How to remember more dreams

You know the value of working with your dreams, the insight, clarity, and healing they offer, but too many mornings slip by with no dream recall. What can you do to remember more dreams, or to remember more details?

When you’re able to remember four or five dreams a night, you’ll notice that a single night’s dreams often have a similar theme. They might all feature trying to get somewhere with varying degrees of success or failure, or they might all involve finding different ways to feed unexpected guests, or they might all be based by the sea. Your dreams are wrangling the same issue or challenge and, in an ideal world, you wake up with the problem solved.

In reality, that dream wrangling of the same issue can go on for days, weeks, years, even a lifetime, with no real solution emerging at sunrise. When you know how to look into these dreams – and into your unconscious mind – you get to see your inner conflicts that are keeping you stuck or resisting change. Looking at each of the four or five dreams from one night can help by giving you different angles on how your dreaming mind tries to resolve the issue, and the varying results. The more dreams you can remember, the more information you can gather and use to identify your blocks and break through them.

On the flip side, there will also be inspirational dreams and dreams offering deeply healing content that would make a huge difference to your life if you could remember them.

But it’s not just the number of dreams that is important. It’s the quality of your dream recall. How can you remember more dream detail, and what can you do to entice more detail into your dreams?

It’s the small details that can really drive an interpretation home. There’s great value in getting an overview insight into a dream by looking at its theme, but it’s when you explore the details that the truth hits home and you get that quiver of excitement as you realise the deeper meaning of your dream. These are also the details you need to fully understand how and why your unconscious mind is powerfully influencing your life. It’s these details that you can use so effectively in dream alchemy to reprogram your unconscious mind, or rewire your brain, for positive change in your life.

Which is more important: remembering more dreams, or remembering more dream details? My vote is for more dream details, but in your quest to achieve this you’ll probably also remember more dreams so it’s a win:win either way!

Before looking at how to remember more dreams and more dream detail, you might like to review some of the things that stop us remembering our dreams.

Tips to remember more dreams

TIP 1

Read about dreams and how they can help you. Build a positive picture about dreams and dreaming. Honour dreams and the dreaming process. Read more of my blogs, or listen to my podcasts (The Dream Show) to get a good feeling for how your dreams can help you. This process of honouring dreams helps overcome any negative programming about dreams. When you believe in the importance of dreams you are more likely to remember them.

TIP 2

If you have suffered nightmares in the past and become wary of remembering dreams in case they’re scary, reassure yourself that nightmares are not what they seem, that you are at all times tucked safely in bed, and that your nightmares and frightening dreams are the most powerful and rewarding dreams to work with: your life will change in wonderful ways. Have courage.

TIP  3

Buy an exercise book to make into your dedicated dream journal. Keep it beside your bed, with a beautiful pen, and expect to write your dreams in it. If you wake up with no dream recall, write instead about how you felt when you woke up. This builds the habit of writing in your dream journal every morning before you get up, and very soon you’ll find yourself writing down your dreams.

TIP  4

If you can’t sleep in until you wake naturally, set two alarms. The second alarm is for when you need to get out of bed. Set the first alarm for fifteen minutes earlier, and when it sounds, move into the position you think you sleep in, and gently, with no anxiety or expectation, invite something – just a little something to begin with – from a dream to pop into your mind. When your body and muscles are in the same position as when you sleep (and dream), you’re more in touch with sensations and feelings from your dreams.

TIP 5

Allow time to drift between waking and getting out of bed. Think of this as your dream twilight zone, not for more dreaming, but for lingering long enough to remember your dreams.

TIP 6

Do not look at any screens or start thinking about your day until you’ve allowed time for dream recall. The moment you engage in waking life – and especially screens – it’s too late.

TIP 7

If you’re really keen, drink lots of water before you go to sleep. You’ll need to wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, and since we are at our most wakeful just after a dream your bladder is most likely to wake you within moments of finishing a dream. If you can, take a couple of minutes before getting out of bed to allow your dream to come back to you. If your bladder’s a more pressing concern, invite your dream to come back to you as you walk to the bathroom, or as soon as you feel more comfortable.

TIP  8

Know that with every snippet of a dream that you remember, you’re on the road to remembering more. The whole remembering-your-dreams thing falls into place very quickly once you get started.

Tips to remember more dream details

TIP 1

While you are awake, as you go about your day, take time to notice details in your surroundings. Even if you just set aside five minutes here and there, perhaps when you stop for coffee or lunch, look around and notice at least one small detail for each of your senses: see a tiny detail, listen to a small sound that you hadn’t noticed, touch an interesting texture, smell a flower or the air, close your eyes and focus on the taste of a small detail of your lunch. This attention to detail will tend to feed more details into your dreams, and you will find yourself remembering more dream details across a range of your senses.

TIP 2

When you remember part of a dream, choose one symbol or feeling and allow yourself to explore it for details. Then backtrack, looking and feeling for what happened just before the part you first remembered. Then track forward to see what happened just after the part you first remembered. Do this at leisure while you lie in bed, just after waking up, just letting it flow, not worrying or concerning yourself if nothing comes. The more you relax, the more the details will flow.

Practise, practise, practise, and you’ll soon be remembering plenty of richly detailed dreams.

In next month’s blog, we’ll look at different ways to record your dreams so that you can get the best results from working with your dreams.


Jane Teresa Anderson

Graduating with an Honours degree in Zoology specialising in neurophysiology from the University of Glasgow, dream analyst and dream therapist Jane Teresa Anderson has been researching dreams since 1992, and developing and teaching dream alchemy practices that shift perspective and reprogram unconscious limiting beliefs. Jane Teresa is a multi-published author, and appears frequently in the media on television, radio, and in print. She is also host of the long-running podcast, The Dream Show, and offers her online study and certificate courses through The Dream Academy.

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