Geo Bell 27/12/2015
In a nutshell, dream journalling is like keeping a diary of your dream life. It is the corner-stone of lucid dreaming practice, and one of the most enjoyable parts of an oneironaut's daily routine. Keeping a dream journal involves writing your dreams down upon waking, for later analysis and enjoyment.
Dream Journalling 101. Click for full image.
Memorable entries in your dream journal are like trophies or records of your oneironautic achievements, which you can look back on as you would a treasured photo album. An up to date dream journal will help to motivate you, keep track of your progress and most importantly, increase your dream recall.
Dream recall is the ability to remember your dreams, and is essential for lucid dreaming. Studies show that individuals with better dream recall experience a higher frequency of lucid dreams, meaning the more dedicated you are to your journal, the more amazing dreams you will experience to write in it.
Dream Journalling 101
Keeping a dream journal doesn't have to be complicated. Set aside a dedicated notebook or diary, this can be lined or plain paper, and a pen or pencil by your bedside. As soon as you wake from sleep, be it in the middle of the night or in the late morning, keep still with your eyes closed and try to recall any dreams you can.
Work your way backwards from where you left off, as far back as you can remember. Once you've gone over it in your head, grab your dream journal and start writing down as much as you can. If you can remember a few dreams, write down a key word for each dream down the side of your page so you can come back to that dream and expand it later on.
At first you may only remember a place, object or emotion. That's fine! You will be amazed at how quickly your recall improves with practice. With time, you will train your mind to start remembering your dreams each night, and your dream journal will soon be bursting with intricate and detailed adventures.
Always start each entry with a date, and perhaps the time you went to sleep. Give your dream a title which you can use to refer to it in the future. Extra details you might like to add include:
Everybody's dream journal will be unique, and it's up to you to find out which way of recording your dreams is best for you. A number of oneironauts have turned to recording their dreams on their phones or computer, tape recorders and more.
There are a number of issues with these methods:
You can overcome these issues by keeping rough notes on pen and paper upon waking, then writing out dream entries in full on your chosen electronic device. Sticking to good old fashioned pen and paper is always recommended for beginners. If you're determined to use your phone or tablet instead, make sure you read our guide to keeping an electronic dream journal.
You have to want to keep a good dream journal. If you find yourself waking up in the early hours from a dream, write it down before falling back to sleep. Not only are you significantly more likely to become lucid in your next REM period (as you're engaging your brain before slipping back into slumber) but you are also giving your dream recall a workout, which will increase your general odds of experiencing vivid lucid dreams.
If you're feeling extra groggy and can't bare to keep your eyes open for long, jot down a few key words and notes about the last dream and fill in the gaps later in the morning when you're ready to get out of bed.
Enhancing Your Dream Journal
There are a number of ways of spicing up your dream journal. Sketching your most memorable dreams is a nice way of consolidating the memory. Highlighting dreamsigns is another great practice, which can reward you with spontaneous lucid dreams.
In recent years, a range of accessories have hit the market which offer the user the ability to track their nightly sleep cycles and REM periods. From electronic wristbands to phone apps, none of these gizmos produce the sort of accurate measurements that laboratory EEG tests do. This isn't to say that they don't have their uses – for the purpose of dream journalling, some of the more advanced devices can pinpoint REM periods relatively well, allowing you to roughly pinpoint dreams to certain REM periods. For now however, personal sleep monitoring is more of a novelty than an essential for lucid dream enthusiasts.
The bottom line is as follows; keeping a dream journal is the most important practice for developing dream recall, boosting motivation to achieve goals, and keeping track of your progress.