Dream Journal Tips

Dreams are a part of life that many people don’t take seriously. Whether you have trouble remembering or not, it can be hard to keep track of what your dreams are about. This is where the Dream Journal comes in handy!

Depending on how you present it, your journal can have different sections for recording all sorts of information about your dream. This will help you remember them better without having to search through your memories piece by piece.

If you want to record any other thoughts or experiences, there can even be space for that! You should start keeping one now because it will help you gain more insight into yourself, including who you really are as a person and what you believe in.

Plus, it can be fun to look back on your past dreams to see the little details that have changed over time, especially if they’re about people.

If that’s not enough for you, here are some more benefits of keeping a dream journal:

What is a Dream Journal?

A dream journal or dream diary is a notebook for documenting your thoughts and experiences with dreams. It’s an important tool for those who have trouble remembering their dreams, or people who want to know what they’ve been dreaming about more often

In order to fill out the pages of this journal, you’ll need to start paying attention to your dreams during the day so you can remember them at night. This way, you’ll be able to document everything from weird scenarios to funny moments with friends!

Why Keep a Dream Journal?

Dream journals are used for different reasons, they are not only an essential part of lucid dreaming and recording the details of your dreams’ themes or commonalities, but they’re also great tools for those that just wish to remember. Dream journals can help people become aware of just what’s going on in their minds when they’re sleeping.

Dream Recall

One of the primary functions of a dream journal is to help you improve your dream recall. Having a good dream recall is a fundamental part of recognizing dream signs and inducing lucidity.

Recognizing Dream Signs

The other main function is to help you with inducing lucidity when dreaming. A journal is very important in helping you recognize any recurring incidents or oddities that can be used as your unique dream signs.

How to Keep a Dream Journal

As you may know, for most of us, dream recall is not a natural ability and without trying, we may only retain a fleeting memory or a lingering feeling of what happened in our dreams. This can make keeping a dream journal a little difficult at first, and just like anything else, with some time and patience, it will start to get easier.

Step 1 – Find a Journal

The first step is to find a journal to write in – this book or notepad needs to be dedicated for sole use as your journal. You want to keep it separate from your regular notes or school work so you won’t accidentally write something in there that messes up your dream journal.

Step 2 – Create Yourself a Template

There are of course generic templates that you can find online – use these as a basis for creating your own template. Having a consistent template to work with will help you look for and record the details of your dream consistently and help improve your memory.

Step 3 – Write Down or Draw Your Dreams

When you wake up, the first thing you should do is write down your dreams. Think of and write down as much detail as you can – this should include things like, your experiences, what you saw, and how you felt.

Drawing is also another technique that people use in their dream journals as they feel more comfortable drawing as opposed to writing. This is absolutely fine and depends on you as a person. You could even write and add a drawing too. Your dream journal is personal to you so as long as you understand what you are writing/ drawing, that is exactly what you should do.

It is also important that if you wake up during the night with a memory of a dream that you write it down immediately. I’m sure we have all had a particularly intense or vivid dream and thought that you would remember it but after nodding back off, the memory has gone forever.

Step 4 – Stick with It

I think that one of the worst mistakes that people make with their dream journal is giving up. It is important to stick with it even if you do not see results immediately.

Like anything, there are those among us that have an innate ability to become lucid with very little effort and there are others that need to train and put in the hard work. Regardless of the type of person you are, persist with it.

What if I Can’t Remember My Dreams?

Not remembering your dreams is completely normal for most people so do not worry too much. There are things that you can do to help you remember your dreams so that you can write the details in your dream journal.

Auto Suggestion

If you are one of those people that struggles with remembering your dreams, then the first step is to go to bed with the distinct intention to remember your dreams.

Whilst laying in bed preparing for sleep, you can apply a form of auto-suggestion and recite ‘tonight I will remember my dreams’ over and over. How many times you recite this is up to you, some people say the number should be 10, others 21. There is no hard and fast rule.

Remain Still Upon Waking

Upon waking, instead of immediately getting up and going about your business, lie still for a couple of minutes and concentrate on your dreams and where you just were.

Once you get a small glimmer of memory, hold on to it and continue concentrating, try and remember the details such as how you felt, the situation, sights, sounds, smells, and people. Once the recollection becomes a little clearer, it will often lead to other parts of the dream.

Vitamin B6

A preliminary study in 2002 suggests that vitamin B6 helps with dream recall. The effects of vitamin B6 in large quantities can be detrimental to your health so we recommend that you supplement your diet with known B6 foods.

Vitamin B6 is found in dairy products (egg, milk & cheese), whole grain cereals, legumes, bananas, avocado, spinach, potatoes, red meat, and fish.

Recognizing Dream Signs

The other main function is to help you with inducing lucidity when dreaming. A journal is very important in helping you recognize any recurring incidents or oddities that can be used as your unique dream signs.

Sleep Interruption

There are various studies to suggest that sleep interruption can have a positive effect on your dream recall and waking during a dream vastly increases the chance of remembering it.

REM periods are more numerous and closer together in the latter part of your sleep so if you set your alarm for an hour before you regularly wake up, you increase your chances of waking directly from a dream.

We do not recommend you do this too regularly as this may have an adverse effect on the quality of sleep you get and therefore may impact you throughout your waking day.

Cut Out Alcohol, Caffeine and THC

Alcohol, Caffeine, and THC are known to affect your sleep cycle, in particular, they interfere with and suppress REM periods of sleep.

As dreaming occurs during REM periods, if you want to improve your dream recall, you should definitely cut out having a beer or smoke after work.

Tips to Help with Your Dream Journal

1. Keep Your Journal by Your Bedside

This one may seem obvious to some but in my opinion, it is good practice to keep your journal and a pen as close to where you sleep as possible. This means that you can make your entry as soon as you wake without having to get up and look for anything.

2. Set a Backup Alarm

Before writing into your journal, you will want to remember as much as you can. This will mean that you may need to lie still for a minute or two before getting up to write.

Lying still just after waking can mean that you may drift back off to sleep – having a backup alarm just in case is a good idea especially if you have somewhere you need to be.

3. Write All Dreams Upon Wakening

Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night having had an extremely vivid or exhilarating dream? Did you think that it was so wild that you couldn’t possibly forget it so you would write about it in the morning? Did you remember it after going back to sleep?

Going back to sleep without writing your dream experience no matter how vivid is a common mistake that people make. Why leave it to chance? Write down your dream memories as soon as you wake even if it is in the middle of the night.

4. Write or Draw Your Journal by Hand (if Possible)

It’s also very helpful if you actually write your memories down by hand instead of typing them on a computer or your phone.

Often, we wake up to messages or email on our devices and it can be too easy to become distracted, and before you know it the memories have gone.

I do however understand that not everyone will be able to write and that they may use some other device. If so, maybe turn off the Wi-Fi when you go to bed so that the messages will not be there to distract you until after you have made your journal entry.

5. Look for Recurring Events and Patterns

As I mentioned earlier, one of the main functions of your dream diary is to help you discover potential dream signs.

Read and re-read your dream journal often and see if you can spot any recurring patterns. If you do begin to see patterns or recurring incidents emerge – these are your dream signs!

Conclusion

When you wake up in the morning, it’s important to write down any memories of your dreams before they are forgotten. The best way is to have a dedicated dream journal right next to where you sleep – either on your bedside table or tucked under your pillow so it’s easy to find when needed.

This way, you can create your own dream sign inventory, improve your dream recall, and document all the weird scenarios and funny moments for future reference.

FAQ’s

Does keeping a dream journal help lucid dreaming?

Absolutely! In fact, a dream journal is one of the most important tools for those who want to explore lucid dreaming. Dream journals are not only used for improving dream recall, they are also used to help you discover your personal dream signs.

Should I keep a dream journal?

100% Yes! Regardless of the reason, keeping a dream journal is always beneficial. Whether you’re wanting to improve your dream recall, understand more about the mind, or practice lucid dreaming – All these topics will benefit from building and maintaining your own personal dream diary.

What should I write in my dream journal?

That’s entirely up to you! Some people only include the basics with their entries, while others also document specific details that they find interesting or weird. If you’re a fan of surrealism and abstract imagery, consider including doodles in your dream journal.

How often should I write my dreams?

Every day! You can keep a paper dream journal or use an online diary. The most important thing is to be consistent so make sure you write your dreams down every day.

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Sources

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.2466/pms.2002.94.1.135?icid=int.sj-challenge-page.similar-articles.1

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/285385641_Lucid_Dreaming_Frequency_and_Alarm_Clock_Snooze_Button_Use

https://www.everydayhealth.com/news/why-you-remember-or-forget-your-dreams/

https://raphaelvallat.com/dreamrecall.html