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How To Remember Your Dreams | Dream Encyclopedia


How To Remember Your Dreams

Many people are convinced that they do not dream. ‘My head hits the pillow and I’m out for the count’, they often say, ‘and when Iwake up in the morning, I cannot recall having had any dreams’. Scientific research, however, confirms that we all dream at regular intervals throughout the night.

Every 90 minutes or so your eyes move rapidly around under your closed eyelids. At the same time your brainwaves become highly active, almost as though you were awake. It’s during this period of what is known as ‘Rapid Eye Movement’ or ‘REM sleep’ that you dream. In the early part of the night, which is when sleep is deepest, the REM periods are quite short, lasting only a few minutes at most. Towards morning, as your sleep becomes lighter, the REM episodes become longer. The last dream you have just before waking up can last for as long as three-quarters of an hour.

During REM sleep, your body is immobilized. This means that if you have a nightmare where you try to run away or cry out, you feel para¬ lyzed. People who walk and talk in their sleep usually do so between periods of REM sleep when the body is once again able to move.

Although some people have a natural facility for remembering their dreams, particularly those with emotional, creative or introverted personalities, few can bring back the whole experience whilst others recall little or nothing. Accurate dream recall is not easy. You learn it, as you learn any skill, by developing an interest, maintaining your enthusiasm and following a routine.

If you have a stressful lifestyle, try not to watch television late in the evening. Instead, spend a few minutes relaxing quietly and letting go of the day’s concerns. If you find it hard to switch off, light reading can be helpful and alcohol and coffee late at night should be avoided. They

are known to inhibit dream recall, as can sleeping pills. Keep a pen and a notebook within easy reach of your bed. Leave this special notebook open and write down the date as a signal to your subconscious mind that you intend to remember a dream.

As you start drifting off into sleep, tell yourself: Tonight Ishall have a dream and remember it in the morning.’ When you wake up, lie still and keep your eyes closed. Allow your mind to stay relaxed, drifting back until you recapture a fragment of a dream. Even a single image is better than nothing. As soon as you remember anything, write it down, however trivial it seems. Make it a habit to write something - even a note of the mood you woke up in is better than nothing. It’s important to do this first thing, before you get out of bed. The simple act of changing your position in bed can be enough to make a dream disappear without trace. A loud alarm clock can have a similar effect. Do remember that no skill is acquired overnight. Be patient and persevere.

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