How To Better Remember Your Dreams

If there is anything that I wish I could get paid to do, it’s to sleep. I’m actually pretty good at it—that is, when I don’t have a 9 a.m. class the next day. It’s an activity that we as human beings all partake in—because, well, we wouldn’t be able to survive without it (we all saw what happened in the movie Fight Club). But what may be even more magical than the sleep itself is what our unconscious minds seem to illustrate—dreams. The topic of dreams has always interested me. I’ve always been an intuitive person, so naturally I tend to believe dreams can be symbolic reflections of reality. Others may believe them to be nothing more than the creation of nonsense material that our brains pick up throughout the day. Whether you side with the former or latter, there’s no doubt that dreams are incredibly interesting. They have the ability to frighten us in the form of nightmares and even make us sexually excited (too personal?).

But, sometimes we don’t always remember what we dreamed of the night before. Once we wake up, if you don’t remember your dream within 15 minutes, it’s pretty much deleted from your memory. But have no fear, because there are ways to train yourself to remember your dreams more efficiently and accurately. If you practice hard enough, you may even be able to control your dreams, which is also known as lucid dreaming.

1. Have a consistent sleep routine.

Arguably the most important factor in being able to recall your dreams is maintaining a consistent sleep schedule. If you’re getting less than eight hours of sleep per night and going to bed at unusual hours, there’s a much less likely chance that your brain will remember the dreams it creates for you. Make sure to go to bed at around the same time every night and try to wake up every morning at the same time, too. This way, your mind is being prepared for the journey that our unconscious will take us on. Along with this, keep in mind that it's important to get enough sleep. Four hours of rest will only make you angry when you wake up, not ready to remember your dreams.

2. Keep a journal.

This is something that anybody and everybody can benefit from. Keeping a journal ready on your nightstand is the best way to keep track of your dreams. Not only does it allow for you to enhance your writing skills, but its a tangible way to look back and really understand the patterns of your dreams and allows for better interpretation. The first thing you should do when you wake up is grab your journal and a nice pen and just write your dreams. Try not to think too hard about it — it’s best to write directly and clearly. I suggest writing in first person and in the present tense. For example, “I walk into the room and a man is there.” That way, you’ll be able to know exactly what happened and when.

3. Be focused.

You can’t remember your dreams if you don’t want to. Have an open mind and don’t be afraid to get to know what your brain is trying to tell you. Having the right kind of attitude toward your dream recollections is key to really understanding the mysterious, deeper part of ourselves. Be ready to learn more about yourself.

If you think about it, there really isn’t any solid scientific proof as to why we have dreams. All dreams are as individual and unique as the person experiencing them. It’s an opportunity to learn more about ourselves and to even stimulate creativity. So get to bed and dream big.

Photo credits: cover, 1 by Eleanor Ritzman