Learning how to remember dreams may seem like quite a daunting task at first. The idea of tapping into your subconscious while you are asleep does require some training. It also requires a bit of preparation and self-control on your part. Since the average person dreams four to six different dreams every night, the idea that you can remember one or more of those dreams can make your odds a bit better.
Most everyone has had the experience of vividly remembering a dream at some time in their lives. The conditions present at the time of these events may have inadvertently occurred and allowed you to retain an accurate account of who, what, when, and where the dream took place. Here, we hope to be able to show you how to intentionally recreate the conditions necessary to make it more likely to remember, and even control, what happens in your dreams.
10 Easy Steps Reveal How to Remember Dreams
While some techniques may be more useful than others, try them all and see what worked best. There are a few of things that you can try that will prepare you to have more memorable dreams.
1. Decide to remember your dreams
It may sound simplistic, but to put your subconscious mind in a condition to remember your dreams, you need to “prime the pump.” If you repeat to yourself that you want to remember your dreams when you are falling asleep, that desire transfers to the subconscious mind and begins the process.
Tell yourself that not only do you want to remember what you dream, but that you absolutely will remember your dreams! While none of these methods may work the first few times you use them, over time you will find that they will. As long as keep telling yourself that you will remember your dreams, it will happen. You will eventually condition your mind to remember more and more details about your dreams. You have to work at it, but it will happen.
Remember to write in your journal before you go to sleep, “I will remember my dream in the morning!”
2. Take it seriously
Be sure you are taking the entire exercise seriously. If you do not, you may as well stop before you start. Always remember that you are trying to condition your brain to adjust how it processes and erases dreams. If you’re consciously skeptical of the ability to retain and control your dreams, your subconscious will follow suit. Even if you are not wholly convinced, reserve your final judgment until you have tried a few things. You will never learn how to remember dreams if you have doubts.
3. Try some B-6 vitamin
Several studies indicate that taking B-6 vitamin can be useful in learning how to remember dreams. A study from Australia tested 100 subjects. Some used B-6 and some used a placebo. The group using Vitamin B-6 was found to have an “improved” ability to recall their dreams when compared with a placebo-taking group. If you have no medical or other objection to taking it, B-6 may be able to assist you.
4. Avoid alcohol or drugs if possible
Alcohol or some drugs might help you sleep, but they have the same impact on your brain when you sleep as they do when you are awake. If you have a bit of a problem remembering small details when using drugs or alcohol, you will have the same issues trying to remember dreams. Knowing how to remember dreams will require a clear head.
5. Use your personal keys
This may all sound somewhat complicated, but you should find it far simpler once you have the knack. Get in the habit of using keys to check your mind to decide whether you are dreaming or not. After you have developed this habit, you will be able to remember your dreams more accurately and commit them to your conscious memory in a much stronger way.
Using keys, like having the ability to fly or possessing superhuman strength, can trigger the realization that you are dreaming. Seeing very famous people or people that you know are not alive, or that may be fictional can also trigger this realization.
The realization that you are in a situation so unbelievable or a place that can’t be real can be mental triggers that you are dreaming. After you realize that the setting is just too bizarre to be anything but a dream, you’ll be more likely to remember them. You may even begin controlling where the dream goes. Granted, some people are uncomfortable with this scenario. You will eventually only feel the need to attempt “key confirmation” behavior when you are not 100 percent sure.
6. Employ dream anchors
Employing a method known as NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) will help trigger your mind as you learn how to remember dreams. Just the opposite of a key, an anchor reminds you that you are now really awake and should immediately try to record your dream. Make it an object that you cannot miss seeing first thing in the morning as you wake up.
Actively say to yourself out loud, “I will remember my dreams more clearly when I see this picture of my daughter,” or whatever object you choose. Just be sure you can’t possibly avoid seeing it the moment you wake up. A bright object such as a glowing alarm clock or cell phone screens cause the mind to be distracted, and it will immediately begin erasing your dream.
Eventually, you will come to realize that you will remember more and more dreams, sparked by using a triggering object. Your mind will begin to use that object to trigger the process of dream recollection subconsciously.
7. Record your dreams immediately after you awaken
The connections in your brain are wired to tell the difference between dreams and reality. If not for this function, there would be no way of knowing it was just a dream. What kind of mental chaos would you have to endure not being able to separate dreams from reality?
Another thing your brain does for you is to delete the memory of your dreams when you wake up. Until you have “trained’ your mind to remember your dreams, a useful method is to write them down immediately when you awaken. Until you can remember your dreams accurately and thoroughly, keep a journal beside your bed. Use it to write down or record whatever you can remember.
As time passes, you will be much more adept at transcribing more and more of your dreams. Eventually, you’ll reach a point when you know how to remember dreams fully and will have no need for writing them down. You don’t necessarily have to use a pad and pencil. Some people prefer making an audio recording of their dream descriptions. If you do this, an additional technique becomes available to you.
If drawing scenes as you remember them will help you recall more clearly, give it a try. Don’t worry about the quality. Use stick figures, if you wish — anything to help you remember. Also, note your feelings and emotions concerning events in the dream. They can help trigger more detail. Even if you can’t remember anything at first, simply write down “next time” and try again tomorrow. Do this every single morning as soon as you wake up. Remember, don’t expect significant results immediately.
8. Try not to open your eyes right away
By opening your eyes, you offer inputs to your brain that will trigger the dream-erasing process discussed earlier. Focusing on the objects, lights, windows, and other distractions in the room will trigger your brain to refocus on reality. Resisting the urge to open your eyes can allow your mind to reinforce the details of the dream more solidly in your mind. If you can record your dream while your eyes are still closed, you will be less likely to trigger the erasing impulse. If you can do it, you will experience stronger memories and recall more details to record. Some people may be uncomfortable doing this, or it may be impractical due to your recording method. In that case, try to do a recording of the details as soon as you open your eyes. Also, keep your bedroom lights as low as possible for fewer mental distractions.
9. Get quality sleep
Getting enough sleep will assist you in maintaining regular sleep patterns. It will also help you better remember your dreams as you develop a pattern of sleeping, dreaming, and remembering. Be sure to exercise and watch your diet, as this will help you get deeper and more restful sleep.
Train yourself to maintain a routine sleep pattern that will allow your mind to adjust to the routine. This, in turn, will help you to train your mind to retain more of your dreams. Anything that impacts your health will impact your dreaming.
Most of our dreams take place in the Rapid Eye Movement, or REM state. REM sleep is the deepest level of sleep obtainable. As the amount of your REM sleep increases, it will become easier for you to remember your dream.
If you find yourself waking in the middle of the night from a dream, you can try to record it. Or, or you can create a title for it and repeat it over and over.
10. Multiple REM awakenings
Lastly comes one of the more extreme methods of trying to learn how to remember dreams. In direct contrast to “quality sleep,” you may want to try multiple REM awakenings. Because you dream in REM sleep, the more times you come out of REM per night, the more often you will have potentially memorable dreams. Knowing this, you can get a timer to wake you several times during the night to give you more chances at remembering dreams. Generally, 90 minutes is enough time to achieve REM and begin dreaming again. When the alarm awakens you, condition yourself to start recording immediately.
While considered a last resort, if nothing else is successful for you, go ahead and give it a try for a night. Preferably, a night where you don’t have to get up early for work or school the next day.
Should you awaken from a particularly memorable dream, you may tend to try desperately to get back to where you left off in that same dream. This may not be very helpful at first. For now, just try to focus on what you are feeling and let that feeling be uppermost in your mind as you go back to sleep.
In dreaming circles, the harder you try, the more you fail. As you become more skilled in remembering your dreams, you may be able to rejoin a dream “in progress,” but for now, only work on trying to remember them better.
After you have mastered one or more dream remembering techniques, you may want to attempt to get back into the dream you had before you awoke.
One of the most effective ways to return to a dream turns out to be returning to your last sleeping position. This will help your mind to recall the dream by not having to adjust to a new position. The less distraction to your mind, the more likely it will retain the details of your dreams and not erase them.
Don’t Expect Immediate Results
At least, don’t expect perfection without practice. Like any skill you are trying to develop, it will take time, training, and repetition. By practicing more, you will master more skills to employ in this endeavor. You will also gain more confidence in those skills and become more proficient.
Most people take time to develop these skills, and only in rare instances does anyone immediately remember their dreams constantly. However, virtually anyone can master these techniques with practice and consistency.
You Could Be Better at It than You Ever Dreamed
Most people discover that with more practice and dedication, they can use these skills to not only remember the dreams more vividly but to become highly proficient at dream direction. This is the ability to control the events, settings, plots, and even the people involved in your dreams. Dream direction often requires much more practice and dedication than it takes to remember them. You may, however, find it entirely possible to do this after obtaining enough control and realization while you dream.
Think about developing your abilities to the point where you can dream of any place you like. Dream of any time in the past or future. Relive some historical event or a situation such as being a private eye in the 40s. All of these scenarios are possibilities.
You will be astounded what you can do after developing the skills to cause any of those dreams to happen.