Remember Your Dreams

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Set a Bedtime Intention

Just before you go to sleep, remind yourself to remember your dreams. Think to yourself something like, "I intend to remember the dreams that benefit me to remember." (Keep in mind that some dreams are not beneficial to remember or dwell on, because this may re-introduce issues that were already resolved during the dream.)

Keep a Dream Journal

Keep a dream journal and pen next to your bed to reinforce your focus on remembering your dreams. Seeing it before you go to sleep can help trigger you to remember your dreams later. Your journal can be anything from a fancy journal to a plain spiral notebook. You can even buy lighted pens for writing in the dark.

Write Down Your Dreams

Write a description of your dream as soon as you wake up from it—even in the middle of the night. And if you don't remember the whole dream, write down anything you do remember: an image, a detail, the setting, the mood, a feeling.

Focus on Your Dreams and Dreaming

Paying attention to the dreams you do remember can help you remember more dreams in the future. Spending time on other dream-related activities can help bring your dreams to the forefront of your mind:

  • Remembering and writing about your dreams
  • Analyzing your dreams
  • Talking with others about your dreams
  • Setting dream intentions
  • Reading your dream journal
  • Free-form writing about how you feel about dreaming (see next two sections)

Free-Form Writing to Recall a Particular Dream

In this exercise we are using free-form writing to enhance recall of a particular dream. Whether you remember your entire dream or just a small portion, this process can help you bring forward further details and insights that can help you better understand the dream's meaning.


Sit down with pen and paper. If you wrote down your dream, read through it to refresh your memory. Then close your eyes and replay your dream in your mind from beginning to end, just as you remember it. Open your eyes and start writing everything that comes to mind—thoughts, feelings, what stood out, your mood, etc. Your feelings when you remember the dream are just as important at the dream events.

If nothing comes to mind, write whatever words are in your mind (I can't think of anything, I wish I could write something, etc.) and keep writing. If you get stuck, ask yourself questions to get going again (such as "if I had something to say about this dream, it would be ..." or "What makes me most curious about this dream is..." or "When I woke up from this dream, I felt...". Don't worry about handwriting or spelling.

Keep writing until you have a definite feeling that there is nothing left to be said, and then explore what you wrote for helpful realizations about dream meaning. For more about analyzing your dream, see Interpret Your Dream.

Free-Form Writing to Improve Dream Recall

In this case, we are using free-form writing to encourage dream recall, and to release mental and emotional obstacles to remembering dreams.


Sit down with pen and paper. Start writing everything that comes to mind about remembering (or not remembering) your dreams. If nothing comes to mind, write "nothing is coming to mind" and keep writing. If you get stuck, ask yourself questions such as "if I knew why I'm not remembering my dreams, it would be because..." or "When I think about remembering my dreams, I feel...because..." or "The reasons I want to remember my dreams are...". Don't worry about handwriting or spelling because no one will ever read this.

Try to write several pages. Keep writing until you have a definite feeling that there is nothing left to be said. Write down any important realizations that you want to remember on a separate paper, then tear up or shred the original pages to let your subconscious know you are releasing everything you wrote. Do not go back re-read them, or you may reintroduce issues you just released.

Recreate Your Sleep Situation at the Time of the Dream

Sometimes recreating your sleep setting and body position from the time of the dream can trigger memories of the dream. Note: This process may be most helpful when you are sleepy: either shortly after you wake up from the dream, or at your next bedtime when you close your eyes to sleep.


Lie down where you were sleeping when you had the dream, in the same position in which you were laying (if you don't remember, try your usual sleep positions). Close your eyes. Images or glimpses of the dream may flash into your mind and flashes of feelings from the dream may come forward. If they do, relax and just watch them as if you are watching a movie, rather than trying to analyze them. Before opening your eyes again, review what you saw and felt. Then open your eyes and write your experiences in your dream journal to analyze later.