The nights are getting longer as summer’s heat slowly dissipates into autumn’s cooler temperatures and darker days. However, instead of mourning the loss of lengthier daylight hours and additional sunshine, why not embrace what will soon be winter’s extended evenings by exploring your dreams? Studies show that people with high dream recall have exceptional creative abilities during both wakefulness and sleep. Why not spur your creative juices by increasing your dream memory? And your nighttime visions may also offer some remarkable insights into your waking life. So here are five easy tips to help you begin recalling your dreams as soon as tonight:
Writing in a dream diary is perhaps the number one most effective way to increase your dream memory. When you wake up, don’t move too much, or disturb your bedroom – such as opening your curtains or fluffing your pillows. Simply lie in bed quietly as soon as you wake up and see if any of your dreams come to you in your mind. Then grab your journal and begin writing down anything you can remember. Anything at all! This will become easier over time.
Falling asleep at the same time every night is not so much about enhancing your dream recollection as it is about improving your sleep quality. Regulating your sleep routine is important because this positively impacts your body’s internal biological clock or circadian rhythm. This clock is affected by things like sunlight, darkness (also blue light from screens), temperature, as well as physical activity, and dictates how alert or sleepy you feel through the release of hormones like melatonin and cortisol. When your circadian rhythm is running regularly, a good night’s rest will be sure to follow and that will lead to clearer dreams AND a more creative mindset.
This tip goes along with the one above. Sleep contains four individual stages – three non-rapid eye movement (NREM) stages and one (REM) rapid eye movement stage. The third non-rapid eye movement stage is when your brain most deeply rests, which is, of course, super important for mood, memory, concentration, and overall cognitive functioning during the day. During an ideal night, you would cycle through these various stages of sleep five to six times, each cycle taking somewhere between 90 to 120 minutes, which is why it is so important to get at least seven hours of sleep at a time. It was once thought that dreams only occurred during the REM stages of sleep, but we now know that dreams happen during both non-rapid and rapid eye movement sleep stages, so make sure you log enough hours of sleep so you have time to dream, and for your brain to rest.
Though this tip does defy the two above, it may be interesting to try just once as a way to jumpstart your dream recall capabilities. Raphael Vallat, a prominent neuroscientist specializing in sleep and dream research at the University of California, Berkeley Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab, suggests an experiment you can try. Set an alarm to sound off every hour throughout the night (or if you don’t want to feel exhausted the following day, perhaps just once or twice). Each time you awaken, write down any dreams that you remember. Your dream memories will likely triple!
A cup of hot tea before bed will help you unwind and can be a wonderful addition to a relaxing bedtime routine. The warm liquid may also give you a chance to write down any dreams you may have had in the hours that passed between lying down and rising later for a bathroom break. The perfect tea blend to kickstart your dream recollection skills is Lucidity Dream Tea, for it is filled with relaxing and visionary herbs, including Passionflower and Skullcap, two nourishing nervines that ease the mind by increasing levels of a feel-good chemical called gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. You’ll also find Oatstraw in this tea blend, another nutritious nervine that is traditionally used as a mild relaxant and sleep aid. Lavender Flower is a lovely aromatic addition to this tea which, when inhaled, increases slow-wave or deep stages of sleep. Blue Lotus Flower brings on an extra sense of calm and relaxation to the body, as alkaloids present in this plant release dopamine and serotonin and are specifically effective with muscle tension. But by far the star herb in Lucidity Dream Tea is Mugwort, a spiritually medicinal plant that is famous for aiding in visionary and lucid dream work – even the aroma of Mugwort in a dream pillow will improve dream recall. Finally, Western Red Cedar Leaf, Peppermint Leaf, and Rose Petals add vibrant color and flavor to this dynamic meditative tea blend that will relax your body and your mind while preparing you to journey into Dreamland.
Between a journal, a cup of Lucidity Dream Tea, and a few new bedtime rituals, you should be prepared to welcome darker days with open arms, ready to explore the wild world that awaits you as soon as your head hits the pillow. Sweet dreams!