Recall and dream journaling

Dream logging or recording is one of the most basic but fundamental parts of dreamwork. LeBarge, Jung, even Freud had something positive to say about recording dreams. There are two main methods, with several thousand offshoots. The best method is the one you find that works best for you. There are several things that help with dream logging (journaling) and the first is a fundemental concept in dreamwork, if there is such a thing.

Recall

Recalling dreams is something everyone who does dreamwork needs to be able to do. Often this is called dream recall (DR or DRE) and without it you can be at quite a loss.
Most people remember their dreams, say every now and again. A few lucky ones can have spontaneous lucid dreams and OOBE ( outside of body experiences) (see Science of dreaming or LeBarge for more info). It is possible however to get recall every night (though skipping a night here and there is fine). It does take some work to get this to happen. First you need to review your sleep pattern. If you currently don’t have any recall then the best thing to do us do a quick review of how much sleep you get. The more sleep, generally the better. If you have a life or are in a period of life were you don’t get more than say 5 hours of sleep a night you are unlikely to get good recall (Sleep an active process). This is a hard and fast rule, and some people will find good recall on even as little as 2 hours of sleep a night. I would however recommend that depending on your age (teenagers beware you need close to 10-13 hours good sleep most nights, see the New Scientist articles on this) 8-13 hours of sleep is needed for good recall.

Don’t sleep this amount? I thought so. Most people in our “modern” lifestyle don’t. But you can change this, progressively over several weeks or months. Remember to start going to bed earlier, just five minutes at a time (set alarms if you have to) then when you are getting at least a hour more sleep then your are now reward yourself somehow (a small amount chocolate or a banana are good idea) and then wait or continue the task of getting more sleep till you are getting at least 7. I don’t mean to sound mean here but its for your own health alone that you do this. Sleep is vital to a life in which one thrives as opposed to just lives. Without enough of it, you have bigger concerns than getting enough recall. Having a life situation (such as a new baby) that makes this difficult is not uncommon, just realize that right now may not produce the best results for dreamwork.

Recall can also be improved by simply having a note pad and pen next to your bed and writing your dreams upon waking. A tape recorder or dictaphone can be of great assistance. I would also say the voice recording system on smartphones are helpful, but shortcutting them is recommended. Using voice recognition is unlikely to get good results as you voice is often harder to interpret upon waking. Consulting bed partners would also be advisable before starting dream recording. Using the most passive method is likely to be better for those who share beds with others.

If you still have no recall, one can try many of the methods found in the ld4all forums, or failing that consulting a General practitioner. The reasons for no recall can be many, most psychological, some physical. It is possible to have no dreaming state but often this is due to brain damage or major chemical imbalance (possibly stress or depression).

Dream logging itself
The process is fairly simple to as complex as you want or need (see methodology post) to make it. Keeping it as a normal journal with dates and a title or number for each dream is the most simple. Then one can make it more complex, adding illustrations, notes, making profiles on common dream characters and even common dream geography. From this one can easily slip into a dream “sheeting” method or a creating a dream dictionary or wiki (you can keep these offline or online).

Once you have a log to your liking you can work on achieving new goals (journaling itself is a goal, of course) and exploring your dream self and characters in your dreams, perhaps obtaining lucidity and more. Enjoy the dreams.

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