Improving Dream Recall

March 5, 2010

Improving dream recall is the first step to achieving lucidity, and is useful and fun for all dreamers. If you think you shouldn’t be grooming your rate of dream recollection, you’re missing out! Almost all people dream–the only exception occurs in severe psychological disorder–and can have around seven episodes of dreaming each night. The only obstacle is remembering them. In this post I hope to cover some methods for increasing your rate of dream recall so that you can enjoy each of the fantastical experiences you have each night.

Dream Journaling

Dream journaling is probably the most effective and most perscribed method of increasing your rate of dream recall. During sleep, the parts of the brain that control long-term memory shut down. That’s why when you wake up, you can sometimes recall a dream for a very short time, but your ability to recall the dream decreases over the course of the day. One solution that actually alters your ability to remember dreams is writing down your dreams as soon as you wake up. Keep a journal and a pencil by your bedside every night so that in the morning you can describe your dreams as best you can recall them. Some people choose to use a seperate journal specifically for dreams, or write in their general journal or diary. After a few nights of diligent journaling, your brain will be virtually re-trained to remember dreams more clearly.


Affirmations are phrases that are uttered or written to program a message into the subconscious. Any of you who are familiar with the power of positive thinking may have used affirmations to help you in your daily life. Affirmations are typically positive; never write an affirmation such as “I do not have nightmares.” Your mind will not register the negative and will only recognize “nightmares” as the request. Try to put them in the present tense: “I recall my dreams” rather than “I will recall my dreams.” If you put it in the future tense, who knows when your mind will decide to check out on the affirmation? Five years from now? Affirmations can be very powerful. Try writing them down or saying them aloud to yourself every night before bed, and create your own for other areas of your life you would like to improve.

Creative Visualization Techniques

I once heard a technique for dream recall described to me in the following way: Before bed, fill a glass of water and set it on your bedside table. Drink a sip of the water and say to yourself “I will remember my dreams tonight.” Upon waking up the next morning, drink another sip of the water and visualize the memories of your dreams flowing back to you through the water like a river. Creative visualization may seem New Agey, but it’s a very legitimate technique when dealing with the outer reaches of your psyche.

Keep watching the blog for updates on this post as well as new posts on Journaling and Affirmations. Comment and tell me what you think, as well as your experiences with dream recall!

Thanks for reading,

Adriana D.