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    Thread: Experiment on switching from writing dreams to voice recording

    1. #1
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      Experiment on switching from writing dreams to voice recording

      I was thinking of switching from writing my dreams at night to useing a voice recorder. This is because even after a few hours sleep I wake up to go bathroom and jot down notes from the dream I was having. As soon as I look at the screen, (and yes I already use a blue light filtered screen plus orange lenses) I think that my body kind of jolts awake again. Sometimes I fall back asleep alright but other times like tonight I think the light keeps me up or wakes me back up too much. I use it as dim as possible and like I said with layers of blue light filters. Even so I think it wakes me up. I am pretty sensitive to light and sound of and kind so that would make sense.

      So I want to hook up a voice recorder by my bed and actually have it run all night. This way I don't even have to press a button to start it. My voice recorder can be plugged in and has over 24 hours of storage space.

      The next day i would import that audio into audacity and then clip out the silent parts. Then transcribe it in more detial if needed.

      One big fear is that I would lose details by not writing it since writing it seems to bring up other details. And another big fear is that I will wake up and some how the recorder mal functioned and none of my dreams are accessible.

      However I am getting quite tired of insomnia and I think it is relate to the light, even the dim filtered light.

      I actually think it also might be cool to be in total darkness all night instead of any interruption with light every few hours. Even if the light isnt the only problem, the complete darkness might provide some kind of deeper sleep and dreaming. Then all I have to do is reach for the recorder instead of getting up to write.

      I wonder if anyone has any thoughts or experiences on this idea. If I try it I might use this thread as a place for me to post my comments on the practice (the following day of course, when its light out!)

      It might also be interesting to make other voice notes to listen to the next day since at night is when a lot of major concerns can arise. So by making a voice note over night, I could listen the following day and address it hopefully eliminating insomnia


      this journal will be for just my notes on the process of VR DJing and what it is like to make the switch, comments on if I sleep better, etc

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      day 1

      I only started this method part way through the night but I got good results. I can leave the recorder running all night so thats what I did. I got a 5.5 hour file because it was alrealy 2-3 A M when i started it due to insomnia.

      What happened that was cool was that while my body was going into S P, I could still use my voice. So I made part of the recording as my body went into S P. Any time I felt I was "amost there" to sleep but then maybe not quite I made a few more voice notes about the process of falling asleep itself, to help with WILD attempts.

      Then when I woke up from a dream I did my recall as usual. I started going from dream -> recall -> record earlier this year instead of dream -> record (and hopefully recall while recording). So the recall portion is the same. Think it through, see what images come to mind, staying perfectly still.

      The only difference was I kept the voice recorder running the whole time and right near my mouth. So, instead of having to move to write, I was able to keep the rest of my body in S P and just use my voice. That made it easier to get back to sleep and so I think I got to dream more as well.

      Tonight will be the first full night of it and I will be blind folded from 6 P M until the following morning. My goal is to maximize melatonin production and not have any synthetic light getting into my eyes.

      My goals with this are to sleep better by not interrupting with light. I think dream recall will be the same just a differnet format of recording. Ill try to make a comment on my observations with this technique each day.

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      day 1 entry 2

      I also wanted to note that because I left the recorder on the whole time, I can listen to myself sleep breathing. That is actually interesting since I heard learning to mimic sleep breathing helps with WILD. I might try something like, if I become lucid, take a deep breathe every 15 to 30 seconds so that I will hear it on the voice recorder and have a sense of how long I was really in an LD.

      I am able to type the dreams up after I heard them in full detail. It seems a little easier to type this way.

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      day 2

      Last night I had a scare that the voice recorder was busted but I got it to work.

      Today I have a 14 hour audio file since I started it around 5, then took a few hours to go to bed, then had insomnia so slept a bit later than usual. I am having trouble importing it to my computer due to the size and as a result I can't really tell where the actual parts I need to listen to are. I guess starting a new recording for each DJ entry would solve this problem but I tried to get an app to speed it up instead. But there didn't seem to be a good one without ads.

      I am not sure how to manage this! AUdacity seems to have trouble importing long files and I need it to be much faster

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      If you have a choice of recording formats or quality settings, it may help to choose one that results in smaller files. Also, if it's recording in .WAV files, there will definitely be problems beyond a certain point because this format doesn't support files larger than 4 GB in size. (Sometimes programs even have problems as soon as it hits 2 GB.) The easiest workaround other than this may be indeed to just manually restart the recording every few hours, or to only record when you're speaking (some voice recorders on the market can do this automatically as a feature, but I'm not sure about available apps).

      Depending on the format you're recording in, it may be possible to find PC editing programs that work with the data in the original file more directly. Audacity always reads an entire file at once, converting it into its own internal format for editing, which is why it takes a while. Unfortunately, I'm not familiar with any such programs.

      Some general comments on my experience with voice recording:

      I've had pretty good success with it, though my approach is to just record when I'm ready to record something since I'm personally not too sensitive to light or getting up and moving, and can usually still get back to sleep okay. I just use it to take temporary notes, then I listen to those and rewrite them into proper written entries later (voice notes are good for fast note-taking, but not so great for archival and review compared to text). Like you, a big concern I have is reliability of the technology. I actually stuck with old-school tape recorders for a long time for this reason; despite what one might think, I've find those mechanical devices generally more predictable and reliable than anything software-driven! (I had a digital voice recorder which generally worked, but sound quality was poor and there had been more than one rare occasion where it has malfunctioned and recorded noise instead of sound.) With my tape recorders aging and wearing out, I finally broke down and started using a Sansa Clip+ running third-party firmware Rockbox for recording. That has been okay for now.
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      Thanks TravisE. The program is running much faster now that I followed AUdacity's advice of closing extra tabs. That made a huge difference which I wouldn't have expected.

      I kind of like the written notes better. With voice notes I have to go back through it. Plus when i pull it into audacity it shows a wave form for when I am breathing that is hard to differentiate from the wave form of talking. So now every morning I have to do this whole editing process in audacity that is somewhat tedious.

      I like having it running so the microphone is right by my mouth all night though. This way I can record the dream without even moving. Then again it is a good point that if I could mute the mic or have it not near my mouth unless I am recording it would be easier to differentiate.

      Even without turning the lights on, I still have been up 3 hours in the middle of the night, unable to sleep, the last 2 nights. I think even attempting to record the dreams wakes me up so much it makes it hard to fall asleep again sometimes. Here and there I will have a weird phase of this restless night thing and it goes along with some other symptoms. So it will probably pass soon. Then I get REM Rebound!!

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      Quote Originally Posted by Charles3 View Post
      Thanks TravisE. The program is running much faster now that I followed AUdacity's advice of closing extra tabs. That made a huge difference which I wouldn't have expected.
      Ah, you mean the number of files/tracks open at once? That can definitely slow things down if there are too many.

      I kind of like the written notes better. With voice notes I have to go back through it. Plus when i pull it into audacity it shows a wave form for when I am breathing that is hard to differentiate from the wave form of talking. So now every morning I have to do this whole editing process in audacity that is somewhat tedious.
      Yeah, this is why I prefer to get things in written form eventually. For me, the voice notes are just to temporarily record rough notes and thoughts quickly so I can get on with the rest of my sleep as soon as possible. I don't even bother editing them; I just review them to remind me of everything that happened so I can reassemble it all in my head and then type out a coherent text account of it. Then I can get rid of the voice notes afterward.

      I like having it running so the microphone is right by my mouth all night though. This way I can record the dream without even moving. Then again it is a good point that if I could mute the mic or have it not near my mouth unless I am recording it would be easier to differentiate.

      Even without turning the lights on, I still have been up 3 hours in the middle of the night, unable to sleep, the last 2 nights. I think even attempting to record the dreams wakes me up so much it makes it hard to fall asleep again sometimes. Here and there I will have a weird phase of this restless night thing and it goes along with some other symptoms. So it will probably pass soon. Then I get REM Rebound!!
      I know that can be a pain. Maybe with time and practice as it becomes second-nature to record dreams it will take less effort and therefore you will be able to go to sleep easier. You never know. Or maybe you'll be able to find some sort of workable compromise somewhere down the line. Even the REM rebound might in itself be something that can be exploited. Good luck!
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      Thanks TravisE

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      day 4

      Using the in line mute on my microphone helped to make the audio easy to sort through in the morning. I guess this is why its good not to give up too soon because sometimes there are just some kinks to work out.

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      Hi everyone,

      I am still doing the voice journaling. So far I worked out a lot of the kinks and even got Express Scribe for transcribing it. But I really don't like the transcribing process. I wish i could just take a break from that and not have to transcribe it. But then I wouldn't have any written entries to post in my dream journal. Transcribing seems to take forever. Once I already have it in M P 3 format, I can listen whenever I want, and all the information is there.

      I might try not transcribing it. I also started doing visual dream journaling using drawings. That has been cool. It seems like so much time each day is dedicated to keeping my dream records. But also I get bored of typing so much and distract myself alot, so 2-3 hours of work takes like 6 hours each day. Good thing I don't work full time.

      I don't know what I will do about this. I would almost rather go out for a walk and listen to my dream M P 3 from the previous nights than sit there typing it. Also I think that would be healthier since I am probably too sedentary.

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      Those sound like some good possible approaches to take. I know what you mean about the time it takes. I went through a phase where I reached the point of recording a ton of dream activity almost every single day, and it was cool and all, but it was starting to take more time than I really wanted to spend recording. In my case, I eventually ended up cutting back my dream recall just a bit and prioritizing on capturing just the really important stuff that I definitely didn't want to forget, but leaving behind more mundane dreams that weren't quite as interesting (as I read through my dream journal, I realized many dreams, especially poorly-remembered ones, didn't end up as interesting to read about later on as I had expected). It was kind of a hard step to take at first because I had been so obsessed with retaining every possible detail. But it does mean I have to be careful with what I decide to leave out; sometimes I realize a dream is more important than it initially seemed if I take more effort to recall it, and I also have to be careful not to get too lazy.

      I still don't like audio for permanent record because my voice notes have an annoying tendency of being rough, disorganized, and sometimes hard to understand (even the next morning, let alone months or years later), and they take me a lot longer to go through (and there's no easy way to search them for content). I once did voice diaries, and they're kind of a pain to use compared to my written ones. But of course, it's perfectly fine if they work for you, and taking a daily walk doesn't sound like a bad idea. I should probably do stuff like that, but of course I never do. Drawing things could be a handy tool for some also. I'm not as keen on it personally and feel more comfortable just verbally describing things.
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      Quote Originally Posted by TravisE View Post
      Those sound like some good possible approaches to take. I know what you mean about the time it takes. I went through a phase where I reached the point of recording a ton of dream activity almost every single day, and it was cool and all, but it was starting to take more time than I really wanted to spend recording. In my case, I eventually ended up cutting back my dream recall just a bit and prioritizing on capturing just the really important stuff that I definitely didn't want to forget, but leaving behind more mundane dreams that weren't quite as interesting (as I read through my dream journal, I realized many dreams, especially poorly-remembered ones, didn't end up as interesting to read about later on as I had expected). It was kind of a hard step to take at first because I had been so obsessed with retaining every possible detail. But it does mean I have to be careful with what I decide to leave out; sometimes I realize a dream is more important than it initially seemed if I take more effort to recall it, and I also have to be careful not to get too lazy.

      I still don't like audio for permanent record because my voice notes have an annoying tendency of being rough, disorganized, and sometimes hard to understand (even the next morning, let alone months or years later), and they take me a lot longer to go through (and there's no easy way to search them for content). I once did voice diaries, and they're kind of a pain to use compared to my written ones. But of course, it's perfectly fine if they work for you, and taking a daily walk doesn't sound like a bad idea. I should probably do stuff like that, but of course I never do. Drawing things could be a handy tool for some also. I'm not as keen on it personally and feel more comfortable just verbally describing things.
      Thanks TravisE! Good to hear ya. I appreciate your thoughtfulness about all of this. I have been keeping up with the voice notes at night. One thing was I learned to use a pop filter and mute my line so it is easier to edit in the morning. Then I actually realized I could listen to the voice recording during the day, even multiple times. Once I heard it a few times, it was easy to just transcribe it from memory, instead of needing to listen to it as I wrote it.

      I think I get what you are saying about being less perfectionistic about writing every detail. When I record it thoguhout the night, I still have to capture everyhting I can possibly remember. I am not doing "short hand" voice notes although I might start that way. But when I write it, I have an easier time now. I agree about keeping a written record for various reasons. It has its advantages over a voice recording.

      About the drawing, that has been a lot of fun. I might make a whole nother thread about drawing and recall if I find it really works for me.

      I don't know if using the light or not has made a difference in sleep quality.

      My favorite part about the voice recording though is if I had a really cool dream, I can listen to it the next morning and really savor it. A few days ago I had a really interesting dream and I listened to it 4 to 6 times through. Every time I listened, I was just like, wow. That really happened. With writing I could export as M P 3 using text to speech converter but it just took extra steps until the recording was ready to listen to.

      I definitely appreciate your thoughtfulness about all the dreaming practices that you've shared. It is nice to know that there are other people putting so much thought into the subject!

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      I just wanted to mention that I am still using the voice recorder. It's almost a month now actually since I started. It has taken some time to adjust and to learn the best ways to use the voice recorder. Or at least just to improve the way I use it. I think it has helped my dream recall even more than I thought, because I am able to record dreams easier, when I might talk myself out of moving anything more than a finger to record the dream. I think it has helped my first round of dream recall of the night the most.

      Then wha I do now is listen to those M P 3's the following day. What I found is that I can usually type the last nights dreams at least 75% off the top of my head, without needing to play and pause over and over to transcribe. Then I listen to them and just add what I didn't get off the top of my head.

      I could probably just leave the M P 3's as they are, and not type it. But I like having it typed. Typing seems more organized and thorough.

      As far as the original goal, of helping me sleep better due to not using any lights at night, I can't tell. I sometimes still am up for an hour or two, unable to sleep. And sometimes I fell back asleep within 10 minutes of having my dim dream journal light on anyway. So I am sure there are other factors.

      So I was initially nervous about the change but now I like it.
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