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How To Achieve Enduring Health and Vitality
John W. Travis, M.D. & Regina Sara Ryan
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A Dream Journal

Everybody dreams, every night. We know this because sleep researchers have shown that rapid eye movements (REM) correlate with the state of dreaming. We may not remember our dreams, but since we all experience REM during sleep, we all dream.

You can train yourself to remember your dreams in a number of different ways. The first and most effective is to give yourself the suggestion at night that you will recall your dreams in the morning. Place a pencil and paper (or a tape recorder) beside your bed; this will allow you to note even a few details that may bring back the fuller context the next day. The intention to work with dreams is often all it takes to begin to remember them. Do not become discouraged. For some, this intention and practice takes several weeks; but in our experience it usually takes no more than a few days. When all else fails, Regina suggests eating an anchovy pizza just before retiring. While it won't make you dream any more, you may wake up repeatedly throughout the night - and remember your dreams better as a result.

Here are some practical suggestions:

  • Pick out a special notebook and pen to use for your dream journal.
  • Keep the pen and notebook in a clear space, next to your bed. Put it in the same place each night.
  • Date the page at the top. Do this at night just before you turn out the light. Let it be a reminder to yourself: I am going to remember my dreams."
  • Record dreams whenever you awake, during the night or in the morning. Don't wait.
  • Write down anything you remember, even one word, or a disconnected fragment, a color, a feeling that the dream generated.
  • Write in the first person, in the present tense. For example: "I am in my house and the water is running in the kitchen . . ."
  • Describe the dream and the feelings it gave you, but avoid writing your interpretations at this time. That can come later.
  • Read up on dreams. See books on dreams in the suggested reading list.

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