How to Remember More Dreams
For years, I was always surprised when friends or family would claim to not remember their dreams. I would be even more incredulous when someone would say to me, “Oh, I don’t dream.”
What? How could that be? My dream life was always so active, rich, and plentiful. I had so many dreams, even as a child, and dreams inside of dreams. How is it that someone else had none?
Since I started researching dreams, however, I have become ever more certain that everyone dreams, and the issue is less about dreaming and more about dream recall.
Certainly, sleep plays a role. If you struggle with insomnia or if you are a light sleeper and easily disturbed, you may in fact not be falling into a deep enough sleep in order to make it to REM, which is the primary dreaming stage of sleep. However, REM isn’t the only stage of restfulness that allows us to access dream-like visions or imagery.
When you really start slowing down and paying attention, you will find you sometimes start dreaming even when you believe you’re still awake. This is called hypnogogia. It’s that transitional state between wakefulness and sleep.
We can experience it during the day, as well; while trying to nap, or even while trying to stay awake in class or during a work call. We can slip into a hypnogogic state during meditation or an acupuncture session. Some of us can even enter a similar state doing a mindless activity.
The boundary between wakefulness and sleep is fuzzier than we may think. There are some individuals so good at slipping into this in-between state that they are able to create and engage in “hallucinatory” experiences psychologists have termed “maladaptive daydreaming.”
All this is to say that you may be dreaming more than you realize. If you would like to be more cognizant of your dreams, and as a result engage with the dream content in a way that can benefit you, here are some tips for how to do so. These suggestions are a result of over a decade of research and personal practice, as well as client work.