• Lucid Dreaming - Dream Views




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    1. #1
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      Dream Recall, knowledge of sleep cycles

      I've just started to improve my dream recall and I have a question for some before I start about a method to see if it's worth doing. I've read up on sleep cycles as I'm trying to learn everything I can around the subject.

      We know a sleep cycle is roughly 90 minutes long and REM occurs at the end of this cycle, so based on that information and how long you may sleep for during that night, you can work out how many dreams of rem stages you have during that night.

      My question is if it's worth waking after each REM stage to recall the dream in that particular REM phase. This would create a very disruptive sleeping pattern which is why I'm asking this.

    2. #2
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      Keep in mind that a sleep cycle is typically roughly 90 minutes long. A sleep cycle can be longer or much shorter depending on the amount of deep sleep and/or rem sleep that is needed. From my experience, a sleep cycle can be anywhere between 10-120 minutes.

      It is worth waking up after each REM phase. This is not too distributive if it easy to get back to sleep. I'd try waking up naturally rather than using an alarm, which can go off at the wrong time. Waking up after a dream will be natural if there is enough awareness. This awareness can be gained through motivation.

    3. #3
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      We normally do wake after each REM period anyway, just briefly and usually without rising all the way to full consciousness. If you've ever seen a sleeping person stir a little bit, maybe roll over, make a little quiet grumbling sound or something, and then go back to sleep, this is what's called a micro awakening. They happen at the end of each REM period - in other words after each dreaming session. Perfect time for recall - all you have to do is latch onto the mocro awakening and take it a little farther - you can get pretty good at only waking yourself up enough to either fix the dream in your mind of scribble notes down. But you don't want to switch on the room lights, and you don't want to get out of bed - the less you emerge from the sleep-coccoon the better. For this reason Stephen LaBerge has always recommended keeping a lighted LED pen and a notebook next to your bed - the pen has a little LED bulb right next to the tip - they're made for navigators who need to write in the logbook in a darkened cabin while at sea. Mine has a green LED, which is the kind that makes it pretty easy to see what you're writing but isn't bright enough to really push you into full wakefulness. I use a Weems and Plath pen from Amazon, which I have found to be the best I've tried (tried several different ones years ago). You want to find some kind of regular ballpoint pen refills that fit it because if you buy the Weems and Plath refills they're really expensive - and get some spare batteries for it. Lol sorry - didn't mean to turn this into a commercial!!

      For me it's exciting - the lighted pen is like a little magic wand on the table next to my bed and I know when I use it it will be to record my dreams. It's things like that, that get you excited about remembering your dreams, that make it happen.

      Techniques that have worked for me to extend and slightly strengthen the micro-awakenings are mantras and drinking a big glass of water before bed. I use them in combination - I'll come up with a mantra like "I wake after every dream, remember the dream, and write it down" - or sometimes if Im just getting back to lucid dreaming Ill add a little more detail like "I wake after every dream, lie still with eyes closed, remember the dream and write it down". When this one starts to take effect and you start actually doing it, then you can slim it down to the more abbreviated version.

      And also in the beginning, when you're struggling, is when I use water. This one is a little tricky - some people are afraid they'll wet the bed or have to get up and go to the bathroom when they wake up, and of course if you believe this will happen then it does. That's how the mind works. I discovered I could drink a large glass of water and it would extend each micro-awakening into near full wakefulness because if you feel the desire to go to the bathroom you naturally wake up more fully rather than just the semi-consciousness you normally experience. I also found that I don't wet the bed and that I don't need to empty my bladder - you can just ignore the slight sense of pressure and need. I can anyway, though I suppose you have to experiment to find how much water works, and be sure not to drink or eat anything else for a few hours before bed that might increase the pressure and the sense of need.

      When I'm trying to establish a new habit like waking after REM periods, I'll also add another trick - write my mantra in my dream journal before bed to help cement my intentions in my mind. Then I repeat it over and over as I'm falling asleep. This along with the water trick will usually work in a few nights and I can wake after every REM period remembering the dream I just had. Then I can ease off on the tricks - usually I don't need the water anymore after a few nights and once you've set your intentions using a good mantra it will become the new habit for a while - you might just need to reinforce it every few weeks or so.

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      Waking up naturally after each REM cycle does seem to work the best. I've been doing this for years. It seems like I developed it naturally about a decade ago when I got serious about recording dreams and spent a while in the habit of jotting down dream notes upon each awakening when I happened to remember something. After a few years of this I became quite used to this pattern: I sleep for about 60-90 minutes or so at a time (give or take), automatically wake up briefly afterward, record any notes I happen to want to take, then quickly go back to sleep, rinse and repeat until morning. In most cases I can even get up for a couple of minutes to go to the bathroom or take care of whatever I need to do and still get back in bed and be able to get back to sleep quickly, yet without feeling excessively sleepy or groggy during the brief awakening. This is especially helpful for dream notes because I'm awake enough that the notes are normally reasonably coherent, yet I can get back to sleep quickly enough that it doesn't disrupt it too much.

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