Why We Forget & How To Remember Our Dreams

Why We Forget & How To Remember Our Dreams

Nov 18


By Amy Brucker
The Dream Tribe

Original Link

Dream research indicates that all people have about 4 to 6 six dreams a night. Some people remember six dreams a night, while others don’t remember any.

One might wonder why there is such a drastic difference. The isn’t one answer, but here are seven common reasons why people don’t remember their dreams.

1. Dreams are Weird

In DreamTime magazine, dreamworker Jeremy Taylor mentions that dreams are frequently unusual, not resembling anything from our waking life, and therefore sometimes difficult to express in thought and word. Also, dreams may reveal new information and are multi-layered in meaning. As a result, dream images are, as Taylor describes, “not yet speech ripe.” Taylor goes on to say that over time, with practice, we can learn how to remember those odd dreams and grasp them long enough to be able to record them.

2. Disinterest in Dreams

Whenever I teach dreamwork, someone inevitably says, “I never remember my dreams. How can I participate in this class?”

Usually within a few weeks the same student excitedly shares with me that she’s started to remember her dreams.

Sometimes all you need is a little encouragement to jump start dream recall. If you don’t remember your dreams, but want to do dream work, chances are good you will start remembering simply by paying attention. If not, [the article below] offers several techniques you can use to enhance dream recall.

3. Stress, Too Much on One’s Mind, and Lack of Sleep

Stress, no matter the reason, can wreak havoc on a dream life. For some, stress causes nightmares or anxiety dreams. For others, it causes dreams to slip out of consciousness immediately upon waking.

There are techniques for minimizing the impact of stress on dream recall. Please see the “how to remember” section.

4. Alcohol and Drug Consumption

Alcohol and drugs affect the REM cycle and therefore our dreams.

If I have two glasses of wine I have a hard time remembering my dreams. I know others, however, who can drink an entire bottle and have no dream recall problems whatsoever. Everybody is different.

Drugs have similar effects. People on various medications have shared in dream groups that their dreams change in unusual ways when they start taking prescriptions. I’m not suggesting you go off any medications to improve dream recall. Consult your health care practitioner before making any changes to your medication.

5. Moon Phases and Biorhythms

Phases of the moon can affect dream cycles. I tend to remember more dreams around the full moon and less around the new moon. We have natural biorhythms that can also affect our dream recall.

Notice if there is a cycle to your dream recall. If you remember dreams sometimes and not others, be grateful for the dreams you remember and don’t worry about the times you don’t.

6. Traumatic Events

Disclaimer: I am not an expert on trauma and dream recall. The following thoughts are based on experiences I’ve had with people in dream groups.

It seems to me that there are times when a traumatic event can cease dream recall, the ability to remember ones dreams. Regardless of whether or not we have a conscious memory of a traumatic event, we always retain an unconscious memory. In other words, the memory lives in our mind somewhere, even if we don’t remember it.

Since dreams come to help us heal our lives, if we are not ready to heal we may not remember our dreams. Psychotherapy, or some type of counseling, may be required to begin the healing process before dream recall can return.

7. An inability or unwillingness to wake up

Dreams help us “wake-up” in the Buddhist sense of the phrase. That is, during waking hours we can fool ourselves into believing we’re something we’re not. For instance, we may be miserable, settling for less than we deserve in life, but trick ourselves into thinking we’re happy. Dreams help us wake up from our illusions so we can see what’s really going on.

Consequently, if there is something the dreamer doesn’t want to recognize about herself, it might be difficult to wake up from sleep. Looked at metaphorically, there may be resistance to “waking up” to a new awareness about a personal dilemma.

The question to ask is this “Is there something I don’t want to see in my life that is keeping me asleep, or am I simply in need of more rest?”


If your dream images slip away before you wake there may be any number of reasons why you are forgetting them. To get started remembering your dreams sometimes all it takes is the decision to remember.


By Amy Brucker
The Dream Tribe

Original Link

As [mentioned in the previous article], simply reading about dreams may be enough to help you remember your dreams. However, if you want specific techniques there are a few steps you can follow to unlock the door to your dream warehouse.

To get started dreaming,

1. You have to want to remember

If you don’t remember, you may start remembering simply by stating that you want to remember you dreams.

2. Invite dreams into your life

Historically, cultures from around the world practiced elaborate rituals to elicit meaningful dreams. The exact method of the ritual is not important; however, the very act of creating a ritual or focusing one’s attention on the dreaming process helps improve dream recall. Here are some simple ideas:

• Imagine successfully remembering your dreams.

• Imagine it’s morning and you’re recording your dream in your journal.

• Keep a pen and dream journal close to your bed.

• Prior to sleep, write in your journal, “I will remember my dream in the morning.”

• Make the conscious decision to remember your dreams.

3. Take dreams seriously, fake it until you make it if you don’t

4. Record your first thought or emotion when you wake up

• As soon as you wake, write whatever comes to mind.

• If you remember a dream, record it.

• If you remember a feeling, record it, e.g. I feel happy.

• If you have a vague sense of something, write, “I have a vague sense of something.”

• Elaborate if you can, but write something.

• Draw a simple picture with stick figures

• Do this every day until you start remembering

5. Upon waking in the night from a dream, either get up and record the dream or create a title and repeat it several times

I’m lazy. I don’t like to get out of bed in the middle of the night so I devised this method of remembering dreams. Create a title, repeat it five times and then fall asleep.

6. If you had a dream but forgot it, return to original sleeping position

If you forget your dreams immediately upon waking, you might remember them as soon as you go to bed the following night. Returning to your original sleeping position can help improve dream recall, especially dreams from the previous night.

Keep a dream journal by your bed to record dream memories as they surface. If you’re too tired to write, use my title trick.

7. Remember the feelings of a forgotten dream and let go of expectation for remembering the details

Many people wake up in the middle of the night and remember their dreams, only to drift back to sleep. Upon waking a second time, you may have a vague feeling of remembering a dream. If this happens, let go of the need to remember the details. Allow the vague dream feelings to build momentum in your body. Focus solely on the feeling, not the imagery. This process helps the images and events of the dream to resurface to conscious memory.

8. Get enough sleep

9. Abstain from drugs and alcohol, or use moderately

10. B vitamins (I’m not sure why, but studies have shown that B vitamins help with dream recall)

Once you start remembering your dreams, it’s time to delve into their rich offerings. Learn how to keep a journal, if you aren’t already, and start dreaming!



Jeremy Taylor’s Dream Took Kit (website version)
Jeremy Taylor’s Dream Took Kit (pdf)
The Dream Tribe’s 3 free dream books
Pulse on Dreams & Dreaming (resource page)
The Dream Tribe Blog
Dream Studies Website



  1. Marie Rhodes

    I love every thing you do on you various

  2. Thanks, Marie. And I appreciate your wild, over-the-top, ever-enthusiastic support…

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