How to Remember Your Dreams
Your Free Guide from This Jungian Life
Dreams can guide us, present surprising solutions to complex problems, and offer us comfort and companionship.
At This Jungian Life, we believe in the power of dreams.
Dreams can change our lives. But first we must be able to remember them.
Here is our best advice (after many decades as Jungian analysts) on how to recall your dreams.
Recording Your Dreams
Select a special dream journal
Whether you opt for a simple spiral bound notebook or an exquisite, tooled leather tome, create a special place for writing your dreams down.
Or record your dreams digitally
If you prefer to record your dreams digitally, consider downloading a special app for recording dreams, or at least creating a dedicated space on your phone to keep your dreams.
A special pen?
A special pen can help you record your dreams more easily. Pens with a lighted tip make it easier to write dreams down in the dark if you wake in the middle of the night. Some use a red light to preserve night vision.
Create the right sleep conditions
Try to go to sleep and wake up at around the same time each day
Make sure that you get 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Ensuring that your sleeping space is dark, quiet, and cool can help
Drink a little extra water before bed
This may stimulate you to wake up in the middle of the night to use the bathrrom. This can often prompt dream recall.
Avoid substances that can interfere with dreams
Alcohol, marijuana, or Ambien can interfere with dreams and dream recall.
The science of supplements
Some scientists speculate that vitamin B6 deficiency could make dream recall more difficult. Consider taking a multi vitamin with B6.
Research has found that taking 100 to 200mg of vitamin B6 before bedtime can dramatically improve dream recall. Please consult a doctor before taking supplements.
Galantamine is an over-the-counter supplement that claims to improve dream recall.
create an intention to improve dream recall –
and communicate it to your unconscious
A heartfelt letter
Write a heartfelt letter to your dream maker explaining that you would like to remember your dreams. Promise your dream maker that you will write your dreams down.
A brief affirmation
Repeat a brief affimation before falling asleep such as: “ I easily recall my dreams in vivid detail upon awakening.” Follow up this affirmation with a visualisation – picture yourself waking up happy to have remembered your dreams and reaching for your dream journal to write them down.
A declarative statement
Make a direct, declarative statement to your unconscious each night before going to sleep. “ Dream maker, I am going to remember my dreams tomorrow morning. You will help me remember my dreams!”
Focus on your dreams each morning as you wake
Let your dreams float up
Upon awakening, lie still for a moment and see if dreams will float up. You might try to put your body back in the position it was last in while you were sleeping. Try lying on one side and then the other.
Reach for your journal
Make it a habit that the first thing you do upon waking is to reach for your dream journal. Open it and begin writing. If you don’t remember a full dream, write down dream scraps or fleeting impressions. If you don’t have any dream impressions, write about how you are feeling or what you woke up thinking about. If you cannot recall this, at least write, “I didn’t recall any dreams last night.” Try to write something in your dream journal first thing in the morning. Eventually this should improve dream recall.
If nothing is working
Wake up back to bed
Experiment with a technique called Wake up Back to Bed. Set an alarm for early morning. When the alarm goes off, get up and engage in some moderately stimulating activity for about 30 minutes, then go back to sleep. Often, these periods of “second sleep” can bring intense dreams.
Some people experience vivid dreams while sleeping during the day.
Wake every two hours
In studies in sleep labs, around 80% of people awakened during REM sleep will recall a dream. Experiment with setting alarms that will wake you every two hours to give yourself a chance to be awakened during REM.