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How to recall dreams

How to recall dreams
Okay here we go. Starting with recalling dreams.

Recalling dreams is important

The first part of your practice is to become skilled in recalling dreams. Like most others, chances are that you do not even recall one dream in the morning. But rest assured that recalling dreams is a skill and can be learned by anyone. Within a few weeks you will be able to recall multiple dreams each night. Great fun.

Recalling dreams is fundamental to having lucid dreams. The more dreams that you are able to recall, the more dream awareness is starting to seep into your dreams: after all, you cannot recall dreams if you were not conscious of the experience while having them. Dream recall also enables valuable dreamsign analyses which is something that we deal with soon. More importantly, why have lucid dreams if you cannot recall them afterwards? Being able to recall dreams is key.

Following the scheme of the WBTB matrix, in this section, we focus on the first three steps that are part of the "Recall dream" stage of the WBTB procedure.

Journal dreams online

As you know, we offer a free online Dream Journal on the website that specifically supports students to journal and analyze their personal dream adventures. Journaling online rather than on paper has great advantages: accessible but yet protected, safely backed up, automated statistical analyses, sharing features to allow friends and family to read your specified dream records on Facebook or Twitter. Start using Dream Journal today.

Dream recall

In this video I demonstrate how to recall dreams. Once you wake up, you immediately lay completely still. Keep your eyes closed and solely focus on answering one single question: "What have I dreamt about?"

Relax, and focus. Have patience, allow your mind to associate.

Step 1. Recall dreams

Recalling dreams is not that hard. An important factor determining your success is your total time of sleep: the longer you sleep, the more REM sleep your mind will generate in the morning hours and thus the more easy it becomes to recall a few dreams or more. This means that going to bed earlier is great for practicing lucid dreaming. Sleep healthy.

This is what you do the moment you wake up at any time during the night:
  • Your first thought must be "What did I just dream about?"
  • You keep lying still. Do not move.
  • You keep your eyes closed.
  • Do not pressure yourself. Have patience. Allow your mind to do the digging. Just encourage it to get a hold of something.
  • Nothing there yet? Go through any movie genre: action, adventure, love, drama, etc. Does this ring any bell? Think up any dream you can imagine; did you dream about something similar?
  • With just a single dream fragment, start associating from that and go back in time: how did you come to that location? Where did those people come from? How did that situation arise?
Use your mobile phone to quickly journal dream(fragments) in Dream Journal. Do not fully write down a dream after a midnight awakening. This will be too obtrusive to sleep and will only make you feel tired the following morning.

Using a voice recorder is also very handy. Many lucid dreamers use their mobile phones to do these recordings, to only write down their dream records in full length the following morning at Lucidipedia.

Step 2. Get out of bed

Once you feel that you have mastered how to recall dreams (after practicing this skill for a few days or longer), you could plan for doing the WBTB sometime in the weekend. When doing WBTB, at this point at step 2, it is time to get out of bed.

Step 2 of the WBTB technique requires to wake you up. Get as wakeful as possible. This is mainly done by getting out of bed (really do this!), to put other clothes on and maybe drink some tea. Take this step seriously.

The way in which students prefer to wake up differs from student to student. Experiment with the things that help you to wake up as quickly. Turning on some music helps, or visiting Lucidipedia to record your recalled dreams is a good way to get active and awake quickly. Some do push-ups, read lucid dreaming literature, others wash their face with water. Anything that makes you awake and alert.

The idea is that lucidity relates strongly to wakefulness. This might explain why lucid dreams occur naturally quite frequently to people after midnight sex, nightmares, sickness or sleeplessness. So the more wakeful you are at the end of this planned 30 minute sleep interruption, the better chance you have to turn lucid when you return to sleep and go into REM sleep again.

Step 3. Feel excited

Then, when you are out of bed, spend time on rehearsing your planned lucid dream experience. Talk aloud. Say to yourself "I will recognize that I am dreaming". Act it out in your bedroom. Listen to the right music. Review those related movie scenes. Get excited. Really visualize yourself having that lucid dream experience soon.

Excellent. You have studied the first stage of the WBTB technique. Be sure to practice with dream recall before continuing to the next section. Aim for recalling at least 2 dreams each morning. Once you are able to do that, meet me at the next section Discovering Dreamsigns.

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Beginner's course

Expert's course
1. Introductions
2. Revalue your bedroom
3. Setup a training schedule
4. WILD technique
5. Train prospective memory
6. Meditation (part 1)
7. Meditation (part 2)
8. Falling asleep lucidly
9. Dream exploration
10. Spinning technique


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