Do you know how to remember your dreams? For some people dream recall comes naturally. But if you don’t wake up with clear memories of your nightly adventures, I have some great news for you: It’s easy to learn how to remember your dreams!
With a bit practice, you’ll soon wake up recalling at least one clear dream each night. The following tricks will help you recall your dreams even if you have a terrible memory for dreams – or if you think you don’t dream at all!
1. Write Your Dreams Down
First and foremost, if you want to remember your dreams, you need to write them down. Okay, I hear you saying, “But Amy, I don’t remember my dreams – I can’t write them down!” I hear ya.
If you don’t remember any dreams when you wake up, here’s what you do:
- Write down what you are thinking about
- Write down how you are feeling
- Write down any images in your head
More often than not, dreams linger. That means that whatever you are thinking and feeling as you wake up is likely to be because you were dreaming about it.
So start there – simply write down whatever you are thinking/feeling/seeing in your mind as you wake up. It can be as simple as “red” or “happy.” Don’t judge it, just write it.
After a while, you will start to remember dream fragments. Maybe it’s a vague feeling of a location, image, or action from the dream. With practice, soon you will notice you can recall entire dream scenes and eventually you’ll recall full narratives.
The progression goes like this:
- Thoughts, feelings, images
- Dream fragments
- Dream Scenes
- Full Dreams
I’ve seen this work for many people – and it can work for you too.
2. Keep your Dream Journal Handy
Keep your dream journal on your nightstand or close to your bed so you can write down your dreams without moving too much. Dreams are stored in your short-term memory and movement, activity, and thoughts about something else can quickly erase your dreams from your mind.
3. Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine
REM (Rapid Eye Movement) is the stage of sleep when you are most likely to recall a dream. In order to remember your dreams you need to have sufficiently long periods of REM sleep.
Both alcohol and caffeine interfere with your ability to remember your dreams by interfering with your REM sleep. Alcohol decreases the amount of time you spend in REM. And caffeine makes it more difficult for you to enter into REM in the first place.
It’s best to avoid both of these substances for at least 2 hours before you go to sleep.
4. Take B-Vitamins
B-Vitamins can provide a short-cut to dream recall. B-Vitamins are associated with increased brain activity and improved memory.
Taking a B-Complex supplement before going to bed can help increase the vividness of your dreams. This will help you remember your dreams as its always easier to remember a vivid dream than a fuzzy one. Further, vitamin B supplements help improve your memory, giving you another leg up for recalling your dreams.
Choline Bitartrate is a B-Vitamin that is particularly associated with increased dreaming. It’s not always included in a B-Complex supplement, but it can be purchased on its own. Whenever I want to remember more dreams I take both B-complex and Choline Bitartrate supplements before going to sleep.
5. Drink Calea Zacatechichi Tea
Calea Zacatechichi is The Dream Herb. It’s an ancient herb, native to Mexico and got its name for its ability to produce highly vivid, meaningful, and often prophetic dreams.
Drink a cup of Calea Zacatechichi tea about an hour before you go to bed to increase the vividness and clarity of your dreams. This, in turn, leads to greater dream recall.
I love the dream herb and if you really want to remember your dreams, I highly recommend it. I have two related articles about Calea Zacatechichi:
6. Eat Melatonin-Containing Foods
Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone which regulates your sleep/wake cycles. By increasing the amount of melatonin in your system you can experience more vivid and memorable dreams.
Eat melatonin-containing foods before you go to bed to help you sleep and to help you remember your dreams.
My favorite melatonin-containing foods are:
7. Incubate Dream Recall
Incubating dream recall is a surprisingly simple and effective way to remind yourself to remember your dreams. As you lie in bed repeat a mantra or phrase to remind yourself to remember your dreams when you wake up. Say something like:
- “I remember my dreams” or
- “In the morning I will remember my dreams”
Repeat your chosen phrase in your mind as you fall asleep. If your mind wanders, simply bring your attention back to your mantra. Counting can help keep you focused. In which case you would say, One – I remember my dreams, Two – I remember my dreams, etc…
8. Set your Alarm 20 Minutes Early
Studies have shown that you are more likely to remember your dreams when you wake up during them. REM is the stage of sleep when you are most likely to dream. And our longest periods of REM sleep occur in the morning.
If you set your alarm 20 minutes earlier than normal, you will likely wake up during your REM phase and during a dream. This increases your chances remembering the dream you were in just before awakening.
When you wake up, move on to the next tip…
9. Don’t Move Upon Awakening
Don’t move or get out of bed when you wake up. Instead, reach for your dream journal (on your nightstand) and write down whatever you can remember.
Dreams are stored in your short-term memory. Movement, activity, and talking all make use of different parts of your brain and lead to forgetting your dreams. It’s best to write down your dreams as soon as you wake up.
10. Go Through Common Dream Symbols in Your Head
If you feel like your night was blank and still want to remember your dreams, go through common dream symbols in your head. This trick works best after you’ve been recalling your dreams for a while and have some material to work with.
Lie still and mentally go through your list of common dream symbols. Think about places, people, and situations you frequently dream about. Sometimes just going through the list will help you grab onto a dream fragment that will unravel into a whole story.
Final Thoughts on How to Remember Your Dreams
Dreams are a gift and deserve to be remembered. We all dream, every night. It’s just a matter of tapping into your natural ability. By practicing these simple tricks, you’ll soon learn how to remember your dreams.
It’s your turn, Dreamer
What ticks do you use to remember your dreams? Share your experiences and stories in the comments below.