I was cleaning out my email folders the other day and came across an email I had sent to my sister about a dream I had. It was so memorable that I could not believe I had forgotten it until the moment I came across the email! I would say that most of the dreams I remember after I wake up are sub par and don’t deserve retelling as much as I might enjoy them. This particular dream, however, was an exception. Let me share it with you so that you are on board with me about how important it is to use the tips I will share for remembering dreams.
In this dream, I was getting a tattoo (in real life I am tat-free and probably always will be, due to disinterest and needle fear). Kat Von D was doing the tattoo for me. For those of you not familiar, she is a tattoo artist to the stars, dated Jesse James right after the Sandra Bullock cheating scandal, and has or had her own reality show about the tattoo-ing etc. Anyway, in this dream I was laying on my stomach and she was tattooing my back. I knew I had asked for a specific intricate design and we were chatting and having a great time and I was saying how it didn’t hurt at all (because apparently in my dreams, me and KVD are BFFs).
At the end of the dream I went home to check out my new body art. Apparently it wasn’t odd to me that she didn’t show the finished art to me in a mirror at the studio. I wanted to see it before I showed my husband and I knew it was going to be mega cool. When I looked at the tattoo in this dream, it wasn’t the design I wanted at all, but another very detailed tattoo… The tattoo was the back side of some daisy duke style stone washed jean shorts (pockets and all) with a thong visibly sticking out of the top. It covered my entire bum, such that it appeared as though i was wearing the shorts/thong combo. I was horrified (as one would be when they find they have received an unwanted ultimate tramp stamp on their tailgate) and decided I would go to sleep (again, another natural reaction to unwanted bum art) and maybe it would have just been a dream. Luckily it was.
I am sure you are thinking ‘Who has this dream??’, but it got me thinking that this quality of dream needs to be preserved so that one day I can sit around the table and pass down the lessons learned from it (whatever they are) to my children and grandchildren. That leads me to the tips on how you (and I) can remember our dreams!
1) Remind yourself to remember your dreams – This one comes from The Lucidity Institute, whose name amuses me. “Possibly, all you will need to do to increase your dream recall is to remind yourself as you are falling asleep that you wish to awaken fully from your dreams and remember them”. Ummmm — really?? This will probably work as well as me reminding myself that I am trying to lose 5 lbs. before passing by a troupe of cookie-pushing girl scouts.
2) Record them – This one seems like a no brainer, but when I searched for ideas, this one came up again and again. Many sources suggest keeping a notebook or tape recorder by your bed so if you wake up in the night you can easily reach for it and capture your dream before falling back asleep and forgetting it. I can just see myself mumbling into a tape recorder at 2am with my husband next to me… “Kat Von D. stop. Ass Tattoo. stop. Daisy Dukes with exposed thong. stop.” My husband will reach for the phone by the bed that he keeps handy for those times when he needs to phone the Lucidity Institute and have me hauled away for evaluation.
3) Don’t eat, drink alcohol or take medication right before bed – This apparently affects your brain’s ability to remember dreams. I don’t take medication and my wine drinking usually occurs earlier in the evening (or at 10am on a bad day), so I am good here except for snacks. Late night snacking is the only time I can have something good without having to share with my children, so I’m going to need to think about this one.
4) Relax your mind before bed – This is where they tell you not to text or take your computer to bed with you before falling asleep. Apparently this can inhibit your ability to remember dreams. I can definitely put down the electronic devices a little earlier and since my brain is typically a near flatline most of the time (barring a rousing game of Candy Land or some quick thinking resourcefulness to remove a sneaky poop in the tub), I should be able to handle this one for sure.
5) Concentrate on remembering your dream as soon as you wake up – Apparently you can really only remember the last dream you had before you wake up. This seems right since most of the time the dreams I remember best are those I seem to wake up in the middle of for some reason. The idea is that you should not move and just lay still and try to replay your dream in your head. I even read that you should stare at the first object you see while remembering. I can see this playing out as follows…Husband says ‘Are you awake?’ Me: (while staring at a doorknob) “Shhhh! I’m working on some total recall of the butt etching Kat Von D gave me last night. We’ll talk later.”
6) Wake up more frequently during the night – This is definitely the one that makes me most want to punch a representative from the Lucidity Institute in the face. Apparently, they and others believe that since you can only remember the last dream you had after you wake up, it would be a good idea to wake up after every sleep cycle, so set your alarm for every 90 minutes and journal each time! I already did this. It was called having newborns and my journaling was limited to number of ounces consumed and diaper contents.
7) Go back to your bed and lie down – Finally a good one! Did you know that sometimes you can jog your memory by getting in the same position you were in when you had the dream? Suddenly this dream recall is sounding more and more important to me. I need to go back to bed and get some work done!