Twelve Tips for Improving Dream Recall
- Develop a relationship with your “unconscious.” When you tell your unconscious (“psyche”) that you want to hear what it has to say……it speaks!
- Sometimes, a simple interest in the dream world will stimulate dream recall.
- Go to bed early. Getting a full night’s sleep and having a clear head in the morning will help with dream recall.
- Before going to sleep, affirm: “Tonight, I will remember a dream…”
- Have a paper, a pen, and a subtle light by your bed. This minimizes the obstacles you may experience upon waking to record, minimizes the movements you must make, and makes the job easier. A subtle light will not fully wake you.
- Let yourself wake up in the middle of the night. Drink extra water, the night before, to assure that you will have to get up in the middle of the night, where you can often catch your self dreaming.
- Set aside quiet time between “waking up” and “getting up.” Savor the twilight…, that space one teeters between when they are half awake and half asleep.
- No alarm clocks. Alarm clocks can decrease recall because they allow you no “twilight time.” You are suddenly thrust into an awake state. Instead, try going to bed earlier so you wake up and savor that quiet time before the alarm does go off. Meanwhile, hopefully, memories of the dream images will surface in your silence.
- Try not to move upon awakening. Dreams are best recalled by lying still and letting the dream images surface. Ask “psyche” to let whatever you dreamt come to your conscious mind.
- Record just a key work or an image. If you can’t remember the whole dream, write down a fragment, a mood, a feeling. You can certainly discover meaning in dream snippets and fragments.
- Tell your dream to a trusted other or a dream partner. Saying them out loud can make them feel more real and can bring on an “aha!” (that light that goes on when we realize some thing). As author Jeremy Taylor says, this (“aha”) is a reliable touch stone of whether or not you are onto an accurate interpretation. You are the only one who can say for sure what a dream means for you.
- Tape recording dreams can help you get closer to the experience and feelings you had when you actually had the dream. It reflects back to you what you sounded like, and perhaps were feeling, (in the middle of the night) as you re corded the dream.
- Experiment with how you remember, record, analyze, and explore your dreams; try drawing, poetry, clay, and so on. Weave them into your day. Dreams can be the source of much inspiration, wisdom, and joy.
Few Words About Journaling
- Date your entry. This can help you later make connections between your dreams and the events in your life.
- Title your dreams. This can help in cataloging and, later, in locating dreams. Also, “where” you get the title tends to be from the same creative, inner place that the dream comes from. Pay attention to this!
- Write the dream in a journal in the present tense. This allows you to reserve the past tense for when it really happens in the dream (e.g., I am walking down the street and suddenly recognize a woman I once worked with). Writing the dream in the present tense also allows you to experience more closely and acutely the feelings you were actually having when you had the dream.
- Lastly, at the bottom of the page, make a few notes about what is going on in your life at the time. This can help you later see patterns.
- Choose a journal that meets your needs; this will make journaling a more pleasurable experience! For example, I find a journal that lies flat, has pages that can be removed and later reinserted, has pages that will not allow ink to bleed through to the other side, and, which has a hard back for support is most in line with my needs as a dream journaler.