How to Improve Dream Recall
by Craig Sim Webb
(c) Copyright 1993-2015
The main barrier to recall and to lucid dreaming (realizing during a dream that one is dreaming) is that waking and dreaming memory aren't connected nearly as well as they could be with greater intention, practice and focus. Making a consistent effort to remember and record your dreams will help your waking mind to ally itself more closely with your dream experience. It's also an excellent way to increase imagination and intuitive capabilities which are both intimately connected with dreams. This alone should provide strong incentive.
1. YOU'VE GOT TO WANT IT. First and foremost, you must feel that remembering your dreams will be useful to you, if not extremely valuable. Without this, motivation will soon disappear. More importantly, the desire acts as a magnet which draws your dreams into memory.
2. IT'S A MATTER OF FOCUS AND ATTENTION. Understand that dream recall is an inherent, natural human trait. That is why young children are usually in touch with dreams, as are some native cultures who share their dreams with each other daily. Dream recall is a bit like a mental muscle, the more you use it, the stronger it becomes. Without exercise it may shrink, but it is there if you decide to work it out again. So if your recall is poor, trust that it will develop in time. The trust alone will actually help.
3. BEDTIME PRACTICE: Before sleep, reread your dreams from the previous (or more) night(s). This allows you to begin to connect with your dream memory, and is also an opportunity to interpret your dreams and spot connections to the day's events. Then, as you go to bed, clearly ask (rather than command) yourself to remember your dreams when you awaken in the morning or during the night, and remind yourself that it's a simple, natural process. Also, suggest to yourself that you will spontaneously awaken when you need to without using an alarm clock, since it can inhibit recall.
This method works well with practice, but you may initially wish to set your alarm for 15 minutes after your suggested wake-up time, just to be safe. Any time you awaken, keep your eyes closed (or shut them if already open) and remain as motionless as possible. If you moved since waking, return to your prior body position. Gather as many images, feelings or impressions as you can, then rise and immediately record them in a journal (which you keep bedside) or say them into a tape recorder, no matter how brief or vague they may at first seem. You'll be surprised at how much more you can remember as you write (or speak).
4. BE PLAYFUL, PATIENT, and PERSISTENT. Although most people start having success the first week or two, dream recall is a mental muscle which may require some time to get back into shape. Try to maintain a relaxed and playful attitude of looking forward to your dreams while also trusting that they will come in good time. Trying too hard or being too serious can be limiting factors. Dream recall and motivation tend to come and go naturally in cycles, and also depend upon what else is going on in your life. Once you start on a cycle of focusing on recall, stick with it for at least a few days, because consecutive nights can have an additive effect.
5. A WEEKLY STUDY GROUP with a shared interest in dreams is unmatchable for sustained motivation and inspiration.