Tips to Remember Dreams
Maintain good, consistent sleep habits. Not getting enough sleep or going to bed ‘dog-tired’ can dramatically reduce natural dreaming activity. Here is a list of tips if you are having trouble getting restful sleep.
When you go to bed tell yourself that you will remember your dreams. Repeat “I will remember my dreams” to yourself several times as you drift off to sleep. It sounds odd, but this tip has been shown again and again to be one of the most helpful.
Try to wake up slowly to remain within the ‘mood’ of your last dream. Use an alarm clock with a gentle wake setting (sometimes called a progressive wake). This type of alarm starts at a low volume and gradually increases.
Awake at least once during the night, many times this will occur around an REM sleep cycle. Set an alarm or drink a lot of water prior to bed to ensure you have to wake up at least once.
Think about, but do not dwell upon your mood/emotions as you drift off to sleep. Keep positive thoughts top of mind before you doze off. No worrying or being concerned about problems or to-do lists for tomorrow.
Avoid alcohol near bedtime. Alcohol reduces the frequency and density of REM sleep. It keeps you from getting into the deepest stages of your sleep patterns.
Keep a pad and pencil next to your bed so you can jot down quick notes about your dream if you awake during the night (you may not remember it by morning) or as soon as you get up in the morning. Just the process of writing things down may help you recall more information about your dreams. These dream thoughts fade fast.
Start a dream journal. Take your notes and recollections of you dreams and record your dreams in journal or story form. There are tablet and phone apps that can help you with this and make it very convenient.
Discuss your dreams with friends and family members. Just articulating your dreams can help you remember additional details. Think about them during quiet time. You may recall some of the deeper memories in details.
If you awake during the night, think about your previous dream as you go back to sleep. This will help to reinforce the dream for improved dream recall in the morning. Do your best to re-enter where you left off if possible. Stay on that track, and don’t stray.
Just a thought …
~Justin Taylor, ORDM., OCP., DM.