While the function dreams actually serve is the subject of continued debate, they’re still fascinating. You may use them as a source of inspiration for creativity. They can help uncover some subconscious psychological insights.
Yet as you get older, it’s not unusual to find your ability to remember your dreams waning. This can be frustrating. The good news is that there are methods you can adopt to recall more of your dreams. It can take some practice and you may need to train your brain as you would any muscle. But with commitment and technique, you can bring more of those sleeping visions back with you into the waking hours.
Keep a Dream Journal
It may seem illogical that keeping a dream journal can help you to remember more of your dreams. After all, how can you write a journal if you can’t remember what’s happened? Well, it all comes down to your approach to your journaling.
Your considerations here should include:
- When to Journal
You need to get into the habit of writing whatever you remember about your dreams as soon as you wake up. This isn’t just about writing in a journal once you’ve woken, performed your morning ablutions, and started the day. The details of your dreams will have escaped you by then. Rather, keep your journal materials next to your bed. Before you even check your phone after shutting off your alarm, write down everything you remember about your dreams. Indeed, if you wake in the night in the middle of your dream, write about this, too. The stronger this habit becomes, the more skilled you can be at recalling the details
Prioritise High-Quality Sleep
When you’re unable to get a full and uninterrupted slumber, your mental, cognitive, and emotional functions tend to suffer. This, in turn, contributes to poor sleep cycles. Indeed, you may not always enter or maintain a rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep conducive to vivid and memorable dreams. Not to mention you may be too groggy in the morning to recall your unconscious experiences. As such, it’s important to prioritise achieving regular cycles of high-quality sleep.
Your focus should be on:
- Your Pre-Sleep Routine
A consistent pre-sleep routine can be key to making sure you get the rest you need for memorable dreams. Cut out visual technology an hour or so before bed, as this can prevent you from naturally drifting off. Performing some light yoga or meditation can manage the stresses of the day or anxieties about your life. Make sure there is soft lighting in your room and try to avoid vivid colours and patterns on your bedding. Reading a book or listening to some gentle instrumental music can help your mind wind down.
- Your Diet
How you treat your body has a direct impact on the quality of sleep you can achieve. This isn’t just about the adage of eating cheese causes uncomfortable dreams. There is also a strong relationship between consuming alcohol or drugs and disrupted sleep. This is because both can interfere with the chemicals in your brain that manage your sleep cycles. It might seem as though alcohol or sedatives would put you to sleep, but it is not good quality sleep. As such, it’s important to cut out any stimulants or sedatives, particularly in the hours before your bedtime.
Step Outside Your Comfort Zone
It may be the case that the routines of your life are not resulting in especially memorable dreams. Let’s face it, it’s usually the stranger dreams or those more closely associated with strong emotions that stick with us. This doesn’t mean to say you constantly need to seek extreme circumstances. But making intentional efforts to occasionally step out of your comfort zone may have an influence here.
Some approaches here can include:
- Sleeping Outdoors
Getting out into nature is often associated with vivid dreams, with camping among wildlife purportedly linked to lucid dreaming. There are new sounds, smells, and qualities of light that contribute to your nighttime experiences. As such, finding opportunities to sleep outdoors can help jumpstart more memorable dreams. This doesn’t have to always involve going out into the wilderness, though. It can be practical and fun to plan backyard camping sessions every so often. It’s important to minimise bug presence and turn off automatic sprinklers so your sleep isn’t disrupted. But sleeping beneath the stars wherever you are can influence your dreams for more effective recall.
- Learning Something New
Learning and memory are closely linked to one another. Indeed, there are mixed opinions about whether people can learn while dreaming. Nevertheless, regular efforts to learn a new skill or explore fresh subject matter can stimulate your mind and your imagination. This can lead to more memorable dreams. Not to mention that the stimulated brain functions involved with learning can help to keep your memory sharp.
There are various reasons you may want to remember more of your dreams. Aside from anything else, it’s pretty fascinating. Like any skill, better dream recollection takes technique and consistent practice. Commit to regular journaling, prioritising your sleep quality, and seeking new experiences. Aside from the potential for more vivid dreams and improved recall, these steps tend to result in healthier sleep cycles.
If you’re struggling to get past the first stage of sleep in order to dream, why not try out one of our sleep meditations over on our Sleepiest app.