If you are one of these people who would like to have lucid dreams, first, you need to learn some essentials, such as how to remember your dreams
It is important to practice dream remembrance methods. The techniques will help you to identify a pattern and to structure your dreams.
Writing your dreams down in a journal is a crucial tool in helping you remember your dreams.
After a dream, you should wake up and write down everything you remember.
Another thing, it is important to get plenty of sleep.
You can have several dreams within one REM (the last stage of our sleep, where our dream appears).
Typically, dreams get longer as the night proceeds; Hence, plenty of sleep gives you time to record all the details.
In brief, we will talk about:
A quick reminder of the 5 sleeping stages
What process in the brain allows you to remember dreams
Why do memories of vivid dreams disappear soon after waking up
10 EASY STEPS on how to remember your dreams better
+ Action steps that you can implement right away!
1. 5 Sleeping stages
It is important to understand the stages of our sleep so you can be able to improve your dream recall.
During the night we are going through 4 non-REM stages.
After that, we enter the REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement), where the dreaming is appearing.
The 4 non-REM stages are:
It is right after we fall asleep.
Here, we are relaxed, the eyes and muscle activity slows down, and we can awake really easy.
It can last around 10-20 minutes.
This one prepares our bodies for deep sleep.
Our heart rate and body temperature will lower.
The 1st and the 2nd stage are referred to as a “light sleep”.
This one lasts approximately 20-30 minutes.
Here, the deep sleep begins, where we cannot be easily woken up.
During this stage a person may experience sleepwalking, talking during one’s sleep and similar conditions which are known as parasomnias.
It starts 35-45 minutes after falling asleep.
Deep sleep continues.
Stage 3 and 4 are often grouped together due to the fact that they are periods of slow wave sleep (SWS).
Slow wave sleep is the deepest sleep that our bodies are entering through the night.
If you wake up someone who is in this stage, they will feel disoriented and dazed for a few minutes.
REM sleep first takes place after you’ve been sleeping for around 90 minutes.
REM sleep lasts around 10 minutes and during this period, our brains activity increases, our pulse quickens, and we have vivid dreams.
REM stages typically get longer and longer as the night goes by.
2. What process in the brain allows you to remember dreams?
As we already mentioned above, sleep occurs in five different stages where the brain functions vary.
During sleep, the frequency of brain waves changes as the night proceeds.
An important neurotransmitter for remembering (norepinephrine), exists at very low levels during dreaming.
Some brain functions associated with electrical communication of the neurons, that are responsible for long-term memory, ”shut down” during sleep, which explains why people forget dreams after waking up.
But when a person wakes up, the neurons begin to record and work.
Hence, waking up in the middle of a dream or focusing on dream recalling as the first thing when you wake up can help in dream recall.
3. Why do memories of vivid dreams disappear soon after waking up?
During the 5th stage of sleep (REM), where the dreams occur, neurochemicals conditions take place in the brain, which facilitates dreams but not memory.
Besides, the cerebral cortex contains norepinephrine.
This hormone controls elements of memory, consciousness, language, and thought.
The norepinephrine remains ‘asleep’ during the REM stage of sleep thus explaining why we forget dreams after waking up.
Nevertheless, human memory is wired to remember the most interesting things.
Activities that you consider of importance activate the Dorsolateral PreFrontal Cortex (DLPFC), which also plays a key role in memory.
Although we forget most of our dreams, certain stories that are consistent remain because of the DLPFC activation.
4. Step by step guide on how to remember your dreams better
Part 1: Normal Sleeping Patterns / Good night sleep
Plenty of sleep ensures your body and mind are at rest thus able to focus on dream remembrance.
On the other hand, having a normal sleeping pattern is crucial in establishing the REM stage.
A benefit of getting enough sleep is that helps you to bring dreams closer to each other hence ease of relating them as one.
We all dream every night, about one dream period every 90 minutes.
The first dream of the night is the shortest, approximately 10 minutes in length.
Since REM stage gets longer during the night, after 8 hours of sleep, dream periods can be 45 minutes to an hour long.
WHAT TO DO (ACTION STEP):
Simply try to go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning
Get at least 7-9 hours of sleep, each night
Be careful what you eat before bed! You can always try to make a sleep-inducing smoothie, which can affect positively, both your dreams and sleep! Find out why and how!
Part 2: Dream Journal
A dream journal is a must-have for successful dream recalling.
Be prepared to quickly jot down details of the dreams before the mind is distracted.
If you wish, you can also sketch and draw small objects or pictures, which will make the process of remembering even more efficient.
WHAT TO DO:
Hold your dream Journal NEXT to your bed – before you get to sleep, always ensure your journal is lying next to you
Record your dreams on your phone – another practicable and easy solution is to record your dreams, either voice-record or in your notes
If you still don’t have your dream journal and if you find writing your dreams as something not so interesting, check out this:
This journal offers an easy way to explore your subconscious, to ”analyze” and easily put down more about the last dream that you had.
It will definitely make the experience much more pleasant and fun, especially if you are not a big fan of dream journaling!
Part 3: Wake up during the night
Experts demonstrate that REM periods occur at ninety-minute intervals. This is the time you will most likely be dreaming. Setting an alarm to wake you at these intervals is important.
There is a high probability to recall the dreams in the night than wait till the morning.
With a definite sleeping pattern, you can set alarm at given intervals, for instance, after 90-100 minutes (during REM stage) to wake up and record your dreams in your journal.
When you wake up in the night the change to recall your dream is much higher.
In the morning you may find out that you don’t remember anything about your dream.
Another thing is that even if you have some memories in the morning, we often only remember just our last dreams.
As the researchers showed, dreams are not recalled unless the sleeper awakens directly from the dream (REM stage), rather than after waking up while being in the non-REM stages of sleep.
Establishing sleep patterns with respect to the five stages of sleep is crucial to dream recall.
Waking up more frequently during the night will help the body to adapt to a certain pattern thus will be able to capture thoughts on the dream before your mind starts to distract.
WHAT TO DO:
It is recommended to wake up after at least 4 hours of sleep.
Since REM stage appears approximately in 90-minute intervals, by setting the alarm at 4.50, 6, or 7.5 hours after you go to sleep, so you will wake up directly from the dream.
And once again, when you wake up, don’t move and think first of what you were just dreaming before writing.
If you don’t feel like writing out a long dream story at 4 AM, note down key points.
If you want to remember a dialogue or precise content, you should write it down, since words will be forgotten in a very short time.
Part 4: Alarm close to your bed
Sleep depth is different in people.
If you fall deeply into sleep, an alarm would be beneficial.
In the morning, if you can wake up without alarm, this will be even better for you because dream recalling should be a natural process that your body should adopt.
WHAT TO DO:
Keep your alarm clock next to your bed – If your alarm clock is near your bed you will not have to get up because getting out of bed changes your thought process and there is a less chance that you will remember your dreams
The alarm sound should be as calm as possible not to stress the mind while transitioning from the dream
A good idea is to use a white should machine that will ensure the relaxed and smooth way of waking you up
Part 5: Put notes around you with the question ” What did you dream ”
Just like any concept or habit you wish to adapt, consistency is imperative.
Constantly reminding yourself of what you dreamt helps you to focus and in the long-term realize lucid dreams.
WHAT TO DO:
Put a note (or a few) around your bed, on a visible place asking ” What did you dream? ” – in that way, your mind will be focused on dream recall right after you wake up
Part 6: Dream Anchor
This is on basis of Neuro-Linguistic Programming technique (NLP).
You should choose an object in your room that when you see it after waking up, it reminds you of remembering your dreams.
With time, the mind gets accustomed to remembering dreams.
WHAT TO DO:
Stay in the same position when you wake up!
Do not move from the position in which you awaken, and do not think of the day’s concerns – if you do, then you will forget most of it or even the whole dream
By choosing an object (Dream Anchor) you will train your mind to remember your dreams whenever you see that object.
Doing this for some time, you will see what a powerful way to boost dream recall is!
Part 7: Have your dream journal with you throughout your day
Having your dream journal throughout the day helps you to stay focused on the goal.
Achieving lucid dreams is possible if you commit to it.
The mind needs a constant reminder to focus.
Another thing is that often is happening that you see or hear something throughout your day, that reminds you of the dream that you had!
So, having your dream journal comes in handy.
WHAT TO DO:
Note down whatever you remember
Continue to think about it, perhaps you will get back some more memories
TIP: Give a title to each dream!
That helps in reference and in some cases is an opportunity for more insight.
There is never a clear meaning of dreams, therefore, we continue referring back to them and thinking over the same.
Part 8: Notice Patterns
There are times that you had vivid dreams and you were able to recall them easier than usual.
Try to be aware of small details that could affect your dreams, such as:
– food – there are varieties of foods that contain vitamins that can affect our dreams (see the TOP 30 foods HERE)
– a specific time of going to bed and waking up
All these things may affect our dreaming and dream recall.
WHAT DO TO:
Have a separate page/section in your dream journal where you can write down all of these notes
Part 9: Vitamin B6
Back in 2002 was done the first study, whereafter the second one followed in 2018.
Both studies found that taking vitamin B6 before sleep significantly improved the participants’ ability to remember their dreams the following day! Yay!
WHAT TO DO:
Accordingly to the studies, taking 250 mg of B6 before bed will improve your dream recall
Part 10: Remind yourself to remember
Making a conscious decision to remember dreams ensures you achieve the same.
You should constantly remind yourself throughout the day and before sleep of your intention to remember dreams.
WHAT TO DO:
You can place around your apartment notes with the sentence ” Remember your dream ”, or similar intention
All in all, learning to recall your dreams may seem very hard, but if persistently follow the given steps above, you will certainly succeed.
Also, you will reach a point that you will remember 3-4 or even more dreams per night, just by implementing the tips.
Be aware that there are factors that affect the brain’s function and natural process of dreaming and recalling such as:
your state of mind, medications, alcohol, sounds, irregular sleeping patterns, depression and anxiety (that are often accompanied by nightmares).
You should ensure these are taken care of before attempting the steps to recall dreams.