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6 Ways to Reap the Health Benefits of Dreams

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1. Wake up Slowly
According to Sigmund Freud, the reason you struggle to remember your dreams is because the superego is at work protecting the conscious mind from the disturbing images and desires conjured by the unconscious. Sounds good in theory, but only by remembering dreams can we use them to help ourselves.

As soon as you wake up, stay in the same position, keep you eyes closed, and don’t let your mind start thinking about the day. You can wipe away memories of a dream in minutes (90 seconds, dream experts say)–and when you lose the dream, you lose the potential insight.  When you’ve remembered everything you can, even if it’s just  snippet, write down the dream’s details in a journal by your bed. Return to the journal later to reflect on what the dream might have meant, and pay attention to patterns,  recurring themes, places and people over time.

Another quick tip for remembering your dreams? Each night when you are falling asleep, simply tell your self that you will remember your dreams.

Next: Reading the dream

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.


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10:43AM PDT on Jun 14, 2009


4:02AM PDT on May 21, 2009

Very nice article. Thanks

3:13PM PDT on May 19, 2009

I am an avid dream explorer and practice the arts of lucid dreaming. I journal all my dreams and have been doing this for 5 years now. Last night, I just stopped a tsunami during lucidity!

6:10AM PDT on May 17, 2009

Interesting article,i like to think i can learn from my dreams although they can be unsettling.Sometimes totally changing my mood for the day.

6:28PM PDT on May 12, 2009

Great article! Thanks so much.

6:58PM PDT on May 10, 2009

Yes, I fully agree, dreams can provide valuable insights into how we really feel about things and what is truly valuable to us. Our conscious mind is greatly influenced by our environment, including our friends, family, and society. Our dreams strip this away so that we can get to our actual feelings.

My dreams are very vivid, but I don't always remember them. I've also noticed that I have a soundtrack, usually music. Some of my dreams seem to be playful, a recreational outlet. I remember waking up one night and laughing as I recognized the music and realized it was an ironic pun on the action of the dream. Sadly, I couldn't remember what it was in the morning!

12:44AM PDT on May 9, 2009

I don't agree at all. I have been dreaming all my life -- almost every single day -- vivid, brilliant , fantastic dreams and I remember every little detail like the colours of the brocade, the shape of the teeth or feet, the threads that stick out of well ironed clothes and so is great fun, that's all. I don't see any connection with my dreams and my life. I wake up and it is another dream!

12:00PM PDT on May 8, 2009

I find that trying to remember feelings experienced and not so much detail in dreams, gives one insight into real life situations that might normally be suppressed.

11:53AM PDT on May 8, 2009

I find that if I try and recall the feelings that I had during a dream instead of details, it gives me more insight into real life situatuations and things I might be suppressing.

7:37AM PDT on May 8, 2009

I found this article very helpful. I've had a very vivid dream life since I was a child and have found the one common theme is about time travel to the past. I use a digital recorder to keep my dream journal rather than writing but over the years I've found these "time travel" dreams as well as all my other dreams have pointed me in the right direction on issues both in the past, present and future.

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