Ever had trouble remembering your dreams, or wished you could remember them more clearly? In this post, we’ll go over some simple steps to help you encourage your own dream recall gently and naturally.
What is dream recall?
Put simply, dream recall is the ability to remember our dreams after we wake up. People experience all levels of dream recall, from vivid recollections that run from beginning to end, to disconnected flashes of imagery or emotion, to nothing at all.
Dream recall ebbs and flows over the course of the human lifespan. We may remember dreams vividly during one period of our lives, then find we remember very few of them for months or even years at a time. Whether you find periods without recall a relief or a disappointment usually depends on what kind of dreams you’ve been having. Some people feel that dream recall isn’t something that can be controlled – that you either remember your dreams, or you don’t.
The truth is that we can influence our own dream recall. By taking a few simple steps in our waking lives, we can learn to remember our dreams more fully and more often. We’ll take a look at some simple steps to increase dream recall in a moment, but first…
Why remember dreams at all?
A key tenet of Dreamosophy is:
When we remember our dreams, we remember ourselves.
In our dreams, we have the capacity to try out different versions of ourselves, and to be the version of ourselves that we like the best. We have the possibility and the power to make connections between our dreams and our waking lives – between who we are, and who we want to be. Dreamosophy seeks to help us make those connections in ways that invite, encourage, and support our own desire to build a future worth living into.
If we don’t remember our dreams, it becomes difficult to make connections between what’s happening in our dream lives and what’s happening in our waking lives. It becomes difficult to access the insights that dreams can offer us. When we remember our dreams, we have the opportunity to remember our best selves.
The Dreamosophy approach is all about developing a more profound, meaningful, and productive relationship with our dreams, and it all starts with remembering them! Read on to learn 8 basic steps for improving dream recall. If you’d like a more in-depth look, check out Wisdom of Dreaming: A Guide to an Effective Dream Life here.
How to Remember Dreams: 8 Basic Steps
- Start with getting a good night’s sleep! Ideally, you will be able to get a full night of uninterrupted sleep. A good night’s rest will allow your brain to move completely through the various stages of the sleep cycle, including REM sleep, which is when most dreaming occurs. The most important time for SLEEP is before midnight; but the most important time for DREAMING, is after 5-to-6 hours of sleep. The last 60-90 minutes are when the longest, most intense dreams tend to occur.
- Drink enough (not too much) water. Staying hydrated promotes healthy sleep, while drinking too much before bed can lead to nighttime interruptions when nature calls. Finding the balance can help you to optimize your sleep.
- Enjoy full-spectrum light, outside, for at least an hour each day. Natural sunlight, especially in the morning, supports circadian rhythm and can help you to sleep better at night.
- Eat a simple diet of natural foods – not too many processed, sweetened or stimulating foods. Foods that are highly processed, sweetened, or stimulating can interfere with metabolism and affect your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep at night.
- Enjoy moderate exercise—move your body! Regular exercise provides a host of benefits, including a potential reduction in insomnia, making it easier to enter into restful sleep.
- Have a regular dreamstream ritual. Have a routine that prepares you for dream-friendly sleep. More about this in a later post.
- When you first wake up, don’t move. Take a moment to lie in your bed and let the dreams wash back over you. Notice how you feel, and any images or sounds that come to you.
- Write your dreams down. Have you ever remembered a dream on waking, only to realize you’ve forgotten it later in the day? Even just jotting down a few keywords when you first wake up can help you to maintain your dream recall and remind yourself of what you dreamed.
It usually won’t work to try and force yourself to remember your dreams. Rather, use these simple steps to cultivate the conditions that are most likely to lead to dream recall. Don’t be concerned if your dream recall doesn’t improve right away. Keep engaging in these practices to support healthy sleep. Over time, you can begin to recall your dreams with greater frequency and greater depth.
These 8 steps are simply the beginning. Check out our book today to learn more about how to remember your dreams – and what to do with them once you do!