What is a Dream journal?

A Dream journal is a place you record events that happen in your dreams after you have woken up. The best method seems to be writing out keywords that summarise your experiences, sequences, influences, people, questions, guesswork and hindsight.

Keyword example

If you dreamt you were running on a beach barefoot and the sand was so hot you couldn’t stand still while being chased by aliens in banana-shaped spaceships all shouting out your favourite TV show!

You might write in your dream journal “beachhotsandAliensbananasspaceshipstv“. You can, of course, flush out all the juicy details and write them in your Dream journal later. The power of initially using keywords is to just get the experience recorded before you forget all the juicy details. The mind, especially when you are new to keeping a dream journal often erases these dream memories, replacing them with more pressing issues like the day’s plans.

Why would your mind do such a thing?

Maybe up until now, you’ve had no interest in your dreams. Your mind has habitually just moved on from these dream memories replacing them with more pressing issues like getting up and going to work! Or did you remember to put the bins out? Or what do you want for breakfast?


Set your morning alarm 5 – 10 minutes before you positively have to get up. Do some dream recall and record keywords in your Dream diary.

Dream memories surfacing during the day

Dream memories can hit you at odd times of the day. Keeping your Dream journal handy throughout the day can be a bonus.

However, you decide to keep a Dream journal, make sure you do it because we’ve all experienced it. We have a fantastic dream; we wake up and remember this incredible dream. Then within a few seconds, we remember nothing. Believe it or not the same happens with Lucid dreaming. No matter how amazing the Lucid dreams are, one minute you are flying over landscapes or walking through walls aware you are Lucid dreaming. The next you wake up in the morning, and you can’t remember a single thing.

Keeping a Dream journal

I would recommend keeping a paper dream journal next to your bed to record your dreams. Focus on writing keywords, dream events and the people in your dreams. Then at a later date – perhaps weekly. Transfer this daily data into your paper dream template to achieve a better structure.

If you have access to a printer; printing each of the 7 days dream templates off and then adding them to a ring binder folder or some other safe storage can be a great way of keeping all this data safe.

Later when looking back through the data, this process will remind you of dreams past and give your shadow dream recall a workout.

When I regularly keep a dream diary, I delve deeper into meaning, making educated guesses. I feel this as an exercise helps me connect with my subconscious hopefully bolstering the link with my dream recall.

I already remember my dreams. Do I need to keep a dream journal?

Suppose you remember a handful of dreams a night then good for you. The shift to Lucid dreaming will be that little bit easier. If you remember no dreams, then you are unlikely to remember Lucid dreams no matter how wonderful they are. The research I carried out suggested that everybody dreamt 3 – 6 times per night, whether they recognised it or not.

When I started to keep a Dream journal, I remembered probably, 1 – 3 dreams a night. After a few weeks of keeping the journal, I remembered between 5 – 10 dreams a night which often consisted of many Lucid dreams.

Of course, this is just how it went for me. There are seemingly infinite variables on how many dreams you may remember. How much sleep do you get, what is the quality of your sleep, what have you eaten before sleep, how stressed are you…

I wouldn’t get hung up on the number of dreams that you remember. Just keeping a Dream journal and aiming to have a Lucid Dream is far more important. After you have achieved your first Lucid dream and experienced the euphoria that goes with it, perhaps then this will give your mind a big hint and reprogram it to promote Lucid dreams over the habitual gobbled goop that has come before.

My experience of keeping a dream journal

Over time I found keeping a dream journal hard. I just couldn’t be bothered to write down the fact that I had dreamt about Aliens (probably because of that film I watched). Or chocolate, kebabs and alcohol (because I love all those things!) what’s the point right? I thought I knew, just because I remembered that I had these dreams and likely associated the reason why I had them, that this was enough.

Well, I was wrong; during this period, my dreams and Lucid dreams recall lowered and thinking back on it now. I’m pretty sure I know why. What you dream about isn’t the important bit! We all experience so much during our lives, soaking in a random assortment of information.

The critical bit is telling your mind you want to remember the dreams. Mind, you have a rest from producing the garbage you weave and let me (you) take over and run the show. Remembering that I dreamt about Aliens, chocolate, kebabs and alcohol and recording the fact I did. Then later, days, weeks, years recalling I did, is the kicker!

This is the bit that tells the mind were interested in this stuff! We want control of it. Kind of embarrassing the mind into shame, scorning the efforts of the mind, shame on you, let me control it. Give me control of my subconscious mind; let me show you what we can do with this time! Instead of this regurgitated nonsense, you produce. Hello, Lucid Dreams.

My first night keeping a dream journal

When I first starting recording my dreams, the very first night, I set my notepad, pen and torch by the side of my bed. I wrote the date along the top of the page and then went to sleep.

I woke up in the middle of the night, excited to write down my keywords. I wrote keywords, events, and characters and then excitedly went back to sleep.

I woke up the next morning, and my notepad was blank, I couldn’t believe it. I had dreamt that I wrote down my dreams in my dream diary. It was so vivid, so real, but it was just a dream.

I stuck with keeping a dream journal. Soon I was writing dream keywords, experiences, sequences, influences, people, questions, guesswork, and hindsight. I always remember that first night. My mind was playing a joke on me, perhaps, nervous over the level of control that I wanted to claim back.

Move as little as possible

When you first wake up in the morning try to move as little as possible in your quest to record your dreams in your dream journal. It has been suggested that the signals required to move your limbs can overwrite your dream memories. I heard another theory that dream memories are stored in different parts of your body.

Just see what works for you. I wake up and try to move as little as possible to get my notepad and pen. Then when I have scribbled down keywords, events, characters and can’t remember anything more.

I then consciously move different parts of my body. Like wiggling my toes or clenching my fist and sometimes other dreams do magically appear.

So who knows where dream memories are stored. The important thing is to let your mind know that you are interested in your dreams by regularly writing down what happens in them.

Revisiting your Dreams

Regularly look at dreams you have recorded from previous days, weeks, months and years to give your mind a cognitive workout. Before long you will go from remembering perhaps the odd dream to remembering five to ten dreams and night and beyond.

Further analysis of your dreams is a great exercise to really familiarise yourself with your subconscious. Interpreting meaning and most of all help you take conscious control over your subconscious mind to induce Lucid dreaming.

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