A dream journal is a record of the author's dreams. It may take various forms - probably the most common is a written journal, written in special books or in diaries, or just in normal notebooks. It may also be recorded electronically, using text editors (e.g. Notepad), word processors, or on web forums such as that of Dream Views.
Most lucid dreamers keep dream journals, and beginners are strongly encouraged to do so.
Special software for dream journalingEdit
free and open source
39.50 US $
free to try
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Role in dream recallEdit
Dream journals are perhaps the most important tool for dream recall. Writing down all known details of a dream helps the author to recall the dream when reading about it later, and can prompt the author to remember more details as he or she writes.
Keeping a dream journal requires at least some degree of dream recall, but in doing so can be used to increase the level of recall. Perhaps the most important aspect of recording a dream is to record details as soon as you awake from it. This way, the details are kept fresh in the mind, and leads to the most vivid recall. Recall is almost always affected by going back to sleep or writing a dream down later in the day; it is best to record a dream as soon as possible, however small the hours. A common approach is to write down rough notes first, and then these can elaborate themselves later.
The format of a dream journal can vary greatly from person to person, from scrawled notes to the highly organised records created by some dream journal software. Generally though, journals can contain some of the following information for each dream:
- time of awakening
- general description of the dream
- whether or not the dream was lucid
- notes on the induction technique used, whether successful or otherwise
- notes on relevant details of day or night before, e.g. if they had inspired some detail in the dream
- emotions felt during the dream
- How you react with the dream, either scared, or, feeling cherished or like everyday as nothing happen
Below is an example of a dream as recorded in a dream journal. As you can see, records in dream journals need not be long, or perfectly written, but try to include as much detail as you can possibly remember. As this dreamer has done, it is often useful to include notes regarding dreams (see above).
July 7th, 2005
Yuffie (from the video game Final Fantasy 7) was forced to be trained as a technician for an evil control system. Barret (another character from FF7) and I rescued her from the facility...
[I] went to a store in the mall to buy Doom 3: Collectors Edition and a new Xbox. The store had some peculiar nostalgic feeling. [I] had to sell my graphing calculator. Ben [my little brother, seven years old] was there and traded in a similar calculator for an Xbox and copy of Doom 3 as well. Dad came in and I got worried he may see what we did...
I talked to some girl in the hallway at school and followed her to her locker. I see Gina [my girlfriend] and attempt to explain to her that the other girl and I are merely friends.
None of the dreams were lucid
I set my alarm clock for five hours after the time I assumed I would fall asleep. Thus I would wake up in the middle of a dream and be able to remember it better. This method usually works well but apparently in my groginess I turned the alarm clock off and went back to sleep without bothering to write anything down until I woke up again at ten-thirty!
The dream regarding Yuffie and Barret: They are characters from the game I was playing the day of the dream. In the game I completed a sidequest where you have to rescue Yuffie.
The part about her being trained as a technician--that's definitely from the William Burroughs novel Naked Lunch that I was reading the night before the dream.
Dream regarding Doom III: My Xbox needs to be replaced in real life and I also want to trade my Doom3 in for the Doom3 collector's edition. My brother keeps reminding me of this and that's probably why he made an appearance.
The dream regarding my girlfriend: I always have a dream about her before I'm about to see her. The situation is most likely a subconscious phenomenon playing out my fear of losing her or something like that.