You can practice skills that will help you learn how to remember your dreams more often and use those dreams to help you solve challenges in your life. These tips will walk you through improving your dream recall skills.
Did you know that everyone dreams but not everyone remembers their dreams to the same degree? I remember my dreams several times a month, a friend of mine remembers his dreams several times a week, and my husband never remembers his dreams. The ability to remember your dreams is called “dream recall”. It’s a skill that can be improved over time if you work at it – like any new skill you want to develop.
What is a Dream?
A dream is a visual of your brain at work when you’re sleeping. There are different levels of brain activity that take place when you sleep. During one phase of sleep known as REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement), your brain operates at a level similar to that of being awake. During REM, your brain is actively working away and you see your brain activity played out in symbols and pictures. If you remember that visual upon waking – you remember your dream.
If dreams are visualizations of your mind’s work, then being able to interpret those visuals into meanings can give you incredible insights into what problems you are facing, what type of stress they are placing on you, even clues as to how to solve those problems.
Many people dream along a common thread, although the pictures and visuals may be different, the meanings are similar in nature. Over the years, collections of symbols in dreams have been documented to have a specific definition. For example, lots of people have dreams about snakes. This doesn’t mean they are afraid of snakes. Instead, a snake can symbolize a transition state or, in some references, might be representative of an evil or danger you sense close to you in your life.
There are tens of thousands of symbols in dreams that have been documented in collections and books you can use as reference guides for your dreams. This is the key to being able to use your dreams to gain information about what’s troubling you and how to resolve any issues you may be dealing with.
Review some of the best available reference guides here: Dream Interpretation Books
Since everyone dreams, the fact that you don’t remember them or don’t recall them very often simply means you’ve trained yourself – subconsciously – to ignore those visions. To remember them more often, you need to train yourself to pay attention to them again.
Start keeping notes in a dream journal. Keep a notebook or tape recorder handy beside your bed. Journaling your dream memories should be the first thing you do when you wake up as the memories are fresh in your mind and can fade quickly. Even if you wake up in the middle of the night, make a note of ANY details you remember from dreams.
If you have really poor dream recall, it may take some time before you have anything to write down but having the notebook readily available does two things. First, it lets you take notes quickly (keep a pen or pencil tucked alongside). Second, it’s a visual reminder to your brain that you know you are dreaming and you’d like to be able to experience them.
Dream Recall Exercises
Have you ever tried to lose weight and reached what’s called a plateau? You’re zipping along losing a pound or two a week and then, no matter what you try, you can’t lose a pound for anything. Weeks go by and you’re stuck. That’s a plateau. To break past a plateau, experts tell you to shock your muscles. Do a new workout, try a new routine, change up what you’ve been doing. If you’ve been running a mile day, run two miles next time. If you have trouble remembering your dreams, you need to change things up.
If you go to bed without any background noise, try sleeping with the television on one night or with your radio on softly. If one type of music or television show doesn’t jolt a dream you remember, change stations. There are MP3 audio clips that are designed at certain frequencies to help induce a dream state. Put those on your iPod and fall asleep with headphones on. (You can get some free binaural beat audio clips to try at: the Unexplainable Store.)
You could also try sleeping in a different position or different place. Take a nap in the middle of the day outside on a patio chair (wait until the snow is gone!). The different noises you hear while being outside during daylight can jolt more vivid dreams.
Read a mystery novel while in bed right before you fall asleep. Make it one you can hardly put down so it’s the last thing you remember right as your eyes start to close. (A good Stephen King novel can do wonders for dreams!)
If you exercise your ability to remember your dreams, you will find they stick with you more often, no matter how little you recall them right now.