How to Remember Your Dreams

Dream Recall: How to Remember Your Dreams 

If you have ever had an interesting dream, you know how exciting it can be to step into another world, in fact another life, while your waking body is asleep. It can be frustrating to not be able to remember what happens in the dream time. You might even be here to figure out better ways to remember your dreams because you know you’re missing out! Rest assured, following these procedures, developed out of my own experience and supported by research, will help improve your dream recall.

As you read through the steps, keep in mind that dreams contain living images that, just like our friends and family, like to be around people who acknowledge them, care about them, and interact with them.

Step 1: Acknowledge that you DO dream, even if you don’t remember the dreams. Everyone dreams (Herlin, B. et al., 2015). 

Step 2: Begin to develop a habit of inviting dreams and images to visit during the dream time. This can be as simple as saying in your head or out loud before you sleep something like, “I welcome any dream images that wish to appear; I’m excited to meet you. Please visit.” You may also want to establish a basic ritual to invite your dream images to stay in your memory. You probably already have a bedroom routine. Incorporating a bit of journaling or meditation in which you invite the dream images to visit and let them know you’d like to meet them may help encourage the images to be more memorable.

Step 3: When you wake up, write down any words or images that are in your mind, even if they don’t make sense or feel “dreamlike.” Many times, these thoughts or images were actually part of a larger dream that has lost its form during waking. Likewise, if you do happen to remember even one small part of a dream, or have the feeling “I think I maybe dreamed,” mark it down as a success! Many people feel like if they don’t remember an entire epic dream, it’s not worth writing down or remembering. Even one image can give us lots of information to work with.

Step 4: Keep encouraging the images, and don’t get frustrated. It can take time for the dream images to feel comfortable showing up regularly, but with steady encouragement they will. Continuing to ask them to visit during a bedtime ritual and a morning journaling/contemplation time. Even if you feel like it’s not working, keep at it and don’t let frustration get to you. Just like seeds in the ground in Spring, there can be a lot going on under the surface that can’t necessarily be seen just yet. 

Step 5: As the images begin to come more often and stay longer in the memory, try to take at least 5 minutes in the morning to write down what visited in the dream time. Continue to be patient as you develop a relationship with the images. Just like friendships, they take time to develop but are richly rewarding when a connection is made.

Reference:

Herlin B, Leu-Semenescu S, Chaumereuil C, & Arnulf I (2015). Evidence that non-dreamers do dream: a REM sleep behaviour disorder model. Journal of sleep research PMID: 26307463

My Journey to Healing

If you’ve found your way here, you might be wondering any of the following:

Who is Myka Hanson?
What is a somatic consultant?
What can Myka do for me?
What qualifications does Myka have?

The short answer is: I’m a 43 year old woman, wife, and stepmother living in Minnesota. I have a BA in English and Secondary Education, a MA in Special Education, a MA in Depth Psychology with a specialization in Somatic Studies, and I am currently a Ph.D. candidate at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Depth Psychology and Somatic Studies. I am a certified yoga instructor (RYT-500), a certified cognitive coach, and a level one certified Dream Tender.

I’ve spent the majority of my adult life in the classroom, teaching 11-12th grade English, teaching yoga, helping teachers become better teachers, and being a student myself. Five years ago, I hit a road bump. I found myself in a day program for Anorexia Nervosa, an illness I had struggled with for years but had never had the courage to face or address. After four months in treatment, I began to reexamine how I saw myself and what aspects of my life I wanted to change.

I moved to Santa Barbara, California, and I started my life over again. A complete restart was what I needed, and it worked. I embraced my intelligence and identity as an academic and a scholar. I began to study trauma and trauma scholarship from a depth psychological perspective. My program specialized in Somatic Studies, the study of the connection between the body and the mind. Somatics brings the body back to center and honors the body’s intelligence.

Did I mention that, when I began the program, I couldn’t feel my body? Like, if someone asked me if I had arms, unless my arm was resting on something and I could feel the resistance, I didn’t feel that I had arms. Or legs. Or a head. In the last three years, I have taken millions of baby steps to learn how to feel my body, and, today, I have a beautiful, subtle awareness of my fingers, toes, arms, and legs!

As a somatic consultant, it’s my mission and duty to help people bridge the closed off pathways between the body and the mind in order to live the best, most magnificent life possible. As a consultant, I have a vast arsenal of knowledge to share, whether your concern is personal or professional, for you or for a family member or friend. We work together to create a road map for your best future.

I am not a licensed therapist. I don’t accept clients for therapeutic modalities, though I am happy to refer you to therapists with whom I’ve worked and can recommend.

If you’re curious about how I might help you, shoot me an email or see my FAQ which outlines specific types of people I work with well. The bottom line is, if you want to improve your connection to your body and see how that can enhance your life, I’m here to help you along the way!