Why you should record your dreams

Margaret Dougherty, Editor-In-Chief


In the past year alone, I’ve met celebrities such as Sacha Baron Cohen, Billy Crystal, Aaron Rodgers, David Spade and Catherine O’Hara. I’ve graduated eighth grade, ate pizza with Jesus, played basketball with a monkey named Sam, danced amid a volcanic eruption, adopted a puppy named Hectór and attended a Christmas pageant sponsored by the skincare brand CeraVe with musician Paul Shaffer. I’ve also experienced my fair share of terror – watching family members get hurt, seeing my dorm on fire and running away from soldiers trying to shoot me in Senegal. And this was just in my dreams. 

My dreams often sound like a creative game of Mad Libs. Choose a random noun, verb and adjective, and my subconscious will concoct an entertaining story involving those elements. I enjoy relaying these insane tales to my friends, who often have one of two main questions: (1) Why are your dreams so weird? and (2) How do you remember your dreams so well? I truly do not have an answer to the first question, but I might be able to help on the second one.  

About a year ago, I began writing down whatever I remembered from my dreams as soon as I woke up in the morning. It began quite infrequently. I would remember small bits and pieces of the story and made sure to write down whatever stuck out to me the most. Over time, my collection of stories grew, and I realized that I was beginning to recall the small details better. Before long, my dreams felt clear as day. Not only did I know the plot, but I knew the characters, setting, mood, inciting incident…well maybe not all that. 

Just as studies have shown that journaling can improve your wellbeing, writing down your dreams can be beneficial as well. I’ve found that it has boosted my creativity. I never considered my mind to be too creative, but then I have a dream where a family of capybaras is living in my sofa, or my mother describes a wagon full of bread as her good luck symbol and I think “Hmm…maybe there is something going on in there.” 

Recording my dreams has also helped me realize patterns in my thinking. Granted, some of these patterns are not promising for my mental state, but they are certainly entertaining. In a weird way though, it has made me feel more connected to my internal self. It has also forced my brain to start working the minute I wake up. 

Another reason people enjoy writing down their dreams is that it can help you to have lucid dreams more often. Lucid dreaming, or being aware during a dream that you are dreaming, is something I have experienced a lot this past year. I can rarely take it to the next step past this awareness, which is controlling what you do in the dream. Yet, I hope as I continue to record my dreams that I will grow more and more in touch with my subconscious state. 

I encourage you to write down your own dreams as often as you can remember them. Not only does flexing your unconscious muscle establish a strong link with your conscious mind, but it is also an incredible source of creativity and storytelling.