your mind begins to wake in the sleep cycle, and alsowhen REM sleep closely mirrors a waking brain in activity, this is the golden hour to lucid dream and remember it!
Repeat after me: “I need to remember my dreams." "I will remember my dreams." This is what you need to tell yourself throughout the day and especially at night before you go to sleep. It's important when having this intention to also put emotion behind it, really feel like you need to remember it.
Having the intention to remember your dreams initiates the beginning steps to subconscious induction. When you try to remember your dreams it basically does two things:
1. Teaches your subconscious mind that dreams/lucid dreams are important and must be remembered.
2. Begins to draw your awareness into the dream state, allows you to begin experiencing more vivid dreams, and most importantly, know how it feels to be dreaming. This is very important in doing DILDs or Dream Initiated Lucid Dreams.
Before you go to sleep at night, read or go over in your mind what you dreamed about on previous nights. This takes you into the mindset of already remembering your dreams before you fall asleep.
Using a dream journal and actually writing your dreams down is the best way to record your dreams when you awake in the morning. Writing something is commonly understood to improve memory recall over typing or voice recording.
Keeping a dream journal is crucial in placing dream significance in your life. Writing at least one dream down per day will help you discover dream signs and recurring themes that can help induce lucidity.
When you first wake up in the morning you should try not to move. Before you get yourself unsettled and start thinking of other things, be still for 5 minutes and try to remember your dreams. Most likely if you wake up with no memory, a few things will begin to come back.
How to Keep a Dream Journal
1. Use a journal or notebook that is specifically used for writing your dreams down. Keep it within reach wherever you sleep so that even in the middle of the night when it is dark, you can find it.
Invest in a red light pen for writing dreams at night and keep it next to your journal. Red light affects your night vision the least. These red light pens allow you the opportunity to wake up in the early morning or at night to write your dreams down without getting up to turn on a lamp or light that will blind you. Crucial for those serious about remembering and writing at any moment.
If you don't have a suitable journal or want something more personalized, try these customizable journals that have lucid dreaming prompts and areas for writing greater detail. They include spaces for describing images, dream themes, emotions, date, time, lucidity, etc.
2. Try to write down as much as you can remember about the dream in detail. Write about thoughts, actions, feelings, environment, sounds, and more.
If you feel pressed for time, you don't actually have to write everything in full detail. Just try writing the overall basics, things that allow you to grasp the whole story. If you can however, you should try to write as much as possible.
3. Identify dream signs and themes.
Write down or underline recurring dream themes or signs that will help you recognize the dream state next time you are dreaming. If you constantly dream about being at school or being around water, note these things in the journal. Identifying these themes will help you recognize when you are dreaming. Remind yourself the next time you are in a similar scene to do a reality check and question if you are dreaming.
Note all the dream signs, or things that should have indicated to you that you were in a dream, for example, a flying bison. Make the intention to recognize incongruity or strange things like this in the future and question if you are dreaming.
4. Sketch any impressionable images from the dream. Even if you aren't an Alex Grey, sketches can enable you to further visualize the dream when remembering.
5. Write a memorable title for the dream, remember to indicate somehow if the dream was lucid or semi-lucid. Identify what it was that may have caused you to become lucid within the dream and remember to notice those things in the future.
Be sure to utilize all the tools we discussed, like the custom dream journal and red-light pen to improve recall and stay
Livin' Lucid Dreams...