One of the very strongest dream recall techniques is simply to get yourself a dream journal and state to yourself that you will write down your dreams the next morning. Honestly this works! When you wake up the next morning, if all you remember is “I was dreaming of something Orange,” write it down! Because tomorrow you may remember “I was dreaming of something orange and it was an orange!” Fragments are important because you never know when you will see something else during the day that triggers another memory which can lead to full dream recall. If you have already forgotten the fragment, you may not receive the trigger later on. When I have kept up my dream journals I will sometimes remember five or six dreams from the night before. When I slack off I rarely remember anything.
Plenty of rest is also very important for remembering dreams. Though I have been known to doze off and have a dream almost instantly, they are always much shorter dreams. If you fall asleep around 10pm, your first dream will happen around 11 or 11:30 pm. Then you will dream about every 90 minutes throughout the rest of the night. If you sleep well, by the time 6am rolls around your last dream may have lasted a good 45 minutes to 60 minutes.
Keep your dream journal by your bed (or at least a pad of paper and pen) and write down your dream as soon as you wake up. If you can’t write out the whole dream, at least get down the basics, and make sure it’s enough so that you can remember and fill in the blanks later.
I also highly recommend carrying your dream journal with you throughout the day. I cannot say how many times I’ve had an “AHA” moment while away from home! You never know when you’ll see a co-worker, a car or food item that triggers a strong dream memory. And write these down quickly, because though they may seem as if they are there to stay, they can be lost in a busy day. Also, the act of carrying your dream journal with you puts your focus on being a dreamworker, and that in itself seems to stimulate better dream recall.
If you wake in the morning and can’t seem to remember any dreams, trying changing positions. When we can get back into the position we were in while dreaming, the dream memory can come back to us. I’ve literally been able to recall an entire dream by simply rolling from one position to another!
If you are still having trouble remembering your dreams, try setting your alarm to wake you five minutes earlier than your usual wake up time. Chances are you are dreaming during this time period anyway, so if you are woken up you will have a better chance of remembering.
If and when you wake during the night, make sure to write down your dream. Especially any conversations within the dream (as these will most likely be forgotten in the morning). When I was pregnant with my daughter I was up all night using the bathroom. Then when she was born I was up all night breastfeeding. This got me into a habit of waking regularly throughout the night and I was amazed that I would frequently be able to remember eight or nine dreams. So if you are really really serious, you could even try setting your alarm around 1am and see what dreams you remember.
Dreams are powerful, but fragile things. So get your dream journal, carry it with you, read it and re-read it, putting your attention on the fact that you now do dreamwork.
As of this moment, you are a Dreamworker.