Dreams come and go swiftly in the night. When we wake up in the morning remembering bits and pieces of the dream, we may be wondering where they came from, and what we can do to grasp the message they might be trying to deliver to us in our sleep. Recording your dreams in a journal can help you not only hear the messages, but better understand what they mean to your life. Exploring your dreams can get you in touch with your subconscious creativity, and it is fun to explore.
How To Keep a Dream Journal (And, Access Your Creativity) Writing down all of the details that you can recall about the dreams you have can give you a timeline to reference back to. Capturing dreams can be done whatever way works best for you:
- Writing dreams down with pen and paper.
- Using an electronic device to type your dreams out.
- A voice recorded dream journal.
- A video recorded dream journal.
What are your dreams telling you? Catch your dreams, so that you can chase them. Your creative future looks bright and dreamy. Write it down, get it out, get your creativity flowing!
Hey Dreamer! How exciting is this? Learning all about your dreams, how to journal them, and harness the creative messages your dreams are trying to tell you. Scientists and doctors have attempted countless studies on dreams. How, why, and when we have them. Though they may be discovering new things all the time, dreams are still quite mysterious to the medical world.
So, what exactly are dreams, anyway? The dream experience will vary from person to person, but there are similarities that can be found. But, for the most part, a dream is an image, feeling or story that is played out in your mind while you sleep. This may be a quick flash lasting only a few seconds, or a long-lasting dream up to half an hour, experts say.
Can we dream at any given time, or just while we are asleep? Basically, a dream is a thought our minds have while we are sleeping. Though it is believed that we can daydream while we are awake, daydreams are not as deep a level or as detailed.
Is there a better level of consciousness for dreams? Experts say that if you are awakened during the REM cycle, that you are most likely to remember the dream you were having more vividly.
Choosing a Journal
A dream journal can be a very personal and important thing to some. The journal itself can be almost as important as the contents. Many of us have kept a diary, or journal at some point in our life. This is a similar concept. But, instead of logging the events, and feeling throughout your day, you are recording what happens during your sleep.
If you are new to journaling, you may not be sure which type of journal you would like best. The big decision is whether to keep a traditional pen to paper journal, or to keep a digital journal. You could even do a spoken journal, or video recorded version. There are pros and cons to each. It really just matters what suits your style best.
If you are the type to wake up in the middle of the night, and record a dream while you’re up, perhaps choose the method that will be the least likely to keep you awake. Most of us would agree that if we pick up our phone to digitally record, that could possibly get distracted by something on our phone, and have a harder time getting back to sleep. The last thing you want is for your journaling to disrupt your sleep patterns.
Pen and Paper
Most of us still think about a traditional style paperback version of a journal, when we think of a dream journal. Though we have just about lost our touch with manually writing since the boom of smartphones, pen (or pencil) to paper can actually get the creative juices flowing. There’s just something nostalgic about the smooth flow of ink that lubes up the creative portals of the mind.
Keep your journal, and pen close to your bedside, so that it is within reach, and you can capture the dreams when they are as fresh as possible in your mind. It couldn’t hurt to have two pens handy. And, if your journal isn’t brand new, make sure there is at least enough empty space to hold a few weeks’ worth of entries.
Whatever you do, make sure to keep your journal away from your morning coffee, you wouldn’t want to ruin your journal with spilled java.
Paper journals are great, but electronic journals have loads of more features! When we wake up in the morning, our handwriting may not be at its finest. Attempting to decipher your early morning scribbles in a handwritten dream journal can be a struggle. Electronic dream journaling can be the solution to sloppy handwriting, and typing is often quicker than writing by hand.
The best perk of electronic dream journaling has got to be the autocorrect option. Spelling first thing in the morning is not everyone’s forte. What else is there to love about electronic journaling? The features an electronic journal offers will take your creative side on a sensory journey.
Add color text or backgrounds to your entries to convey emotion and expression of the DOD (dream of the day.) Give it a special touch with pictures or drawings that help you describe your dream in more detail. Graphics will bring your dream journal to life. You can even attach a song or audio to your entries with an electronic journal.
Downfalls to recording a dream journal on an electronic device
The main (and most obvious) con to journaling electronically is that our devices can often be a distraction. So, if your alerts start buzzing, you may be tempted to check them, as well as lose your train of thought. And, the funny thing about dreams is once they start to fade away, it is near impossible to get them back.
Apart from being a distraction to journaling, electronic devices can also lose power during a journal entry. An electronic device may also have more serious issues than a dead battery. If you do not back up your dream journal, and you lose everything on that device, you can kiss your journal goodbye.
A voice recorded dream journal is unique to a written journal, because spoken word can say more than we realize. Plus, how much easier is it to speak than to write or type? A lot. Especially the first thing in the morning when your eyes haven't yet adjusted to the morning light, and your hands haven’t gotten their grip strength up enough to properly hold a pen.
Speaking into a device may be a lot easier for journaling your dreams, but what type of device should you use? Honestly, the most used piece of equipment for this would have to be the all mighty smartphone. Most phones come standard with a voice memo option. This is pretty basic, but it will keep them organized, along with a time and date stamp for each journal entry.
Not all of us like the sound of our own voice. That’s a strange thing, isn’t it? But, it’s common. So, for this reason a voice recorded dream journal isn’t the best choice for everyone. Just something to consider.
This method is thought by some to be the most thorough way to keep a dream journal. Video recording a dream journal can capture your facial expressions, body language, and convey emotion that other methods of dream journaling will not give you. You can also mimic sounds, and visually try to recreate the dream.
Though it has many good points, using a video recorded method for keeping a dream journal means that you will have to go back and re-watch your videos in their entirety if you want to revisit them at a later date. However, if you were to use a written-out version (handwritten or typed) you could easily read/scan through the text.
Let’s talk about the items which we will need for successfully tapping into the creative mind while it sleeps. Essentially you could attempt to remember the details of your dream, but not all of us are capable of retaining every important detail in our memories. Recalling that information takes us recording it, somehow.
Get the items you have collected and place them on your bedside table. If you do not have a table next to your bed, don’t worry. Just on the floor beside your bed is fine.
- First, collect your journal. If you have chosen a traditional style journal, open it to the next empty page so that you are 100% ready to write as soon as you wake up. And, don’t forget your pen! Double-check to make sure that it works. If you have chosen another method of dream journaling, then get your recording device charged, and handy.
- Using a paper journal? Don’t forget the writing instrument. And, test it out to make sure that it is working. How frustrating would it be to search your house for a new pen first thing in the morning? Set yourself up for success, check the pen. Grab a backup, just in case.
- Light it up! A bedside lamp is helpful for those middle of the night dream journal entries. The longer you fumble around in the dark looking for a light to illuminate your journal, the easier it is for details of your dream to slip away. Keep your lamp in the same spot all the time and get familiar with the controls. The little things matter.
- Music? Do you enjoy playing music to fall asleep to? Certain types of music are said to enhance our dreams, and our memory capacity to hold onto them till we wake up.
Setting an Alarm
We can have more than one dream per night. Often, by the time we wake up in the morning we cannot remember most of the details of our dreams. If we do remember them, it will most likely be details of the most recent dream prior to waking. How do we capture details of more of our dreams?
Setting an alarm for a few hours after you normally fall asleep may interrupt your sleep, but it will give you a decent shot at catching your dreams before they slip away. If this method works for you, repeating it night after night will program your brain’s internal alarm, and before you know it you may be doubling down on the dream journal entries. Use caution when messing about with sleep cycles.
If you aren’t planning on using an alarm during the night, at least set yourself up properly for the morning alarm. Giving yourself extra time in the morning for journaling can be a challenge, It is difficult enough to get up at our usual time, let alone 15 minutes early. However, it will be worth it when you are able to relax and record your dreams, instead of rushing to get ready for your day.
Setting an intention before bedtime can help influence the direction in which you want your nightly dreams to go. Perhaps there is a project that you are working on, or a specific subject you are curious to explore more. Setting an intention activates our minds, and your dreams will respond to that.
To set an intention for a dream can be as simple as just thinking about the topic before bed. Having something on your mind while you are dozing off can have an influence on your dreams. Want to really rev it up? The more thought you put into a subject, the stronger the influence over your dreams it will have.
Total Dream Recall
Imagine that you have just woken up from a long night’s sleep, full of dreams. If you rise naturally, without an alarm, then you probably have a gentler awakening than those that hear an abrasive loud sound that yanks them out of a deep and dreamy slumber. Either way, you’re up now. The dream is over.
Your mind and body begin to become active. And, before your eyes open, you may begin to recall the dreams you just had. Colors, feelings and visions are most fresh in your mind the minute that you wake up and become alert. Which is why journaling is best done very first thing when you wake up.
Give yourself a minute to relax and gather your thoughts before trying to verbally describe the event. Grab your journal, or electronic device for recording, and let’s get started. Ready for recall? Recall is basically a detailed memory of the dream that you just had. Deja Vu could possibly be a delayed dream recall, if you think about it.
Record everything you can recall about the dream from feelings, to sounds, to colors. Dreams are not always “stories.” Though you may remember more details later in the day, they are thought not to be as accurate as details recorded as soon as you wake up from the dream.
Practice Makes Perfect
When you first begin to record your dreams, it can be a challenge to recall, or even translate onto paper what you dreamt about. At first, you may need to put more conscious effort into allowing the first few minutes of your day to be devoted to your dream journal.
Getting the dreams when they are the freshest is usually the best time. So, unless an emergency happens first thing in the morning, make sure that you have your pen in hand before you even grab a cup of coffee. Carving out an extra 15 minutes of your already tight morning schedule may feel impossible, but it’s not.
It is said that a new addition to your daily rituals could take anywhere from several weeks, to several months to become a habit. Until you do it without thinking, you must put conscious effort into keeping your dream journal pages full. Your future self will thank you.
Have you ever drifted off, truly lost in thought at random times during the day? Did you realize that you were probably daydreaming? Though daytime dreams and nighttime dreams are often quite different, they are worth paying attention to. There may be some creative ideas floating around in that space.
Daytime dreaming can be a one-time thing, happen every so often, or be all consuming for some. If daydreaming is interrupting your daily life, it could be a sign that you are not getting enough sleep, so check in with yourself if this sounds familiar. Creative minds tend to be overactive, and we need to be aware of sleep patterns, or lack thereof.
Watching scary movies before bed can give a lot of us bad dreams, or even nightmares. This may not bother some people, like those that enjoy a creepy insight into the creative aspect of their subconscious. Bad dreams can come from outside sources like movies, but they can also come from our subconscious.
Keeping a thorough dream journal means documenting everything. The good dreams, along with the bad ones. Getting it out of your head, and into your journal could help you deal with it, making room for better dreams in the future.
Translating your dreams is really the icing on the cake, here. Or, is it the cake itself? Either way, it is pretty sweet. Sure, you can keep a dream journal for years on end, but it won’t do you much good unless you interpret the deeper meaning of the dreams you are recording.
Dreams are plenty interesting just as they are, in the format our subconscious delivers them to us in our sleep. However, dreams can also be like a foreign language. One which we do not understand, unless we translate them. Some can make perfect sense immediately to the dreamer, yet most do require at least a bit of translation.
You may wish to do all the work yourself and take your translations into your own hands. Or, you could hire someone that specializes in analyzing and translating dreams. These specialists are called Oneirocritics and may offer in-person sessions. However, it is typically much easier to find one online.
For those that wish to analyze their own dreams, and translate the meanings, the process could be more rewarding. Just like learning any new language, it will take practice to become fluent. How much effort you put into it is up to you. The more you put into it, the more you get out of it. A good place to start is a free site like this one.
The Creative Side
Dreams can be a wild mix of things from our reality and our creative subconscious. The beautiful part of dreams, and their interpretations, is that it is all unique to you and your creative side. The visions, feelings creativity is an expression of you
Creative people such as artists are said to dream more often than those that are not actively in touch with their creative side. An active creative mind is not only active during your waking hours, but also at night.
Many famous works of art and critical inventions were born from a dream that the creator had. Visions of greatness can come to us through our dreams if we pay attention, and take the time to journal/translate them. This is where the little details may count big time, so record everything that you can remember about your dreams.
There are different types of dreams we can have on any given night. Have you ever had a dream that seemed so real, and was super vivid? It may have been what is known as a lucid dream. A lucid dream is a dream wherein the dreamer is aware that they aren’t awake and can actually have some control over the dream.
If you want to have an experience like that, just think of the possibilities, and the dream journal entries it could result in. Web MD has an interesting article and simple how-to guide on getting lucid dreaming to work for you. Check it out, there’s a ton of information here!
Binaural just means relating to both ears. Binaural Beats are so much more than just sounds that you use both ears to listen to. Binaural beats are used in sleep therapy programs, meditations, and by people who just want to explore the benefits for their own reasons.
So, what does music have to do with your dreams, dream journal, and creativity? Pretty much everything. When binaural beats are listened to during bedtime, they can help you relax, but also concentrate and tap into creativity.
Another benefit we reap with the use of binaural beats is a major memory boost. Recalling details of your dreams will be much easier if you improve your memory, whether through music or other ways.
An Extra Boost
Not everyone dreams. And, even those that do dream, don’t dream every night. Or, is it that we dream, and just do not remember our dreams? Who wouldn’t want to enhance the dream journaling experience to another level? When the goal is capturing your nightly dreams, here’s a few tips that can be just the boost you’ve been searching for.
- Dream Catcher- Yes, you know the ones. The whimsically decorated (often circular) ornaments, patterns intricately woven across, with feathers and beads hanging down. Hanging one of these by your bed is said to help catch bad dreams in the woven web. Fewer bad dreams, leaves more room for good dreams!
- Crystals- Crystals and gems can help in many aspects of your creativity. It can also help you when you are not awake. For example, dream quartz. It is a rare find, but when you get your hands on it you will
- Essential Oils- The oils that are drawn from plants are beneficial in many ways including memory support, restful sleep, and even activating creativity. Lavender is a popular choice.
- Supplements- Getting a well-rounded diet will help keep the body and mind at its peak performance. When the mind and body are at their best, you will feel the difference. Your dreams can benefit from a proper diet and dietary supplements through memory support, and healthy brain activity, plus peaceful sleep.
A clean sleep lays the foundation for vivid, and creative dreams. Dream on dreamers!