Usually, we forget our dreams the moment our alarm clocks pull us out of our slumber. In fact, a study showed that only 1 in 250 people remember their dreams. For most of us, we only get bits and pieces of disjointed images that make up a confusing puzzle.
To some, dreams are just that, visuals and thoughts that our sleeping mind display while our physical bodies rest. However, these visions can tell us a lot about ourselves and that's why it matters that we remember them in some form or manner.
According to experts, we have a hard time recalling what we dreamt because it's the mind's process of filtering between important and unnecessary information collected throughout the day.
While difficult, dream recall isn't impossible. Here are some tips that'll help you get a bit of a grip of your fleeting dreams.
Deep sleep, better dreams
If you keep up with our articles, you probably know the 4 sleep stages by now: awake, light sleep, deep sleep and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. You constantly repeat this sleep cycle as you sleep.
As you fall asleep, you transition from a state of wakefulness to a slowing down of brain activity into a slumber. According to sleep scientists, this state leads to the REM sleep, in which dreaming occurs.
Basically, the faster we fall into deep sleep, the faster we get to the REM stage. In order to do this we need to learn a few things.
First, we need to shield our bodies and minds from stimuli. This includes shying away from gadgets with bright lights or extreme changes in temperature.
Another way of ensuring faster shutdown time is to make sure that you are comfortable. You may do this by choosing a relaxing mattress or maintaining a quiet and relaxed bedroom so as not to wake up in the middle of the night from loud noises
The time when you take your meals should also be considered as it affects the way our bodies slow down in preparation for sleeping.
Experts in psychiatry also suggest that we should maintain a regular sleep schedule in order to easily fall asleep as soon as we hit the lights and get into bed.
Dream researchers describe lucid dreaming as knowing that you are dreaming while you are actually sleeping. Essentially, you have a vague sensory connection with what your mind is visualising.
While most people dream, not everyone can deliberately choose the manner with what and how it goes about. Those that do claim that it lessens their anxiety and positively affects their mental health.
Occurring in REM sleep, trying to lucid dream allows the individual some sort of control over the contents of their dreams and their actions. This increases your chance of dream recall as you are visualising actively thought of scenarios.
By trying to control the things and visions we see in the dream world, the chance to remember pieces of our dreams grow.
Put it in a dream journal
Trying to remember a dream after a good night's sleep feels like trying to cup water in your hand without letting a single fall drop.
It may be obvious, but a way to recall dreams is keeping a dream journal within reach and jotting down details of your dream that you remember when you first wake up.
Studies show that putting thought into paper and this effect is strengthened by having a journal as the latter also helps you notice dream patterns.
Sometimes you might immediately remember a dream, but it slips away as time goes on if you’re not thinking about it. By writing it down immediately, you reduce your chance of forgetting.
One of the main benefits of keeping a dream journal is to help you induce lucid dreaming.
A journal also allows you to familiarise yourself with the things you mostly think about whilst dreaming, giving you a glimpse into your subconscious.
While it is true that trying to remember our dreams is hard, it's not impossible. However, with these tips, you might have a chance to retain those visions created by your sleeping mind.
Like anything in life, trying to recall your dreams is a habit that should be formed, which may take days or weeks. If you really want to remember your dreams, the best time to start is now!