Dream Recall

Polina Nikova, 11 IB

The dream realm has quite truly forever been a mystery to man-kind. They are associated with other worlds, dimensions and even the afterlife. It has been the source of knowledge and inspiration of mystics and artists alike. Nobody really knows what dreams are or where they come from if the even have an origin. Accompanied by the fact that every single human being dreams, they are one of the mysteries of life. If you’ve ever been curious about them like me, a way to attempt to make dreams tangible is to record them. Too bad that you can’t photograph or film any of what you’re seeing during your sleep state so the next best thing is to write them down afterwards, a dream journal of sorts.

Do not think that this is an easy endeavour, though. You might try to write down a dream whenever you remember it by chance, but if one plans on to systematically remember dreams, one must understand is how a person sleeps and how he remembers them to even be able to write down one dream. Below is a sample hypnogram (electroencephalogram of sleep) showing sleep cycles characterized by increasing paradoxical (REM) sleep:


R.E.M is a unique phase characterized by random movement of the eyes, low muscle tone throughout the body, and the propensity of the sleeper to dream vividly. A person has on average between 3-7 dreams per night. It generally accepted among dream researchers that dreams can not be recalled if you wake up in any other cycle except R.E.M. With that in mind and that dreams are spaced approximately 90 minutes apart, you can generate an alarm system to go off at 4.5, 6, or 7.5 hours after you go to sleep to “catch” most of your dreams if you see fit.

An organic way to remember your dreams is when you wake up, no matter whether it’s during the night or midday, try to remember what you’ve dreamt about. Ask yourself “what happened before that?” and in a way backtrack the events. What is important to note is that you must wake up with the intention to remember. If you begin thinking of your daily tasks or anything of the like, you won’t be able to recall anything. A rule of thumb is that a dream is forgotten about ten minutes after you wake up.

The next step after backtracking you dreams is to write them down. Make yourself a dream journal. You may write down only the key points of the story, the dates, what you think certain events or characters may refer to, your emotions, etc. Look for meaningful or supernatural characters. Some dreams may seem prophetic. The way you interpret them depends entirely on your own personal feelings and personal experiences. If you end up not remembering anything, write that down, too, along with why you think it happened and how you could improve your strategy. It is absolutely normal not to have a dream to write down the first few mornings.

To remind yourself of your intentions and get yourself into the spirit of your dreams, read through your dream journal just before bedtime. Learning to remember your dreams may seem difficult at first, but if you persist, you will almost certainly succeed -- and may find yourself remembering four or more dreams per night. Of course, once you reach this level, you probably won't want to write them all down -- just the significant or compelling ones. Finally, you will become familiar with your style of dreams and the next step is to look up what lucid dreaming is!