Four Suggestions For Remembering Your Dreams

Last night, I dreamed an important dream. I remember nothing about it, except that it was significant. My assuredness that it was extraordinary is not based on fact, but rather on feeling. I have learned to trust such impressions, so I am sure the dream was special.

When I was 24 years old, I began to record my dreams. I was an officer in the Navy at the time, and I shared a stateroom with the ship’s chaplain, who was an avid student of Jungian dream analysis. It was he who introduced me to the world of dreams.

Upon the chaplain’s suggestion, each night I would write my dreams on scraps of paper. Soon thereafter, my regard for my dreams increased, and I began to write them directly into a journal. Eventually, I decided that it was more convenient to use a three-ring notebook, and that is the method I use today.

When people find out that I have recorded my dreams for most of my adult life, they frequently comment that they do not dream or that they do not remember their dreams. If they are receptive, I assure them that they do indeed dream, and I add that recalling dreams is easy if one does four simple things:

1. Keep a lamp by your bed

Arrange your sleeping area such that you can reach a light without getting out of bed. I have a touch lamp that is easy to use in the middle of the night. Any lamp, though, or even a flashlight, will do.

2. Place a pen within reach

Keep a pen on the night table by your bed. If you don’t have a table, then put the pen somewhere within easy reach. When you go to sleep, it’s important that you know exactly where to find it.

3. Position writing materials nearby

Place a pad of paper, journal, notebook, or other writing material within reach, as well. I use lined notebook paper, and periodically, I put the sheets into a three-ring binder. Any kind of writing material will work, as long as it’s easy to manage when you’re sleepy.

4. Have the sincere intention to record your dreams

Go to sleep with the intention of recording any dreams you may remember. If you are sincere about your desire to record your dreams, you will remember many of them. You can’t fool yourself on this. If deep down you don’t want to go to the trouble of waking up and recording a dream, you will indeed not wake up or remember the dream, no matter how many pens and sheets of paper are close at hand.

I’ve made these suggestions to many people over the years, and without exception, everyone who followed them recorded numerous dreams as a result. If you put this advice into practice, you will remember and record many dreams. I wish you luck with this exciting step on your inner journey.

5 comments… add one

  • Andrea August 19, 2010 at 11:15 am

    I grew up in a large family, and most nights I slept with a family member: my sister, my cousin, my niece.  When we awoke, we would share our dreams.  I suppose it was through this daily exercise that I unlocked the door to part of my subconscious.  I found could remember dreams in detail: colors, feelings, architecture.  Sometimes I could remember how one dream progressed into another and then yet another.  But there came a moment when during the day I remembered an event and when I tried to place it in time and space I realized it wasn’t reality I was remembering but something that had “happened” in a dream.  This I didn’t like.  It was like living a double life. I decided I only wanted to remember reality, so now I’m doing the opposite, trying to leave dreams where they belong, in the subconscious.  Most people don’t remember their dreams, but maybe that’s what we’re designed for.  This may be a way to safeguard our sanity.

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  • Martha Hogerty August 19, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    I have always wanted to record my dreams but have just never done it.  Thanks for the reminder.  I believe artists pay attention to dreams. It’s a source of creativity.

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  • Sharon February 24, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    I always look forward to my dreams. I can’t imagine being alive and not having a dream world. At times…. perplexing, at times…. disturbing, but always intriguing. For me, life would be just two dimensional without that inner reality, flat and concrete. My dreams nourish me and, at times, scare me; but more often, they show me some important aspect that I need to pay attention to.

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  • Luiza February 23, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    Vou mostrar ao Otto esse seu artigo. Ele nunca se lembra do que sonhou. O grande problema vai ser o Sr. Menino acordar pra escrever sobre o que sonhou…
    Parabéns pelas suas inspirações…

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  • Doug Eikermann February 23, 2013 at 10:09 pm

    Obrigado, Luiza. A técnica tem me servido bem por muitos anos, mas como sou solteiro, nao sei bem como poderia funcionar com outra pessoa ao lado. Eu sempre acendo a luz quando escrevo os sonhos, e sei que seria muito mais dificil faze-lo se tivesse que me levantar para escrever em outro quarto. Ainda assim, acho importante a observacao dos sonhos, e os casais tem que achar maneiras de se ajudar mutuamente. Abraços para os dois!

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