Most people we’ve spoken to have mentioned vivid, recurring or even lucid dreams from the onset of the Lockdown, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. But what do they mean and are they normal?
Want to document your Quarantine Dreams? Try journaling them.
Practical Tips: How To Keep a Dream Journal
Just like dreams and sleeping patterns vary from person to person, so do dream journaling techniques — so be aware that whatever works for other people might need to be tweaked in order to become your ideal practice. However, if you are new to dream journaling, I have some tips that have been helping me stick to my routine, as well as making it the most efficient possible for creative purposes.
1. Set an intention to remember your dreams. “How can I keep a dream journal if I can’t even remember my dreams?” you might ask. Well, if you don’t remember your dreams, it’s likely that you have never given it a serious try. Our brains are highly susceptible: if you decide that you want to remember your dreams and interiorize this intention every night before falling asleep, you will see your memory-improving and soon you will have much better dream recall.
2. Do it everyday. The more you tell your brain that your dreams are important, the more you will remember them, and the more information you will be able to get every night. It’s as simple as that.
3. Do it first thing after you wake up. Have you ever experienced remembering your dreams very vividly in the first five minutes after you wake up and the next moment having them completely vanished? As soon as waking life worries and commitments enter our morning thoughts, the memory of our dreams is as good as gone. So do it straight after you wake up — if you still struggle, I recommend not moving your body for the first 2 or 3 minutes, as this will help you keep the memory more vivid.
4. For better results, wake up 3 hours earlier and go back to sleep. The last hours of our sleep have the longest REM cycles, which is the period of sleep during which we dream. Therefore, if you set your alarm for 2 or 3 hours before you usually wake up and write down your dreams, you will likely hit an REM period right in the middle, which will make your it much easier to remember your dreams (whereas if you only do it in the morning, you will only remember the last dreams you had).
5. Don’t try to write everything down. As you develop your dream recall skills, you might be tempted to try and write down every single detail from your dreams. Maybe that works for you, but I found that when I obsessed about registering everything I would soon get frustrated and lose motivation due to the amount of time I would spend journaling. So pay attention to the most important details: what were the strongest emotions you felt in your dream (anger? fear? pure ecstasy? arousal?); any major life-changing conclusions? Any useful/inspiring information? Soon you will be able to discern what pieces of information matter to you, so allow yourself space to explore.
6. Use a notebook with nice paper and a pen that is a pleasure to write with. When you begin this practice you might feel discouraged and tired, and your sleepy mind will find all the excuses to go back to bed instead of writing down your dreams. So make it as easy as possible for your morning self: place your notebook by your bed — and maybe open it on the right page with the date already written there.