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    Thread: Dream Recall - A skill that can be developed?

    1. #1
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      Dream Recall - A skill that can be developed?

      I find if I wake up during or immediately after (I'm assuming it's one or the other) a REM cycle I have decent recall. I usually have at least one dream and sometimes a fragment of 1 or 2 others. It seems if the dream is particularly vivid and extended that's all there is. If not so long or detailed I might have another fragment or two sloshing around. Sometimes I can pull in a bit more of the fragment, sometimes not.

      Over the past month there have been 2 or 3 nights I slept the whole night through and awoke without even an inkling of a dream, even after remaining in bed still and with eyes closed for several minutes.

      Over time will this change? That is, can the skill to recall dreams even after sleeping the whole night away be improved with time and practice?

      By the way, I know if I am overly tired that's when I sleep the whole night through, otherwise it seems I naturally awake at least once if not 2 or 3 times. So I understand the importance of being well-rested, and if not perhaps setting an alarm.

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      sivason's Avatar
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      Yes, you certainly get much better at recall with practice, but it is necessary to keep practicing intentionally. My recall in general is much higher than when this all began, but unless I focus on it the level of recall drifts back down to a low level.
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      This is what I personally experience. Right now I'm really interested in my dreams and make notes during the night, and when I do this I seem to reach a point where I naturally wake up several times, usually remembering a dream each time. When I have other priorities and put less effort into it, it correspondingly drops.

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      I've found that even with the strongest intention my recall is utterly worthless if I'm stressed or very tired, regardless of previous nights. The last week I've had amazing recall (minimum of 2 dreams and at least 6 fragments each night) and I think that most of that is because of a decent sleeping pattern, multiple natural WBTB's and general positivity.

      Even though your memory is quite trainable I think the biggest requirement for good recall is not practice but overall attitude. This is trainable to a certain extent of course.

      EDIT: I'm re-reading this post and realise it's a little incoherent and awkwardly structured haha, if I find time later today I'll revisit it.

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      Quote Originally Posted by InnerVision View Post
      I've found that even with the strongest intention my recall is utterly worthless if I'm stressed or very tired, regardless of previous nights.
      Yup. That's where I've been the past 4 or 5 days. Work really heated up, multiple hot projects and one was just dumped in my lap when the first was getting to the critical point of certification testing. It's eaten into my ability to work the fun stuff to the degree I'd like and I just need to let that attitude go.

      So even though I'm dead tired after a 12 hour work day and then clearing 14 inches of snow, I find myself here at 1:45 in the morning. Doh!

      Ah well, tomorrow's another day.










      So yesterday after making the above post I just let go of the desire, intensity and frustration of the last 4 or 5 days. I put my mind on where it needed to be at the moment (work) and had a huge insight and burst of creativity and made significant progress on the project dumped on me at the last moment.

      I also put aside my LD practice for the day, including my pre-bed routine which I think, truth be told, was getting too formulaic and excessive and losing sight of the forest for the trees.

      So last night I had a long and rich dream right off the bat, waking up naturally about 1.5 hours after going to sleep. I also had my phone timer (the tone for the timer is much softer and pleasant than the alarm) set for 4.5 hours. I had another dream, albeit shorter and not as rich and a fragment awaiting my awakening. I then set the timer for 1.5 hours and had another short dream and an additional fragment waiting for me.

      In conclusion it was all about attitude. Prior to letting myself get caught up in the storm of work-related stress I was averaging 2.5 recalls per night and then had a burst of 13 in three nights. After that I only had a handful of short, fuzzy fragments and impressions over that stressful period, including 2 nights with a total blank.
      Last edited by sivason; 02-04-2015 at 05:42 PM. Reason: double post

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      I think that is what it's all about, Just go in to each night with a relaxed mind that is not stressed about lack of progress or daily problems. I have found a few things help with my recall. One is reading my dream journal before falling asleep. Not thoroughly, but just a few nights in which I was able to recall multiple dreams. If I find myself waking up and having no recollection of anything I dreamed, I just start my day. More often than not the dreams I had that night will come to me at some point during the day. All it takes is seeing that "one" thing en-route to work or having that "one" random thought while in the shower. Then I can typically build my dream in my journal from the previous night without having stressed about it whatsoever.

      Good luck and dream on!
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      Yeah, that was a bad spot due to work getting crazy and me trying to do too much too fast with LD work. Overloaded, I think.

      Anyway it's been a good month thus far. Went from an average of 2.5/night in January to close to close to 4/night so far in February. I'm even finding if I sleep the whole night through without waking up just after REM cycles I can still recall some dreams. That was not the case in January and the first few days in February. Those nights were total blackouts.

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      I too find it difficult to recall the first meaningful dreams of the night. Not a big deal.

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