Dreaming is a normal part of most peoples’ REM, or Rapid Eye Movement sleep cycles, which can last anywhere from 15 minutes to 3 hours each night. Some neurologists theorize that dreaming developed to keep certain regions of the brain reserved for the senses while unconscious, since the brain can start rewiring itself within 45 minutes of the loss of sensation from trauma or inactivity. Others think that dreaming is our natural state, and wakefulness in physical reality only exists to get us tired enough to get back to a dreaming state.
Some people can easily recall their vivid and fantastic unconscious adventures, while others rarely or never do. Even if you’ve never remembered a single dream until now, the good news is that it’s a skill you can train. You can even learn to control your dreams!
Who Can Remember Dreams?
Virtually everyone can remember their dreams—if they try! Some people are naturally more inclined to, while others have to develop the skill—but the vast majority of people have this ability. There are a few exceptions, and they have to do with certain medical conditions. Charcot-Wilbrand syndrome, for example, occurs after some types of brain injuries and one of the effects is an inability to remember dreams after waking up.
Stress can impact whether or not you remember your dreams as well, so this is another reason it pays to have a practice that decreases stress. Norepinephrine is one of the primary hormones and neurotransmitters that is secreted by the sympathetic nervous system, which is the one that’s active when you feel the fight-flight-freeze trauma response. Getting back into your parasympathetic nervous system, or rest-and-digest through regular meditation will help to rebalance your hormones and neurotransmitters to make it easier to recall your dreams when you wake up in the morning.
Of course, if you aren’t getting good sleep, this will impact whether or not you can recall your dreams. Bad sleep might even mean you aren’t getting into the REM sleep cycle, so you might not be dreaming at all. Make sure to optimize your sleep habits if you want to remember more of your dreams.
Are There Ways to Remember Dreams?
There are a few ways to help you remember your dreams, and in greater detail. The first is to simply journal your dreams every single morning. Even if you only have a hint of what you dreamed about, sit down and get writing. Simply beginning to write what you remember will help more details come into focus. Over time, it will become easier to recall more of your dreams, and in more detail, with less effort.
You can also work on dream incubation. For this practice, take advantage of the drowsy state just before you fall asleep, called the hypnogogic state, to give your subconscious mind suggestions. You’re more open to suggestion in this state which is why this technique works so well. As you’re falling asleep, think “I will dream about this particular thing and I will clearly remember the dream in the morning.” This is an extremely handy skill when you want to figure out the solution to problems or get new ideas, and renowned scientists and artists through history have used it with great success. Since you can incubate any sort of dream you want, you can ask for questions to be answered, and this is very helpful if you’re stuck on a problem that conventional thinking has provided no solution for.
Can I Control My Dreams?
In fact, yes! Dream control and astral projection are skills you can learn, and which can become powerful magickal techniques that can help you learn more about yourself, and any situations you might find yourself in. You’ll naturally begin to gain control of your dreams while you’re still having them through regular recording of your dreams.
Recording your dreams allows your awareness to anchor more fully in your subconscious, or scientifically, in the neurons that are responsible for the experience of your dreams. The more you can connect to this part of yourself while you’re awake, the more aware you will become while you are dreaming, and awareness brings the ability to choose the scenes and your role in them. So, if you want to visit the pyramids in Egypt, but aren’t able to travel in the waking world, try visiting them in your dreams instead! Bonus, no tour guides are going to stop you from going into the restricted areas this way…
Dream magick is an integral part of mastering the Earthly realm, since you can learn and do things in dreams that would be significantly harder, or even impossible, in the waking world. If you want to master your life, both while awake and while in dreams, Magick.Me's classes will teach you how to do it. These in-depth classes will walk you step-by-step through working with your subconscious mind to create a waking life you don’t need dreams to escape from...!