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Dream recall: How to remember dreams

Learning how to remember your dreams is an important part of lucid dreaming – you will want to remember the awesome time you had the next day! Techniques to do this may have been already touched upon in our other lucid dreaming explanations, but this section should give you a proper understanding of some methods you can use to train your mind into efficiently recalling your dreams.

Maintain a healthy, regular sleep cycle

PandaOne of the best ways to enhance dream recall is to make sure you get a regular, good night's sleep. Dreams take place during the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) phase of the sleep cycle, which is repeated more and more the longer you sleep. The first REM phase is the shortest and happens quite quickly after falling asleep. This first dream will only last a few minuets, making it hard to remember the dream. With each following REM phase, your dreams will become longer, more vivid and memorable - dreams after 8 hours of sleep being the best.

If you only get 6 hours of sleep, or have bad sleeping habits, then you are very unlikely to remember any dreams; this is why some people say they never dream, it is actually more likely that they do not sleep enough to get far enough into the REM sleep cycle for their dreams to become memorable – it is not until after 6 hours of sleep that dreams start lasting 45-60 minutes and become really vivid.

Do not consume food, alcohol or other drugs right before bed

No alcohol drugs food

Any chemicals you ingest can affect your ability to remember dreams, in a positive or in a negative way. Some particular herbs enhance sleep and dream activity, while others will work against it. Unless you are taking a particular dreaming supplement, it is best to refrain from ingesting anything for a few hours before sleeping. This way your brain will be devoid of any interfering chemicals, allowing you to have the best chance you can of remembering your dream when you wake.

Keep a notepad and pen next to your bed

Doing this will allow you to write down your dreams as soon as you wake at any point during your sleep, before you forget them. Make sure to write down everything, not just the gist, or the interesting bits. It is handy to make sure it is in the same location every night and is open at a plank page, so you do not have to clamber about. Writing down your dreams and reading them back the next day will help reinforce dream memory within you, and get you into good lucid dream habits.

Be determined to remember your dreams

This may sound odd, but it works. By having the intention of coming fully awake and remembering your dreams you can actually do so. It works in the same way as when you know you have to get up at a certain time in the morning and you wake just before the alarm rings. The first thing you need to think upon waking is “What was I dreaming?”. Do not move, do not think about the day ahead, just go over the dream a few times and then write it down.

Set regular alarms

AlarmEarlier we mentioned how the deeper you get into your sleep cycle, the longer and more vivid your dreams can become. This method will allow you to remember you longest and most recent dream, but is likely to have you forgetting all of the others you had. An alternative method for those who want to write down all of their dreams, is to set your alarm at intervals throughout the night to wake you up 4 ½, 6, and 71/2 hours after you fall asleep. Ideally, these intervals should wake you during each of your REM phases of sleeping, allowing you to write down more dreams, giving you a bit more of an intensive memory workout.

Extra Tips

It is good to read through your dream journal each night before you go to bed. This will get you in the right mind set to remember your dream.

Practice makes perfect. You may find it quite hard going at first, but continuing to follow the same regime each night should see you gradually improving - hang in there.

Keep a note pad with you throughout the day. As you go about your business, keep trying to remember extra details about your dream. If you remember anything, write it down.

Look for patterns in the dreams you have recorded. This will be helpful for both lucid dreaming and dreaming recall, enforcing it within your brain.

Remember that your recordings are a personal experience, they do not need to make sense to other people.

Record whatever you remember, even if it does not make sense to you!

Dreams then to be easier to remember if you record them in the present tense.

If you have a recurring dream, record it also – it is the habit of recording, as well as the dream content itself that will help you remember your future dreams.


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