You wake up every morning desperately trying to piece together the rapidly vanishing details of a dream you just had, or, worse, you simply don’t remember your dreams at all. Sound familiar?
If you seldom remember your “regular” dreams, it can be frustrating trying to get the ball rolling on your lucid dreaming practice. When dreams are elusive, fear not, you’re still having them…
You’re just not remembering them.
Firstly, EVERYONE dreams, every night
If you’ve read somewhere that we dream every night and thought to yourself that it simply cannot be true, well, I’ve got some good news for you. You do dream every night, I dream every night. We all dream every night.
And you are no exception.
Unless you are in the throws of a sleep disorder such as insomnia (more on that later), it has been scientifically proven again and again that we all dream every night.
This means that the brain doesn’t just switch itself off the moment we enter la la land. It is actually highly active during this period, going through approximately 5 sleep cycles a night.
Dreams and the REM Cycle Explained
The moment we drift off into sleep, we go through a complex process of passing between different sleep cycles called the REM and NREM cycle.
Since the REM and NREM cycle is part of one holistic process (i.e. you can’t have one without the other), both are integral to our overall well-being although each cycle serves a different function. During the NREM cycle our minds and bodies are completely asleep. This is a profound period of deep, dreamless sleep that is extremely beneficial to our health because this is when our bodies build and repair themselves, which makes it vital for immune functioning.
Each NREM cycle is followed by a REM cycle, which is when we dream (yes, even if you don’t remember your dreams). The REM cycle is important because this is when we receive important information from our unconscious minds via dreams.
Think of this rotation of cycles as a rotation of consciousness. You go from darkness (NREM) to light (REM) because, as ancient man believed, dreams are like beacons of light that punctuate the darkness of NREM sleep.
How to start remembering your dreams today
Unless you have a specific sleep disorder like insomnia, there are many different ways you can start having clearer, more vivid dreams. The first thing you need to address is your memory and cognitive functioning and there are several hacks that you can employ to get you on track to remembering your dreams.
Training your memory and telling your mind to remember your dreams
Luckily there are several tried and tested techniques that you can use to help you remember your dreams when you wake up. If you are a visual learner, you may find that visualisation exercises and guided meditation help improve your memory and cognitive functioning.
For example, guided meditations help you become better at focusing your mind and you can use visualisation exercises to help you visualise yourself waking up and clearly remembering your dreams from the night before.
If you are more of an auditory learner, fear not. Memory can also be trained by using verbal repetition and drilling. Continuous verbal or mental repetition of key words or phrases can help the messages sink into your subconscious mind.
If you tell yourself over and over again that you are going to start remembering your dreams, it isn’t long before you start having consistent dream recall when you wake up.
The Importance of Setting an Intention
So as we’ve seen, remembering your dreams may be as easy as setting an intention. You may decide to either “visualise” yourself recalling your dreams when you wake up or you may simply wish to tell yourself over and over again that you’re going to remember them.
You may even wish to employ more than one method. That is, you may wish to use the visualisation and the repetition methods discussed above.
As you go about your day tell yourself that you are going to remember your dreams the next morning. Visualise and “feel” what it’s like to wake up and remember your dreams.
Right before you go to bed, empty your mind of all thoughts and repeat to yourself again and again that you are going to remember your dreams when you wake up.
Keeping a Dream Journal
This is a remarkably effective and simple way to start remembering your dreams with more frequency and clarity. The act of writing down your dreams every morning will get you in the habit of remembering your dreams.
When you do something enough times it becomes a habit and by definition, habits are patterns of behaviour that are unconscious. When you free your conscious mind to focus on problem solving, the unconscious mind can take the reigns on our daily routines and all other aspects of our psyches that are ingrained and form part of our automated behaviour.
It isn’t for nothing that our ticks and habits are called “second nature.” When you do something enough times it literally becomes part of your make-up and so getting into the habit of keeping a dream journal is like self-indoctrination and forces you to remember your dreams.
Taking Dream Herbs or Dream Supplements
There are loads of dream herbs and dream supplements on the market that can help you start remembering your dreams when you wake up, however, these should still be used in tandem with memory training techniques and dream journaling as mentioned above.
You can decide to take specific tailor-made dream pills or you may choose to use traditional dream enhancing herbs such as mugwort or valerian. Here are some useful ones:
- Calea Z (dream herb): Improved dream vividness, recall, increased chance of lucid dreams
- Vitamin B6: Dream recall booster, improved memory and cognitive function day and night
- Galantamine: A harsh lucid dreaming inducer, research before trying please
- LucidEsc: A custom lucid supplement with many of these other supplements and ingredients in it anyway
- Melatonin: More vivid and bizarre dreams. A natural hormone/sleep aid
- Choline bitartrate: Increased dream recall, cognitive function, dreams more likely to be lucid
- DreamLeaf: A powerful blend of everything that can help you lucid dream
- Claridream PRO: A dream recall and vividness supplement
- Any of these supplements work REALLY well when combined with binaural beats by the way
There ARE sleep disorders that affect your dreams
There are no known sleep disorders that specifically affect our ABILITY to dream, however, people who suffer from insomnia may find that their ability to fall and remain asleep may affect their ability to recall their dreams.
So if you suffer from insomnia it is important to talk to a health care professional about your problem as this will obviously be affecting the quality of your life not to mention the quality of your dreams.
So as we’ve seen, you are having dreams every night but just because you can’t remember them, it doesn’t mean that you’ve been cursed with dreamless sleep. You simply need to train your mind so that can start recalling them with more ease!
Useful next steps
If you need more help, we have an Ebook about specifically remembering more of your dreams and becoming lucid more. If you’re struggling with something like Insomnia, there is a very easy and quick cure for that now.