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Why Keep a Dream Journal?

March 13, 2012 on 7:20 pm | In Dream Journals | 2 Comments

To work with your dreams, you need to remember them. Yet dreams can be among the most elusive memories. Experts say that we forget most dreams within moments of waking (especially if we are awakened suddenly by an alarm and jump out of bed).

Capturing Dreams Before You Forget Them

The best way to capture your dreams is to write them down as soon as you wake up, before you get out of bed—if possible even before you sit up. That is because movement tends to cause you to forget them.

Some people keep a pad and paper beside the bed to capture dreams. Some use a penlight or lighted pen to keep from having to turn on a light. Some even write in the dark.

Dream Researchers Say to Record Your Dreams

Dream researchers advise keeping a daily dream journal, recording all your dreams for later analysis. Looking for overall patterns, such as repeated symbols or themes in your dreams is much easier if you record and keep them in one place, in order by date.

A dream journal can be a simple notebook, a sketchbook, or even loose sheets of paper. If you use loose sheets, it is best to store them in a ring-binder to protect them and keep them in order.

Finding Time for a Dream Journal

Some people say they have no time to write down their dreams when they wake up, but it need only take a few moments. According to dream expert Robert Moss, you do not have to write down every detail. He has found that simply jotting down the most important points will allow you to recall the dreams later, when you have time to write down or sketch more details.

Jotting down even a few notes during the day whenever you remember an impression from a dream can be useful. Often a dream that you did not recall when you first awoke will come back to you later bit by bit. By noting down those fleeting impressions as they occur, you may recall the entire dream.

Benefits of Keeping a Dream Journal

The value of dream journaling can be huge. Physicians and therapists have been able to diagnose serious problems by reading dream diaries of their patients. Unrecognized health problems or relationship issues often are clearly apparent in the journal.

Robert Moss, author of Conscious Dreaming, and Dreaming True, recommends rereading our dream journals for the insights they show us about our lives. Often, those who keep journals are able to recognize unnoticed patterns or themes in their own lives. Often that leads them to make beneficial changes in health habits or lifestyle to improve their lives.

An interesting side benefit of keeping a dream journal is that people often find that they have had prophetic dreams but forgotten them before the foreseen event occurred. In other cases, warning dreams have caused people to change their plans or persuade others to do so—and saved them from death or injury.


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  1. Nice stuff. I like it.

    There’s a very good technique for becoming conscious in your dreams. When you become aware that you are dreaming, try and watch the back of your hands


    Comment by tony hogan — October 10, 2007 #

  2. Hi, Tony. Thanks for commenting! Have you ever tried that technique? Did it work for you? I never could, but I have to admit I didn’t practice very much. Do you do lucid dreaming? I’ve only experienced it spontaneously a few times, and then just briefly.

    Comment by admin — October 10, 2007 #

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