It happens to us all; we wake up during the night or even in the morning and know exactly what we’ve just been dreaming about. We can sometimes remember the sounds, sights, and even smells. Sometimes we wake with strong emotions connected to our dreams. As the day passes, we try our best to remember what had been so clear to us that morning but it’s simply vanished.
Dreams most often happen during REM sleep. There is a cycle of sleep patterns that we all go through nightly, but this is the one in which we experience eye movements and body paralysis, and during which our most vivid dreams occur. These are the dreams you’ll remember when you first wake up. Scientists still aren’t sure why we dream; it could be that it’s our brain's way of trying to weed through what must be retained versus what it can toss as useless information. It could also be that our brain has finally reached a space while we sleep and aren’t bombarded with such an array of information. Dreams may just be our brain's way of processing what it’s seen, heard and felt on any given day. One way you can increase your memory is to have a dream journal at the ready. It can be as fancy as you want to make it; a simple pad of paper and pen or a highly decorated book just for that purpose. Have it next to where you sleep, most ideally on a bed side table with a lighting source of some type nearby. You won’t likely need the light for morning writing, but if you wake in the middle of the night you can quickly switch on the light and start recording. You could also have a lap top at the ready if you’re more technologically inclined, but have a special document where you can compile your dreams and keep them handy for reference. Another way to remember your dreams is through meditation, although this is much longer process than writing them down. Because you become more connected and self aware through meditation, you will be able to tap into the regions of your brain and memory that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to access. Mediation can help calm and focus the mind, so you can reflect on your emotions and more deep seated issues, including the dreams that sometimes symbolize what’s happening in our lives. If you’re going to meditate, it helps to practise in a quiet location where you can avoid distractions. Sometimes this means choosing a certain time of day when other household members aren’t around, or it could be that you have a good space at the office when most staff is out during the lunch hour. Whatever your space and time, make it comfortable so that your body can fully relax, and recognize that good, productive meditation doesn’t come quickly, but must become part of a daily routine.