Saturday, 27 July 2019

The Dreamhacker Series | Remembering Your Dreams (1)

Hi, and welcome to the all-new, relaunched Dreamhacker Series, a beginner-level, back-to-basics, foundational course of tutorials, teaching you everything you need to know about dreamwork - from dream recall and dream incubation to lucid dreaming induction techniques and methods. 

The first tutorial in the Dreamhacker Series concentrates on improving your dream recall.

Good dream recall is essential for anyone hoping to induce a lucid dream - if you cannot recall your dreams, you may experience lucidity in a dream, and simply forget it ever happened!

Many people state that they 'never' or 'rarely' ever experience a dream - this is simply not true - the problem is, they just do not have decent dream recall!

The following steps will help you immediately and dramatically improve your dream recall, so that you can better remember your dreams!

1. Prioritise the best time in your sleep cycle for experiencing and remembering a dream - I have produced a separate Dreamhacker tutorial for this -  'The Dreamhacker Series | Hacking the Sleep Cycle (2)'The Wake-Back-to-Bed Method is a means of hacking the sleep cycle so that you wake up just prior to the longest period of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep which takes place right at the end of the sleep cycle. The REM stage of the sleep cycle is characterised by rapid eye movement, high brain activity and muscle atonia - it is the stage in the sleep cycle when you are most likely to experience vivid dreams. If you wake yourself just prior to this period of REM sleep, and then go back to sleep for 1 - 2 hours, you are likely to recall a vivid dream, because you are forcing yourself to go straight from waking into REM sleep. When you wake up for the second time, you are waking up directly from your dream, so hopefully it will be fresh in your memory. Be aware that certain foods, vitamins, supplements, medications and substances (notably, cannabis and alcohol) may have an impact on the quality of your REM sleep. For example, cannabis is known to inhibit REM sleep, which is why many recreational users rarely remember any dreams. Cutting down or quitting cannabis leads to the REM Rebound Effect, where you 'catch up' on the lost periods of REM sleep, leading to bizarre, intense, vivid dreams (I will cover the REM Rebound Effect in detail in a subsequent video and post).

2. Set an intention to remember your dreams - this simply means concentrating your mind on the fact you will remember your dreams! Each night, as you are relaxing and preparing to fall asleep, use a mantra such as 'I will remember my dreams when I wake up' which you silently meditate upon (just run through your mantra in your mind as you are falling asleep, repeating it until you eventually fall asleep). Remember to do this every time you are going to sleep. Good advice is to try and fall asleep in as dark a room as possible - any light emission can affect your melatonin levels, and consequently, the quality of your sleep and dreaming. 

3. Consolidate your dream memory upon waking - when you wake up, remain in the position you find yourself in, and try not to move around or open your eyes. Dream memories are very transient and fleeting, and any distraction (thoughts, sights, sounds etc) can cause the dream memory to instantly fade. Our brains are not supposed to store dream memories, so you are essentially 'hacking' your brain, by training it to hold on to these dream memories. While laying in the position you woke up in, with your eyes closed, run through what you can recall about your dream in as much detail as possible, in an attempt to consolidate your dream memory. You might find it useful to speak your dream out loud. 

4. Record your dreams in a Dream Journal - this is fundamentally important, not just for improving dream recall, but also so that you can analyse your dreams and enhance and enrich your dreamwork generally. Keep your Dream Journal within easy reach by your bedside - this in itself is a good way of reinforcing that intention to remember your dreams, as the Dream Journal symbolises this. Record your dream in your Dream Journal as soon as possible in as much detail as possible. You might give your dream a date and a title. If you cannot recall your dream in sufficient detail to describe the narrative/plot, just note down whatever you do remember - any sights, sounds, smells, sensations, colours, emotions, dream characters etc. You might illustrate your dream memory if this is easier than describing it in words. A Dream Journal can be a dedicated notebook, or simply a piece of paper you leave beside your bed. Some people might prefer to use modern technology, such as voice recording apps on their mobile phone to verbally record their dreams - choose whatever works best for you. The key is to use your Dream Journal on a daily basis. Reading your Dream Journal before bed is another effective way of concentrating your mind on dreamwork, and focusing your intention on better remembering your dreams. I will be providing a tutorial which teaches you to use your Dream Journal to analyse Day/Dream Residue and Dreamsigns!

5. Focus your mind and concentrate on dreams in your waking reality - using your mantra and Dream Journal are key here! The idea is to think about dreaming as much as possible during your waking hours - setting the intention and focusing on it will greatly assist you in hacking your brain/mind for dreaming - think of it as a form of constant mental re-programming! One way you can do this is to talk about dreams more - find like-minded people or fellow oneironauts to discuss your dreamwork with. Perhaps find a local dream workshop or participate in some online dreaming communities; read books or watch movies/documentaries about dreaming - the key is to incorporate dreaming into your waking reality! A modern technique for focusing the mind on dreaming/lucid dreaming during the waking day is to incorporate technology - this could involve using a lucid dreaming app (I will be reviewing lucid dreaming apps on this Blog) or simply setting yourself reminders (such as alarm cues or a customised screensaver) to remember your dreams.

Here is the accompanying Dreamhacker Series | Remembering Your Dreams (1) video which provides this tutorial in audio-visual form:

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