One of the most frequently asked questions I receive with clients is: “How can I remember my dreams? Many people believe they don’t have dreams but this is simply not true.
In fact we average about five to seven dreams in a full night’s sleep!
However there are many reasons why we don’t remember our dreams.
Some factors may include: alcohol consumption, medication, high stress, illness or perhaps a fear of the dream material itself. There is even some research theorizing a genetic disposition that might lend to the dream forgetfulness of a person right before coming out of sleep.
I believe the number one reason we don’t remember our dreams is because our Western culture has taught us that dreams are not important.
Whatever the case may be, there are many helpful techniques in how to improve dream recall and here are some of them.
- Keep a journal and writing implement by your bed. By honoring a place for your dreams allows for “permission” and motivation to recall them. It also helps to give yourself verbal suggestions before bedtime that you will remember your dream when you awake. Mindful intention is key to dream recall.
- A routine sleep schedule i.e. sleeping and waking at the same time each day helps in dream recollection.
- Using alcohol, medication and certain foods may hinder dream recall. Avoid taking before bedtime. However some people swear by certain herbs and vitamins like beta carotene, anise and even mugwort put under the pillow to enhance dreams.
- Drinking water before bedtime and then needing to wake to use the bathroom is often a good way to remember dreams during the night though not always recommended if you are trying to get a good night sleep!
- When you do awake from a dream make sure to lie still and even more importantly remain in the same position as you were when you had the dream. Try to remember as much of the emotions, details or images as you can before physically rising out of bed.
- Write down the dream as soon as you awake. If you can’t remember most of it, try and think of at least one detail, color or even draw an image. Sometime just the slightest detail jogs the memory and the dream comes flooding back.
- Finally, relax. If you can’t recall the dream at first remember we have many dreams per night. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to recall at least one dream with practice and persistence. It also gets easier with time and it’s worth it.