We usually forget our dreams within the first few minutes of waking up. This is why a dream journal is such a great habit tool for so many.
But firstly, what IS a dream journal?
Simply put, it’s a record of experiences that you dream about in your sleep.
This journal is a type of reflective diary. That means that while reading it, you will reminisce on important or unusual things that happen to you and then think on what they might mean.
WHY should I keep one?
The most obvious reason is so you can remember dreams better.
Dietary factors, like deficiency in zinc and vitamin B6, can make you have poor dream recall.
Waking up to a loud alarm can also cause dream recall issues.
Because its sound always jerks you out of the dream and your mind is instantly preoccupied with “where’s my phone, gotta turn that noise off”, rather than, “what did I just experience?”
But a deeper reason for dream journalling is to achieve LUCID DREAMING.
This state happens when you are not only consciously aware that you are dreaming, but can also manipulate what happens in a dream.
Becoming a lucid dreamer can help you learn how to give bad dreams good endings, or even learn to avoid having nightmares in the first place.
That means you could potentially experience surreal sexual activities, meet your childhood heroes, or embark on a crazy adventure any time you go to sleep.
Additionally, consistencies like recurring dreams (which you will notice slowly appearing in your journal after a certain time) aren’t just there so you can see patterns.
Their purpose is also to help you become aware of those same consistencies in your next dream, preparing you to think:
“Hey, there’s that bird I always see in my dreams! I must be lucid dreaming!”
Dream journalling is also an exercise of memorisation, like meditation is an exercise of awareness. Because when you’re journalling in general, you remember more about your life, and in turn, your overall memory gets better.
Okay, so HOW do I make one?
A dream journal can be any good old notebook. But what’s most important is that you put it right next to your bed so that, as soon as you wake up, you can take it out and start writing down what you remembered.
Today, you can even use voice-to-text apps on your phone, or even a notes app, both of which can be just as effective if you’re good with technology.
But whatever method is used, your main goal should be to set up a smooth, friction-free process to record as much of the dream as can be remembered, as soon as you wake up.
But the most difficult part is starting, right? One of the easiest ways to overcome this, is by writing out the earliest dream you can remember. (even if it happened years ago and is now just a wispy image)
And there you have it, the beginning of a dream journal!
Have you ever had a dream of flying, being chased, or having an intense sexual experience, or seeing someone who is dead appear alive?
Write those out, too. Do you remember any recurrent dreams? That’s very important to note, because recurrent dreams provide one of the best points of entry for studying long-term themes and patterns in your dreams.
Each entry in your journal should also have the date, the location where you were sleeping, the time you went to sleep, the time you woke up, and a subjective assessment of the quality of your sleep (e.g., good, okay, bad).
If you end up not remembering any dreams for that night, at least now you have gathered some useful information about your sleep.
However, if you do remember a dream, the key is to record it in as much detail as you can, including what you were thinking or feeling during the dream.
Take your time when writing this out, and don’t worry if some aspects of the dream are vague, fragmentary, or impossible to describe. Just describe them as best as you can remember.
It’s also helpful to give each dream a title, as if it were a poem or a short story. This way it becomes easier to refer back to the dreams in your own memory and further improve your skill of dream re-calling.
Journalling can help on your path achieve lucidity…
but for better results you may want to try combining it with supplements.
ViviDream has developed a product that uses naturally-found ingredients to help induce lucid dreaming with people. If you’re interested, take a look here!