How to remember your dreams

May 10, 2009

Based on personal experience. Nothing scientific, really.

  • You generally remember vivid details of a dream only if you wake up immediately after it. So early morning dreams are easier to remember than midnight ones.
  • Details start slipping from memory the moment you wake up. Towards the afternoon, you’ll only remember that you had a dream and what it was about. You won’t be able to describe it.
  • All but the most memorable dreams are completely lost within a day unless reviewed at least once after waking up.
  • Best way for dream retention:
    • If you wake up and realize you just woke up from a dream:
    • Do not open your eyes
    • Do not try to get up or shift your position in bed
    • Stay in bed and try to imagine the events of the dream
    • Once you’re bored with that, get up (I’m usually able to continue the dream for a few minutes in a semi-lucid state)
    • Try to recall the events in your mind, back-to-front: recall the most recent event and keep asking yourself ‘and what happened before that?’
  • If you do this at least once, you’re likely to retain the dream for at least a day or two without having to write it down. But as conventional wisdom goes, it does help to write it down.
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